Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Rampage


A lone gunman has gone on a rampage on campus at Virginia Tech. He managed to kill 31 people (Unfortunately, the death toll rose by ten while I was writing this--- Let's pray it goes no higher) and injure many more. It's not known at this point whether he was killed by police or killed himself.

To all the ridiculous gun apologists out there--- Try and tell me how he could have done this much damage with a knife. Hell, I'll be generous--- Give him a machete. Tell me what his body count realistically could have been before someone knocked him on his ass.

One shooter. At least fifty rounds fired. But hey, let's make sure everyone has access to guns, right?

It's now time for us to do what we do after every one of these tragedies; Stand around and say "Never again", while continuing to treat the gun lobby like they're the retarded cousins at the family reunion.

21 comments:

Jales said...

I'm not a gun apologist, I don't even own a gun, but there's one thing I think people fail to see in this arguement:

If a man wants a gun for a criminal activity, he's going to get one. He doesn't need the right to buy it. Thousands, every day, buy illegal weaponry on the street, out of a van or whereever. Making anti-gun laws will not make this any more difficult. We have anti-drug laws and it's still a cakewalk to get them in the country. And it doesn't make it harder to get one either. I can leave my house right now and have an illegal gun in hand in half an hour...20 minutes of that to drive to the neighborhood to get it. I don't know the name of who to contact, but I'd be willing to bet I can do it. And it's not registered. It is completely unknown that I have a gun. I could commit who knows how many crimes with it and, if I do it carefully, get away with every one of them.

I understand you think guns are the enemy, but people and lack of responsibility is the enemy. And for every story like this out there, there's another one of the opposite. Of the man who saved his family when 3 criminals broke into their home with guns of their own.

Freedonian said...

Jales,

I thank you for your thoughtful comment. Since you pointed out what you feel like was a flaw in my argument, please allow me to do the same for you.

All those illegal guns have one thing in common--- They didn't start off illegal.

But even that is a side point on a massacre like this. The gunman had no intention of getting out of this alive, so there's no reason he would bother to use untraceable weapons for this.

Guns are the only product legally sold in this nation where, when used for their intended purposes, kills people. And the manufacturers of these weapons put a lot of money and effort into developing ways to make them more effective and efficient killing machines.

You can talk all you want of people and responsibility. That argument might fly when one man kills one man. But the gun manufacturers go to a lot of effort to make sure that irresponsible people have the means to kill on an unimaginable scale. And the gun lobby does all it can to stymie any attempts to keep those weapons out of irresponsible hands.

autoegocrat said...

Guns aren't new, but school shootings are a very new phenomena in the American experience. There is something more to this than just the fact that we permit citizens to own guns, however I am at a loss to say what it is.

Let me turn your question on its head: how far do you think he would have made it if all the students were armed, or even just a few?

Freedonian said...

Is it your contention that the student body would have been safer if half a dozen people were throwing caps around in a classroom?

Dwayne said...

Until you can guarantee me criminals won't have ready access to guns, I'd like to preserve my ability to own one and defend myself. As in all of these mass shootings, one legally armed bystander might have prevented several deaths.

Anonymous said...

You must be ludicrously naive to think that a person bent on mass murder won't find a means to commit the crime. Wouldn't this same deranged person be just as likely to set a nightclub on fire or drive his car into a crowd? You're trying to make sense of a senseless crime and blame the access to guns, as liberals always do. Why not blame the psychopath? Because you would rather go through his pathetic existence and find some "reason" for the attack...bullying by athletes, racism, etc....because then American society, with its guns, can be a convenient scapegoat for you.

As for the guns, there's a simple solution...amend the Constitution to repeal the 2nd amendment and you can ban them all...welcome to Nazi America, where the government wields unchecked power.

Freedonian said...

Anonymous, if I was trying to make an argument thi sstupid, I wouldn't have signed it either.

You must be ludicrously naive to think that a person bent on mass murder won't find a means to commit the crime.

Name one logical means he could have used to kill thirty people in one spree. A car wouldn't have worked. He sure wouldn't have been able to pull it off with a knife. It would have been damn hard to start a fire and have it spread so quickly that you can kill 30 people in a minute. So give me some kind of argument I can read with a straight face.

Oh, and spare me your mental midget "Nazi" argument. Who's the one sticking up for the rights of murderers?

