Balkinization  

Monday, April 16, 2007

"You Can't Prevent Something Like This"

Stephen Griffin

JB can correct my usage, but surely one of the most demoralizing and misleading memes ever released into the public sphere is represented by my title, which I heard already today on local talk radio, in reference to the mass killing of students at Virginia Tech. I've heard something like this after every mass slaying or, rather, every mass slaying committed by someone with a gun. After mass slayings committed by terrorists, presidential assassinations, or killings in areas supposedly secure like courts, we commit ourselves to the actions necessary to prevent such killings in the future, whether through better security, use of intelligence, confiscation of weapons, and the like. But with mass killings committed in country with a gun, we are encouraged to believe, by people who should know better, that they are akin to natural disasters or freak occurrences like an asteroid strike in your backyard. This is one meme that ought to be wiped out by the application of some common sense. If it is reasonable to act to prevent terrorism, it is reasonable to make every effort to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

Comments:

If it is reasonable to act to prevent terrorism, it is reasonable to make every effort to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

This should be an interesting thread. I have heard this same sentiment with respect to Warfare and Crime before. Genocide, Poverty and Drug Abuse, also.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I agree wholeheartedly with Stephen.


we are encouraged to believe, by people who should know better, that they are akin to natural disasters

In fact, archaeological studies of such events have come to the conclusion that natural disasters aren't natural; the interplay of social organization and the environment is a prime factor in how "disastrous" an event is. (See Environmental disaster and the archaeology of human response, edited by Garth Bawden and Richard Reycraft, for example.)
 

>> If it is reasonable to act to prevent terrorism, it is reasonable to make every effort to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

You left out one word: "...to make every constitutional effort..."

Whether terrorism or gun crimes, I think every constitutional effort should be made to prevent these tragedies. You don't have to be a "flaming pro-terrorist liberal" or a "flaming NRA gun nut" in either case to uphold the bill of rights.

In one case some people want to ignore the second amendment; in the other case some want to ignore the other nine.
 

Count me a skeptical. The fact is that events like this are very rare freak occurrences. It is extremely difficult to plan for and prevent very rare freak occurrences. And if the costs are living in a constant state of paranoia and lockdown then the price may be do high.
 

Sorry, but this post is basically meaningless for lack of a definition of "every effort."
 

While not every act of mass murder, torture, repression and deceit need be part of a coordinated strategy or conspiracy, we live in a time of extreme and swift movement toward total corporate-state social control and US-G-8 global full spectrum dominance by (by definition) any and all means necessary.

These include copious use of timely and skillful psychological operations (psyop), with its component false flag violence and media disinformation elements, near total corporate/law enforcement domination of American mainstream media, criminalization of trivial transgressions, clamp down on time-honored, legitimate dissent... etc.

Witness the Stalinesque "sweeps" of Operation Falcon, the mandatory "Real ID", NYPD's "Stop and Frisk" of 700,000 NYC youth in 2006--mainly Afro-Americans/Latinos, the current farcical FBI roundup aimed at senior-citizen ex-members of the Black Panther Party and BLA on evidence "overlooked" 30 years ago.

Whatever the ghastly, likely avoidable events that unfolded at Virginia Tech, we must not forget that the masters of the post-9/11 emerging US Debt-Prison complex will parlay these events to further annul and revoke the rights once guaranteed under the all but extinct U.S. Bill of Rights.

Many disturbing questions and contradictions as regards the actual agents behind the 9/11 attacks, subsequent anthrax letter attacks, Oklahoma City, Columbine and other "terrorist" events, remain unsolved. The London and Madrid train bombings have also aroused significant doubts as to "official" and mainstream echoed claims.

So now we are facing yet another horror: the untimely killed, injured and traumatized and their grieving families. But we need to stay doubly alert and wary of the potential involvement of US corporate, military and political elites in such heinous events, whether direct, by proxy or by exploiting our psychological/emotional vulnerability in their wake. These agents' agenda at a time of an "Endless War on Terror" thrives on confusion and trauma, duly parroted by mainstream media, fostered to justify further control over US civil society and annihilation of our liberty.

This is merely standard procedure under the strategy of biopower, and so-called "full-spectrum dominance" wielded by transnational and military elites. It requires psychological, economic, social, physical...ie, total control over social space and civil society. In this scheme, any and all are deemed real or "potential" insurgents by Panopticon; commodities to be surveiled and "managed" by the unblinking all-seeing eye.
 

Some of these responses are a little...out there.

The issue is very simple: are we, or are we not, permitted to talk about ways to prevent these tragedies in the future?

Well...why not? It's obvious that the pro-gun crowd is not interested in talking about it, because the anti-gun crowd will use incidents like these to call for more gun control. That may or may not be appropriate. But I agree with the whole purpose of this post, which is to completely repudiate the idea that we shouldn't be talking about how to prevent these horrific tragedies in the future.

That this is even debatable boggles my mind. It's a bad sign that mass killings like this happen. Worse still that some of us are content to shrug our shoulders and go "What can you do?"
 

If it is reasonable to act to prevent terrorism, it is reasonable to make every effort to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

For what it was worth, it was illegal for this murderer to carry a firearm on the Virginia Tech campus.

Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly killed House Bill 1572 which would have changed the law to allow college employees and students to carry handguns with a permit.

Virginia Tech spokesperson,Larry Hincker, commented of the demise of H.B. 1572: "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
 

I'm interested to hear what Professor Griffin thinks should/could be done?

But two questions. It seems this post suggests either we do something to address the people who do this. Or, it's some rather concealed diatribe against guns and the implication is we should ban them or more heavily regulate them.

A. How does one identify crackpots like this before they commit this crime. (of course, maybe it was possible, there hasn't been much information yet. But, I find it hard to believe that these types in general can be stopped.)

B. I find the idea laughable that if we banned guns somehow people like this would be stopped. It is widely known (or should be) that in most crimes involving guns, the gun was obtained illegally. Basically, criminals are able to access guns if they want to. Horrible crimes like this are often perpetuated after at least some planning--often quite extensive planning. It's hard to believe that banning guns would prevent them from being able to get one in a situation like this.


In a sense, I'd think its easier to fight terrorism than this kind of atrocity. With terrorism, at least you have somewhat identifiable groups with somewhat identifiable goals. Who exactly do you target here? How do you figure out who comprises the group?

