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April 24, 2007

Completely Wrapped Up With The Gun

Economist-Guns

Fancy the day The BAG and The Economist are in full concurrence.

Having been in Spain for eight months now, with two or three more to go, the main trepidation I have about coming home is portrayed above.  In an ex-pat mind, what I’ve come to appreciate about America, more than anything, is how preoccupied it is with violence, and, even more so, with fear.

What is interesting to me about this cover is how it simultaneously hits America’s problem with guns and its hysteria over the threat of violence.  (On the newsstand over here, it’s the latter meaning that jumps out at you, but can you feel both from home?)

As the Democratic party shifts to the middle/middle-right to arrest the far-right radical freaks that have taken over the country, the price, it seems, is that liberals must play along, waiting (for the party) to acquire more leverage before pushing “all out” on issues now being sacrificed — such as gun control.

I’m proud of those of you who raised your voices against fire arms in the discussion threads this past week.  I understand we have our own hornets’ nest here, even in the liberal side of the liberal blogosphere?  Or maybe — my bad — you couldn’t tell.  (What was it one reader called gun control, the “third rail” of Democratic politics?)

If, beyond the media coverage, I’ve been mostly reticent about Virginia Tech, the massacre brings out two issues I feel strongly about (one, which never gained traction when it could and should have, and another, which seems hopelessly interwoven into the American fabric).  One is gun control.  I’m against all civilians owning guns … unless you’re a licensed hunter, sober, outside the city limits, without a criminal or mental health record, with a hunting rifle, with a safety lock.  The other is the neurotic package of fear mongering, glorification of violence and preoccupation with fear.

What The Economist offers is not just a pointed image, but a pointed phrase.  “America’s tragedy” refers not just to an incident, or a specific political issue but a national frame of mind.

(image: The Economist . April 21,  2007. Cover. economist.com)

  • ice weasel

    Great, if not done lots of times before, image. I think it’s interesting they actually used one of the weapons from the VaT tragedy to create the image (the Walther P-22). Extra points for attention to detail.
    As for how powerful it is, hmmmm, I’m not so sure. I might guess that the people on the pro-gun side of things find the image uplifting. And the ones on the other side, well, as I said, it’s well done but hardly original.

  • mona

    I would like to add a cultural comment. A few years back when camouflage chic was all the fashion rage- it struck me how it would be totally out of the question in Egypt to wear something like that. You would be arrested for falsely impersonating someone in the military when you were not on active duty. I hope this comment would not illicit “they hate us for our freedom” – the point I am making is that in other countries there are boundaries on who can own a gun.

  • verplanck colvin

    So no more play time with guns? No shooting skeet?
    I have a feeling you are an urbanite. Gun control seems to be a particularly difficult issue for the rural/urban split in this country. I am probably farther to the left than you are, but as far as gun control is concerned, I am personally against it. That being said, there’s nothing that should stop municipalities from passing gun laws that they feel will make them safer. As long as our representation is weighted towards the rural part of the country, you will not see any gun control in the way you present it. To me, that’s a good thing.
    It’s disgusting that this tragic event is used as a case study for some people’s pet issues. Gun control has little to do with this massacre. Crazy people do crazy things. You can not stop it. That’s part of the price in living in a free society. Unless you wouldn’t mind the warantless wiretapping program to be expanded a bit further…

  • Francis

    The level of hipocracy amoung liberals is astounding. How you people pick and choose what rights to uphold. You will defend to the death the right to free speach, but when it comes to the second ammendment, that is a different story. The bottom line is, the gun owning, right wing, conservative christian, people in this nation arent the problem, they are what makes America great.

  • verplanck colvin

    Oh, and Francis? Just because you own a gun, go to church and vote republican doesn’t make you a part of America’s greatness. Do you help your neighbor? Then you are part of America’s greatness.
    An atheist who volunteers at the local clinic or soup kitchen is an infinitely better American than the one who thinks that punching the clock at 10AM every Sunday, flicking the tab for any idiot with an “R” at the end of their name in November, and owning a small arsenal in preparation for the end times makes one a “good American”.

  • ummabdulla

    Is that the shape of one Cho’s guns? My first impression was that it was an older gun, maybe because the white color of the flag seems old and worn.
    The Economist uses “America’s Tragedy” on the cover, and quite appropriately. But the UK seems to be having its own problems with violence – attacks with knives, since guns aren’t so freely available. So even without guns, what is it about those societies that makes this happen?
    Francis: “You will defend to the death the right to free speach”. Did you read some of the previous threads on this incident? Quite a few people thought that NBC shouldn’t have aired the shooter’s photos and videos.
    If you mean to say that there’s a lot of hypocrisy around the free speech issue, then I agree. Even the people who defend free speech at all costs – when the speech is something that doesn’t particularly bother them – have their own conditions about when speech should be protected and when it should be prohibited.
    verplanck colvin: “It’s disgusting that this tragic event is used as a case study for some people’s pet issues. Gun control has little to do with this massacre.”
    I’ve heard this attitude a lot, and I just don’t get it. When a guy like this buys guns legally and then uses them to commit a massacre, of course people should talk about issue of gun control. Just like if there were an accident at a nuclear power plant, the residents near that plant would want to talk about nuclear power, safety issues, how to prevent accidents, what to do in the case of accidents, etc. And if there was a big power blackout, people would want to know why it happened and what should be done to prevent it. But we’re not supposed to mention guns after this? (This and all the other school and workplace shootings.)

  • http://www.topplebush.com NoContest

    Britian, the U.K. did eliminate private ownership of handguns about 8 years ago. It was successful. Many friends I talk to (I am a gun owner) have one or more, plus ammunition, hidden. It is a natinal fact. Seriously!, guns are buried in cellard, in the yards, in the woods. There are millions silently hidden away. So the Economist can look down on us for yet another issue. Our failure with guns, and they are right.
    It was a long haul. The UK paid private owners a fair market value for the guns. Several billion pounds. Lots of contentious lawsuits. In the end, it was done. They confiscated about 7 million personal weapons, sporting and hunting arms, target guns… the whole lot.
    When you count that Americans are estimated to own 115 million handguns, the problem becomes exponential. I am in favor of voluntary surrender to a gov’t agency for fair value. To take them off the street. That sounds reasonable.
    The gun issue resembles the abortion issue to me. Both sides unwilling to give an inch. The “foot in the door” theory. Like the liberal dismay last week over the partial birth abortion ruling. An abhorrent practice, but defended by liberals to the death. Why? Because it sets a precident.
    The same with the 2nd Amendment Rights fanatics and the NRA. They defend the manufacturers who mass produce Saturday Night Specials, $39 handguns in pawn shops – and I have seen them in my personal research, they also sell single bullets for $.50 cents apiece, another practice that shold be outlawed. The NRA defends military assualt rifles for civilians and high capacity magazines. They defend gun shows and unlimited sales between private individuals. Why? Probably the same reason. Give the antis an inch and they will take a mile.
    I am a life member of the NRA. I joined 25 years ago when the organization was reasonable. Now, I am repulsed by their voting block “single issue” support. It doesn’t matter if you are corrupt politican, if you think global warming is a hoax like Colburn of Oklahoma, if you are a child molester, if you have the personal morals of Osama BinLaden.
    If you support gun rights, you are Their Man. And the unwillingness of liberals to compromise has driven them to this position. It is intractable.