Freedonian said...

Until you can guarantee me criminals won't have ready access to guns, I'd like to preserve my ability to own one and defend myself. As in all of these mass shootings, one legally armed bystander might have prevented several deaths.

Okay... Who in their right mind thinks multiple guns in a classroom is a good idea? Can I just get a show of hands? The guys in the white suits will be around to round you up into rubber rooms momentarily.

Anonymous said...

Guns are the only product legally sold in this nation where, when used for their intended purposes, kills people. - The Freedonian

What about cigarettes? -Shea Flinn, loyal reader.

Freedonian said...

Shea,

Point taken. I should have said "murder".

Honored to have you reading, by the way.

autoegocrat said...

Is it your contention that the student body would have been safer if half a dozen people were throwing caps around in a classroom?

Is it your contention that armed students would fire as blindly into a crowd as the murderer? We aren't talking about a Wild West saloon here. Having witnessed a gunfight or two, I can tell you that the people with training are not the ones most likely to shoot you, the bystander.

I'm an absolutist on gun rights, but I can go either way. Either we outlaw all guns, including their manufacture, or none at all. I don't see a solution between the two extremes that answers the problem.

If you have one, I'm all ears.

autoegocrat said...

What about cigarettes? -Shea Flinn

What about nuclear weapons, attack planes, bombers, land mines, and other weapons of death produced right here in the good ol' U.S.A.?

Freedonian said...

Auto,

Bullets don't dissolve into thin air when they miss their target. This ain't an episode of "24".

First, you assume that the people carrying guns are trained. That's a dangerous assumption to make.

Second, I don't care how well trained you are--- People that are panicking do not shoot well.

Solutions? Watch this space.

What about nuclear weapons, attack planes, bombers, land mines, and other weapons of death produced right here in the good ol' U.S.A.?

I said "legally sold". A Second Amendment absolutist believes that the prohibitions against private citizens owning those things must be inherently flawed. I'm sure a militia could find a use for a nuclear weapons. Unfortuately, given the modern militia movement, it would probably be you and me. To follow the logic used in gun arguments, that means you and I have to have nuclear weapons, or else they'll just run right over us.

Anonymous said...

A truckload of fertilizer and some diesel fuel brought down the FBI headquarters in Oklahoma city. Two jet airliners brought down several buldings in New York. Are you going to try to outlaw planes, diesel fuel and fertilizer now. Rant on, you just don't get it. Crimes are committed by criminals, regardless of their choice of weaponry.

Jim Maynard said...

I'm with Freedonian on this. It is time we and our "political leaders" stood up to the NRA and the gun business, who profit from all this. The NRA/gun lobby is no better than the cigarette companies who have profited off of dead Americans for years. They have bought both political parties, though they are mainly a big fundraiser and voter getter for the Republicans, but even the Democrats are have been scared into submission. FUCK THE NRA!
There is NO reason for semi-automatic weapons, armor-piercing bullets, etc. in the hands of the average citizen. The 2nd Amendment clear refers to t "well regulated militia". While I am for BANNING most handguns and semi-automatic weapons, given the history of lax gun laws and the proliferation of guns in this country, it probably would not do a lot of good for a long long time. But could we at least agree to reinstate the gun laws the Republicans and Bush killed? Can we at least require registration and waiting periods of guns that are being sold? Unfortunately, all of the gun control groups have died and the only organization fighting the NRA and gun madness in the U.S. is the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun violence, but its a start:
Handgun Control
Jim
Queer Notes
http://queernotes.blogspot.com

Vman said...

Okay, I admit the "nazi" tag was a little over the top, but any serious discussion of this issue must address the Constitution...you can't just throw out a bunch of feel good rhetoric and ignore the fact that the 2nd amendment is in the bill of rights...10 amendments that were specifically enacted to protect the people from a too powerful government. I would think someone with your left wing politics would connect the dots here. We have a government that routinely lies to us about foreign affairs, and covers up its own domestic cronyism; that sets up secret prisons outside the U.S., and one not so secret prison where hundreds of men are held without any criminal charges, due process of law or meaningful access to the legal system; and that illegally spies on its own people under the guise of "patriotism." So how far are we from a truly scary police state?