Obviously, we don't know many facts there. But, broadly speaking, I'd be very surprised if there is much we can do. But, I would be so relieved if I was wrong.
 

As an aside, for those who entertain the delusion that the Dems are engaged in fact finding rather than political theater in the "investigation" of the US Attorney firings, the Dems just moved the Attorney General's Tuesday testimony back from Tuesday to Thursday.

Of course, this delay has nothing at all to do with the fact that the media will be fixated 24/7 on the Virginia Tech shootings and would not have time to waste on bloviating Dem senators taking shots at...er, engaging in 'fact finding' with the Attorney General.

God bless democracy!
 

i'm not quite sure what the point of mr. depalma's response is. the general gist of the original post would appear to be whether or not there is some way to prevent this type of event from occurring again, including a discussion from the pro-gun types of whether or not it is appropriate to discuss the reasonable regulation of firearms on a college campus. i will grant that the virginia legislature did not pass a statute that would allow college employees and students to carry firearms on campus, albeit with a permit to do so. i do not see, however, how that would have stopped today's events. i would assume that mr. depalma does not prefer having armed students walking around our campuses. i would also assume that he is not blaming the virginia legislature for today's events, as that blame clearly falls on only one person.

as my aside, as i was typing this, i noticed that mr. depalma added his second comment, a completely off topic swipe regarding the postponement of tomorrow's hearings involving the attorney general. i generally do not make personal comments at this site; however, it occurs to me that the postponement of the hearing, which was reported as a bipartisan request, and which i am told the attorney general stated that he fully understood, may have been done out of respect for the persons touched by the events of the day. to state anything otherwise is beneath contempt. mr. depalma, have you no shame?
 

phg said...

i'm not quite sure what the point of mr. depalma's response is. the general gist of the original post would appear to be whether or not there is some way to prevent this type of event from occurring again...i would assume that mr. depalma does not prefer having armed students walking around our campuses.

Then your assumption would be wrong. The message of my first post was pretty clear.

The fact that the law prohibited the murderer from carrying his firearm proved to be worse than useless. That means that you either defend yourself or you die.

i would also assume that he is not blaming the virginia legislature for today's events, as that blame clearly falls on only one person.

I blame the murderer for the killings.

I blame the government for disarming everyone else on campus so they did not have a reasonable chance to defend themselves.

it occurs to me that the postponement of the hearing, which was reported as a bipartisan request, and which i am told the attorney general stated that he fully understood, may have been done out of respect for the persons touched by the events of the day. to state anything otherwise is beneath contempt. mr. depalma, have you no shame?

Unless Congress shuts down and ceases all business tomorrow out of respect for the victims and their families, then the selective delay of the AG's testimony would appear to confirm my second post.
 

The point of the post, on my reading, was that it is tiresome (and maddening) at this point to have the same tired NRA talking points trotted out *every* time a tradgedy like this happens. A salient example: on my way to the gym tonight I happened on Bill O'Reilly's show on satellite radio and his guest was some woman (whose name I did not catch) stating something to the effect that "We should be careful not to overreact here with anti-gun sentiments. Instead, we should look at the fact that if we had more guns, an armed citizenry could have prevented this. You can name many cases where citizens armed with guns stopped crimes."

Of course, no actual instances of this were named, but even if they could be, it misses the point. Morevoer, this echo chamber of More Guns, Less Crime is puzzling. Are any of the conservative champions of Lott's thesis aware of that it has been discredited and there are at least intimations of serious academic fraud on Lott's part (cooking the books on his data is the charge if memory serves). But who cares about the facts where ideology is concerned?

Additionally, there is the conservative argument that:

"I find the idea laughable that if we banned guns somehow people like this would be stopped. It is widely known (or should be) that in most crimes involving guns, the gun was obtained illegally. Basically, criminals are able to access guns if they want to."

But the fallacy that underlies "Someone's" thinking is that she is using the status quo (guns freely available) to project onto a different reality (guns more restricted/outlawed). I would readily go along with the fact that as things stand today criminals can illegaly obtain guns if they want, but that's because guns in general are so easily available. It stands to reason that restricting or outlawing guns would restrict its availability to everyone including criminals. If Someone's (smug) thesis is correct, then why don't criminals, in England for example, get these easily obtained guns that they want???

Finally, I am tired of people standing behind the Second Amendment. It is a commonplace by now that there is support for both the anachronistic militia reading and the individual rights reading. It's indeterminate! Stop the interminable pseudo-originalist debate. It's time to have a serious discussion about *real* gun-control or (admittedly less likely) repealing the 2nd Amendment.
 

De Palma,

You would politicize your own children's death if it would serve your party. You are a shallow and pathetic political opportunist and hack. The fact is the postponement is out of respect for the victims... and this:

EXCLUSIVE: Gonzales Contradicts His Own Testimony

Recently Released E-Mails Show Attorney General's Involvement in Attorney Firing Talks

April 16, 2007 — - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' assertion that he was not involved in identifying the eight U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign last year is at odds with a recently released internal Department of Justice e-mail, ABC News has learned.


It's quite possible Gonzales will resign before coming before Congress and do so as a private citizen.

For the sake of your progeny, I hope you have none.
 

>>I blame the government for disarming everyone else on campus so they did not have a reasonable chance to defend themselves.

Exactly. For example, when a kid brings a knife to his junior high school (which is illegal and against school policy) and stabs another student, the logical conclusion is that they should make carrying knives to school legal for all children. It's the school's fault. If only all of the kids were armed! Then they would at least have a fighting chance. That's just obvious, isn't it?

Look, I'm a strong defender of the second amendment. I own guns. But this "living-in-a-shack-in-Montana arm everyone everywhere" attitude serves only to discredit the more sane and reasonable defenders of gun rights.

If you really think that arming every adult with concealed weapons is the answer to gun violence in this society, you are truly delusional. This kind of extremism, which is the NRA's stock-in-trade, will only ultimately increase gun control efforts.
 

The purpose of the Second Amendment is to resist kingly tyranny. There will always be moments when discarding rights seems apropos-- lunatics have threatened human life since the dawn of man, and despots have inevitably benefited. To forfeit liberties because of the lone act of a lunatic is an especially crude response to a simple, if immense, crime. Why do "liberals" wish to forfeit their rights to the state in the face of crime, but balk when the pretense for forfeiture comes from abroad? One would think that the greater threat to our liberty, and therefore the better reason to forfeit our rights in the name of "security", comes not from the common criminal but from the foreign menace. And yet you can see the madness in surrendering your liberties in the name of that foreign menace. Why can you not see the madness of surrendering them in the name of a crime?