  • tina

    Ummabdullah, the difference between England and America is that there is a limit to the number of people you can kill by chasing them around with a knife.
    Violence is a problem in every single country. It’s only a question of degree. There are two ways to get a fairly nonviolent society that have been proven.
    One is through total and brutal repression. Nazi Germany and Afghanistan under the Taliban were both praised as being very crime free.
    The second is through having a small homogenous community with a high income that is fairly evenly distributed and invested in development rather than military spending, the so-called “Scandinavian Economics”. Different variables make this impossible to replicate in many non European countries, at least for the present time. However some countries in South America are making strides in this direction in spite of poverty. However, as long as the poverty is endemic the crime will be, too. The small oil rich Gulf states have created a semblence of this without democracy and with a great deal of inequity between the natives and the imported servant class still in place, which means that should the oil money ever dry up they will have as big a violence problem as anybody.
    Culture and religion really play almost no role, which comes as a huge surprise to many people, though I don’t really see why.
    However in Munich, a major European city, there were only 11 murders the last year I was there, and an arrest was made in all of them. There is something to be said for their way of doing things. But like I said you cannot just superimpose that system on third world countries or even on America and get the same results. First of all you need the economic health. That’s the most important thing.
    Violence in England is, not surprisingly, centered in defunct industrial centers with high out-of-work immigrant populations. Any reasonably intelligent person can take it from there.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    ummabdulla: “I’ve heard this attitude a lot, and I just don’t get it. When a guy like this buys guns legally and then uses them to commit a massacre, of course people should talk about issue of gun control.”
    It seems fairly common sense to me. The college was a gun free zone. Regardless of where/how he got the gun is not irrelavant, but the lesser issue, as the Virginia Tech campus was ‘gun controlled’, and that fact did nothing to prevent the kid from murdering 32 people. In fact, it probably helped him for two reasons:
    #1. No one expects anyone to have a gun. When someone walks in with a gun and starts firing, the immediate response is flight as opposed to fight. We have been taught for years to do what your told, and the bad guy will let you go. (that goes for hostage situations, bank teller training, gas station workers, etc.) Obviously in these troubled times, that does not work anymore. If we do not defend ourselves, we will be murdered without a fight.
    #2. If someone had a gun on that campus legally: Let’s say, the teacher who selflessly gave his life for his students, Professor Liviu Librescu, (please keep in mind, I am not saying he was a gun advocate, just recognizing him as a hero that saved lives. Unfortunatley at the expense of his own.) He may have taken the count of 32 down to 5 + the murderer. Is there really anything wrong with defending ourselves? Or training those put into authority to defend those who they are responsible for?
    I know the argument that something could go wrong, and the instructor, or a vigilante evil conservative redneck hater could accidently shoot someone innocent. You are right. He could. But isn’t the murderer going on a shooting rampage already in the process of shooting someone innocent? Isn’t it worth that chance to save lives?
    I don’t know. I am just an evil conservative myself, but I would rather have a chance than be a sitting duck.
    joe

  • margaret

    The gun is pointing to the right.* The artist, Kandinsky, who analyzed visual movement and line in his many writings, stated that a movement, pointing to the right was “positive,” eliciting positive feelings, while movement, pointing to the left, produced “negative” feelings. This, of course, was intuitive reasoning, but I have found his idea comfortable to accept, especially, as an artist.
    So, the gun, here, points to the right. Is the Economist suggesting (subliminally) in this image that guns are okay? A good thing? Or, is it only an innocent pictoral device, designed to lead you to open the magazine to the next page?
    *Or, maybe, even stretching it a bit: pointing “right” to the “right” wing which supports gun “rights.”

  • tina

    Joe, do you pack heat everywhere you go? Do you slip on that shoulder holster every morning, just in case? What does that say about our lives if we feel we must do that?
    College kids and their teachers should not need to go to class armed.

  • lytom

    Is the gun sufficiently defining the US? It seems to me to be in a void of other powerful symbols.
    What is the state of mental health in this powerful, and aggressive nation?
    How much support is there for mental health and universal health insurance in the country that has spectacular misuse of guns in schools and post offices to name a few…

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    two points and then one o/t for the Bag:
    1. Clearly this tragedy just goes to show that my take on controversial political issue X is right and yours is wrong. Everything will work out better if we just do things the way I say they should be done.
    2. #1 is not a persuasive argument. Predictable, and frequently advanced, but not persuasive. There _WAS_ gun control in this case, and if it had worked, Cho would not have been able to buy guns or bring them to school with him. It didn’t work. So, the “Let’s pass more restrictive gun control laws” canard has already been trotted out… why, pray tell, should we expect that more restrictive law to function as it is designed?
    The important point to grasp here is the one that keeps working for suicide bombers. If someone really wants to kill another person, and doesn’t care whether or not they die themselves, there are a LOT of ways to accomplish murder. Guns are just efficient. As a poster points out above, knives work too. The complete lack of a need for an exit strategy really opens up the options. Japan’s experience in banning guns is instructive: they have a ban on guns for citizens… and look how well that’s been working out for them. What’s that old chestnut? “When guns are outlawed…” (Yes, Japan’s violent crime rates are in general much lower than the rates in the US and Europe. And yes, gun crimes are much less frequent than they are in the US. And yes, as an island, they are much better situated geopolitically to prevent large numbers of guns from crossing their borders than the US would ever be. The point is- guns are effectively banned there now, and people occasionally STILL get gunned down in the street like dogs. This wasn’t some college student, it was the freaking mayor of Tokyo.)
    3. You were looking for a photo of “the wall.” I’m sure you’ve seen one or two by now, but this one seems to be missing something: no razor wire on the top, no guys with guns in sniper boxes, keeping an eye on the citizens. Oh well, I’m sure there’s still time for us to do the job right. Once the wall is up, I bet we can find plenty of Israelis who are ready and willing to shoot Iraqis to come and staff it for us.

  • tina

    I don’t get Tekel’s post completely, but, well….
    there may have been a campus wide ban on guns but the point is he did not have to go very far to get them, just off campus. Gun control in such a small area without any control in the surrounding area, and in the absence of appropriate enforcement of the laws that are in place, does not work.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Margaret,
    No, I do not pack every day yet, but I would rather have the choice. And I think you would be awed to know how many people do. And they have every right to do so. You are right, college kids and their teachers *should not* need to go to class armed, but the evidence is starting to elude that they may need to. At least a well-trained instructor under arms. After all, the instructor is responsible for the classroom. What is wrong with preparing for the worst? The gun is not at fault in this murder, it is the shooter. And had it not been legal for him to get a gun (and I am not sure with his history that it was), he would have gotten one from a different source. Or he would have gotten a gas can and a match. Or he would have gotten throwing knives, or a baseball bat, or a lead pipe, or a well-trained aresenal of ninja monkey assassins. Point is, the method is not near as important as the end result. A murderer will murder, and a theif will steal. It is our right to defend ourselves, and you cannot take a knife to a gun fight. Of course, I imagine knives are not allowed on the campus as well.
    I believe this kid is our version of a suicide bomber. In the Jerusalem (only one example of many), civilians must be very vigilant of their surroundings. Bus stations and pizza parlors have become battle grounds. Look at our situation. You have 32 innocent casualties and 1 attacker who at least will never kill again. How do you prepare for that? Saying you shouldn’t have to pack when you go to school is not enough. Taking the guns out of the law-abiding citizens’ hands is not enough. I also don’t think we should post deputies or the national guard outside of every school. We don’t have that type of funding, and I would rather send our funds to killing the bad guys overseas. (oops, didn’t mean to go there…:)) But we need to prepare for the unthinkable, because the unthinkable has happened. My best solution is voluntarily arm the teachers. If an instructor desires, send them through training, and have them protect the classroom. 99% of the instructors will never have to deal with it. But the one time the situation arises, the teachers will be able to protect the classroom. I am also not against the students being allowed to carry. Again, in this situation, it would have saved lives.

  • tina

    And Tekel, as per your point about knives and Japam…the goal is not to end all murders because that is unrealistic, but to reduce them as much as possible. And if reduction is your goal, then gun control quantifiably works. So a person got murdered with a gun in Japan. The larger point, that they have a fraction of the gun crime of the U.S., is of course totally lost to you. And the hit on the mayor of Tokyo was probably carried out by organized crime, not comparable to a college kid picking up some Glocks and going bananas.
    Yes, if someone really desires to kill then it is difficult to stop them. But we don’t need to help them along and give them the means to rack up so many victims.
    Like I said, pro-gunners have the most sophisticated propaganda of all time, but it’s all lies.

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    I’m also in support of compulsory military/civil service in exchange for citizenship rights in the US. If you haven’t served your country, you shouldn’t have the right to vote or hold public office, period. It wouldn’t have to be in the military- peace corps, americorps, Teach for America would all qualify.
    The Texas Air National Guard would not.

  • Hue G. Rection

    Fran: “The bottom line is, the gun owning, right wing, conservative christian, people in this nation aren’t the problem, they are what makes America great.” [altho sans apostrophe]
    Does/did not the BTK Killer fit that description too?
    Please feel free to use The Google for ‘BTK Killer’ if he wasn’t ever mentioned at service. I’d give you a link but I know how you people are about handlin’ other’s linkage.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Hue: No, he wouldn’t fit that description. Who cares if he went to church? Shoving feathers up your butt won’t make you a chicken, and going to church doesn’t make one a Christian. As verplanck colvin rightly pointed out, punching a time card on Sunday Morning is not enough. It would be like saying you could get a masters by sitting in a lecture hall. There is a little more to it than that. And as Arnold has proven, being a Republican does not make one conservative. And gun owning without the rest of the station is just that: gun owning. could be a cop, could be manson. One is supposed to protect us, the other should be in prison for life. Or, it may be a gun owning, right wing, conservative Christian who feels the need for self-defense against the latter.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Oops…that was supposed to be, “gun owning without the rest of the statement…” guess I should proofread.

