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Va Tech: Outlining the upcoming discussion
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We all know what's coming in the wake of the Va Tech massacre.

Sentiments like this:
The Founders wrote what they wrote, but they wrote for a century and a nation for which the Second Amendment no longer is appropriate. Yet we should adhere faithfully to the letter and spirit of the Constitution: Quixotic as it may be right now, I propose that we begin thinking about invoking the Constitution's Article V and repeal the Second Amendment.
The writer ignores the implicit and fundamental premise upon which the 2nd amendment is written - the acknowledgment and protection of our inherent right to self-defense. You can't repeal that.

Instead, let me use a paragraph from a Wall Street Journal editorial to illustrate what I believe to be the real discussion which should take place:
The mass murder at Virginia Tech is the kind of traumatic event that unleashes a torrent of pop sociology and national psychoanalysis, so allow us to weigh in with a more fundamental explanation: There are evil and psychotic people in this world willing to do great harm to others if they aren't stopped. The dilemma in a free society is how to stop them.
There are and always will be evil people. That's nature. Our primary goal should be finding a way to stop them while remaining an open and free society. Regardless of the steps we take, evil people will still do evil things. What we shouldn't do is overreact because of this evil minority.

Outlawing guns won't stop evil people from obtaining them if they want them. That's been proven many times before. It will only stop those who choose to obey the law.

Making guns illegal would only manage to raise their price as the supply becomes nominally scarcer. But in a country of 200 million guns, how scarce would they really become? And for a country that can't keep illegal immigrants and drugs from pouring over it's borders, how hard would it be for criminals (who, with banning, have an increased incentive to do so) to get guns into this country? Any guess who their primary customers would be? Certainly not law abiding citizens.

There's also a cultural aspect (separate from the acknowledgment that evil people exist) to this which needs to be addressed as concerns the propensity toward violence in our society. We can argue all day long about guns and still not address that root problem.

It's not about guns, or knives, or video games, or any other inanimate objects. It is about a culture which has removed many of it's taboos and restraints. It is about a culture which has come to celebrate, at varying levels, acts of antisocial behavior and, by doing so, passes them off as "normal". The removal of those cultural restraints has led to more and more antisocial behavior as one might expect. Conventional pop-psychology has taught us we must not judge and that we shouldn't condemn, but should instead 'encourage'. What we end up doing is encouraging people to act out their emotions (no matter how absurd) and, in many cases, congratulate and celebrate them for doing so. We concentrate on building "self-esteem" instead of "self-respect". It is a culture of excess, where, in the past, restraint played a key cultural role.

Obviously I'm not advocating a return to a culture of ruthlessly repressed feelings which caused people to explode in violence, but it is hard to tell the difference, given Va Tech, isn't it?

There has to be a cultural middle ground and that's what we should be seeking. Banning guns won't get us there. If we're going to reflect on anything in the wake of this massacre, we should reflect on where that cultural middle ground lays.

As the WSJ concludes:
A better response than gun control would be to restore some of the cultural taboos that once served as restraints on antisocial behavior. These columns long ago noted the collapse of such social and moral restraints in a widely debated editorial called "No Guardrails." Instead, after Columbine, there was a rush to blame violent videogames. But videogames or other larger media influences don't inspire mass murder when there are countervailing restraints and values instilled by families, teachers, coaches and pastors.
I agree. Let's hope the building conversation will not fall into the usual and predictable pattern. Instead of talking about an inanimate object, let's concentrate, for a change, on the root causes of the behavior we see and acknowledge that it is our cultural responsibility to change that.

UPDATE: Edited at 7:19pm.
 
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Well, one policy issue that could be discussed is the lack of psychological history in the background checks available.

Had this guys previous and fairly recent instabilities been accessible during the instant check made when he purchased his firearms, he would have been denied.

Good luck getting any agreement on doing that though...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10214838/
Michael Faenza, president and chief executive of the National Mental Health Association, said forcing states to share information on the mentally ill would violate patient privacy and contribute to the stigma they face.

“It’s just not fair. On the one hand, we want there to be very limited access to guns,” Faenza said. “But here you’re singling out people because of a medical condition and denying them rights held by everyone else.”
BTW the argument "the Founders wrote that in a different era" can be used with any of our rights.

Search and seizure, right to speedy trial, innocent until proven guilty, written in a different era.

The price of those liberties are the real criminals not being convicted on technicalities, so that the potentially innocent accused are not unfairly tried.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Actually, THIS is the coming discussion:

Left:

Think of the children! Guns are evil and we must abolish them! Anyone who disagrees is evil and wants to see dead children just like at Virginia Tech! It’s Bush’s fault!

Right:

The constitution guarantees our right to-

Left:
(interrupting): You’re terrible and support children dying! The GOP and anyone who votes for them is evil!

Right:
(patiently): No, no, you deliberately mischaracterize -

Left:
(shreiking) WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!