Friends, I beg you: sell your liberties more dear.
 

Bart, like many, seems unable to resist the desire to use the incident to make a political point...even a wholly unrelated political point about the Attorney General. However you might feel about them Bart, the Dems didn't actually do the shooting.

As a not-so-aside, it says a lot that there are those, like Bart, who think that gun battles between students and killers is the prime solution to this sort of event.
 

Even for you, De Palma, a person with no discernible integitry whatsoever, that was beyond the pale. Now that I am over the initial revulsion I felt when I read that comment...


This is a good time to wait until we get more information. Right off the bat, what I have heard tells me two things: 1.) The guns were illegal, (serial #'s were obliterated) and,

2.) The first shootings, a double homicide in a dorm which occurred 2 hours before the executions in the classroom, were thought to be isolated and likely suppressed by the campus as a matter of policy. Crime on college campuses is regularly under-reported and suppressed. It's bad PR and the PR depts. of any campus, (yeah, they have them), does their level best to keep it out of the news for obvious reasons. The debate about whether we want college kids packing or if that would even have prevented the second group of shootings is another issue altogether. More stringent gun control or even banning guns would likely not have prevented the first two shootings, but quick action alerting the campus after the first two might have done just that.

If you would like I can direct you to website where you can learn how to make a fully automatic weapon in your garage in under 24 hours, with less sophisticated tools than the Iraqis use to make EFPs & IEDs. And any serious shooter has been reloading (making) his own ammo for years. Of course De Palma and the Bush Admin would like you to believe the Iraqis can't do that, it has to be the Iranians and they have a nuke, too. Hogwash.

It's as easy to make a fully automatic weapon in your garage, from scratch, as it is to make meth in a trailer in the woods.

There is a local politician in Missouri with a D after his name who has written legislation restricting the sale of Baking Soda. I kid you not. Why? Because it can be used in the process of making crack. Ridiculous, and that is not the kind of "nanny statism" that is in the best interests of the Democratic party, and Lord knows we don't want people like De Palma in government. At some point you have to accept the fact that total security is a myth and oppressive laws and prohibitions do not often work to well. There are limits to the criminal sanction. Other methods are often less oppressive and more effective. In this case, (it sounds like unrequited love), it is possible that some kind of prior law enforcement intervention and increased mental health funding, (that kind of "nanny statism"), might have been the better path. That and a campus who puts the safety and security of their students above the bad press and the bottom line.

Unfortunately we live in a political climate where certain nebulous threats are exaggerated for political gain and other more concrete threats are suppressed for economic reasons. I wonder where that idea comes from?

Cue De Palma in 1...2...3...

"Like exaggerating global warming?"

You are just too easy, De Palma, and I don't even want you arguing my position for me. I would never want you on my team. It's the total lack of integrity. It's a deal breaker.
 

One would think that the greater threat to our liberty, and therefore the better reason to forfeit our rights in the name of "security", comes not from the common criminal but from the foreign menace.

Lets get our facts straight. If we had no troops in Iraq, (where they do not belong) and just in Afghanistan (where they do belong), we as Americans kill each other at a greater rate than any terrorists do. Let me be clear: Americans have murdered more Americans since 9/11 than all the Americans who died at the hands of terrorists on 9/11. Statistically, you are much more likely to be a victim of violent domestic crime than you are a victim of an international terrorist, (which is almost infinitesimal), and your chances of being a victim of violent crime is dwarfed by the chances that you will be killed in a work related accident. Jus ask a coal miner in Virginia if you don't believe me, or look it up.

Jesus! No wonder they call you wingnuts.
 

j. roy, semiotics '83 wrote:

Friends, I beg you: sell your liberties more dear....

Uh, exactly what is my liberty here?!?!? To carry a loaded Glock to the bar? I work in Texas a bit, and they have signs on all the SOs that you have to check your arms at the door. Kind of the same for libraries, etc.. AFAICT, not too many people were availing themselves of the free check-ins (maybe they just didn't want to tell people they were packin').

Are you going to try to tell me that because you have a right to
"bear arms", that this also means you have a right to carry them convealed on someone else's property? I suspect not. In which case, the same situation would pertain as did at VT.

What gun control does is try to make sure that people that should not have guns can't get them. I don't think you help this by insisting they should be all over the place.

FWIW, I noted that one restaurant we went to in Jakarta, Indonesia also had a sign at the door that insisted that no firearms were permitted inside. Same world round, I guess. Dunno if they made an exception for the INP guy I was working with (or had the good sense not to ask him).

Cheers,
 

Bosch, perhaps you missed the operative sentences: "And yet you can see the madness in surrendering your liberties in the name of that foreign menace. Why can you not see the madness of surrendering them in the name of a crime?"
 

You can name many cases where citizens armed with guns stopped crimes.

Of course, no actual instances of this were named, but even if they could be, it misses the point.


No, you can't because no one collects and analyzes the data. Lott has been discredited but I have used a weapon to prevent at least two crimes in my home over the years. The last time I did so I was prosecuted for it until the DA dropped the charges in the interest of justice. They didn't want to go to trial with a 2 time convicted murder and frequent guest at facilities for the criminally insane as the "victim". Very annoying, for me. In hindsight, it would have been better to shoot the bastard when I had the chance. That's the difference between us. He did it. I didn't. Still, it's annoying to be prosecuted for defending yourself in your own home.


J. Roy,

We are not so far apart but it is no longer that easy to resist tyranny with a flintlock. These days you need a little more than just a gun. We can have a debate about whether it is the AK-47 or RPG-7 that changed the world but if the U.S. government really wanted to drop the pretense, at home, or abroad, we'd all kneeling or stapping on suicide vests. Get serious. An Apache gunship is no joke. Now they have that damn microwave weapon.
 

There were a few times I have used a weapon to prevent a crime on the street so I think it occurs more than we hear about.
 

There's a potential school shooter in every school. No one else may know who he is. He may not know who he is.

