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April 25, 2007

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Some Thoughts On The Virginia Tech Massacre

There is something particularly terrible about young people dying violently because they have been deprived of everything—the husbands and wives they never married, the kids they never had, and the contributions they might have made to society. Their lives are gone before they have really begun.
They are dead because a tormented kid with a gun decided to copy what other tormented kids have done. They are dead because any number of institutions and people failed them. Seung Hui-Cho bounced around in the Virginia Tech system like a lethal pinball. The only people who saw how dangerous he was worked in the English department. Aside from those few teachers, everyone failed, including a legal system that is so concerned with the protection of an individual’s rights that it puts the rest of society at risk. Apparently, administration officials at Virginia Tech would have been unable to expel Mr. Cho or do anything else effective even if someone had the brains and the initiative to tell them they had an authentically dangerous student on their hands.

****

A few news sources have recalled the first campus massacre, which took place in Austin, Texas, in August, 1966. A deranged gunman named Charles Whitman took up a firing position in the University of Texas tower, and began killing people. But when it was revealed where the sniper was, off-duty law enforcement officers and civilians put down a hail of gunfire on the tower and in doing so, probably saved lives. However, it is politically incorrect to recall this part of the story.

****

The Usual Suspects in Congress have been strangely silent about the need for new gun laws as the result of the massacre. This is probably because it’s an election year, but it may be because there is plenty of blame to go around in this one and it has nothing to do with guns.

****

Most of the parties involved were simply incompetent. The only really reprehensible group is the media, and in particular, NBC-TV News. The same organization that found Don Imus intolerable has had no problem in granting a mass murder’s last wishes by giving prime air time to his recorded ravings. Since they aired the tapes and it blew up in their faces, we have heard from NBC that there was considerable and agonized debate over whether to air them. But in the name of journalism, and bringing you the news, etc., etc., they felt they had to.

To quote the much-despised Bill Maher, “NBC debated for seven hours whether to broadcast the tapes and then opted to make a s**tload of money.”

The news media wallow in these tragedies, milking them for the last drop of blood, the last tear, the last ratings point. And what they practically guarantee is that it will happen again. In some dormitory room, some twisted geek who doesn’t care if he lives or dies is watching this stuff, thinking, “Why not?”
And sooner or later, he will.

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Comments

Black Rifle addict

It would be interesting to see what our founding fathers would have to say about the random gun violence of today's society and freedom's bell ringing?
Nice Blog Mr.Petzal

Dennis Bender

Perhaps the gun violence would end if these killers knew their lives would be placed in abrupt jeopardy. Killers kill and the only end to stopping that is to stopping them permanently. If they are by some means captured the doors on their cage should be welded shut to secure the safety of the rest of mankind. To excuse killing or to rationalize it is to devalue all of life. I have had to defend myself and my family twice by displaying a weapon and I will do it again if I must. No peace loving person wants to kill but I believe every one that values life whether his or that of another will do whatever it takes to defend that life.

Peter C

Dan Warner's post should be the answer to every liberal anti-gunner who whines, "If it saves only one life..." This is one very intelligent young man.

Michael

To Chad Love:
Thank you for enlightening me. When I referred to media, I certainly didn't mean every news journalist in America. But, when an icon such as Dan Rather (who graduated from my alma mater SHSU)blatantly trangresses the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, one begins to lose faith. I understand your position. As a public school teacher I have had to teach for the "test" instead of preparing students for life after high school because "research" (money and politics) indicates this is what they need. Accept my apologies.

Ross

I own a Glock 19. In order to purchase it I had to fill out an application that ran 3 or 4 pages, include references from 3 taxpaying landowners in the county where I live, and have it notarized. 3 or 4 weeks later I got a permit to purchase. Do I mind that? No, not really. I work in a hospital and see people with gunshot wounds on a regular basis. Guns, like cars, are dangerous if misused. As a sensible and responsible citizen, I recognize the common sense behind regulating who has access to firearms - especially small, concealable firearms with 14 round magazines.

