(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, NOV. 13, 2017) — After the most recent in a spate of massacres, this one painted in a Texas church by an ex-Air Force nut job, the usual political responses could be heard echoing throughout the nation’s legislative halls and deliberative bodies. Such haying has come to be expected, but have you noticed that the more politicians make laws to restrict gun ownership, the more these slaughters occur? One might even call it cause and effect, though THE PLANET would be careful before making such a judgment.

Restrictive legislation guns has not stopped the madness but only increased it. Truth be told, politicians pass these laws without popular consent because it gives the illusion they are “doing something,” and that is both enough and never enough to please their progressive core constituents.

There were plenty of laws and systematic checks to prevent Devin Kelley from purchasing the rifle used to butcher a churchfull. Laws and checks, however, fail to work past a certain point of complexity. Simply put, the complicated network of laws and databases that exist among city, state, and federal authorities to prevent gun sales to fruit cases has exceeded the practical human capacity to properly enforce or implement them.

The Texas mass shooting provides a classic case in point.

Authorities simply cannot keep up with the unrelenting requests for background checks required for anyone wishing to purchases firearms.   A convincing case can be made that excessive gun regulation has led to more violence and murders, which in turn causes politicians playing to the cheap seats to enact even more restrictions. In this circular repetition, even more ordinary citizens are attempting to arm themselves for protection, leading to an avalanche of required background checks that is overloading the system.

Last year, the FBI completed 27.5 million background checks, but at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ National Tracing Center, “shipping containers and cardboard boxes brimming with unexamined paper purchase records have languished in hallways and in the center’s parking lot … awaiting transfer to an electronic system” (source: USA Today, Nov. 10).

In other words, there aren’t enough human beings to adequately handle the paperwork generated by all the new regs and checks.

Then there’s the problem of human error. All systems work great as designed on the flip chart, but something happens when the system has to translated into the actual world of fallible, mistake-prone, guileful human beings. Things go wrong. Implementation guarantees some level of error.

When Kelley purchased the rifle he used in his assault at the church, no flags were raised, even though he had been court martialed by the Air Force in 2012 and also convicted of attacking his wife and 1-year-old child. The system to report this was in place, but wasn’t implemented. The Air Force didn’t pass the information along to the FBI.

Breakdowns in background checks routinely occur because there aren’t enough humans to do the job properly. The requirements have exceeded the practical limits of implemental ability. Moreover, the FBI’s database depends largely on voluntary submissions. Make the submissions mandatory, and the system gets more overwhelmed.

“Many of the challenges that we have long faced have not gone away, nor will they go away,” said Stephen Morris, former director of the FBI’s West Virginia-based background check facility.

USA Today also points out that National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) “has struggled to keep pace with the volume of firearm transactions and properly maintain the databases of criminal and mental health records necessary to determine whether buyers are eligible to by guns.” This has left the NICS system with a database incomplete, inadequate, outdated, and inaccurate. Officials acknowledge that even the fastest, most elaborate IT setup would not be able to handle the job because of the bad information fed into it.

The problem with gun violence doesn’t lie in the inanimate gun. It lies within the human heart.

In America as elsewhere, we are afraid of freedom, however much we like to brag about loving it.

Pogo was right.

We have met the enemy.

We are it.


“If these allegations are true, there is no place for Roy Moore in the United States Senate.” — Sen. Richard Shelby.



The Usual Disclaimer.




  1. The school committee
    November 13, 2017 at 2:56 am #

    Background checks and waiting periods will stop gun violence.Remember the gun does not care how long it waits only the buyer and the seller have a stake in this.All critical thinkers understand waiting periods and checks make sense and seem logical.

    • Magoo
      November 13, 2017 at 4:52 am #

      This nut Waited 4years?
      Jerk could locked doors and burned church
      Evil people kill.
      Method is unimportant.

      • H
        November 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

        Valenti is the best

  2. dusty
    November 13, 2017 at 3:08 am #

    I read that there are over 300 million guns of all sorts in the hands of Americans. Can you imagine the carnage if a civil war broke out? I am kind of glad my time is short.