  • tina

    Joe, if you don’t pack all the time, then your point is moot. You’re not prepared for every possibility. You’re not paranoid enough yet, man.
    I wouldn’t be awed by knowing how many people have a gun about their persons at all times, but I might be appalled. I wonder what it’s like to live in such fear. I also believe people of this mentality are probably more dangerous than others, AND they carry guns–double whammy. Yikes.
    You complain that pizza parlors and bus stations have become battlegrounds, but you think putting more guns in the hands of teenagers is the answer. Amazing. It boggles the mind. In Joe’s world everyone will act reasonably, except for the very rare complete psychopath, and when said psychopath shows up, once every decade or so, he will be neatly shot down in his tracks.
    And in the meantime, what of the armed professors in standoffs with pissed off students? Boyfriend-girlfriend disputes? Drunken shoot-outs at keggers? College students are not unknown to drink, you know. But heck, have at it! Bang! Bang! Bang!
    Joe, you really have no idea how people actually behave, do you? I’m sorry, your nightmare vision of this country is not one I share. It disgusts me.
    Gun control works, and people who argue as you do are extremely irresponsible. When somebody gets killed with a gun, you are partly the reason. Your harping on the self defense issue is just a feint, another part of the big lie. It isn’t backed up by any data. When guns are fired at people, it’s in self defense only a tiny fraction of the time. As for choice, neither you nor anybody else deserves a choice to carry around something hidden in your pants or coat pocket that can kill me with a flick of the finger. Yes, I said that. You don’t deserve the choice. Get over it already.

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    tina: the hit on the mayor of Tokyo was probably carried out by organized crime, not comparable to a college kid picking up some Glocks
    OK, that’s a fair distinction. However, both were already against the applicable law. So, since Japan’s gun control laws didn’t prevent this murder, should they now take the guns away from their police and military? Should they make the penalties for gun ownership more severe?
    I think we’re quibbling about whether to focus on mitigating the mangitude of the harm, or preventing the harm at all. Maybe I’m being unreasonable.
    Sorry to post and run, I have to go to class.

  • tina

    Since we cannot prevent the harm in every case, it makes sense to mitigate it. It’s hard to see how the mayor’s life could have been saved if more people in Japan had guns. That’s how it is. Opportunities for self defense with guns even if you have them just don’t always arise. A book was recently published in which a man witnessed a rape; the young woman carried a gun, and when she tried to get it out of her purse, her rapist took it and turned it on her. Similarly, I was mugged at knifepoint and having a gun would not have helped me, since I was approached and tackled from behind. These cases are the reality, not the la-la land where people always have the time and the presence of mind to act heroically. Gun advocates are struggling with a control issue not a crime issue. It’s wishful thinking to believe we can make ourselves safe just by toting pistols around, and that is hard for some people to accept.

  • verplanck colvin

    Joe,
    Unfortunately for the evangelical movement, all you need to do is punch that Sunday time clock. I’ll dredge up the wiki link if you’d like, but a core belief of evangelicals is that all you need to do go through “the process”. No need to help the poor.
    As for the self-defense thing, I don’t buy it. I’d imagine that the shock of seeing someone kick in your classroom door and gun down 5+ people would paralyze you before you had a chance to retaliate. Then you’re still subject to the stresses of the situation and your accuracy would decrease dramatically. If the person was mentally prepared enough for that contingency, I bet you he’d kill 5 innocent people who accidentally barged into the wrong classroom before he became a hero and shot the mass murderer.
    Tina, you say:
    Gun control in such a small area without any control in the surrounding area, and in the absence of appropriate enforcement of the laws that are in place, does not work.
    As long as one locality sells guns legally, any American can get one. Anyone with sufficient will could go from, say their California home to the last place where guns could legally be sold, say Maine. The only solution, then, is a national ban on guns. And that is unacceptable (as well as completely unworkable, practically speaking).

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    tina: “Joe, if you don’t pack all the time, then your point is moot. You’re not prepared for every possibility.”
    I am prepared if a gun is not the solution to every problem. Vigilance is half the answer. A skill our nation had better learn quickly.
    “You’re not paranoid enough yet, man.”
    It is not paranoia if there is an attack to prepare for:
    26 February 1993
    20 March 1995
    19 April 1995
    25 June 1996
    27 July 1996
    20 April 1999
    12 October 2000
    11 September 2001
    7 July 2005
    16 April 2007
    “I wonder what it’s like to live in such fear.”
    Don’t. I don’t fear. When the ostrich pulls his head out, he realizes he just needed to open his eyes.
    “putting more guns in the hands of teenagers is the answer.”
    Define teenager? Are you talking about a 13 year old? That is ridiculous. Are you talking about college kids who could very well go down to the recruiter and have a gun put in their hands? Looks like they are getting that taken care of on their own.
    “It boggles the mind. In Joe’s world everyone will act reasonably, except for the very rare complete psychopath, and when said psychopath shows up, once every decade or so, he will be neatly shot down in his tracks.”
    It is called citizenship. Been practiced by an awful lot of us as a part of daily life. I never said anything about ‘neatly shot down in his tracks’. It is a simple concept called ‘operational risk management’. Would i rather have 32 dead, or 5 dead + a psycho? I choose the latter. And I will always choose my life over the perps.
    “And in the meantime, what of the armed professors in standoffs with pissed off students? Boyfriend-girlfriend disputes? Drunken shoot-outs at keggers? College students are not unknown to drink, you know. But heck, have at it! Bang! Bang! Bang!”
    This is where training and common sense comes into the argument. Again, right to bear arms is significantly different than the condom box at the student center. But i don’t think rational argument is your mean by the way you are choosing your words. typical from the left.
    “Joe, you really have no idea how people actually behave, do you? I’m sorry, your nightmare vision of this country is not one I share. It disgusts me.”
    Actually, I interact with people every day. And where I have lived, most choose to carry. No drunken keg shoot outs or girl/boyfriend spats escalated to o.k. corral.
    “When somebody gets killed with a gun, you are partly the reason.”
    Yes. Because I was there pulling the trigger. No wait, this is the argument to blame an inanimate object again. sorry.
    “When guns are fired at people, it’s in self defense only a tiny fraction of the time.”
    Perhaps this is because the majority of the gun crimes take place is where guns are not allowed. And the only people recognizing that law are the victims.
    “As for choice, neither you nor anybody else deserves a choice to carry around something hidden in your pants or coat pocket that can kill me with a flick of the finger. Yes, I said that. You don’t deserve the choice. Get over it already.”
    No. Liberals harp and harp about a doctor’s right to pull a baby out of the womb, stab the baby in the skull with a pair of scissors, suck out the brain and collapse the head. And you expect me to give up my choice to defend myself and my family? No, I will not get over it. Keep fighting to stop me, and I will keep fighting to keep libs from murdering babies, as well as I will fight for my other rights. That is another constitutional right you will not take away from me. I will do so respectfully, as we all have the right to our opinion. I request you do the same.

  • verplanck colvin

    hey joe, don’t paint all us liberals with that brush you used for nanny-stater tina. For all I care, she can join the evangelical movement and make sure no one drinks, smokes, does drugs, have sex, shoots guns, plays video games, and anything else that is remotely dangerous or has a potential of being counter to society’s norms as defined by those pack of boring, milquetoast suburbanites.

  • Bryan

    I think Joe is right on many counts. Lets take a look at another issue (briefly). Illegal Immigration. I’m not interested in a debate on this, it’s the wrong forum, after all. The point I’m trying to make is that there are plenty of laws already on the books. There is no need for tougher laws, there is no need for new ones, or to investigate the effectiveness of old ones. The ones we have need to be enforced. Same goes with guns laws. We don’t need any new ones, we don’t need to spend countless hours investigating if they work or not, we don’t need to dream up new ways to stop guns from getting into the wrong peoples hands. We need to enforce the gun laws we have and enforce them rigourously. The problem with liberals is they believe that the gov’t can solve any problem if we (the American public) give them enough time and money. Frankly, my money is mine and I’m tired of giving it to the gov’t who wastes it and uses it for purposes I don’t like. I don’t like giving for causes that I believe are wrong. The 2nd ammendment gives me the right to carry a weapon, it also protects my right to free speech, freedom of the press, my right to choose which church to attend (or not), and several others. If I feel my life is threatend, I should be able to protect it. With a gun, baseball bat, lead pipe, whatever. The probelm is that if I use the baseball bat and disable the perp for life, he now turns around and sues me and is set for the rest of his misreable life. So, I will choose a gun to end his life and save mine. Period, end of story.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Well, this is my third attempt to type this, and I keep getting it erased, due to computer issues. I am tired of typing the same thing over and over, so I will simply say to verplanck colvin: Please do not mistake the evangelical movement for Christianity. Not to say there are not Christians within the movement, but in order to be called Christian, it would need to align with the one they call Christ. If more of us would read His book, even those who choose not to follow, would know the difference between Christianity and today’s popular opinion of Christianity. It is significantly different, and I assure you, punching cards do not fall into it. Think more along the lines of recipricating love from a Savior who sacrificed for me: A Christian. And asking Him to guide me as I walk through life.

