Monday, April 16, 2007


A few days ago, I was being driven to Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, and, as we cruised through Springfield, Massachusetts, the driver pointed out the local landmarks. There was the basketball hall of fame, the spot where Dr. Seuss's house once stood (I was informed it was accidentally razed before it was to be turned into a museum), and the Smith & Wesson factory. "They can build them here, but you can't possess a gun in Massachusetts," a fellow passenger quipped. I imagined a factory churning out these tools of death and wondered why it was that such a facility existed in America but not in many other Western democracies, where gun possession is illegal. You know the rant: gun violence barely exists (if it exists at all) in England, France, Japan, etc. Yet in the United States, we allow people to run around with devices of death that propel small slugs of metal at hyper-speeds. Thus, there's a need for gun factories within shooting distance of Dr. Seuss's old home. I know: the freedom to bear arms. I'm not going to trot out (or debunk) the clich├ęs of this old and (regrettably) tiresome debate. But what occurred to me is that Americans--like the citizens of other lands--fashion their own society, and many folks here believe guns ought to be part of society. Other nations have made other choices.

Given the amount of guns circulating in the United States, it may be too late--politically, legally, and practically--to put the bullet back in the chamber. But we ought not to lose sight of the fact that other civilized countries have gotten along just fine without guns. As a result, people in those lands do not have to process and debate the meaning of a shooting rampage that kills dozens of people on a college campus.

For another take on the tragedy at Virginia Tech, see Larry Johnson's comments. He notes that episodes like this one happen several times a day in Iraq. And he writes:

The next time you hear Dick Cheney or George Bush blame the public attitude regarding Iraq on the media's failure to report "good news," examine carefully our reaction to the shooting at Virginia Tech. Look at our collective shock. Our horrified reaction. The public sorrow. Yet, in truth, this is an exceptional, unusual day in America. It is not our common experience. But we cannot say the same about Iraq.

The people of Iraq are living in a Marquis de Sade version of Groundhog Day. It is like the Bill Murray movie--the same horrible day repeated with some new, bizarre twists--only not funny. Multiple body counts and explosions and shootings are the daily experience of the people of Iraq. They have been living this hell for four years. Just keep that fact in mind as you mourn the deaths of 22 American students slain in Blacksburg, Virginia

After he wrote that, the reported death count was put at 30.

Posted by David Corn at April 16, 2007 03:20 PM


Saladin said...

WOW Micki! You MUST be right! I believe in the right to defend myself and my family so that must make me just like bush and his boyfriends! What a clever deduction. And as usual you see nothing even remotely suspicious about this picture. Fucking fantastic! Give up your arms people, tyrants agree, gun control works every time! Ever heard of reverse psychology? Or is that just a conspiracy theory?
Mr. Corn, you are dead wrong on this. Odd how DC has been in the top 5 for gun violence even though guns have been banned there for years. Go figure.

"It is a reminder that there are complexities involved in systems analysis."

Not to mention the complexities of the climate itself. Everyone is oh so sure and now we must micro manage everything under the sun, and the sun too if we can. It's Yellowstone Park writ large.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- I fear that with more than six and a half billion of us on spaceship Earth we will indeed have to micro-manage everything.


Robert S said...

Odd how DC has been in the top 5 for gun violence even though guns have been banned there for years. Go figure.

Commencing figuring mode.

D.C. is how far from Virginia?

Guns are available in Virginia?

Are there barriers between D.C. and Virginia?

Washington D.C. is one of the most economically depressed areas of the country, outside the Capitol Zone.

Economically depressed areas breed black markets, illicit drug trade, and criminal activity such as thefts, break-ins, etc. With such activity, comes violence.

If a real effort was to be made in reducing gun violence in D.C., a start might be to:

1) End the War on Some Drugs,
2) Provide real economic development to the area,
3) Let the residents control their own city, rather than the Congress, within which they don't have a vote, and
4) Limit the sale of guns in Virginia, and Florida, etc, including tracking resales to out of Staters.

Disengage figuring mode.

micki said...

Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX): Before the US House of Representatives, October 4, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of HR 3193, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. I am a cosponsor of this legislation that ensures greater respect for the right to bear arms in Washington, D.C.

HR 3193 repeals several of the more draconian citywide Washington, D.C. gun restrictions enacted in 1976. Restrictions HR 3193 will repeal include the requirement that all firearms be registered. Gun registration in other countries has created government lists of who owns what guns. Such lists facilitate the harassment of gun owners and the confiscation of their guns. Also repealed are blanket bans on the possession of handguns and handgun ammunition as well as of any semi-automatic guns. These bans exist despite the fact that handguns and semi-automatic guns are regularly used outside Washington, D.C. for self-defense blah blah blah

Robert S said...