I agree with most of the posters here on these basic points: this man was seriously disturbed and was bound commit mayhem no matter what. I also agree that the Second Amendment, and the rest of the Bill of Rights, as formulated by the anti-federalists in the late 1700's, constitute an important check on the possibility of tyranny in our government. Finally, I agree that the 24 hour news cycle has led to a tragic deterioration in the standards for responsible journalism in this country.

However, I have to admit, looking at the carnage this man caused, I had a moment's pause over whether I really needed a 14 round clip. I also wondered whether any private citizen's need for protection from personal assault -- or tyranny by the federal government -- necessitates that any Tom, Dick, or Harry can, like Cho, walk into a gun store and walk away with a Glock, or an AR-15, or any number of other non-sporting firearms with high-capacity magazines. Some have said that in this case the laws on the books were not enforced, but my reading of the story seems to indicate that there was no rigorous local process for obtaining a permit to purchase a handgun in Virginia that is similar to the one in my home state. Some say that illegal guns are so easily available that further regulation is pointless and only impacts law-abiding citizens such as myself. But I have to ask myself, if I were face -to-face with the mother of the 26th or 27th student murdered in this rampage, how exactly would I justify opposition to instituting my county's local regulations on a nationwide basis if it would have reduced the opportunities Cho had for obtaining the object of his twisted fantasies. Sure, he was going to kill someone someday, but would he have been able to kill 31 people in the space of a few minutes?

I recognize this is not a popular point of view in this forum, but I am genuinely curious if there are other gun owners who have doubts about the absolutist stance of the NRA, etc., regarding unfettered access to almost any kind of hand-held firearm.

countryboy

Did anyone else see the interview earlier this week with Sara Brady? I think it was on the Today Show on Monday or Tuesday. I was shocked when she said more than once that she and her foundation were not pushing for more gun control laws. She said that they wanted better enforcement of the existing laws. She said several things in that interview that I agreed completely with. It kinda scared me.

On another note, the polls that were on MSN.com last week asking whether people wanted more gun control laws and if more laws would help gun violence, seemed to disappear very quickly when the results were in our favor. The polls showed clearly that the majority was against more gun control. These polls were pulled from the MSN.com home page after only one day.

Keep up the good work Dave.

Black Rifle addict

Ross-
I agree with what you are saying..HANDGUNS seem to be the major offender of the lawless. Like most of us here, I was not aware of how easy it was to purchase a handgun in VA.
My state requires an application, waiting period-finger printing,and the purchase permit is dated(I believe a 10day period?)before it expires.
Is this reasonable? I think so, and if cho would have purchased the guns on the street it would have been a mute point, of course.In this case he purchase them legally,and the system failed.
My question is why VA does not require a backround check for outstanding warrants or mentally ill persons?

Biged

You people are sad. I understand he had the handguns for over a year, so what would a 10 or 15 day waiting period had done and as for the background check they would not have found anything because nothing was ever recorded. so get real people and stop acting like the control nuts on handguns

Bigbenr

No, just blame the dead people. Wrong place, wrong time.hehe. As a person who lives in a community dominated by a college campus, I would be very leary about drunk childrens with guns in their rooms. They seem capable of doing plenty of damaage without guns.
The problem is things will never change for good, law abiding Americans. Every elected President is in debt to the NRA for NRA votes when he gets into office. Along with all the other lobbies. The silent majority give their votes away for false promises and false hopes.


That coupled with the fact that big business 'owns' politicians on both sides of the house, (you don't think they gamble on one horse in a two horse race do you?), means you better get used to it. Big tabacco, big weapons pushers and big oil have told 'bought' Dems to leave Bush alone. Profits could be hit by political instability. Where's Charlton when we need to see somebody who has really sold his soul to the corporate capitalist devil?? hehehe.

You live in a civilised world where the citizenry are better armed than the police. You live in a civilised world where your neighbour could have a weapon more suited to the battlefields of Iraq than suburbia. You live in a civilised world where corporate greed comes before the lives of your young and innocent.