  • Bryan

    I do have a solution. It’s one that many people will not like (libs) because it involves more guns. For every lover of fantasy novels out there, you will know exaclty what I’m talking about. Paladins. Only with guns, not swords and no magic (unfortunately) and no magical steeds to carry us into battle.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
    as the original intent was motivated by: (1) civilain defense against (tyrannical) political power; and, (2) superiority of diversified, citizen-soldiers’ irregular Army vs. “Professional Soldier (class) Army,” so obvious today, with the utterly incompetent, politically corrupt and morally bankrupt current U.S. Officer Corps…
    …i cannot imagine (us) unilateral dis-armament now, in the face of (them) BushCo’s creeping corporate ‘Security State,’ the NeoCon’s global terror megalomania, and the Fundamentalist’s Anti-Democracy Theocracic agenda.
    imho the greatest threat we face is psych-meds; ie., being force-flatlined by the State :
    => a Fundamentalist, anti-Humanist dystopia, where “drug abuse” is not being dosed.
    Virginia Tech wouldn’t have happened, had Cho been (forcefully) medicated.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    “hey joe, don’t paint all us liberals with that brush you used for nanny-stater tina. For all I care, she can join the evangelical movement and make sure no one drinks, smokes, does drugs, have sex, shoots guns, plays video games, and anything else that is remotely dangerous or has a potential of being counter to society’s norms as defined by those pack of boring, milquetoast suburbanites.”
    So in the same line you ask me not to paint all the liberals together, you accuse the evangelical movement’s entire cause of makign sure no one drinks, smokes, does drugs, has sex, shoots guns, plays video games or anything else dangerous? And them you call them a pack of boring milquetoast suburbanites?
    I have a few questions, actually, I have a lot, I am not sure where to start. First, as stated before, I am a Christian, and I drink beer. I am working on quitting smoking (mainly because I would like to live a longer life); haven’t done drugs in quite awhile, mainly because of the reason not wanting to smoke: I love my life. I have four kids, so I won’t get into my bedroom life, but it should be obvious I am not against sex; I just upgraded to a Nintendo Wii, but I go in video games back to pong. I have a couple of tattoos. I played with Tonka trucks (made out of real metal!!!), lawn darts, ball and jacks (again, real metal!!!), and do many of the other things which you are saying ‘we’ are calling dangerous (unless you are not using this statement to include me, in which case you are painting some of my friends, some of which do one, some or all the things you just listed.) So please explain how I am painting, yet you are not?
    I am confused how smoking and shooting guns made it into your section. I thought the evil conservatives were the ones who wanted to let people have their guns, unless you think we want them, yet not shoot them. (btw, if this is the case, you are mistaken. We want to shoot them as well as have them.)(most of us, anyway. I don’t want to paint anyone into anything they are not.) Also, it seems the smoking bans started in San Francisco, NYC, and other blue areas of the map. Perhaps I am mistaken.
    Why are you attacking Tina? I am the bad guy.
    Finally, what is a nanny-stater? I assume it is name-calling, therefore derogative, just not sure what you meant by it.
    thanks
    joe

  • Bryan

    hmmm, this is interesting:
    “I always thought about death, way before I joined the military, growing up in Chicago and living out here in this world… My sister was killed by a stray bullet. And my father was killed when I was seven. So death has always been around.” –Nina Berman
    It’s from the caption on the top right of this page.
    I just thought of something Tina said:
    “A book was recently published in which a man witnessed a rape; the young woman carried a gun, and when she tried to get it out of her purse, her rapist took it and turned it on her. Similarly, I was mugged at knifepoint and having a gun would not have helped me, since I was approached and tackled from behind.”
    Suppose the man who witnessed the rape had a gun and was “man” enough to stop it. Would the rape have happened? And Tina, if you were in a public place with plenty of folks around that all had guns, assuming the folks that had guns were “man” enough to do something about it, do you suppose you mugging would have been averted? It seems to me you’re the one living in fear, fear that you will be mugged again or maybe something worse and there won’t be anything you can do about it. Fear that everyone that walks by has a gun and maybe thinking about you at the end of it. Fear, plain and simple, drives your desire to curb all law abiding citizens freedoms. Let say we ban all guns, what’s next? Knives seem to be a problem in the UK, so lets ban them, too. Oh, people are getting mugged at the end of nail files and finger nail clippers (the airports have already banned these so it’s not to far a stretch to imagine), lets ban them. In 10 years, all sharp pointy objects are banned and we willstart banning blunt instruments. No more baseball bats, lead pipes, tree branches. Let see, that means no more baseball games, plumbers, or trees. What else can we ban? Oh, lets not forget rocks, ice, softballs, tennis balls, or anything else that’s remotley hard. So let’s see, in 2050 we’ll be living in jello world. Maybe I should by stock in Jello while the price is low.
    My point is this: if you ban one thing then you are standing on a ledge that will be hard to pull back from and one that could collapse at any moment. My prayers go out to you Tina in the hopes that you will never have to face another mugger. But you’re right about one thing, it’s not la-la land we’re living in. La-la land is the one you are describing, wake up, this is the real world where death happens every day (see the first quote).

  • tina

    wow, look at the rants this started. And on the BAG no less. Joe, you happily admit that your stance is responsible for gun deaths, and you care not one iota. Bryan, you think national policy should be modeled on science fiction novels. You also admit that you would rather kill somebody than injure them, in order to save yourself a lawsuit. And you think I will ever vote for people like you to have more and bigger guns? I would be overjoyed to call in the guns you have. You people have no morals, and I repeat, should not be armed.
    And further Bryan, that was what the book was about, the survivor’s guilt of the witness, and the condemnation of society including his own father, for not being a “man” during the assault. The fact is he would have done something….had the attacker not had the woman’s gun!
    See how that works? I’ll leave you little boys to your big man fantasies now. And you can call me all the names you want. You can’t bite me, although clearly you would like to shoot me.

  • Bryan

    MonsieurGonzo:
    No one really cares what the french think. The Gov’t, in general is yellow, and your comments reflect that. Looks like plagarism, though, and good try.
    So, you want us to live in a “Matix” state? No free will? I agree with that if I get to choose who goes into the Matrix. How ’bout all the sociopaths, psychopaths, Kennedy’s, terrorists, facists, fanatical muslims, fanatical communists, fanatical whatever (thinking Manson, David Koresh, et. al.)
    As far as the “Security State” you mentioned – I don’t mind having my phone tapped, being spied on, etc. I have nothing to hide.
    “Virginia Tech wouldn’t have happened, had Cho been (forcefully) medicated.”
    Forcefully medicated with a .45 would be a good choice.

  • tina

    And Joe what is all this about lists of shootings over 15 years ago and sucking out baby brains etc. and so forth. You are fixated on violence and really shouldn’t own guns. Give it a thought.

  • ice weasel

    My, my, wingnuts get ugly quick, don’t they? And don’t mistake joe’s reactionary jargon and christianist superiority for a real argument. They’re not.
    joe’s blather aside, I think, narrowly viewed, some of his comments on gun laws are close to true. Laws would not have changed this situation at all.
    When this came up earlier I said that anyone who uses this tragedy to further their political point/s, no matter what they are, is a scoundrel and, more to the point, as asshole. This tragedy proves nothing aside from the already far too frequently demonstrated fact that crazy people do crazy things.
    I’m a liberal. I’m for reasonable gun control. I’m also a gun owner with a CCL. Go figure. Careful wingnuts, sometimes stereotypes can bite you in the ass. And yes, I recognized what I believe to be the silhouette of the Walther P-22 because I own one. And yes, it was one of the guns that Cho was alledged to have carried on the day he went on his murderous rampage (the other was a Glock 26 which coincidentally, I also own).