I don't see how you eliminate this danger, or even make a serious dent in it without drastically curtaling liberty. And not just (or primarily) gun liberty.
 

re: j. roy, 12.46am

How much freedom is lost when you can't own a gun?
More freedom lost than when an administration:
a. says it can ignore legislation it doesn't like,
b. arrests and then denies rights of h. corpus of its own citizens,
c. tortures its own citizens,
d. spies on it own citizens,
e. tells it citizens to be careful what they say, and
f. claims that it political opponents are traitors.


Gun=Freedom is an 18th century relic.

Cars are regulated seventy ways to Friday on federal, state, and local levels, and the rights (?) of citizens to own and operate them are constantly restricted, questioned, taxed, tested, fee-d, and fined with but a whimper from even the libertarian amongst us: automobiles are far more important to who we are as Americans and what we think of ourselves as being free, and no amount of 2nd Amndmnt. smoke up our butts will change that.
 

Just so people are clear who I am and where I stand. I'm as left as George Orwell (a democratic socialist and anti-totalitarian) who wrote:

That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or laborer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.

But Orwell, for all his prescience, never imagined weapons platforms like an Apache Gunship or even a AC-130H/U Spectre Gunship.

I'm also as libertarian as Wyatt Earp, an early proponent of municipal gun control ordinances, as long as they are local and sensible, (like densley populated areas with drunken cowboys or drunken college students). I liked carrying concealed weapons when I did so (illegally) but I'm not convinced it is the solution to any problem under discussion here. There was a time when it was just a misdemeanour (if you committed no other crime) and came with a slap on the wrist, if even that. (Or a bash on the head, if the stories about Earp are accurate). The simple carrying of a concealed weapon by non-felons with no criminal intent has been over-criminalized, in my opinion. It's an abuse of the criminal sanction. I do not recommend it for everyone. If you are not prepared to use deadly force, you will regret whipping that thing out. If we arm college kids, most of them wouldn't shoot, miss the perp if they did shoot, shoot each other accidentally or even shoot themselves. That crazy ex-con survived because he didn't breath and I was as calm as Buddha. It takes a fair amount of training and practice and the opportunity to actually do it a few times (draw down on someone) to get confident and calm and prepared to take a life because if you aren't, you could be the one who ends up dead. It's not going to be that easy for some people to shoot at another person who may pose a threat but not be armed with a gun. Imagine what it is like when that threat is armed with a gun and shooting back at you.
 

Jennifer makes an excellent point wrt to automobiles. It's a comparison I have made myself. I just don't see the gun control lobby making a dent in the political debate at this time. Democrats want to stay in power, Jennifer, and we all want that. I am trying to navigate the middle ground here, between banning weapons and requiring everyone to carry them.
 

Ban all guns.
Ban all cars.
What would be the greater infringement? Why (in the quotidian sense?)
 

Ban all guns.
Ban all cars.
What would be the greater infringement? Why (in the quotidian sense?)


100 years ago, today or 100 years from today? And I'd love to have a car I could conceal in my pocket rather than park.


If I were King we'd all have phasers set to stun and would beam from place to place, but your point is well taken. However, experience tells us that prohibition works best, if at all, when it is global. We are a long way off from that point. Firearms may be more difficult to smuggle than drugs but a hell of a lot easier than cars and it is done all the time with both. I think you will just create a new black market for another type of contraband, but I understand your argument. As I said, it's one I have considered myself. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the election issues, and if so, how.
 

In countries where there are very restrictive gun laws, there are far fewer murders - overall - and far less incidents of gun use.

That's all that needs to be said. The NRA probably hires people to distort this very basic reality, but it's undeniable. Other countries like Australia look at us and are inspired to make sure "we're not like them."

We're the poster children for lack of gun control.
 

How many childrend died of starvation during this insane rampage?
Let's do what we can where we can. We cannot remove all risk from our lives, but some risk is an elephant in the middled of the room.
 

zod said...

Bart: I blame the government for disarming everyone else on campus so they did not have a reasonable chance to defend themselves.

Exactly. For example, when a kid brings a knife to his junior high school (which is illegal and against school policy) and stabs another student, the logical conclusion is that they should make carrying knives to school legal for all children.


We are talking about adults, not children.

Look, I'm a strong defender of the second amendment. I own guns.

Do you have a firearm in your home that you would use for self defense? Do you think a firearm would be effective in that role? If so, then what is your problem with an adult keeping a firearm in a dorm or carrying it on his or her person?

If you really think that arming every adult with concealed weapons is the answer to gun violence in this society, you are truly delusional.

When did I ever say that we should arm every adult with a firearm? This is a right, not a requirement.

In a college campus without a crime problem, I would expect that very few students would use this right. However, all it would take is one or two in one of the attacked buildings to stop a gunman.

In a college campus with a crime problem like University of Florida back in the 80s when my wife attended, I sure as hell support her right to carry a pistol as she did when she was being stalked and the police could not help her.

When is comes to the safety of myself and my family, I do not rely on the kindness of strangers.
 

jennifer said...

Cars are regulated seventy ways to Friday on federal, state, and local levels, and the rights (?) of citizens to own and operate them are constantly restricted, questioned, taxed, tested, fee-d, and fined with but a whimper from even the libertarian amongst us: automobiles are far more important to who we are as Americans and what we think of ourselves as being free, and no amount of 2nd Amndmnt. smoke up our butts will change that.

Good point...for changing the laws about cars.

This libertarian has the quaint notion that the freedom to travel includes the right, not privilege, to drive an automobile.

I can see an argument for requiring training to operate a vehicle and firearms. They are dangerous instrumentalities.

I can see an argument for keeping minors, the mentally compromised and felons from exercising the right to drive and to bear arms under limited circumstances.

Beyond that, the government should not tread on my rights.
 

snowpuff said...

In countries where there are very restrictive gun laws, there are far fewer murders - overall - and far less incidents of gun use.

You might want to check Great Britain's crime stats before and after they banned all guns.

Violence is a product of culture, not of possessing firearms. Unfortunately, we have a violent culture. Comparing it with more passive cultures is not valid.
 

Sorry, but I don't see how such events can be prevented, short of banning gun ownership.

If there are guns available, then sometimes, crazies or monsters will get hold of them and kill lots of people. Period.

And I don't think a ban on guns is really on the table politically, regardless of its policy pros & cons.

