Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Lesson: GUN CONTROL




"The gun lobby finds waiting periods inconvenient. You have only to ask my husband how inconvenient he finds his wheelchair." Sara Teasdale

As a resident of one of the most violent cities in the nation, I'm well in touch with my inner Gun Control Advocate. In fact I've been ranting for years in favor of smaller guns and bigger rules about who can buy them.

All those *patriotic* gun activists who self-righteously claim a Constitutional imperative to blast Bambi with an AK 47 need to step out from behind the trees and join the 21st Century.

The so-called right to bear arms is no more relevant today than the right to own slaves. It's archaic. We don't have a Citizen Army. We're not taming frontiers or honky-tonk towns. Most of us don't live in isolated areas threatened by wild animals.

Many of us do live in cities under a new threat -- humans who behave like animals. It's barbaric. They're shooting each other and innocent victims in epidemic numbers.

Our gun laws--the few in existence anyway--don't even try to identify criminals or potentially dangerous gun purchasers.

Sick, misanthropic, angry, unbalanced, under-aged and just plain stupid people can buy guns with virtually no legal oversight. In most states it's harder to get a driver's license than it is to buy a gun.

Something's wrong with that picture. Something's really wrong with anyone who claims to need--or have a right to own--automatic weapons. And with a system that allows anyone with a valid ID and a credit card to buy them at will.

It's unconscionable. As the horrific events at Virginia Tech demonstrate, it's deadly dangerous.

Guns don't kill people. People WITH GUNS kill people.




From the Gun Files:

Quote: Blow DeLay Away! End Quote his own quote says it all

Guns Kill People - Congress Protects the NRA 50+ gun bills, none passed

Got Guns? GET RID OF THEM! 14-year-old kills his father

Teens and Gun Violence 18-year-old kills his girlfriend's parents

Guns. Kill. People. 9-year-old kills his 3-year-old brother

Sports Parenting for Idiots football dad pulls gun at son's game



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5 Comments:

Blogger Alex said...

Hi

Please consider writing news pieces or an op-ed for Jewrusalem: Israeli Uncensored News. We strive to present different views and opinions while rejecting political correctness. Ideally, we try to make the news "smart and funny." Thus, your input is very welcome.

Best,
Alex
www.jewrusalem.net/en

6:07 AM  
Blogger Othromas said...

I was bored today and googled my handle. I'd nearly forgotten about the comment I'd made on your "Guns. Kill. People." post.

You seriously don't know what you're talking about. Please, take a second, take a step back from your identity as a gun control advocate, and actually think about this for a minute. Also, please bear in mind that I own no firearms of my own, and that I do agree with you that we should have stricter testing criteria for people who do buy guns (they have to pass a realistic safety inspection on a range, which can be revoked at any time if they're found to be unsafe in the future).

Do you know why we had the right to bear arms in the first place? It's so government could not institute a police state. The framers of the Constitution knew that if worse came to worse and the federal government (which was a pretty unpopular idea at the time) tried to take over, citizens would still have access to the final (and I do mean final) tool for change: a weapon.

That concept has changed a lot since, obviously, but the premise is the still the same, but there's the flip side to that as well: if the federal or state government can't protect you, you can potentially protect yourself via the right to bear arms. That's one of the things that bothered me so much about the Katrina fiasco. Cops rounded up firearms from citizens in an effort to reduce the number of armed looters on the streets, but how many of those folks were looters? Probably few, if any--the looters were most likely out on the streets already, and if they were caught at home, they'd more than likely have used their guns rather than give them up. So firearm ownership is not an anachronism by any stretch of the imagination.

You point out that we don't need firearms because there aren't dangerous animals where any of us live--maybe so, if you live in a reasonably sized community in the United States. However, you point out that people are now acting like dangerous animals. By that logic, shouldn't everyone be packing heat to protect themselves from the thugs with guns? I'm not saying that's a great idea, but your logic is flawed.

I don't own any firearms right now, but I'll probably own a semiautomatic weapon at some point. Automatic weapons, incidentally, are by-and-large not legal, or are very difficult to get legally. There is a difference between the two types (look it up), and the two means of acquisition. Criminals will almost always be able to get guns, and if you make it harder for them to get them legally, they'll just pick up a cheap revolver on a black market created by the more restrictive law. Most semiautomatic and automatic (if there really are very many of them) firearm owners completely obey the laws regarding firearm use. In this respect, how exactly are they hurting you?

To purchase a firearm, you have to be a certain age and have no criminal record. That makes sense to me. What I don't agree with is that there isn't any training required to buy a firearm. I agree with you: how do we know that some guy buying a .22 handgun isn't going to go crazy and kill a lot of people? We don't, unless that person has been observed in an environment where they practice firearm safety. I will say that by and large, most folks, with a little training, are pretty safe with all types of firearms. It's only when there is minimal or spotty training that problems can arise, or in the case of a willfully stupid or deranged person.

I'm saying, as before, that if people had more training, there would be less of this going on. Someone would have seen the VT shooter practicing, and maybe something about his demeanor would have finally sent a red flag to someone in authority to really check this guy out. Maybe not; he was a lone wolf, and they're the hardest to spot.

And here's some food for thought. What if, say, three kids in each of those classrooms had a handgun and knew what they were doing with it? What if the teachers had one? I know that will never happen because the general public is far too afraid of firearms, but things would've ended up very differently, IMHO.

Incidentally, we do have a Citizen Army. It's called the U.S. military, and the whole thing is volunteer only. You have to be a citizen to get in. I'm kind of appalled you didn't know that.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

While I don't agree with the majority of Othromas' comment above, at least it offers an articulate, lucid case for pro-gun issues without name-calling, snide superiority or hysteria.

In fact, I especially like the idea that gun owners should be trained in gun safety. We're required to take classes and past tests to drive a car, why not equally to own a gun?

I want to set the record straight on the last point made, which is patriotic but incorrect: "Incidentally, we do have a Citizen Army. It's called the U.S. military, and the whole thing is volunteer only. You have to be a citizen to get in. I'm kind of appalled you didn't know that."

The United States currently has an "all-volunteer" army, which can change to a "draft" if the president requests and Congress approves.

In a Citizen Army ALL citizens must serve (upon reaching a defined age, usually around 18) unless given an official dispensation for medical or in some cases religious reasons. This existed in early America before a formal military with various branches was created.

A modern day example of a Citizen Army is the State of Israel, where every citizen must complete military service as a condition and right of Israeli citizenship.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Othromas said...

Thanks for clarifying the Citizen Army point--I knew Israel did that, just not what the name was.

10:51 PM  
Blogger lillian said...

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9:54 PM  

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