Anyone really care to disagree?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Unfortunately no amount of cultural conditioning will correct physiological/chemical impairments in the brain of a mentally ill individual. And when you’re talking about a budding sociopath like Eric Harris, or the -clinical- depressive like Dylan Klebold and Jeff Weise (Weise was possibly schizophrenic as well but it’s unclear from his family history), you’re talking about physiological defects and NOT cultural/socially-based mental illness. It’s a bit too early to be sure, but most likely Cho Seung-Hui will fall into the latter category (depressive rather than someone with antisocial personality disorder, though the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive).

 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
Here I agree with McQ completely, insofar as there is a middle ground our society should aim for.

(Aside to McQ, in the event I write something with which you do not agree in this thread, please do not assume I am telling you what you think—just restate your point and I just may get it—not that I’ll then agree with you, but who knows).

The middle ground I think we aren’t on, though, is that it is far too difficult to commit someone against their will, and thereby permanently impair their legal access to a firearm. Not that that last will keep them from getting a gun, but I do think it makes raised flags and positive interventions more likely.

I do not think there is any doubt at this point the shooter was known to the people in his life, as someone not in possession of full deck—and even overtly menacing and fear inducing in personal affect.

The guy was clearly nuts.

He should have been in a rubber room with a thorazine drip.

Why wasn’t he?

Here’s where McQ and I will disagree:
It is about a culture which has come to celebrate, at varying levels, acts of antisocial behavior and, by doing so, passes them off as "normal".
No, it isn’t about that. I could care less if some young man on the street is wearing a corset and ripped black skirt with a dressmakers array of safety pins in anatomically and aesthetically unwise places, and whose makeup is so heavy as SpecOps unit could swipe their fingers on him and paint themselves to blend in. If McQ cares about such anti-social behavior, I think he should go pound sand.

If McQ is thinking of anti-social behavior like being publicly intoxicated, shoving through crowds, and taking candy from babies, I think those things are already crimes and the laws against them should be enforced.

I wonder if greater efforts to reduce "anti-social" behavior won’t end up being exemplified by things like the guy in NYC who was cited for sitting down on the stoop of his own flat, for loitering.

I would appreciate McQ better defining what "anti-social" behavior he is thinking of that is relevant to the "free range until he killed himself and 33 other people" VA Tech shooter.

And I would really appreciate him explaining why less restrictive forcible commitment procedures with legally durable revocation of dangerous rights isn’t a more direct and efficient approach.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I believe what McQ is talking about is:

1) threatening behavior such as stalking
2) criminal behavior such as arson
3) psychologically worrying behavior such as expressions of violent fantasies
4) a history of depression and suicidal tendencies
5) being involuntarily detained for being a “an imminent danger to self or others.”

And not just a person having one of these characteristics, but ALL OF THEM.

And in this instance, we didn’t need less restrictive forcible commitment procedures. As I’ve discussed over on my blog...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
And in this instance, we didn’t need less restrictive forcible commitment procedures.
Err...did you mean we didn’t need more restrictive commitment procedures? I was referring to restrictions on the mental health sufferer, not on care providers/govt.

And I also presume you meant existing procedures if followed in either the intended or in the ideal manner would be sufficient, as it is, I believe they would have resulted in a public defender/the ACLU getting the person sprung on constitutional grounds.

At the very least, I expect one or the other of those legal outcomes were a fear restraining authorities from acting in the manner you suggest they could have.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Seems the very first link in the post is all brokey...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Seems the very first link in the post is all brokey...

Just tried it ... works fine.

Try pasting it:

http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/denton/wb/wb/xp-113094
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I put together a look at gun ownership vs. firearm homicide that shows there isn’t much of a link between the two. The data is old but the overall point comes through.
 
Written By: dvorak
URL: http://
Where are all the liberals who were invoking:

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither"

when George Bush was wiretapping people talking to Al Queda?
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Had this guys previous and fairly recent instabilities been accessible during the instant check made when he purchased his firearms, he would have been denied.
Keith - are you intimating that this guy bought his guns? I ask seriously because the link you gave is about a number of cases not linked to VA Tech and the article is dated 2005. If not, and he did get his guns illegally as I understood he did, what difference would these kind of additional background checks make?

The other question which comes to mind is, if these people are already so unstable, do you think merely keeping them out of a gun store is going to solve the problem?

I do not.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Oh geez, this story isn’t worth all the coverage its getting. Sometimes people go off the deep end, and in a few cases it’s really violent. That’s humanity. Laws won’t change it. Gun control won’t stop it, nor will having everyone armed prevent it. I refuse to read, watch or listen to any more coverage of this. I’ll just switch to CD and put in Blue Oyster Cult’s "Don’t Fear the Reaper."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I found this telling at the time and still do. My son was in college in 2001 in a small southern college and the professor asked this question: if anarchy developed where he/she was located, who would go for a firearm. Only my son raised his hand. Few survival instincts there.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
If McQ is thinking of anti-social behavior like being publicly intoxicated, shoving through crowds, and taking candy from babies, I think those things are already crimes and the laws against them should be enforced.