D. Warner

The unfortunate reality is that anyone with a title and a microphone can speak on the topic and be mistakenly labeled as credible. Recently, MSN quoted a retired ATF employee as saying that the high-capacity magazines used in the Virginia Tech shooting would’ve been “impossible” to acquire had the 1994 ban not been allowed to sunset. Now, one wonders just when interplanetary travel was made possible, because this individual is certainly not from any portion of Earth that I’ve ever met. The article didn’t mention if this was an ATF field agent or an ATF file clerk, but either way, infallibility obviously is inherent to the aforementioned bureau.

Of course high-caps were available. They were in every accessories catalog and on every auction site for the last decade.

The implied nonsense says the only way to guarantee that Cho hadn’t gotten his sadistic hands on high-capacity magazines would be to completely remove them from circulation. Sounds easy. Common sense says that the only way to attempt to facilitate this Utopia would be for the government to either buy or seize lawfully purchased, lawfully owned property from the public. We would assume these high-cap mags would then be distributed to key members of the NYPD, as they use a large number of rounds these days.

Now, if the government somehow decided that research showed that 2-door vehicles were inherently unsafe, caused more emissions, and were thus a detriment to society, you’d be first in line to drive your ‘66 Mustang to the government buy-back for the betterment of America, wouldn’t you? And there’s no way that somebody would be so socially destructive as to hide his GTO in a barn to avoid the car crusher, right? And that GTO wouldn’t increase ten-fold in value overnight, yes? Are we beginning to see the problem with the feasibility of all these “if we just take away all the pointy things, no one can ever get hurt again” ideas? The seizure of legal property isn’t something that politicians are too keen on... yet. But never underestimate the chemical reaction that occurs when massed ignorance is allowed to inhabit a voting booth.

We don’t dictate that the only responsible reason for owning a vehicle is transportation, else we’d all be driving Geo Metros; we shouldn’t allow the same immaturity to garner attention on the firearms topic, no matter how loudly it yells or how much press coverage it gets.

-Dan Warner, 25

Lucky

Hey man.Jeff Boderman is a Rat Fuck Bastard...

James

Hey Ross, if you don't trust yourself with your 14 round "magazine", then maybe you should get rid of it and only have ten round mags like the citizens of the socialist republic of california. Better yet, if your're really nervous, limit yourself to only one mag so you don't get into any mischief. Mag size doesn't really matter when a person can carry as many filled magazines as they can fit in a backpack or pockets.

Cho's ability to shoot so many people has more to do with reloading tactics than mag size. What I can't believe is that no students took a chance to rush their attacker when he had to reload. I am not at all blaming the victims for their own deaths, and I know that some did resist. But there were never enough resisting at the same time, with that "let's roll" attitude that was displayed on 9/11. I figure if I know I'm going to die, I have nothing to loose and might as well take a chance.

Furthermore, if you are going to acknowledge the private possession of firearms as being a hedge against federal tyranny, then you must also acknowledge the vastly superior armament that the government could potentially employ against its citizens should it ever come to "that". Glocks and AR-15s with high cap mags are a drop in the bucket compared to what the military has.

That old question of what a gun owner really "needs" is really irrelevant to the discussion, because, as this case showed, it's not what the gun can do, but what its user can do with it.

Dr. Ralph

You can kill more people with a truckload of shit than with a gun. Just ask Timothy McVeigh...oops too late. There was a law against guns on the Va Tech campus, there is also a law against murder. More laws will not protect us. One more gun in the right hand would have.

JB

Two comments.

Homework assignment. Go get a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Circle the words "sporting" and "hunting" everywhere you see them printed in both documents. Then see how many times the words "tyranny", "freedom", "oppression", and "defend" are there.

After you've read both documents completely, post back and tell us how you come to the conclusion that the 2nd Amendment is about sports or hunting.

Second point.
The high body count had nothing, NOTHING, to do with magazine capacities or Cho's gun skills. Those kids died because they were unprotected, unarmed, and terrified.

God bless them. I'd have been terrified too if that had happened to me when I was eighteen.




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