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Tina: “Joe, you happily admit that your stance is responsible for gun deaths, and you care not one iota.”
    When did that happen? Missed it. Are you referring to my response, “Yes. Because I was there pulling the trigger. No wait, this is the argument to blame an inanimate object again. sorry.”? Because I don’t understand where that makes me responsible for gun deaths. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
    “And you can call me all the names you want.”
    I did not call you names. That was verplanck colvin. In fact, I called myself names, admitting that in this blog, I am the bad guy. I know where I stand in here. I just enjoy the debate. Nothing I have said has been name-calling. I never expect to change your mind. I hope you don’t expect to change mine. However, I think a lot of good can come from the discussion, and I am learning through what you say. I hope you take the opportunity to do the same. You bring up some good points, even though I disagree with the main point of your argument. Yes, I evaluate your words. I do not just dismiss them as hate speech.
    “And Joe what is all this about lists of shootings over 15 years ago…”
    Notice they started 15 years ago, and span up to 2007, with the greatest gap of only 4 years. Clearly not, “and when said psychopath shows up, once every decade or so…” And these are just the incidencies off the top of my head. Point is, it is not one psychopath once/decade. We must always be watching the world around us. Again, not paranoia, preparedness. Regardless of your stance on guns, I implore you to watch your environment. If we could all do that, it would make the country safer.
    “sucking out baby brains etc. and so forth”
    That is a very realistic description of the inexcusable procedure of partial birth abortion: a cause for the extreme of the liberal left.
    “…although clearly you would like to shoot me.”
    Again, when was this point made? The only person in danger for their lives are the ones who break into my house in the middle of the night, threatening my family. And that is only when they ignore the verbal warning (which would include the 9-1-1 call), the chambering of a 12 ga shell, warning shot and the second chambering. Unless they choose to directly threaten me or my family. They can’t say I didn’t give them a chance to get out of my house.
    ice weasel: “wingnuts get ugly quick, don’t they?”
    who is calling names?
    “And don’t mistake joe’s reactionary jargon and christianist superiority for a real argument.”
    When did I claim superiority? I said if the Bible were read, people would have a better understanding of what Christianity is all about; and that I do not follow the popular opinion of the ‘evangelical movement’.
    “joe’s blather aside…”
    Again, who personally attacking?
    “When this came up earlier I said that anyone who uses this tragedy to further their political point/s, no matter what they are, is a scoundrel and, more to the point, as asshole.”
    could not agree with you more.
    “Careful wingnuts, sometimes stereotypes can bite you in the ass. And yes, I recognized what I believe to be the silhouette of the Walther P-22 because I own one. And yes, it was one of the guns that Cho was alledged to have carried on the day he went on his murderous rampage (the other was a Glock 26 which coincidentally, I also own).”
    “I’m a liberal. I’m for reasonable gun control.”
    Depending on reasonable, we are again in agreement. The unfortunate thing is the gun control argument usually eludes to no guns for anyone. It would seem you are practicing the right to bear arms, so I am not sure why I am a wingnut for supporting your right. I have no problem with registering guns, with background checks, with keeping guns out of the hands of felons. But to blanket strip guns from the citizenship is not feasable. It simply will not happen. This was tried with alcohol during the prohibition movement, and we all know how that turned out. The only people who had alcohol were the criminals. And they had a bounty, because they do not respect laws.
    Also, why do you use a stereotype to tell me not to use stereotypes? I really don’t understand this perspective. I have read over my entries, and I fail to see the ‘wingnut’ perspective. Please enlighten me, and I will try to clarify. And if we simply disagree, we disagree. Why do you need to call names?
    Secondly, please re: Tina: “…although clearly you would like to shoot me.”
    Now who is acting threatening with their arms?

  • ice weasel

    ah joe, if you can’t take what you dish out then perhaps another form of expression would be advised? I won’t detail where you strayed into attack territory other than to say my words to you were entirely defensive and responding to the tripe you had already posted. So please, spare me the shrinking violet routine.
    As for our agreement on guns, perhaps. Perhaps not. Obviously I support gun ownership and responsible, licensed CCLs, so I’m guessing we agree on that. As for the rest of your detailed comments such as, “blanket strip guns from the citizenship” I’m going to be forced to assume you meant to address that to someone else, or you just got mixed up on the wrong talking points as I obviously was not advocating that.

  • Hue G. Rection

    No one really cares what the french think. The Gov’t, in general is yellow, and your comments reflect that.
    Why do you think he’s French?
    Do tell, please.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    ice weasel: “I won’t detail where you strayed into attack territory other than to say my words to you were entirely defensive and responding to the tripe you had already posted.”
    You will not, or cannot. Seems to me the latter. The only thing I have done is argue a point. I have not attacked anyone on a personal level. If this is untrue, bring up the offense, and I will clarify, or apologize. Otherwise, if you cannot find a personal attack, then I cannot see how I am in the wrong.
    thanks
    joe

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Also, I never did say that you, ice weasel, in particular were advocating a blanket gun ban, that is just where it seems the argument usually goes in gun control. Much like you are not advocating a blanket gun ban, I am not advocating handing out guns on the streets. I guess we can be misunderstood together. I was trying to find some common ground. I am sick of both sides of our arguments hurling insults instead of decent debate. No one gives an inch, and it is more segregated than the DMZ on the 38th. Again, I know I am not going to change a mind here, and I know who’s turf I am on. I am just trying to have a decent debate. So far here it seems no one is interested in that, everyone is interested in calling each other ‘wingnuts’, and accusing the other side of wanting to shoot them. Such rhetoric is not helpful, but only widens the gap. I try to avoid that to the best of my ability. And when you cannot bring up a single attack from my posts, it leads me to believe I have been successful. Fell free to correct me.
    thanks again
    joe

  • http://felonsforguncontrol.wordpress.com gunner

    Search for the following terms in any major search engine, ” Kennesaw, GA” and/or “Shooting at Appalachian School of Law”. You’ll find that in both cases, ownership of personal weapons saved many lives. In the former, it’s seen a 100% drop in murders and 80% drop in crime overall. In the latter, two armed citizens stopped the shooter from killing more students during class.
    The difference between most European nations and America is that the European citizens trust their government far more than Americans trust their government. Having lived in Asia, Europe, and America, the differences are striking in this one aspect.
    In reality, I thought this blog was about analyzing the images in the media, not discussing the issues in the media. As for that image, the Walther is a German gun, not American.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    The issue is not the guns. It is that Cho was crazy, and not getting the help he needed.
    He did not purchase the guns legally, their purchase was illegal since, well, he was “a danger to himself or others”, as ruled by a judge.
    Now then, carrying a gun probably wouldn’t have helped anyone a bit, since unless you’re expecting to be shot, you don’[t have time to draw a weapon anyway. He also had on a bullet-proof vest. Not gonna do you much good to shoot him anyway.
    You want to take down someone with a gun, grab a jacket, a blanket, a something, and throw it over their head. If you can get clse enough, that is.
    But really, he’s standing in the doorway, you’re sitting down without a weapon drawn, I don’t think you’re gonna have much chance, Joe.
    Oh, and before anyone flames me, the NRA sticker is on the car, we own several handguns, K?

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    Sylvia Poggioli, NPR correspondent from Rome, was at Harvard yesterday speaking about the view of America from Europe. She says the European press were puzzled by the “strange passivity” of the American people in reaction to the Virginia Tech murders. That phrase, “strange passivity,” seems to me to be a key observation about American society today.
    All our controversies – like guns, abortion, gays, Social Security, energy, environment – are locked into diametrically opposed positions with no room for agreement. This has happened because it makes politics and media easier. It is the “on the one hand on the other hand” mindset taken to the extreme. Such rigid dualism is a symptom of addiction.
    Our “strange passivity” is, I believe, because we, as citizens, don’t really have any access to effective power. Hell, I can’t get a response from either of my Senators or my Rep when I write them. The media is a joke, sock puppets of corporations and big money. We are useless eaters and an afterthought to those in power (not necessarily those we see on the TV screen).
    As for the image, it needs a teardrop of blood leaking from the barrel.
    PS: I owned a bolt action .22 rifle when I was a kid. Plinked cans under the supervision of my conservative father. The rifle was given to me by my socialist grandfather.
    And I ain’t never been no Christian.

  • http://felonsforguncontrol.wordpress.com gunner

    Also, notice the black and whiteness of the page. This reflects gmoke’s comment about ’strange passivity’ and the extremism of views in America today. I call my state and federal rep and senator often. I know the people in their offices that answer the phones by voice. Do I ever get a call back? A letter? Any sort of signal that “hi, I heard you”? No. Months and months after my call I’ll get a form letter. Pfft.

  • MadameGonzo

    ref: Why do you think he’s French ?
    ummm, Why do you think he’s a he ?