I wonder if greater efforts to reduce "anti-social" behavior won’t end up being exemplified by things like the guy in NYC who was cited for sitting down on the stoop of his own flat, for loitering.

I would appreciate McQ better defining what "anti-social" behavior he is thinking of that is relevant to the "free range until he killed himself and 33 other people" VA Tech shooter.
First I wasn’t suggesting that an evil person and a cultural problem necessarily went hand in glove. They’re actually two different parts of the discussion.

As to the "anti-social" behavior I’m talking about - an excellent explanation here. It comes from the article cited by the WSJ ("No Guardrails"):
As the saying goes, there was a time. And indeed there really was a time in the United States when life seemed more settled, when emotions, both private and public, didn’t seem to run so continuously at breakneck speed, splattering one ungodly tragedy after another across the evening news. How did this happen to the United States? How, in T.S. Eliot’s phrase, did so many become undone? —-

We think it is possible to identify the date when the U.S., or more precisely when many people within it, began to tip off the emotional tracks. A lot of people won’t like this date, because it makes their political culture culpable for what has happened. The date is August 1968, when the Democratic National Convention found itself sharing Chicago with the street fighters of the anti-Vietnam War movement.

The real blame here does not lie with the mobs who fought bloody battles with the hysterical Chicago police. The larger responsibility falls on the intellectuals — university professors, politicians and journalistic commentators — who said then that the acts committed by the protesters were justified or explainable. That was the beginning. After Chicago, the justifications never really stopped. America had a new culture, for political action and personal living.

With great rhetorical firepower, books, magazines, opinion columns and editorials defended each succeeding act of defiance — against the war, against university presidents, against corporate practices, against behavior codes, against dress codes, against virtually all agents of established authority. —-

What in the past had been simply illegal became "civil disobedience." If you could claim, and it was never too hard to claim, that your group was engaged in an act of civil disobedience — taking over a building, preventing a government official from speaking, bursting onto the grounds of a nuclear cooling station, destroying animal research, desecrating Communion hosts — the shapers of opinion would blow right past the broken rules to seek an understanding of the "dissidents" (in the ’60s and ’70s) and "activists" (in the ’80s and now).

Concurrently, the personal virtue known as self-restraint was devalued. In the process, certain rules that for a long time had governed behavior also became devalued. Whatever else was going on here, we were repeatedly lowering the barriers of acceptable political and personal conduct.

You can argue, as many did and still do, that all this was necessary because the established order wouldn’t respond or change. But then you still need to account for the nation’s simultaneous dive into extensive social and personal dysfunction. You need to account for what is happening to those people within U.S. society who seem least able to navigate the political and personal torrents that they become part of, like Michael Griffin. Those torrents began with the antiwar movement in the 1960s.

Those endless demonstrations, though, were merely one part of a much deeper shift in American culture — away from community and family rules of conduct and toward more autonomy, more personal independence. As to limits, you set your own. —-

The people who provided the theoretical underpinnings for this shift — the intellectuals and political leaders who led the movement — did very well, or at least survived. They are born with large reservoirs of intelligence and psychological strength. The fame and celebrity help, too.

But for a lot of other people it hasn’t been such an easy life to sustain. Not exceedingly sophisticated, neither thinkers nor leaders, never interviewed for their views, they’re held together by faith, friends, fun and, at the margins, by fanaticism. The big political crackups make the news — a Michael Griffin or the woman on trial in Connecticut for the attempted bombing of the CEO of a surgical-device company or the ’70s radicals who accidentally blew themselves up in a New York brownstone. But the personal crackups just float like flotsam through the country’s hospitals and streets. You can also see some of them on daytime TV, America’s medical museum of personal autonomy. —-

It may be true that most of the people in Hollywood who did cocaine survived it, but many of the weaker members of the community hit the wall. And most of the teenage girls in the Midwest who learn about the nuances of sex from magazines published by thirtysomething women in New York will more or less survive, but some continue to end up as prostitutes on Eighth Avenue. Everyone today seems to know someone who couldn’t handle the turns and went over the side of the mountain.

These weaker or more vulnerable people, who in different ways must try to live along life’s margins, are among the reasons that a society erects rules. They’re guardrails. It’s also true that we need to distinguish good rules from bad rules and periodically re-examine old rules. But the broad movement that gained force during the anti-war years consciously and systematically took down the guardrails. Incredibly, even judges pitched in. All of them did so to transform the country’s institutions and its codes of personal behavior (abortion, for instance).