    • Wilson
      November 13, 2017 at 7:49 am #

      Don’t worry, the government has enough ordinance to shoot every citizen 1000 times and blow them up 100 times using robots

  3. dusty
    November 13, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    In a distantly related story in the USA TODAY the Army has greatly lowered its requirements for recruits. They will now be accepting drug users, people who have fared poorly on aptitude tests and some with known mental problems. So exactly what positions do you think these guys might be needed for?

    Point men? “Go see if that thing over there is a roadside bomb private!” Yep and the draft is not far behind so be nice to your kids because their names may be showing up on a new granite wall in Wash D.C. in the not too distant future.. And unless your dad is a millionaire AND you have bone spurs you need to learn how to salute and walk into gunfire. Read the story in the USA Today if you think I am making this up.

    • mi
      November 13, 2017 at 5:11 am #

      The problem is right here at home,Pittsfield is not immune to the crap going on all over the Country.

  4. The school committee
    November 13, 2017 at 4:00 am #

    The entire city of Pittsfields heating and ventilations system is falling apart and is in emergency care .Imagine the shape of our new high school 10 years out.Mrs Behnke ,Mccandles Cutis and Yon will let this building degrade year after year.Curtis should be in charge of Taconic as he is always calling for cuts in custodial workers and maintaince workers but loves 80k deans of students…..

    • No Moore
      November 13, 2017 at 6:04 am #

      Is it me,or does Sessions and now Moore give you a creepy feeling?

    • Paul
      November 13, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

      TSC, You’re right, is what Pittsfield does best is spend large amounts of money building things and then never take care of what they build. Needless to say it turns into crap. Next step, rip it down and do it over agine. Seems like groundhog day when living in Pittsfield.

  5. Mr. G
    November 13, 2017 at 6:32 am #

    Dan, your arguement is flawed on its face. You talk about “all the new regs and checks” and ever increasing complexity as if new and more complex gun laws get passed all the time. We all know they do not. New gun laws NEVER get passed on a federal level, and that is what’s necessary here. The last Federal action on guns, aside from the completely empty “thoughts and prayers” issued by every republican legislator every time there is a mass slaughter, was to allow the ban on assault rifles to expire several years ago. The fact that people are too effing lazy to do their jobs and enter data when it happens, like gun shop owners and air force officials, is absolutely no excuse for people dying dozens at a time at the hands of lunatics. It Verizon or Mastercard can track every call or every transaction on their network in real time and archice it for near immediate access, sortable 10000 different ways, it is certainly far from insoluble to figure out a way to track gun sales and lunatics. This is not hard. This is easy. Systems have existed for years to be able to do this. No one in power takes it seriously.

    The whole suggestion that the problem is too big and complex is bullshit. Make it a crime NOT to enter the data. For that matter, if the NRA loves gun sales so much. Make them participate in the solution. Or make, in this case, one federal law establishing the process, them make it work. States rights, in this case, are moot. Every other country in the world has this figured out. We just don’t want to.

    • danvalenti
      November 13, 2017 at 8:43 am #

      THanks for the input, MR. G. The problem with your argument is enforcement. We can pass all the new regs we want, including one to make it a crime NOT to enter and pass along the data, which right now in many cases is voluntary. If we do that, how do you enforce such a law? Practically, I mean, in the real world? ON the face f it, your comment on Verizon and MasterCard seems analogous. However, it is not a criminal offense NOT to enter the data. Rather, it is a condition of one’s employment. Verizon and MasterCard, remember, are private companies. In the Dreaded Private Sector, employers don’t take kindly to workers who don’t do their job. Moreover, say all that new data pours into the Feds, the FBI, and the NICS system? What will it do besides languish. They can’t keep up with what they have now, as my column points out. What will change if tons of new data gets entered?
      I enjoyed your feedback, G.

      • The school committee
        November 14, 2017 at 5:08 am #

        The enforcement is at the point of sale and it will work and will stop many killers before they kill.Point of sale,point of ,point of sale.Wont cost a thing.