Despite the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Jefferson's quote still applies "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

Or as Jefferson also said, "When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

Barbara said...

Virginia is one of the easiest states in the country to get a gun. People routinely drive down from NY and elsewhere to buy them there. NY responds by suing gun dealers when they can prove they ignored even Va.'s minimalist rules for purchases.

As someone who had two nieces on the Va. Tech campus yesterday, I wish handguns were banned -- their only purpose is to kill humans and they are not used in hunting.

That said, I also grew up in a household where handguns, rifles and shotguns were present and we were taught to respect the danger they represented. In the right hands, they're harmless.

The Va. Tech killer had weapons with no serial numbers... Whether gun laws would have deterred him remains to be seen.

There was some speculation on CNN that perhaps he was the one who made the bomb threats at Va. Tech last week as a means of testing the campus security response... If that's true, and he was that calculating, chances are gun laws wouldn't have stopped him.

If he was someone who went off over the course of a day or two, a waiting period might have made a difference.

My brother, one of whose daughters is on her way home from Blacksburg (with a friend whose older brother lost his girlfriend yesterday) thinks the media is rushing to assign blame.

Maybe he's right. I'm not sure anybody could have foreseen this tragedy or done anything to stop it.

Freedonian said...

A truckload of fertilizer and some diesel fuel brought down the FBI headquarters in Oklahoma city. Two jet airliners brought down several buldings in New York. Are you going to try to outlaw planes, diesel fuel and fertilizer now. Rant on, you just don't get it. Crimes are committed by criminals, regardless of their choice of weaponry.

Add the fatalities from both of those attacks together. Add to it the number of Americans killed in Iraq. Know what you've got?

About 2/3 of the number of people killed by guns in America in 2005.

Spin that. Rant and rave off topic all you want. Draw all the stupid comparisons you want. The facts simply are not on your side.

Freedonian said...

Vman,

I appreciate that, and I appreciate the thoughtful comments.

First, there has to be some serious misreading of the Second Amendment to reach the conclusion that it guarantees universal right to firearms. Jefferson may have personally felt that way about guns, but he did not express that in legislation. RIght there at the very beginning of the Second Amendment, there's a qualifying clause: The well-regulated militia.

The Second Amendment is just that--- An amendment. They were designed as a compromise position, providing assurances to regions that resisted ratifying the original constitution. The Second was a bone thrown to the militia leaders of the time (We call those guys warlords now in Afghanistan). The militia showed their worth a quarter century later, when they fled Washington DC, leaving it unguarded so the British faced no resistance as they sacked it. They ran so far, so fast, that more British soldiers fell to heat stroke from trying to keep up with them than were killed by muskets. The Second Amendment, as written, is about as relevant to today's laws as the Third is. The remnants of the militia movement that it was designed to protect are part of the problem now, not the solution.

My rhetoric was anything but "feel good" yesterday. I've never advocated rounding up all firearms because I know it's not a realistic possibility. But the gun laws are so ridiculously lax across much of this nation that we're damn lucky nothing this big happened until yesterday. And I do want something done about that.

Freedonian said...

Barbara,

I'm very glad your nieces are okay. And I'm terribly sorry about her friend's brother's girlfriend. My heart goes out not only to them, but to all of the innocent victims of gun violence across this nation.

I was actually researching VA's gun laws while you were writing your comment to me. It's sick how lax they are. No licensing or training required. Massive loopholes to help duck the background checks. No waiting period. All you need to do is turn eighteen and present an ID to get a handgun (12 for a rifle or shotgun).

It is now coming out that his guns were perfectly legal, one of them purchased on Friday. He still had the receipt. He held onto them just long enough to file down the serial numbers, which indicates that he might have harbored some slight delusion of getting away with all of this.

I was actually preparing a piece on the NY lawsuit against Virginia--- Are you reading my mind?

I don't know that any gun laws could have prevented this particular tragedy. It might well be that even a waiting period would have meant that it would have taken place next week instead of today.

But I don't see that as any reason to not fight for what is right.

Good to hear from you.

Freedonian said...

Jim,

Good to hear from you!

We're definitely on the same page--- I want the NRA marginalized in this nation. I was ecstatic a couple of weeks ago when a Georgia legislator told them to go get stuffed. I want their hold over our legislative bodies broken so that we can take a step back towards common sense in this nation.