In a sense, it has been a remarkable political and social achievement for them. But let’s get something straight about the consequences. If as a society we want to live under conditions of constant challenge to institutions and limits on personal life, if we are going to march and fight and litigate over every conceivable grievance, then we should stop crying over all the individual casualties, because there are going to be a lot of them.
That was written in 1993. Seem fairly prophetic, doesn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Oh geez, this story isn’t worth all the coverage its getting."
Idiot. That’s the second major turn of a wheel that you’ve missed within ten days, with your stoopid beady-eyed wave-offs. Look around you and pay attention, professorboy. People have been talking about Second Amendment repeal for a couple of days already, and the lines over the general issue of firearms went completely binary before the sun went down on the bodies. This is not Charles Whitman in Austin, Texas forty years ago, when stuff like this was brand new. This is the largest-single mass-murder with firearms in American history, you ridiculous jackass, in a time when violent lunacy is becoming just about routine and one whole side of the debate is nervously eyeing their personal weapons and the other side is agitating as hard as they can to have their counterparts subjected to psychological evaluations, etc., etc., by main force.
"I refuse to read, watch or listen to any more coverage of this."
That’s very good, Doktor. Stick your head in the sand. That’ll reflect very well on your PhD status as a "social scientist".
"I’ll just switch to CD and put in Blue Oyster Cult’s ’Don’t Fear the Reaper’."
[snicker] You would, you rote format dink.

"Is it any wonder that the joke’s an iron
And the joke’s on you"


("Flaming Telepaths", BÖC, "Secret Treaties", 1974)
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Bruce:

Chicago ’68 is a plausible case.

I think it goes a bit further back than that.

I nominate Mario Savio climbing up on a police car with a bullhorn in 1964.

The intellectuals just ate him up with a spoon, and nobody has ever gotten over it.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The issue with this guy’s mental issues (his commital) is that it was voluntary, and so a report wasn’t filed. Only if it’s involontary does a certain report (which flags on a background check in VA for a firearm) get filed.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"People have been talking about Second Amendment repeal for a couple of days already, and the lines over the general issue of firearms went completely binary before the sun went down on the bodies. This is not Charles Whitman in Austin, Texas forty years ago, when stuff like this was brand new. This is the largest-single mass-murder with firearms in American history, you ridiculous jackass, in a time when violent lunacy is becoming just about routine and one whole side of the debate is nervously eyeing their personal weapons and the other side is agitating as hard as they can to have their counterparts subjected to psychological evaluations, etc., etc., by main force." - Billy
Can always trust Beck to cut to the essentials.

The essentials are this: there’s 32 dead people who’re dead because they bought into a reality designed by people who have not even a tenuous contact with anything described by that term. They bought into it, grew up in it, and then when it blew up in their face the way it always does, it murdered them, unprepared. And the people who designed that cute little world and the ones who "believe" on the face of precious damn little are waving their hands and wanting to do it all again, only harder.

And people wonder why I’m not nice in discussions like this.
 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
meagain - he purchased those firearms legally. And no I do not think it would have guaranteed him being stopped. If he could have been charged with a felony, and given his history, he might have gotten better care.

Lot of if’s in any situation. I’m just thinking this is a angle that could help shape the debate about policy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/17/AR2007041701885.html?nav=rss_metro
On Feb. 9, Cho Seung Hui walked into a pawnshop on Main Street in Blacksburg, directly across the street from the Virginia Tech campus, and picked up one of the guns he would use in his deadly rampage Monday: a Walther .22-caliber pistol, a relatively inexpensive firearm most commonly used for target shooting or plinking cans.

One month later, on March 16, Cho stepped into Roanoke Firearms, a 3,000-square-foot, full-service gun dealer where more than 350 guns are on display. Cho offered his driver’s license, a checkbook that showed a matching address and an immigration card.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/print?id=3052278

In December 2005 — more than a year before Monday’s mass shootings — a district court in Montgomery County, Va., ruled that Cho presented "an imminent danger to self or others." That was the necessary criterion for a detention order, so that Cho, who had been accused of stalking by two female schoolmates, could be evaluated by a state doctor and ordered to undergo outpatient care.
Scott - so even though a court ordered him to be detained, since he went willingly with the police, it’s not involuntary?

That seems idiotic.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
BTW I agree somewhat with Scott Erb in that we certainly have not needed 24/7 coverage of speculation and misinformation.

Also, some communities are have a reasoned debate...

http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/article/0,1406,KNS_348_5491437,00.html
In a surprise move, a House panel voted today to repeal a state law that forbids the carrying of handguns on property and buildings owned by state, county and city governments — including parks and playgrounds.

"I think the recent Virginia disaster — or catastrophe or nightmare or whatever you want to call it — has woken up a lot of people to the need for having guns available to law-abiding citizens," said Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. "I hope that is what this vote reflects."
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Keith, you won’t get any argument from me on that front. This guy was, as I like to call it, bug-f**k nuts.