Now, would competent policing have stopped the VT shooter well before victim # 31? I suspect yes, but the facts are still coming in.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

["Bart"]: I blame the government for disarming everyone else on campus so they did not have a reasonable chance to defend themselves.

[zod]: Exactly. For example, when a kid brings a knife to his junior high school (which is illegal and against school policy) and stabs another student, the logical conclusion is that they should make carrying knives to school legal for all children.

We are talking about adults, not children.


And as we see, some 'adults' are crazier than a loon, see things that no one else sees, and think that the two maxims, "shoot first, ask questions later", and "guilty until I say you're innocent" are the orders of the day. If ever there was someone than should not have a gun, it's "Summary Execution, Hoo-rah!" Bart.....

'Adults'... feh.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[zod]: If you really think that arming every adult with concealed weapons is the answer to gun violence in this society, you are truly delusional.

When did I ever say that we should arm every adult with a firearm? This is a right, not a requirement.


Only little fly in the intment here is that self-selection is not a very efficient way of distribution.

Just as there's a number of policemen that should be the last people ever to wear a badge, because they want it for the wrong reasons (and want it badly), the same pertains to the nun guts. I'm of the long-considered opinion that NRA membership ought to be strike one in determining if someone is not a suitable person to be afforded a firearm license. Mike Royko did a good job of dealing with this phenomemon.

Cheers,
 

Calvin TerBeek said...

I happened on Bill O'Reilly's show on satellite radio and his guest was some woman (whose name I did not catch) stating something to the effect that... "You can name many cases where citizens armed with guns stopped crimes."

Of course, no actual instances of this were named, but even if they could be, it misses the point.


The NRA compiles press reports of citizen self defense using firearms.

Citizen self defense using firearms is not at all uncommon. When he lived in a high crime area of Philly, my father managed to ward off a car jacking and a home invasion burglary by drawing his pistol and pointing at the perps. They got the message and took off.

Morevoer, this echo chamber of More Guns, Less Crime is puzzling. Are any of the conservative champions of Lott's thesis aware of that it has been discredited and there are at least intimations of serious academic fraud on Lott's part (cooking the books on his data is the charge if memory serves). But who cares about the facts where ideology is concerned?

I would be delighted to discuss Mr. Lott's work. His critics provide a great deal of intimating and very little counter evidence.

It stands to reason that restricting or outlawing guns would restrict its availability to everyone including criminals. If Someone's (smug) thesis is correct, then why don't criminals, in England for example, get these easily obtained guns that they want???

You may want to check the crime stats in England before and after the recent banning of firearms.

Finally, I am tired of people standing behind the Second Amendment. It is a commonplace by now that there is support for both the anachronistic militia reading and the individual rights reading. It's indeterminate!

It is actually rather clear. People means People and not states. Moreover, the preamble clause and the operative clause are not contradictory. The militia envisioned by the Founders is made up of an armed citizenry, thus Militia = People.

Even liberals like our own Professor Levinson and Professor Tribe have largely recognized the individual right to keep and bear arms.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

We are talking about adults, not children.

From here:

"The shooter’s name is Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old,..."

Cheers,
 

At least in the VT case, the school's system for notifying students of the problem and coordinating their response was flawed. That gives us a starting point for developing a "reasonable effort" to make it more difficult for something like this to happen again.

For instance, consultants could be hired to find the flaws in the communication system and action plan, a streamlined and effective plan could be created from the data gathered, and a fully detailed contingency plan could be made available to all the university departments responsible for action in such a crisis.

Furthermore, every major university could review their own systems for dealing with an on-campus crisis and implement changes to make their response more coordinated and effective. Periodic drills that included portions of the student body, especially resident advisors, would likely increase preparedness.

Such a plan may not prevent an incident altogether, but it may in fact help to avoid something like this, by mitigating the scale of the incident.

If only two people had been shot, we probably wouldn't have heard about it for more than a minute on the news, and we wouldn't compare it to Columbine or UT Austin.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I would be delighted to discuss Mr. Lott's work. His critics provide a great deal of intimating and very little counter evidence.

Maybe we can invite Mary Rosh to participate....

Cheers,
 

Someone said: "I find the idea laughable that if we banned guns somehow people like this would be stopped. It is widely known (or should be) that in most crimes involving guns, the gun was obtained illegally."

Fine. But if guns were generally illegal, or at least sharply restricted in terms of general access, there would be a lot fewer in circulation, and this wouldn't be such an issue. VA has incredibly weak gun laws. Criminals from up and down the East Coast go to VA gun shows to get guns, and put them on the street (presumably after obliterating the serial numbers). The fact that the guns used in this particular atrocity were illegal does not mean that gun control, in general, will be ineffective.

Great Britain sharply restricts access to guns. Some fraction of 1% of crimes in that country involve guns. Why should we pretend that the prevalence of gun crime in this country is inevitable, and the only solution is to arm more citizens? That is such a preposterous, and empirically false, supposition.

Oh, and the "well regulated militia," 2nd Amendment bit. You probably have a well regulated militia in your very own State, the National Guard. They will be happy to provide you with a gun.
 

snowpuff said...
In countries where there are very restrictive gun laws, there are far fewer murders - overall - and far less incidents of gun use.


Far fewer murders... with guns. And there are countries with extremely low murder rates overall where every household has a fully automatic weapon and lots of ammo, like Switzerland.


The NRA probably hires people to distort this very basic reality, but it's undeniable.

True, but so does the Brady organization. If I recall, Brady was a "conservative" who worked for De Palma'a hero, Ronnie Raygun.

You can find a good analysis and explanation of all this here:

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvinco.html

I am in favor of sensible gun regulations. In some areas we have too few. In other areas we have too much, but I don't necessarily favor broad federal laws.

Judge Bork (a conservative) takes the view that the 2nd only guarantees a collective right, (militia). A D.C. appeals court recently held for the "individual right" reading. They found the D.C. gun ban law unconstitutional. This is a first and the SCOTUS should grant cert sometime before the election. It will be interesting. OTOH, as Jennifer pointed out, although it's not in the Constitution, (there is no right to drive, it's a privilege) a car is more necessary to life than a gun.
 

As Bosch points out, pointing to other countries' gun policies is problematic at best. There are examples that go both ways. All it does is confirm the understanding that crime is difficult to compare across countries--especially the causes of certain types of crimes. And even more difficult to draw such specific lessons.
 

colin,

The example of Switzerland destroys your argument. While, it doesn't prove that more guns will always reduce crime, it proves that more guns in themselves do not automatically cause high crime/murder rates
 

De Palma...I sure as hell support her right to carry a pistol as she did when she was being stalked and the police could not help her.