  • ummabdulla

    26 February 1993
    20 March 1995
    19 April 1995
    25 June 1996
    27 July 1996
    20 April 1999
    12 October 2000
    11 September 2001
    7 July 2005
    16 April 2007
    I don’t even know what these all are, but if they were all in the U.S., it might be enlightening to see a total how many people died in these incidents vs. how may people died from handguns in the U.S. from February 1993 until now. That’s 14 years, so it must be in the hundreds of thousands…
    Oh, I just realized… the first is the WTC, and July 2005 refers to London. So how did you choose these? Did you include all the IRA bombings in the UK? Deaths at the hands of Basque separatists in Spain, or Corsican separatists in France? You seem to have included the Va. Tech deaths and Columbine, but ignored a lot of other school shootings like the ones at the Amish school and the Red Lake reservation. Well, I’m confused…

  • Arek Fressadi

    Gun control because of Virginia Tech? Why?
    It is my understanding that VaT was supposed to be a ‘gun free’ zone. Would this massacre have happened if the good students of VaT had their 2nd Amendment Rights to Bear Arms?
    It begs the question doesn’t it?
    It constantly amazes me how the media and most of mainstream america focuses on the wrong aspect of such a catastrophe. I suppose the next time there is another Katrina we could talk to God about banning hurricanes.
    He could have lined those students up and killed them with a pencil. maybe we should focus on why a kid feels so alienated that he would want to do something like this and forget the weapon of choice.
    My sympathy to the survivors and the families who lost loved ones. Nothing can change for you what happened.
    But a gun did not create the mens rea for this crazed child to take innocent lives. Something else did–let’s focus on being human.
    ciao.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/readytoblowagasket/ janedoe

    Did people in this comment thread get together and whip up a huge batch of hash brownies? Or am I trapped in a scene from Blazing Saddles?
    (The townfolk aren’t happy to find out that their new sheriff is black. They begin to load their guns and point them at him. Bart then points his own pistol at his head.)
    Bart: Hold it! Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!
    Olson Johnson: Hold it, men. He’s not bluffing.
    Dr. Sam Johnson: Listen to him, men, he’s just crazy enough to do it!
    Bart: Drop it! Or I swear I’ll blow this nigger’s head all over this town!
    Bart (in a pickaninny voice) : Oh, lo’dy, lo’d, he’s despit! Do what he sayyyy, do what he sayyyy . . .
    (The townfolk drop their guns. Bart jams the gun into his neck and drags himself through the crowd and toward the station.)
    Harriett Van Johnson: Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?
    Dr. Sam Johnson: Hush, Harriet, that’s a sure way to get him killed!

  • Different Clue

    If guns are outlawed, only policemen, CIA assassins, Blackwater Mercenaries, Conservative DeathSquads, and Drug-Cartel shooters will have guns. Also, only a million or so common criminals of various and sundry types.
    Think about it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    ummabdulla: If you are confused, please read the entire post. Shortly before the compiled list, I wrote: “I am prepared if a gun is not the solution to every problem. Vigilance is half the answer. A skill our nation had better learn quickly.”
    The point was simply the message of vigilance, not necessarily guns. Watch the world around you, and prepare. It is all we can do. Guns are not a solution to the entire list. And the list is a quickly compiled list off the top of my head. Thank you for illustrating that it is not all inclusive. That illustrates my point that I am not paranoid as I was accused to be, I am simply vigilant. And no, it does not include just America. Because this blog does not just include America. Point being, around the world, our best chances for defense against psychopaths is vigilance. I hope this helps to clarify.
    Thanks
    joe

  • Hue G. Rection

    Oui, tout à fait.

  • Hue G. Rection
  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    A little data always gives food for thought.
    Check out the following link
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

  • PTate in FR

    The BAG seems to be on to something. He started the thread with the observation that “”America’s tragedy” refers not just to an incident, or a specific political issue but a national frame of mind.” and, wow, the thread itself rapidly became a tangible expression of that national frame of mind. Guns, YES!! Guns, NO!! ! Be afraid!! Danger lurks everywhere!
    To quote Monty Python, come see the violence inherent in the system!
    The best commentary I read was in the New Republic. The author, Sacha Zimmerman, argues that, after Columbine or now after Virginia Tech, we have asked the wrong question. The question is not how can deranged individuals access weapons, but what makes some individuals decide to kill?
    Cho was deranged, yes, and, yes, American culture makes it easy to buy guns and ammunition and hard to take preventitive action against individuals who are acting in weird, scary ways. But Cho’s vicious plan to murder his innocent classmates is not original. His choice to kill and the specific, media-endorsed scenario he carried out seems to be endemic in American culture right now.
    Got a grievance against someone? Feeling scared? Get a gun!

  • Bryan

    South Africa has some of the strictest gun control laws on the books and one of the top two (I believe) murder rates in the world at 0.719782 deaths per 1,000 people.
    The following is taken from http://www.gunowners.org/op0434.htm
    The Fire Arm Control Act:
    It is illegal for tourists and ex-patriots to carry a weapon despite the fact that South Africa is the murder capital of the world.
    Applicants have to ‘prove’ a need to carry a firearm, despite the fact that South Africa has the highest murder rate in the world.
    Registrar may decline licences for obscure reasons.
    The Registrar may further prohibit or restrict the acquisition, disposal, possession or use of firearms or a class of firearm, firearm parts or ammunition,”in the interest of public safety or if desireable for the maintenance of law and order.
    A member of a military force of another country visiting South Africa is exempted from the provisions of the Act. This clause is indeed a strange one. How is it possible that foreign soldiers should be granted a right that citizens are being denied in their own country?
    A person may be declared unfit to possess a firearm if he/she has failed to take the prescribed steps for the safe keeping of the firearm. To this end, the police are entitled to make ’surprise home searches’ without search warrants from the courts.
    Gun licences must be carried at all times. Should you forget your licence at home the penalty is ten years of imprisonment.
    Searches and seizures may take place without a warrant by ‘any person authorised by the National Commissioner.’ Fingerprints, palm prints, footprints and bodily samples may be taken by a police official without a warrant if he suspects an offence punishable for a period of five years or longer.
    A person who is aware of the existence of a firearm or ammunition that is not legally owned and fails to report the location to a police official is guilty of an offence and this carries a proposed maximum 15-year imprisonment. This is the tried and trusted method of the STASI — informing on your neighbours is mandatory.
    We will need many prisons for the family members of gangsters: If they tell the police about such an offence, they face the threat of ’street justice’, but if they remain silent, they face 15 years imprisonment.
    An Appeal Board will be established, consisting of no more than five members who must be appointed by the Minister.
    The Minister in consultation with the National Commissioner and Secretary may declare firearm-free zones for Safety and Security, if it is “in the public interest” and in accordance with the objects of this Act. No firearm or ammunition may be allowed in a firearm-free zone and a police official may search premises and people and seize any firearm or ammunition without a warrant. Suggested imprisonment of 5 years for allowing a firearm in such a zone, 10 years for carrying and 25 years for storage of firearms and ammunition in such a zone.
    The Minister may, in writing, designate any person or any category of person employed by the State, as police officials. This is more STASI informer methodology.
    Fees for licences may be determined by the Minister as well as remuneration to be charged by the dealers for the disposal of firearms. Thus people may be disarmed for economic reasons alone.
    Here are two instances where guns worked to save lives:
    The St James Massacre in 1993
    East London pub attack
    Several schools in the USA (which are gun-free zones) have been attacked, which proves that the mere status as a gun-free zone does not prevent homicidal attacks. Innocent people had to try to defend themselves with nothing but their bodies.

  • urticaria

    I laugh at the very simplistic argument “if everybody had a gun at Virginia Tech..” That guy was on a suicide mission, so the existence of more guns would not have stopped him and I wouldn’t like to be in such a situation, caught in the crossfire from 20 or 30 panicked students armed shooting at random.
    I’m afraid reality is not like the movies, where everybody is a good shot, have milisecond reaction time and can grasp the situation and make decissions instantly. If there were more guns in that class, it would be a disaster. Even the police got the wrong guy at the beggining, armed students would shoot each other thinking they got the killer

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    Tom Tomorrow has a cartoon. I read it, and the scales fell from my eyes.
    Let me tell you, it kinda sucks to see your point of view being mocked by a comic strip you actually like. I obviously must apply more coffee to the problem.