  6. Mr. G
    November 13, 2017 at 6:46 am #

    In fact, the last federal gun legislation passed was almost 15 years ago, guaranteeing immunity for gun manufacturers and dealers whose weapons are used in commission of a crime. That add to complexity?

    • danvalenti
      November 13, 2017 at 8:49 am #

      Thecomplexity doesn’t come from Federal legislation but from the reporting requirements, existing and future new ones, in the field, at the Point of Purchase.

      Even if the toughest anti-gun laws were passed by Congress, anyone who wanted a gun bad enough could get one. There’s a network out there, black market, to supply demand. True, ordinary, law abiding citizens won’t go there … Only those with bad intent.

      • Still Not Matt
        November 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

        Congress, both sides of the aisle, intentionally underfund the systems and ATFE that perform background checks. Thoughts and prayers are much less expensive.

        • Silent Cal
          November 13, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

          FBI does the background checks. If people did their jobs and provided the system with required data the system would work much better. I suspect political hacks ( someone’s in-law) end up with these jobs and they just don’t get done very well. It also would be most helpful if DA’s and Judges followed the law but too often charges get plead away and the offender is back on the street with nefarious deeds in mind. The government is overfunded. We don’t need more hack jobs.

          • Shakes His Head
            November 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

            I deal with the ATFE that license gun dealers and brokers.

          • Dustin M
            November 14, 2017 at 8:23 am #

            Matt is scares me very much you have a gun

        • Dustin M
          November 14, 2017 at 6:31 am #

          Matt good people need guns not just criminals you dolt.

          • Still Not Matt
            November 14, 2017 at 8:08 am #

            That’s why I make sure online gun dealers are legit in their physical locations. Their hand to hand transactions have to take place at a registered address, although most of them want to deliver firearms and that is illegal.

            Dolt, that’s a good one. You aren’t adding anything to the discussion, retard.

          • Dustin M
            November 14, 2017 at 8:41 am #

            Matt you were exposed and humiliated. You are sad. I own you

          • Still Not Matt
            November 14, 2017 at 9:45 am #

            I am not Matt, and actually I do not own a gun.

            You are just trying to compensate for your small penis, which is gigantic next to your tiny tiny retarded brain.

          • Dustin M
            November 14, 2017 at 10:07 am #

            Yes you are Matt. You add nothing

      • Paul
        November 13, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

        Dan, let’s not forget all the District Attorneys and Judges that ignore the gun laws. All I ever read is the gun charges were dropped at the request of the DA’s office. Furthermore the judges that dish out the terrible Probation sentences are not a big help. Answer me this, has MA done away with the Mandatory one year jail sentences that use to be proudly displayed at our boarders? May bet we should buy our DA’S and Judges dictionaries so they could look up the word mandatory.

  7. LoneGunMan
    November 13, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    You want to curb gun violence? Don’t call the police for anything in Pittsfield. You call 911 to help rescue a cat and Wynn will send a 5 town SWAT team to shoot it down.

    • dusty
      November 13, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      and it is almost Thanksgiving so if you gots any pet turkeys ya might wanna bring them inside for a few days

    • h
      November 13, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      And two or three to do traffic control.

  8. Silent Cal
    November 13, 2017 at 8:29 am #

  9. CosbiesLadies
    November 13, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    It has gotten sooooo in the City,that The Planet has to interview the Mayor wearing 3-d glasses.

  10. Silent Cal
    November 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    FEDERALLY LICENSED RETAILERS are required to run a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)i when transferring a firearm to an individual. Firearms retailers rely on NICS to ensure the lawful transfer of firearms to law-abiding citizens. About 260 million NICS background checks have been conducted from Nov. 30, 1998 through March 31, 2017; more than 27 million were conducted in 2016 alone.

    However, a background check is only as good as the records in the database. That is why the firearms industry supports improving the current NICS system by increasing the number of prohibiting records states submit to the FBI databases, helping to prevent illegal transfers of firearms to those who are prohibited from owning firearms under current law. Including these missing records will help ensure more accurate and complete background checks.