How tragically romantic! She married you instead of shooting you. You could always move to Texas and divorce by gunfire.


You had that coming for the cheap attempt at politicizing this. It is not a left right partisan issue.
 

Wiki has a decent entry on Gun Politics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics

With links to entries on gun politics in various countries.

It helps cut through the static and distortion on both sides of the debate. Most of us want the same thing, to remain free but minimize the inherent dangers a free society brings with it. Some just want to politicize it. I will politicize it this far: I won't do anything to allow the current GOP (or movement "conservatism") to retain political power. It's not truely conservative and far more dangerous than an "individual right" interpretation of the second amendments.
 

Bart write:As an aside, for those who entertain the delusion that the Dems are engaged in fact finding rather than political theater in the "investigation" of the US Attorney firings, the Dems just moved the Attorney General's Tuesday testimony back from Tuesday to Thursday.

IIRC, didn't the republicans jump right in and agree?

Other than the cowardly exploitation of a tragedy for a highly ineffective political jab, what's your point?
 

Jennifer pointed out, although it's not in the Constitution, (there is no right to drive, it's a privilege) a car is more necessary to life than a gun.

Although this is tangential to the topic of the post, I would argue that there is a constitutional right to drive a car. A legislature may regulate, but not prohibit, the exercise of this right. To do so would infringe on the right to travel and the right to earn a living (for people who's livelihood depends on driving) under the 14th A.
 

someone:

The example of Switzerland destroys your argument. While, it doesn't prove that more guns will always reduce crime, it proves that more guns in themselves do not automatically cause high crime/murder rates.

Switzerland isn't the appropriate model for a gun-loving Yoo Ess of Aye gone wild. Switzerland has strict rules on what you can do with your gun (and what you must do with your gummint gun and ammunition). And it asks that every soldier have the rifles, not some self-selected group of plinkers and any nutzos that manage to sneak by the BGCs. Handguns in Switzerland are controlled as well, requiring a permit. Ammunition sales are recorded.

One a more general note, one side of the story here.

Cheers,
 

bitswapper said...

Other than the cowardly exploitation of a tragedy for a highly ineffective political jab, what's your point?

If the purpose of these hearing is simply to gather evidence and not to get face time on television for political theater, the Dems would have held their hearing with Gonzales as scheduled.

Congress has a full plate of business today. Except for this hearing, nothing else is being moved off.

The only logical explanation is that the Dems do not want to compete with the 24/7 television coverage of the VT shootings and have moved the hearing to get more media coverage.
 

Isn't the right to travel an interstate right? Plus couldn't you use other forms of transportation? Point being, you (a court)certainly wouldn't have to accept that argument.

Anyhow, the central reason for the post. Bart, you are a prodigious blogger, I can barely keep up.

As for John Lott . . . this going off memory but: his data was questioned for "More Guns, Less Crimes" - he wouldn't turn it over - his veracity was questioned - he went onto a blog posing a grad student of his (a fictitious one) and swore up and down as to Lott's good character - he was found out - he admitted that the relevant data was lost - his numbers have *never* been duplicated by an objective researcher - "More Guns, Less Crime" is not a serious piece of research given these faults.

I never said that there was no plausible argument that the 2nd Am contains an indiv right . . . I simply said that it can be read both ways, and as far as I know the history that speaks to the indiv/militia issue is, like much history, inconsistent or unclear as to a definitive reading.

Finally, I would love to see the numbers from England if you could link to them. I was flying by the seat of my pants on that argument. If I'm wrong, I'll happily eat crow.
 

Someone",

The example of Switzerland destroys your argument. While, it doesn't prove that more guns will always reduce crime, it proves that more guns in themselves do not automatically cause high crime/murder rates

What it proves is that lethal weapons plus a volatile and alienated populace is a recipe for disaster.

While riding on a bus in Zurich, I saw a man, obviously a civilian in uniform, with his automatic rifle in tow. He seemed to be headed off to an army reserve unit for his weekly meeting. As he had the demeanor and appearance of a chartered accountant, no one, including me, took much notice of him. If I saw the same thing in this country, I'd run like hell.
 

I would argue that there is a constitutional right to drive a car.


I'd love to hear this argument.


In CA, and most states, go to your DMV and argue the point with them. This is why you lose your license to drive (privilege) when you refuse to submit to a BAC test on constitutional grounds, (4th, 5th). It's a legal theory called "implied consent". You have implied consent to give up your rights for the privilege of being licensed to drive.
 

Now that is a thought. Back then, during the framers' day, concealable weapons were almost non-existent. Some were just coming into existence, but were as rare as hen's teeth. If people want the privilege to CCW, I wonder if they would submit to the "implied consent" doctrine, giving up legit rights in exchange for the privilege to CCW.
 

Calvin TerBeek said...

As for John Lott . . . this going off memory but: his data was questioned for "More Guns, Less Crimes" - he wouldn't turn it over - his veracity was questioned - he went onto a blog posing a grad student of his (a fictitious one) and swore up and down as to Lott's good character - he was found out - he admitted that the relevant data was lost - his numbers have *never* been duplicated by an objective researcher - "More Guns, Less Crime" is not a serious piece of research given these faults.

You will have to post links to these allegations. I am not familiar with them off hand.

Here is a good example of the usual debate between Lott and his critics like Handgun Control, Inc.. I will let you judge which party offers more facts.
 

The only logical explanation is that the Dems do not want to compete with the 24/7 television coverage of the VT shootings and have moved the hearing to get more media coverage.

I guess it depends on which newsfeed you read. I didn't get the idea that Leahy was twirling a Snidely Whiplash mustache when I read this piece from the AP feed:


No evidence has surfaced to support a charge of wrongdoing, but the uproar over Gonzales' conflicting responses has jeopardized his job.

For his part, Gonzales was directing his FBI to assist in the Virginia Tech investigation. The tragic development gave him a chance for a different kind of visibility, in contrast to recent weeks in which he virtually disappeared from public view to prepare for his testimony.

On Monday the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed Gonzales' testimony until Thursday after the shooting spree on the Blacksburg, Va., campus.