  • tina

    As per Bryan and Joe: the first step in making trolls go elsewhere is to stop feeding them. Joe has said he’s just here to argue, the basic working definition of a troll.
    I sure as heck am not going to do this for 100 more posts or so. The data is clear, the pro-gun people just don’t want to accept it because they are afraid.
    Where there are fewer guns there are fewer firearm related deaths. This is because, statistically, guns tend to be fired in the home at another member of the household, and if they aren’t there, people don’t get shot in their homes. Very few people who shoot off their pistols are willing to perform the more difficult crime of killing someone during a dispute with an object such as a knife. The danger a gun represents is that it is easy and affords distance, both literal and psychological. Take the guns away and people stop dying. No huge uptick in criminal stats follows, in fact the opposite. This is plain, simple, and borne out by the numbers. But there is no use is saying so to people have decided ahead of time that they will never accept this fact.
    It’s like people who live in cultures where cousin marriage is common. The doctor can tell the people who are planning to marry their daughter off to her father’s brother’s son until he’s blue in the face that their congenital heart disease or ocular degeneration or dwarfism is inherited and caused by inbreeding and they ought to stop marrying their cousins. This simple demonstrable fact they cannot accept, so the family will tirelessly dispute the whole history of science, all become amateur geneticists themselves, and carry on about how many birth defects are in the big bad old U.S., and on and on and nothing changes, and then the baby is born with a serious problem, but it’s not because they married their cousin for the 25th generation, not in their minds!
    Now in the U.S. there used to be cousin marriage, but it has been banned for some time for the reasons stated above, and the culture adapted to the change and now we look down on cousin marriage as sort of backward and the people who insist on it as stubborn and foolish. Eventually we get a stereotype of a person who marries their cousin as a retarded hillbilly.
    Europeans who have lived with rational gun control for years and have reaped the benefits of it are at this point with Americans, they look aghast at the excuses, data twisting, prevarication, and amateur sociology indulged in by gun advocates, and shake their heads in amazement. Eventually they come to look down upon the gun lobby as sort of backward, and the pro-gun folks as stubborn and foolish, and finally you get the stereotype of the paranoid Christian Dominionist hillbilly holed up with his rifles and prayin’ for the end times (and married to his cousin). Now as Ice Weasel has pointed out this caricature is not quite fair, but because the stance of the gun lobby is so irrational and fear-based, it tends to stick.
    Germany had a tragic school shooting in Erfurt a few years back when I lived there. Nobody talked about arming students and the teachers as a realistic response. It never entered anyone’s minds! (the Americans, of course, joyfully siezed on it immediately–look! look! look! what happens when you don’t carry guns! Nyah! Nyah! The Germans have a word for that–schadenfreude, the shadow joy. But I digress). Socially the Germans have evolved past the point of Americans. There are hunters and sport shooters in Germany; in fact Germans dominate shooting sports on the world level. But they don’t carry guns for “protection”. They don’t need to, the “protection” issue is an excuse, and they know it. More Americans are beginning to realize this too. The online debate about the VA shootings over at Der Spiegel gives a good overview of the German view of the matter, and is partly translated into English. Check it out.
    Predictably Bryan has dragged a disturbed impoverished country riddled by crime into the debate. OK, here goes. South Africa is passing tougher gun laws because they are trying to control their high murder rate, which is a result of a lot of factors (it’s a very stressed society with a turbulent history), one of which is–too many guns!
    And of course soldiers of whatever nationality carry guns, it goes with the job description. Don’t be so silly.
    You guys need to deal with your paranoia first, your belief that the big bad world is out to get you and somebody is going to come after you all the time. We all fear this sort of thing but when keep a gun at hand at all times in spite of its danger you are letting that fear dominate your life. Maybe counseling would work? Until them I am in favor of taking away your guns, because you are precisely the sort of people who can’t use them safely.
    End of rant, and trolls, I’m outta here. Take it somewhere else please.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29
    I am not intentionally posting derogatory or inflammatory messages, I just enjoy debating. I thought that was the point of these blogs, was discussions. Your side of the discussion purports there is no discussion, but that is simply not true. There are two sides to this story. As I defend my side, all I get in return is accusations of paranoia, hate mongering, trigger finger, wingnut, living in fear, etc. No point is returned. Please give the paranoia and living in fear argument a rest. It is simply not true. On one hand, yes, it is a dangerous world. This should be obvious. But I do not live in fear. You would like to believe I do, but I simply do not. I have nothing to fear. All I can do is prepare myself for the worst, hope for the best, and take life as it comes at me. Preparation is neither paranoia nor fear, it is simply street smarts. I do not intend to be a troll-like figure, but if you don’t want to discuss it, don’t discuss it. If anyone is inflammatory or derogatory, it is certainly not coming from my posts. If I am mistaken, correct me. That is part of a discussion. When you throw out baseless accusations, it just re-enforces what i have already said. I have been nothing but a friendly voice, although I disagree with your point of view. In return I have recieved false accusations, threats and been called names. And I am the troll?

  • ummabdulla

    Going way off-topic, but…
    tina: “Now in the U.S. there used to be cousin marriage, but it has been banned for some time for the reasons stated above”
    Actually, Tina, about half of the states permit first cousins to marry. (Maybe not the states you would think, either.) And I don’t think there are many other countries in the world where it’s prohibited. It’s allowed in Europe; not long ago, I read about a German brother and sister who had children together and were fighting for their right to marry.
    I’ve seen news reports citing research that has found that the genetic problems are much less than previously believed.
    Not that I’m advocating the custom of always marrying members of the same family. And since I expect you to bring up Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad actually encouraged people to marry from outside of their families. There are some cultures, though, including Pakistan, where they feel more comfortable with their children marrying close relatives that they already know.
    The only reason I bring this up is that a lot of people don’t know it. I was shocked when I first heard that people married their first cousins, and I also was sure that it was illegal in the U.S. and the rest of the “developed world”. But I was wrong.

  • MadameGonzo

    Having been in Spain for eight months now, with two or three more to go, the main trepidation I have about coming home is portrayed above. In an ex-pat mind, what I’ve come to appreciate [judge] about America, more than anything, is how preoccupied it is with violence, and, even more so, with fear.
    you have been over there long enough to look back and “see” America that may be true. but you have not been Over There long enough to “feel” the numbness of their Democratic Socialism, the remnants of their class system, their stasis, their discreet anti-semitism.
    you’re a jewish intellectual from L.A., Mikey, and you’re a good kid. But you still view US = the U.S. as caricatures on a brown bag. Go to Poland, before you go. Go look at a camp
    …understand, perhaps: the bad guys are not “caricatures on a bag” Over Here, Mikey. We, Americans all are real people who actually are dealing day-to-day with the reality of a neo-fascist Corporate Security State; we are a nation ACTUALLY AT WAR, with over a million service personnel engaged, bleeding real blood, with a rogue President who has assumed virtually unlimited War Powers. Our Civil Rights / Democracy actually *ARE* being challenged by Judeo – Christian – Muslim Fundamentalist forces, who really do want to establish an anti-humanist Theocracy, Over Here.
    You say it, Mikey ~ but you’re not Over Here anymore, feeling it, or having to deal with it.
    30+ young intellectuals get blown away, this madman kicks our ant-hill, shatters our illusions — and you drop a pistol wrapped in an American Flag on us, and JUDGE US ?
    Go look at a Camp, Mikey, before you go home. Then, take a pistol, wrap it in a Blue & White Star of David Flag. Drop that on Jerusalem, Mikey. Tell them, “Shame on you, for carrying Guns. Shame on you, for having Fear.”

  • ice weasel

    Concern troll. A uniter, not a divider.
    Sure. Heard it all before.

  • http://molly.douthett.net lowly grunt

    joe’s blather aside, I think, narrowly viewed, some of his comments on gun laws are close to true. Laws would not have changed this situation at all.
    The law in Virginia that states those who have been through mental counselling and deemed a threat will be flagged for buying guns. Had the process been completed, then, yes, this situation would have been changed.
    CNN also learned Wednesday that in 2005 Cho was declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice, who declared he was “an imminent danger” to himself, a court document states.
    A temporary detention order from General District Court in the commonwealth of Virginia said Cho “presents an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness.”
    A box indicating that the subject “Presents an imminent danger to others as a result of mental illness” was not checked.
    In another part of the form, Cho was described as “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self, and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment.”
    A handwritten section of the form describes Cho. “Affect is flat and mood is depressed,” said the order, which was signed December 14 by Special Justice Paul M. Barnett. “He denies suicidal ideation. He does not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder. His insight and judgment are normal.”

    So, yeah, the laws were there. He got through the cracks. It’s time to repair the cracks.