Gone, looney, wacked...

He was nailed for stalking. That should have put him on a "Don’t sell boom-sticks to this person" list.

Sadly, not amount of talking about it will change what happened. Now we just need to decide: What do we do to try and prevent this sort of thing from ever happening?

We have tried the "no one gets to pack heat on campus" solution, and you’ll never (Gods I hope) take away everyone’s gun or keep them forever out of the wrong hands, so it would seem reasonable to me for the option of "let the CCW permit holders carry" would be our next attempt...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://

meagain - he purchased those firearms legally.
Uh, not exactly. To purchase guns in Virginia you need to fill out a form that warrants that you’ve never been involuntarily committed.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Dave - He wasn’t. He was order to go by the court, but he went willingly. Yes it’s screwed up...

I think this comic from Filibuster Cartoons (and it’s commentary) nail this "debate" thing square on the head...

Grieving for VT
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Dave Schuler wrote:
To purchase guns in Virginia you need to fill out a form that warrants that you’ve never been involuntarily committed.
But evidently, he was voluntarily committed, so no laws were broken.

The thing is, he should have been involuntarily committed, and not let out ’til the whitecoats dais he was playing with at least 51.5 cards or so in his deck.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
It is naive to believe that the professional Staat-shtuppers and gun-grabbers have any genuine interest in protecting anyone. It is all about the advancement and further empowering of the State.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
dais /= said

Can you have dystypia? TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The VT massacre is very tragic but the talking heads continue to misrepresent it which plays into the belief that Americas is more violent than in reality. This is the worse college massacre or it probably is the worse in post WWI but there were some in our earlier history when guns were displayed by anyone who could physically carry. The 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah of 120 people or the 1868 Opelousas Massacre in Louisiana of over 200 people comes to mind. If media personalities are going to hype a tragedy, they should use the proper qualifiers to describe the event.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
Found an update that considered my point...

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/blogs/news_blog/070418/cho_nearly_landed_on_list_of_t.htm?s_cid=rss:site1
Despite being temporarily detained at a mental health facility in 2005, Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui’s name was not added to the federal database meant to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining handguns because he was never formally committed to the facility, U.S. News’s Will Sullivan has learned.

Following accusations of stalking by two female students against Cho and concerns he might be suicidal, campus officials obtained a “temporary detention order” for him on Dec. 13, 2005, from a Virginia magistrate, citing concerns that he “presents an imminent threat to [him]self or others.” Cho was sent to Carilion St. Albans Behavioral Health Center in Radford, Va., for examination.

But the next day, a physician concluded that, while mentally ill, Cho did not present an imminent danger to others or require involuntary hospitalization. Special Judge Paul M. Barrett of the Virginia District Court in Christiansburg released him.
It is naive to believe that the professional Staat-shtuppers and gun-grabbers have any genuine interest in protecting anyone. It is all about the advancement and further empowering of the State.
Yes, but then there are the vast middle ground who want to ensure something is done, but don’t know quite what. They will listen to both logical, and emotional arguments and make up their own minds.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
If media personalities are going to hype a tragedy, they should use the proper qualifiers to describe the event.
That would require research, and telling the truth...

Don’t hold yer breath waiting for that to happen...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"But the next day, a physician concluded that, while mentally ill, Cho did not present an imminent danger to others or require involuntary hospitalization. Special Judge Paul M. Barrett of the Virginia District Court in Christiansburg released him."

I think that is your answer. He was not committed, he was detained for evaluation and evaluated as not being a threat. Similarly, the police can detain or arrest you as a suspect in a crime, but if you are released without charges, your record is clean.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Thanks Keith - as I said the only early report I had seen was that the guns appeared to have been purchased on the street.

It does bring a question to mind though - you can just walk into a pawn shop and walk out with a gun in VA? The only way I can do that in GA is by having a Concealed Carry Permit. Did this guy have one?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
From what I’ve read, Cho bought at least one of the weapons from someone in another state. To do this, you have to have the guns shipped to a gun dealer with a Federal Firearm License. I’ve done this before when selling. It’s the responsibility of the FFL to ensure that the person picking it up isn’t disqualified from picking up the weapon.

I don’t know that there is a waiting period for residents of VA, there is one for non-residents. Since the NICS system was put in place, many states had gotten rid of their waiting period.

But even a 10 or 30 day waiting period would not have changed the fact that he was able to get the guns, only the timing.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
People have been talking about Second Amendment repeal for a couple of days already,
It’ll never happen. This dies with the news cycle.