"I'm sure that he will want to be dealing with the matters of the shooting," Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (voting record) of Pennsylvania, agreed that the delay was appropriate.


At least three more logical explanations exist:

1) The Committee was outraged by the attacks, and would genuinely like to

2) The Senate Judiciary Committee recognized the positive role Gonzales could play "providing support and assistance to those authorities as well as to the victims of this crime for as long as necessary."

and, if you prefer the more cynical approach,

3) Neither party's members wanted to suffer the political fallout of forcing said organizer of support and assistance to be grilled about past deeds while he should be handling a current crisis.

None of those necessitate a bizarre coordination of hearings with TV coverage of Virginia Tech.* Of course, very few social events have only one logical explanation.

*Your experience with media coverage of sensational events should really tell you that Thursday's news will have plenty of Virginia Tech stories. Two words: Anna Nicole.
 

Er, that should be:

1) The Committee was outraged by the attacks, and would genuinely like to put off hearings out of respect for the families. Doing so with Congress still in full session is inconsistent, but not illogical.
 

Anonymous Bosch said: I'd love to hear this argument.

I will oblige you. Imagine if the Cal state legislature attempted to ban cars from the road. That would certainly trigger a suit from companies that trucking companies and other companies/individuals that directly derive their livelihood from transport. Also, I have never been to L.A., but I have heard that you can't get anywhere in that sprawled-out city without driving. So an all-out ban on cars and driving would burden the livelihood of people who drive to work (and also perhaps burden 1st A right to assemble, although I will concede that is a stretch). The 14th A of the Constitution protects the right to earn a livelihood. See Allgeyer v. Louisiana, 165 US 578 (1897). A ban on driving is an impermissible burden on the right to earn a living. Therefore, you have a constitutional right to drive a car. (also, a ban on driving would probbaly violate the interstate commerce clause)
 

The AG did not ask for the hearing to be put off. The Dems informed him it would be delayed.

pms, you are absolutely correct that I am taking the cynical approach when it comes to politicians of either party. Politicos rarely do anything without an agenda.
 

Calvin TerBeek:

Finally, I would love to see the numbers from England if you could link to them.

Here's some figures.

Cheers,
 

Bart,

Re: Lott

This is from a footnote from an article i have forthcoming McGeorge Law Review . . . thankfully it has nothing to do with gun control . . . i will look at your link later when i get a chance . .

FOR SUPPORT, THEY CITE TO CONSERVATIVE ACADEMIC JOHN LOTT—OF MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME FAME (WHOSE WORK ON THIS ISSUE, INCIDENTALLY, HAS BEEN IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ACADEMIC FIRESTORM WITH SERIOUS CHARGES OF ACADEMIC FRAUD LEVELED AGAINST LOTT, SEE DONALD KENNEDY, EDITORIAL, Science AT 393, APR. 18, 2003)
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Here is a good example of the usual debate between Lott and his critics like Handgun Control, Inc.. I will let you judge which party offers more facts.

You misspelled "alleges". And neglected the quotes around "facts".

You want Lott's sock-puppet, just Google "Mary Rosh". If you're not aware of this, you just haven't paid attention to the subject.

Cheers,
 

Adam,

You must be grooving the commerce clause now.

The CA DOT (CalTrans), and probably most other states, already impose regulations and restrictions regarding gross vehicle weights on certain road ways. Surely you have seen signs that say, "No Trucks" in other states. Sometimes it's a matter of height restrictions, bridges and all. Is a total global ban likely, probably not, but don't be surprised when the first uban area does it someday in the not too distant future. In NYC and SF, on the weekends both Central Park and Golden Gate Park restrict vehicle traffic to limited areas cross park traffic on major thruways.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_vehicle_weight_rating

But give it a shot. Good luck, counselor!
 

I should add that Adam's argument is best summed up (and only slightly overstated) by Atlanta mayor and former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young's observation that, “Nothing is illegal if 100 businessmen decide to do it.”
 

De Palma,

Lott wastes some good data and arguments by engaging in hackery and peddling falsehoods, distortions and lies. He is the right's Prof. Bellesiles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellesiles

I don't care for Mr. Lott anymore than I care for Mr. Bellesiles. It's that integrity thing again.
 

bosch said: In CA, and most states, go to your DMV and argue the point with them.

I wouldn't recommend that. Bureaucrats are usually not too patient with legal arguments...

bosch said: This is why you lose your license to drive (privilege) when you refuse to submit to a BAC test on constitutional grounds, (4th, 5th). It's a legal theory called "implied consent". You have implied consent to give up your rights for the privilege of being licensed to drive.

That doesn't prove that driving is a "privilege" rather than a right. Constitutional rights frequently come into conflict. Consider this: if you refuse to pay taxes on the basis of your 5th A right against self-incrimination, you give up your right not to go to jail.

In any case, the rights/privileges dichotomy has been out of favor since the 1970s (at least in procedural due process jurisprudence). See Matthews v. Eldrige. If you were to challenge the confiscation of your license, you would get some kind of hearing b/c you have a "liberty interest" and a "property interest" in driving. I would also argue that you have a right to drive that is connected to your substantive due process right to earn a living. But that's not to say that the right to drive cannot be regulated in general or, in particular cases, forfeited. (same for 2nd A rights. assume that these are individual rights; you would still probably agree that the govt could prohibit certain classes of people--felons, mentally incompentent people, juveniles--from possessing them.)
 

Anonymous Bosch:

The CA DOT (CalTrans), and probably most other states, already impose regulations and restrictions regarding gross vehicle weights on certain road ways. Surely you have seen signs that say, "No Trucks" in other states. Sometimes it's a matter of height restrictions, bridges and all....

There was that mudflaps case (as well as more recent ones concerning tandems, IIRC) where the courts were rather leery of individual state restrictions that were argued to impermissibly interfere with interstate commerce (but not "right to travel"). They were suspect in part because of the possible motivations of the lawmakers to benefit local truckers, rather than to impose reasonable safety restrictions.....

Cheers,
 

Calvin TerBeek said...

FOR SUPPORT, THEY CITE TO CONSERVATIVE ACADEMIC JOHN LOTT—OF MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME FAME (WHOSE WORK ON THIS ISSUE, INCIDENTALLY, HAS BEEN IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ACADEMIC FIRESTORM WITH SERIOUS CHARGES OF ACADEMIC FRAUD LEVELED AGAINST LOTT, SEE DONALD KENNEDY, EDITORIAL, Science AT 393, APR. 18, 2003)

Thank you for the citation.