    States must improve the NICS database by submitting any and all records establishing an individual is a prohibited person, such as mental health records showing someone is an “adjudicated mental defective” or involuntarily committed to a mental institute, as well as official government records showing someone is the subject of a domestic violence protective order, a drug addict or subject to another prohibited category.ii

    The firearms industry has a long record of supporting background checks.iii The NSSFsupported background checks prior to the passage in 1993 of the Brady Act that created a point of retailer sale background check system and NICS in 1998. The existing background check system must be fixed, however, before Congress even considers whether to expand background checks, otherwise we’ll just have more incomplete and inaccurate checks.

    State participation in the NICS system is voluntary as the federal government cannot mandate state participation due to the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.iv

    In 2013, the firearms and ammunition industry investigated how many states were submitting prohibiting mental health and other disqualifying records to NICS. The industry obtained data from the FBI showing that at the end of 2012, far too many states failed to submit these records that established someone is prohibited from owning a firearm under current law. At that time, 19 states had made fewer than 100 records available and 12 of these had made fewer than 10 records available.v

    The firearms and ammunition industry found the failure of states to submit prohibiting records unacceptable and launched a campaign in early 2013 to address the problem and improve the effectiveness of NICS. Through a multistate effort focused on forming coalitions in the states with the fewest submitted records, the industry has dedicated significant resources to helping states overcome the legal, technological, and intrastate coordination challenges preventing effective record sharing.

    “FixNICSSM” is about keeping firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons, like the shooter in the Virginia Tech tragedy who was able to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms retailer because his prohibiting mental health records were not in the NICS system.

    Since FixNICS was launched in 2013 through the end of 2016, the number of disqualifying mental health records submitted to NICS increased by 170 percent to nearly 4.5 million, from about 1.7 million in December 2012. This significant increase is driven by states like Pennsylvania, which now has 794,589 records, compared to 1 in 2012. New Jersey, another FixNICS success story, has now submitted 431,543 records, up from 17 in 2012, and is now ranked as the 2nd best state on a per capita basis.

    The FixNICS campaign has won victories in 16 states since 2013. NSSF-backed legislation has experienced unprecedented success across the country as the firearms industry continues to try to prevent prohibited people from gaining access to firearms.

  11. Levitan
    November 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    I was never fond of laws written to accommodate those too dangerous to purchase firearms but nonetheless are free to walk amongst us.

    The dishonorably discharge d criminal beat an infant, and should have spent his remaining days in prison.

  12. Ron Kitterman
    November 14, 2017 at 4:11 am #

    The flaw to Mr G’s argument is the NRA loves guns. The NRA loves the constitution and the rule of law. 300 million guns out there 12 million illegal immigrants. We can’t rid ourselves of the 12 million undocumented democrats but getting rid of the guns is not going to be a problem ?

    • Still Not Matt
      November 14, 2017 at 6:12 am #

      Undocumented persons and many persons with a legal resident status cannot vote except for very limited municipal elections.

      • Dustin M
        November 14, 2017 at 8:24 am #

        and in liberal states matt. matt you would prefer all illegal aliens voting because its the only way your communist agenda gets passed

        • Still Not Matt
          November 14, 2017 at 9:46 am #

          Asshole, I am not Matt and I am a registered republican that lives in a red state.

          • Dustin M
            November 14, 2017 at 10:08 am #

            You are matt and you do not live in a red state and you are not a registered republican

          • Shakes His Head
            November 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

            You don’t even know me…go back to driving your scooter up and down North Street

          • Dustin M
            November 15, 2017 at 6:31 am #

            Matt i dont want to know you, you are scum. And a thief

          • Still Not Matt
            November 15, 2017 at 7:32 am #

            Then you are a child molester that craps your pants.

          • Dustin M
            November 15, 2017 at 7:36 am #

            Poor matt is upset because he was outed, exposed and humiliated

  13. The school committee
    November 14, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    Itis believed that legal and illegal ownership of guns is closer to 3/4 of 1 billion and the concern is that certain weapons being sold could wipe out a entire police department of 100 0r 50 men or women in minutes so if you respect your police what is the logical next responsible step about specific gun capabilities.being sold to joe 6 pack.