I found this telling at the time and still do. My son was in college in 2001 in a small southern college and the professor asked this question: if anarchy developed where he/she was located, who would go for a firearm. Only my son raised his hand. Few survival instincts there.
Interesting. I do the same thing, though I bit differently. I ask what people would do if suddenly there was no police force or now laws. Ten years ago it was common place for people say "get armed" or "buy ammo," but even in a state with a high percentage of firearm ownership that’s rarely mentioned any more. The context of the question is the theory of Realism in foreign policy/international relations. Realism argues that the international system is an anarchy which thus necessitates the self-help principle which means states have to arm and be prepared to defend their interests.

This leads to the security dilemma — if one person sees another person arm themselves for protection, they might think its for offense and then try to arm themselves even more. That then creates more insecurity for others — the quest for perfect security inevitably makes others insecure, and thus arms races, mistrust and conflict arise.

At that point some one finally says, "well, can’t they talk about what they’re doing and work together." And that leads us to the idea Hedley Bull had of an ’anarchical society,’ or one where despite anarchy social norms and understandings can be developed which can govern (create rules/standards of behavior) despite lack of a central authority.

But I’m rambling here, and I don’t have time to since I’m in the midst of a huge project. I shouldn’t even be on line right now...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Keith - From all I’ve read he bought them legally (one at a pawn shop across the street from campus, apparently). And since he bought them move a month ago, even a 30 day waiting period wouldn’t have stopped this.

Erb - Yeah, cause talking to Cho really worked out well, didn’t it... Dimwit, People like Cho (or people who want to break into your home) aren’t interested in civil debate. They want your stuff or they want to kill you. At that point where they have made the decision to commit the act and carry through with it it’s no longer time to ask questions. It’s time to squeeze - not pull - the trigger.

And for the record... Cho was laughed at.

You know, I was mocked RELENTLESSLY in highschool. Insulted. Hell, even the victim of an agravated assault or two. Not ONCE did it cross my mind to take guns and ammo to school and shoot anyone I saw. Or even the ones who did it.

Apparently we breed wimps in the US now.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"It does bring a question to mind though - you can just walk into a pawn shop and walk out with a gun in VA? The only way I can do that in GA is by having a Concealed Carry Permit."
Since when? I’ve bought handguns in Georgia with nothing but cash, ID, and a clear instant background check.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
My timing sucks... I bought a Ruger Vaquero Single Action Army revolver (cash, ID, instant background check, in and out in 30 minutes with weapon in bag) and it is just a beautiful simple piece of mechanical art.

But being that I bought it about a day before the massacre at VA Tech, I can’t really tell people about it as they get all agitated about guns at the moment.

I am not mentioning this because I feel like this tragedy’s affect on me means anything at all, I mention it because I want to show this little beasty to someone, anyone, that can appreciate it.

So I thought of you gun nuts!

Mine is identical to the top one, with grips like the one on the bottom.

How much would I have liked to had this 120 year old mechanical marvel (design not the gun) in the presence of that sick little panty waste at VT.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
You don’t have to be in favor of.. I don’t know.. federal laws criminalizing gun ownership.. or handgun ownership, for that matter, to agree, in principle, that this guy was a wack job, and was not someone who should have been able to buy a gun.

The smart thing would be to start thinking of newer, more effective ways to make that possible and implementable. It might help make gun ownership - for the psychologically stable- less controversial and more universally accepted.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
My suggestion, for a non-invasive, cost effective, and potentially effective means of discouraging some of these type of incidents in the future is to open up the data base used for background checks for gun ownership to allow people to voluntarily restrict themselves from being able to legally purchase guns.

It might sound a little odd, but some of these lunatics struggle against their violent impulses and have periods of lucidity where they realize what they may be capable of, but at that moment in time wish to avoid. If these people restricted themselves during these periods, when the time comes when they may act on these impulses, the difficulty of acquiring weapons may discourage them, or at least allow enough time to pass until they no longer wish to act on these impulses.

Mental health professionals could be allowed to enter individuals into these systems as well.

It’s not perfect, but it’s not a gun grabbing measure, it would be easy and inexpensive to implement, and along with potentially averting some killing sprees, it may avert numerous suicides as well.

The key would be the ability to restrict oneself without broadcasting to the world they believe they are potential mass murderers. As much it would be nice to have this information, no one would restrict themselves if they considered it likely they would be targeted as a result of their precautionary measure.

Just a thought.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
All very well and good, but this issue has been debated before. Hence the reason I posted this:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10214838/
Michael Faenza, president and chief executive of the National Mental Health Association, said forcing states to share information on the mentally ill would violate patient privacy and contribute to the stigma they face.

“It’s just not fair. On the one hand, we want there to be very limited access to guns,” Faenza said. “But here you’re singling out people because of a medical condition and denying them rights held by everyone else.”
To which I say, "Life Isn’t Fair" and everyone does not have the right to a firearm. Convicted felons for instance.

Their argument basically boils down to, we shouldn’t put this information into a database only accessed in detail by law enforcement, so that we don’t stigmatize the mentally ill, and prevent them from purchasing firearms.