  • http://molly.douthett.net lowly grunt

    Thanks for the link, tekel.
    I really liked this particular letter:
    It’s not Guns and it’s not Americans
    It’s both of those things together. Sorry but there is no legal solution to that problem. We are violent halfwits and we love to pretend that being violent halfwits is our godgiven right.
    Way back when when they were banging out the Constitution, no one would have seriously wondered whether guns would be taken away. It’s absurd. In other words, the clause is not there to ensure that people keep their guns. It goes without saying that people back in the 1780’s had guns. No, the point of the clause is to ensure there really is a ‘well regulated militia’, an organized or semi organized force held in abeyance to make sure that NO usurpers whether internal or external would ever imperil the nation or the government. It has nothing at all to do with you, your redneck buddies and gun shows. Zero. Sorry but that’s the way it is. Now, the fact remains is that we as Americans don’t care about that. We don’t worry about what the Constitution says or means. We’re idiots, literalists because it suits our stupid selfish purposes to read it that way. Why? Because we loves us our guns.
    BTW, and for what it’s worth, George Washington, that Stalinst commie hippie autocrat you Republicans love to hate, HATED the militias because they were universally undisciplined, violent, untrained, and more of a danger to everyone around them than they were to the Redcoats. In other words, you, your Sig Sauer are precisely the kind of whackos that Washington had little need for.
    But lucky for you you have a Federally protected fantasy life.

  • tina

    Thanks Ummabdullah for being clear on that. People sometimes ask me and I usually state that it’s banned. I might have guessed it would vary from state to state. But it is true that it is not much of a cultural norm any more.
    As to bringing up Muslims…well, wasn’t planning on it…but in cases where there is an established genetic disorder present in the family, doctors even in Muslim countries try to advise the family not to marry their first cousins. Of course this may end up clashing with long established custom, which brings up the situation I noted above. I was not under the impression that religion came into it. Ocular degeneration is common among some Arab families that insist on first cousin marriages; dwarfism occurs in Pakistan, and of course we all know about hemophilia and the royal families of Europe. There’s no question that in medical terms repeated cousin marriage is not ideal.
    Often though since these families are large, even amounting to what might more properly be called tribes, people can cast a wider net for spouses and the whole story ends happily. And, often on a doctor’s advice they do so; nobody wants to court disease and deformity. It may unfortunately end up being a money issue, that is, they do not want the resources leaving the family (I’m not trying to judge that, just pointing it out. In a dowry system it becomes an issue). Then they just don’t want to accept what they hear.
    Mostly I was just trying to use it as an example of how attitudes can change over time. It was accepted and now it is almost a taboo; facts and reason got the better of culture and custom. I think most of the people who get some distance from the gun culture and live without it start to appreciate a gun-free way of life–and they do see that it is less violent–, and eventually all the uproar over guns will come to seem rather quaint.
    That’s all I was trying to say.

  • tina

    Actually I was never that surprised to hear about cousin marriage in other countries, because I’m from sort of a ridge runner family myself. They loves them some guns, too :)

  • Lightkeeper

    Some Notes Upon Reading the Above:
    1) Only in America.
    2) ‘Of course everybody had guns in 1780″. Uh…really? I don’t think so. The logistical difficulties alone make that impossible. See, for instance, “Arming America,” Michael Bellesiles.
    3) Just because VTech didn’t sell guns on campus does not automatically mean that, hence, gun control doesn’t work. This is a fairly absurd, and highly illogical, intellectual jump…
    4) How can *anyone* think more guns are the answer, *especially* after VTech?
    5) Try to remember: death, violence and destruction are part of what makes us human.
    6) And Death is a reality no amount of firepower can help elude.
    7) So stop being afraid. 8) No, I am not chewing granola bars and hugging trees.

  • ummabdulla

    I think one important point (that’s been referred to here, but I don’t want to read all these posts again to find references) is that things aren’t black and white. It’s not always an either/or situation.
    It’s not that we can’t talk about X or we have to talk about Y. After this incident, people should think about gun control AND laws concerning treatment of the mentally ill AND bullying AND whatever else might be relevant (campus security, university admission procedures, etc.).
    The labels aren’t helpful. It’s not “if you want to have a gun, then you have to support everyone having as many guns – of any kind – that they want”. Or “if you want gun control, then you want to strip everyone of their guns (except criminals, of course)”.
    But that’s kind of the way it is these days. It doesn’t leave much room for thoughtful consideration and discussion – or actually dealing with problems.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Ummabdulla,
    I could not agree with you more. This is what I have tried to get across, but I have perhaps missed the target. I have never advocated handing out guns on the streets, and I avoid labels at all cost, because I tire of labels applied to me. It is not one way or the other, and at some point, we must find that middle ground. This country is seperated by the extreme minority opinion on both sides, and I believe most of us are left floating somewhere in between.
    thanks
    joe

  • mugatea

    We should be more concerned with people who drive way over the speed limit. Above the law. This type of nut will kill/miam many more people than any mo’ Chos in our future.
    Lightkeeper, I like your list [8 :) ]. It would be nice if others could sum up their thoughts as clearly, quickly, & concisely … But this debate is good; just slooooow reading.
    This thread shows how powerful this cover of TE is. Great cover, good art. I wonder if they see a spike in newsstand sales when they put forward such a powerful icon.

  • mugatea

    sorry, new link attempt
    I complain about long winded posts, then double up myself. More coffee, please. : )

  • jtfromBC

    nothing like context;
    The Cho in the White House http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/25/741/
    “Bring Em On” ! GWB.
    and;
    ” 7) So stop being afraid ” – Lightkeeper

  • readytoblowagasket

    Wow. I’m totally stunned by this comment thread, which has indirectly illuminated some core neurotic insecurities in the American psyche.
    A question for all the gun owners: Why do you (conservatives and so-called liberals alike) feel compelled (at least in this comment thread) to proudly announce you own guns? Am I supposed to give a shit? (Guess what: I don’t.) Is it *relevant* to any argument whatsoever?
    If you have any answers, feel free to keep them short.

  • tina

    I don’t own guns. Never have. Never will. Don’t feel compelled to apologize for it either.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollopelon joe

    Never said either way. I just support my right to own one.

  • PTate in FR

    Speaking of gun control, Bob Herbert has an excellent column today in today’s NYTimes (April 26). It is under subscription, but here’s the money quote:
    “Those who are interested in the safety and well-being of children should keep in mind that only motor vehicle accidents and cancer kill more children in the U.S. than firearms. A study released a few years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health compared firearm mortality rates among youngsters 5 to 14 years old in the five states with the highest rates of gun ownership with those in the five states with the lowest rates.”
    “The results were chilling. Children in the states with the highest rates of gun ownership were 16 times as likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound, nearly seven times as likely to commit suicide with a gun, and more than three times as likely to be murdered with a firearm.”
    Interesting, yes?

  • readytoblowagasket

    joe: “I just support my right to own one.”
    I’m really happy for you, joe. Meanwhile *the rest of* our rights have been systematically annihilated under this administration. We don’t have habeas corpus or governmental separation of powers anymore, but *at least* we can still own a gun!
    Thanks for supporting the Second Amendment, everyone, which is CLEARLY alive and well. Great job! Now how about supporting ALL of the Amendments to the Constitution, as well as global human rights? Because your guns are (ahem) *impotent.*
    In case anyone forgot what the other Amendments are:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights#Text_of_the_Bill_of_Rights
    In case you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “rights.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_corpus#Suspension_in_the_United_States_during_the_.E2.80.9CWar_on_Terrorism.E2.80.9D
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/03/erosion_of_rights.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1435261,00.html
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2007/04/19/an_erosion_of_abortion_rights/
    If The Economist cover is meant to convey that the U.S. = guns, then they got it right.

  • jtfromBC
  • readytoblowagasket

    Sorry, jt. I can’t seem to fix the link. But this op-ed is actually better because it is more informative:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2007/04/25/EDGA4PEJT11.DTL
    For those anti-choice readers on this site who can’t quite overcome their emotional response to the intentionally manipulative phrase “partial-birth abortion,” it is important to make an effort to understand how the recent Supreme Court ruling about abortion limits *everyone’s* medical decisions in the United States.
    Of course, in the United States, abortion doctors and clinic workers have been terrorized, wounded, maimed, and occasionally *shot to death* while abiding by a *law* that some people don’t like. America seems to be a land of guns and bombs and fanatics.
    http://www.cnn.com/US/9810/24/doctor.killed.02/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Jennings_Hill
    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/9845,gonnerman,1077,1.html

  • jtfromBC

    Having survived Auschwitz, then snipers, bombs, courts and religious zealots in Canada, meet a solitary crusader who has become a legend north of the 49th.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morgentaler

  • anon

    I am much, much more concerned with the culture of violence and fear in this country. Until that is successfully addressed, any gun control legislation is at best a tiny bandage on top of a hemorrhage.

  • chimproller

    I dunno about a “culture of violence”; doesn’t UK have a higher rate of assault than the USA?

  • scott456

    As a journalist, I would expect you to report from a neutral standpoint. This is not so, you are clearly picking winners and losers in your reporting. It is a shame that you choose to not see that Obama is the best gun salesman and pusher in the world. Ever. There are so many facets to this discussion you could literally pick any direction to go in. Without proper investigation your discussion is hypocricy.

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