  14. Mr. G
    November 14, 2017 at 6:20 am #

    1) Make it illegal to sell or possess any automatic or semi-automatic weapon. Period. These weapons are made only to kill people. That’s it. Outlaw them.
    2) Make stiff, mandatory penalties for possessing, and even stiffer for selling the above weapons.
    3) Enforce those laws, and all the others, with gusto and zeal.
    4) Automate the processes for tracking gun purchases and background checks. In today’s world, where every transaction is automated, why are we relying on “hand-entry” of gun transactions and background checks?!?! A simple API would solve a lot of this problem.

    Certainly there are a ton of illegal guns on the streets and none of this address that problem. But we have to start somewhere. Millions have dies from LEGALLY purchased guns! We can no longer say “this problem is too hard and complicated.”

    • Silent Cal
      November 14, 2017 at 8:09 am #

      There are millions of semiautomatic firearms in civilian use. Statistically very few of the millions are misused . If there only purpose is to kill people they are doing a poor job.

      The third leading cause of death in the USA, right after cancer and heart disease is medical mistakes. Maybe we need more doctor control.I’ll

    • LoneGunMan
      November 14, 2017 at 8:28 am #

      By that logic single action weapons (non-semi automatic) are made for purposes other than killing?

      • Mr. G
        November 14, 2017 at 8:59 am #

        Hunting, target shooting…c’mon now. Your arguments are both disingenuous. By the current prevailing logic we apparently only have 2 choices: 1) Do nothing and wait to be slaughtered as the curve continues to rise exponentially or 2) Arm EVERYBODY and countenance regular shootouts. Neither is a sensible option.

    • Paul
      November 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      Mr. G, you know nothing about guns and that’s where the problem starts. Dopes making laws about something they know absolutely nothing about and refuse to educate them selves.

      • Mr. G
        November 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

        Interesting Paul. I have owned, used, dismantled, cleaned and reassembled guns for almost 50 years now. I am an excellent left-handed shot. Any other misconceptions to which you care to admit?

  15. Spagirl
    November 14, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    It is mindboggling and frustrating that the City of Pittsfield leaders for many many years, have not coordinated and improved a youth Community program that is inclusive and excels. Pittsfield is backwards and broken. Even way back in a day that was simple, there was a Parks program with ice skating, and warming houses that kept youth excited. Why should Pittsfield have a special community program on the West side? Its about absolutely no leadership, no vision period.

  16. dusty
    November 14, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    Actually I am working on a force field which will surround me everywhere I go and will stop bullets (as well as unwanted sexual advances). It will run off the energy provided by a small solar panel worn on the head.

    I expect to have the prototype ready by Christmas and to go into full production mode by New Years day. I already have a lengthy waiting list but am taking deposits for the product as we speak.

    It seems quite simple to me that if you cannot stop the proliferation of guns perhaps you might want to focus on stopping the bullets.

    And if you order now I will throw in a Mets baseball cap with each order.

    • Len X Abhorant
      November 14, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      DUSTY,I strongly recommend you apply for a TIF.

  17. Silent Cal
    November 14, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    This just in. Terrible earthquake in the iran, iraq border. hundreds due thousands injured. Democrats blame BY A and call for more fun control laws.

  18. Shelly Liver
    November 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Lately, Tyer has stepped up her game in spite of the garbage recepticals deborah..

    • Two Cents
      November 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

      Not hard to step up your game when you haven’t even been on the field yet!!!

  19. mi
    November 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

    Did I hear Mrs. Hamilton correctly that the Youth Center would be built with or without the City’s help. Then Go For It!

  20. mi
    November 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    Another serial killer on the loose in Tampa and another American Lunatic kills four in California.

  21. Cosbies
    November 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    Planer should do a show with a bow tie, love to see that.

  22. 12 Gauge
    November 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

    Did I hear the mayor shouting something during the public session at one of the speakers? I think someone has gotten in her head.

  23. Dilly Dally
    November 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    Wal Mart is proposing nine to 13 million dollars in wages, we have to take that deal Mrs. Mazzeo, No?