AFAIK, gun dealers only get a YES OR NO answer from NICS. No detailed explanation of a negative response, except maybe a code to put on the paperwork.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
hum, dee, dum, dee, dum...

Frame the debate before the political opposition does...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/19/AR2007041902437_pf.html
With the Virginia Tech shootings resurrecting calls for tighter gun controls, the National Rifle Association has begun negotiations with senior Democrats over legislation to bolster the national background-check system and potentially block gun purchases by the mentally ill.

Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.), a gun-rights Democrat who once served on the NRA’s board of directors, is leading talks with the powerful gun lobby in hopes of producing a deal by early next week, Democratic aides and lawmakers said.

Under the bill, states would be given money to help them supply the federal government with information on mental-illness adjudications and other run-ins with the law that are supposed to disqualify individuals from firearms purchases. For the first time, states would face penalties for not keeping the National Instant Criminal Background Check System current.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Of course, there’s a few questions to be answered first. Do we trust members of the AMA (who have an official position from a few years ago that no one needs guns and that doctors should question patients about their gun ownership), or members of the American Psychological Association (same thing)? How about the authors of the various studies which have come out showing that conservatives are "meaner", less stable, etc.? Will there be anonymous entries allowed? How can you challenge an entry? Sorry, I just flat don’t trust people whose biases are obvious to make a subjective ruling on who’s crazy.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
How many people could Cho have killed if he had no access to guns ? If the most offensive weapon he could get hold of was a sword or machete, how many could he have killed ?
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
And in what magical world is this going to happen?
the bottom line is you’re never going to remove weaponry from people who want to create mayhem. It will never happen. Consider the words of Thms Jefferson:

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
Given that the Democrats have become the party of the gun grabber, it amazes me that they still have the audacity to hold the image of Thomas Jefferson as iconic.

As far as I am aware, there is no point in the history of the gun control movement here in the United States, that anyone has set forth a truly viable program to get the guns of the hands of those who would use them to commit crimes. Not once. So, the end result of any attempt to do so, only results in precisely what Jefferson references; it gives the advantage to the assailants. It is flat out amazing to me how much death and carnage has resulted from the government’s attempt to protect us supposedly from ourselves. I say supposedly, because in reality, it has nothing to do with saving lives, it is about the extension of the power of government.

Sadly, that means that more people will die because of this misconception about why we’re even having this discussion about gun control.

I’ll tell you truthfully; the ability of near law to solve the problem of protecting us from madmen with guns, by erecting a ’gun free zone’ was demonstrated quite clearly at Virginia tech.

All that we really know about the events of that day... indeed, I suspect all we will EVER know... is this; Those people died because there wasn’t one person who had the means of self defense. That means of self defense was taken away by government.

I’ll leave with the recent words of Roger Kimball:

Of the many things that can be said about the horrible shooting at Virginia Tech today, one thing that we have already heard too often is that the shooting is offers a compelling argument against citizens owning guns. Right on cue, Jim Sollo, representing Virginians Against Handgun Violence, told reporters that “We live in a society where guns are pretty well accepted. There are 200 million guns in this society and obviously some in the wrong hands.” Well, yes. And that means? That we should concentrate all instruments of violence in the hands of an increasingly bureaucratic and meddlesome state, thus rendering ordinary citizens even more defenseless? I don’t think so, but that is what well meaning people like Mr. Sollo, appropriately horrified by such slaughter as we have seen today, conclude. My own feeling is that if a few responsible students and faculty had been in possession of the requisite firearms they might have made the death toll a lot lower, or even–had been especially alert–eliminated it altogether, or at least reduced it to the gratifying number of one, that of the perpetrator.
Out.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
And in what magical world is this going to happen?
In a world where there is sufficient will to make it happen. In the UK handguns are illegal, possession is a serious crime, and our shooting statistics (per capita) are a fraction of those of the US.
the bottom line is you’re never going to remove weaponry from people who want to create mayhem
.
Rubbish. If you decide to make it happen, it will happen. Plenty of other countries around the world have no guns.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
Could TJ have envisaged a world where the unarmed man could summon aid within minutes be means of a pocket-held device that can throw your voice directly to another person, any distance ? Could he have foreseen that the unarmed man could have used a motor-driven carriage to escape at high speed ? Did he imagine that one day border controls and scanning technology might be so developed that traffic in arms could be effectively prevented ? I doubt it. Of course his main point still stands - but I say again, how many could Cho have killed with a machete ?