For those who are interested, you can find the Kennedy editorial here.

Lott's response and Kennedy's reply are here.

In his editorial, Kennedy alleged that Lott committed fraud by lying about losing survey data in a computer crash and writing under a pseudonym.

Lott replied that nine other academics can verify the loss of the computer drive and that he duplicated that research in a subsequent survey.

However, Lott did admit using a pseudonym with the pretty lame excuse that he would get hostile phone calls under his own name. The guy runs a website under his own name, so this doesn't pass the laugh test.

Kennedy beat a retreat on the allegation about the hard drive, but continues to press his point about the pseudonym.

I have not followed the trials and tribulations of Mr. Lott over the years since I read the his book. This was new to me.

However, it appears to me that Lott probably crossed the line with the self serving pseudonym.

It also appears to me that Kennedy made a fraud accusation concerning the crashed hard drive without bothering to check the facts.

Be that as it may, I am not sure that any of this has to do with the data and findings in Mr. Lott's book.
 

Adam...That doesn't prove that driving is a "privilege" rather than a right...

And you have yet to convince me it is a right guaranteed under the constitution, and I'm on your side!


If you were to challenge the confiscation of your license, you would get some kind of hearing b/c you have a "liberty interest" and a "property interest" in driving. I would also argue that you have a right to drive that is connected to your substantive due process right to earn a living.

I'm not a lawyer but I prefer construction so loose and coarse you can drive a truck through it, too. If you ever become a judge, I hope I come before you.

If driving is how you earn your living, you may have a due process right to do so to earn a living. If your job is proof reading or accounting, not so much.

I am not free and at liberty unless I am driving a car? Some would argue it is a motorcycle. Others a bicycle or unicycle. Then there are those really crazy guys who say it's a hanglider. I'd rather take a walk and go fly a kite.
 

Ammunition sales are recorded.

Like Chris Rock says, "we don't need gun control, we need bullet control."
 

Lott's a bit sloppy at times, and his sock puppetry is nothing short of embarassing. But Bellesiles engaged in clear, unambiguous fraud. Re-writing historical sources that disagreed with his theisis so that they'd agree. Inventing sources out of whole cloth. The sort of thing that just doesn't happen by mistake, only deliberately.

Bellesiles is in a whole different catagory from Lott.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

For those who are interested, you can find the Kennedy editorial here.

Lott's response and Kennedy's reply are here.


As is a bizarre letter by a "Charles G. Smith", which cites inexplicably to a Lott WSJ editorial(!) when talking about the "publications of Gary Kleck", and cites a book as opposed to a peer-reviewed article, when claiming that crime went down after liberalised gun laws (unfortunately for this last claim, this is pro hoc ergo prompter hoc, and doesn't bother to mention crimes had been going down nationwide).

But I digress.... ;-)

In his editorial, Kennedy alleged that Lott committed fraud by lying about losing survey data in a computer crash and writing under a pseudonym.

He did no such thing. He simply made fun of Lott.

Lott replied that nine other academics can verify the loss of the computer drive ...

Including four "coathors" (whose names were Mary, Suzy, Elsie, and Katie Rosh ... nah, jes' kiddin'). Who, amasingly enough, also lost the very same data. Thin budgets for the Lott Project, you see; all five authors are working on the same tired ol' machine and none of 'em think to do a backup or put anything on floppy.

I'm not calling Lott a lying sack'o'sh*te, but....

... and that he duplicated that research in a subsequent survey.

No. He "redid the survey on a smaller scale".

However, Lott did admit using a pseudonym with the pretty lame excuse that he would get hostile phone calls under his own name. The guy runs a website under his own name, so this doesn't pass the laugh test.

IOW, we know Lott's a lying sack'o'sh*te even when he's been caught and called on it. Boy, gives you the warm fuzzies about his "data".

Kennedy beat a retreat on the allegation about the hard drive, but continues to press his point about the pseudonym.

No. See above. Kennedy just used the "dogs [ate] everyone's homework" line to make fun of Lott.

If you look carefully, you'll note that Lott claimed he lost the text of his book on the "crash" as well as the data, and had to recover it. But either the "text" was published so it couldn't be "lost" in this crash, or the book wasn't yet published at the time of the "crash", in which case, he made up the data in the book that he couldn't produce when asked about it post-publication.

I have not followed the trials and tribulations of Mr. Lott over the years since I read the his book. This was new to me.

However, it appears to me that Lott probably crossed the line with the self serving pseudonym.

It also appears to me that Kennedy made a fraud accusation concerning the crashed hard drive without bothering to check the facts.


You're repeating yourself. BUt you're wrong. See above.

Be that as it may, I am not sure that any of this has to do with the data and findings in Mr. Lott's book.

Huh? You think we ought to just wink at dishonesty as long as we like the numbers?

Cheers,
 

Bosch says: I am not free and at liberty unless I am driving a car?

I say you can take my keys when you pry them from my cold dead hand!!!

(just kidding--I actually live in nyc and have no use for a car)
 

Adam,

You can have the keys. I just need a screwdriver, and my Bill of Rights!
 

Brett,

You have a whole army of academic and journalistic frauds in movement conservatism. Too many to count. Please. Get serious.
 

Remaining of the opinion that James Madison was neither a sociopath nor a halfwit (apparently something of a minority view around these parts), I am happy to re-affirm that there is not one syllable in the United States Constitution, including particularly the Second Amendment, that prevents any state or the Federal government from disarming, or seeking to disarm, the lunatic whose self-portraits are splashed tonight all over the television and the internet.
 

Spinozista:

Remaining of the opinion that James Madison was neither a sociopath nor a halfwit (apparently something of a minority view around these parts), I am happy to re-affirm that there is not one syllable in the United States Constitution, including particularly the Second Amendment, that prevents any state or the Federal government from disarming, or seeking to disarm, the lunatic whose self-portraits are splashed tonight all over the television and the internet.

Have you seen some of the centrefolds in the "Spring Cammy" edition of Soldier of Fortune magazine? ;-)

Jes' kiddin', you crazy nun guts, don't shoot me, but there is some truth to the notion in the glossies and ads therein....

Cheers,
 

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