Buying guns, ammo easy under Virginia's lenient laws
Published: Monday April 16, 2007

Buying a handgun or rifle is relatively easy in Virginia, where a gunman slaughtered at least 30 people at a university Monday, but the state's gun control laws are not the most lenient in the United States.

Virginia laws allow any state resident over 18 to buy a firearm, including assault weapons, if they pass a check of any possible criminal background against state and federal databases.

According to the Brady Campaign lobby for gun control, the state merits a C-minus on a scale of A to F for the strength of its gun control laws, with 32 of the 50 states ranked D or F.

Buying and owning a gun in Virginia does not require a permit, but without a gun permit only one handgun purchase per month is allowed, and there is no waiting period to acquire the gun.

Those with licenses can buy more than one gun during one month. A non-state resident has to wait 10 days to acquire a weapon, or until he or she gets a positive report from the state police.

The law is broad enough to allow people to buy assault guns and magazines without limit such as AK-47s and Uzis, the Brady report points out on its website.

"Assault weapons are as easy to buy as hunting rifles," it says.

The state maintains "no restriction on the sale or possession of rapid-fire ammunition magazines that can fire up to 100 bullets without reloading."

The state does restrict people convicted of felony crimes from possessing firearms, and forbids giving or selling handguns to minors under 18, except from one family member to another.

But selling rifles and shotguns to children over 12 is permitted.

In one controversial loophole, people can buy weapons at second hand gun shows without waiting periods or background checks. Critics of the laws say it allows people to pay cash and take the gun away with no way to track them.

micki said...

The issue of "home defense" or protection against intruders may well be misrepresented. Of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home (Dahlberg, Ikeda and Kresnow, 2004). Persons who own a gun and who engage in abuse of intimate partners such as a spouse are more likely to use a gun to threaten their intimate partner. (Rothman, et al) It would appear that, rather than being used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families.... University of Utah Library, Firearms Tutorial

Robert S said...

Secretary of State Rice may face subpoena threat Wednesday
Michael Roston
Published: Monday April 16, 2007

Depending on the State Department's response to a request for information prior to a Wednesday meeting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could face a subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, RAW STORY has learned. The move could compel Rice to testify on the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, and other issues.

"On the 18th, we may hold a business meeting, but that is contingent on whether or not we receive requested information from her,"an Oversight Committee staff member told RAW STORY.

The committee staff member added, "If we do not get the information from the State Department prior to Wednesday, the business meeting may take up the question of issuing a subpoena."

Secretary of State Rice had been asked to testify before the committee on Wednesday, but her office had informed Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the committee's chair, that she was not available.

On April 9, Rep. Waxman sent a letter to Rice saying that the State Department's response to a request for information from his committee had been 'insufficient.'

Waxman said that the State Department's Office of Legislative Affairs' response to his earlier request for the Secretary to testify "does not answer many of the Committee's questions, nor does it provide most of the information and documents the Committee requested."

The Committee had sought Rice's testimony on President Bush's claims that Iraq attempted to procure uranium from Niger and other subjects.

The State Department's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said in an April 12 press briefing that they were trying to respond sufficiently to the committee's request.

"I know there is a second letter from Chairman Waxman and we're in the process of formulating a lengthy reply that we would hope answers all of his questions," he said. "There are several questions in here that might require a little bit of type space in order to answer it. But -- so we want to be responsive."


Gonzales hearing postponed until Thursday due to Virginia shootings...


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.

So, how many gun owners out there are members of a well regulated militia? Or is the first part of the sentence simply meant to be a "whereas" clause without the force of law?

Gerald said...

The tragic events on VT's campus will work in Hitler Bush's favor. More freedoms and rights will be taken away from us by the Nazi Party.

High inside sources are trying to put the blame on this tragic event to Iranian operatives and terrorists. Will this event be the spark that ignites Iranian skies with our nuclear weapons? Odds favor such a 4th of July spectacular!!!

Columbine's massacre occurred around Hitler's BD and now the VT massacre occurs around Hitler's BD. There seems to be an everlasting linkage to murders around Hitler's BD and Nazi Americans love for blood.

capt said...

New Thread!

Mookie said...

Thank you, Mr Corn, for not catering to the gun nuts on this one. I am familiar with gun violence and see only one outstanding truth: monkeys are not to be trusted with such weapons. It seems that those who want them the most are those who do things like this. Or blow up buildings.

How many college students (like me) need to be shot before we learn that guns only bring death and sorrow?