And besides - who decided that the right to bear "arms" means handguns ? Why not grenades ? They’re arms. Why not mortars ? If some responsible students at the school had grenades, could they have lobbed one at Cho without exposing themselves to his line of fire, a much safer form of attack than trying to shoot ?
As far as I am aware, there is no point in the history of the gun control movement here in the United States, that anyone has set forth a truly viable program to get the guns of the hands of those who would use them to commit crimes.
Indeed. How to actually police the border and eliminate the guns ? It’ll come...
It is flat out amazing to me how much death and carnage has resulted from the government’s attempt to protect us supposedly from ourselves. I say supposedly, because in reality, it has nothing to do with saving lives, it is about the extension of the power of government.
Nonsense. It’s about the numbers. Even with incidents like this, the number of shootings/deaths per year or per capita is still lower than if each student was allowed to strut around packin’ heat.
I’ll tell you truthfully; the ability of near law to solve the problem of protecting us from madmen with guns, by erecting a ’gun free zone’ was demonstrated quite clearly at Virginia tech.
Armed guards at the gate ?

I’ll leave with the recent words of Roger Kimball:
. My own feeling is that if a few responsible students and faculty had been in possession of the requisite firearms they might have made the death toll a lot lower, or even–had been especially alert–eliminated it altogether, or at least reduced it to the gratifying number of one, that of the perpetrator.
Maybe. Or maybe the terrified students would have panicked and started shooting at anything that moved. Mr Kimball is probably right, but we will never know. The point is, you can’t base a national policy on specific incidents like this. Policy has to be based on the full picture - shooting per year/deaths per year overall - not individual horror stories. The evidence is there for all to see - compare the murder rates of the US with any western country where handguns are banned.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
In the UK handguns are illegal, possession is a serious crime, and our shooting statistics (per capita) are a fraction of those of the US.
2 things, gun and violent crime in the UK is RISING. And the violence per capita rate in the US is higher even when you eliminate the numbers for firearms.
Rubbish. If you decide to make it happen, it will happen. Plenty of other countries around the world have no guns.
And they probably started out that way too...

Our freedom in America is greater then in most western countries too...

We are innocent until proven guilty, for instance.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2640817.stm

Gun crime has risen by 35% in a year, new Home Office figures show.

There were 9,974 incidents involving firearms in the 12 months to April 2002 - a rise from 7,362 over the previous year.
If a tiny little Island can’t eliminate guns, what chance does a large country have???

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gun/Story/0,,1972703,00.html
Sawn-off shotguns are still the weapon of choice for the more serious armed criminal and can now be bought illegally for between £50 and £200, according to Home Office research.

A purpose-built 9mm handgun, which is easier to conceal than a shotgun, is available for £1,000-£1,400 on the back streets of Britain while those wanting "a gangster image" can buy a machine gun for £800.

The guns come from illegal imports and shotguns stolen in rural burglaries. Imitation firearms are also converted for use, with the aid of criminal "armourers".

The cheapness of illegal guns in Britain is uncovered in research by University of Portsmouth academics, published yesterday and based on interviews with more than 80 male prisoners, aged 18 to 30, who were convicted of gun crimes. Nearly half those interviewed were white and a majority had been in a gang or crew.
Blewyn - Why don’t you worry about your little corner of the world, and we’ll worry about ours...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
2 things, gun and violent crime in the UK is RISING. And the violence per capita rate in the US is higher even when you eliminate the numbers for firearms.
Gun and violent crime rates in the UK are still far, far lower than in the US. Yes we currently have a rising problem in a certain sector of the population....and the fact that it’s being talked about so prominently in the media and government simply illustrates the fact that we will not tolerate it. To suggest that widespread gun ownership could reduce the problem is absurd.
Rubbish. If you decide to make it happen, it will happen. Plenty of other countries around the world have no guns.
And they probably started out that way too...
Fair point, but this doesn’t alter the basic principle that populations with no access to guns have lower shooting stats than those who do.
Our freedom in America is greater then in most western countries too...
Highly debatable - are you free to take a job that requires on 35 hours a week from you and pays you enough to live on ? The French are...

If you’re arguing that the gun helped set up your constitution and legal system which as a result have more rights and freedoms enshrined in law than over here in ’old europe’ then I’d agree with you, but that doesn’t mean it’s still needed to maintain those rights and freedoms.
We are innocent until proven guilty, for instance.
Um...AFAIK, same in most western countries.
Gun crime has risen by 35% in a year, new Home Office figures show.
There were 9,974 incidents involving firearms in the 12 months to April 2002 - a rise from 7,362 over the previous year.
We have about 65m people, so 9974 incidents (not killings or woundings, just incidents) means one incident per 6516 people. How does this compare with the US ?
If a tiny little Island can’t eliminate guns, what chance does a large country have???
Fair point. Until it’s technically possible to an effective level (or at least a level which results in a net reduction of gun crime), it doesn’t make sense to disarm the innocent public.
Blewyn - Why don’t you worry about your little corner of the world, and we’ll worry about ours...
A) This website is international.
B) This argument is not US-specific - the pro-gun view is being presented as a matter of principle, not practice. It is therefore universal.
C) You guys have WAY more to worry about as far as this topic is concerned.

 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://

 
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