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If you really want to get pissed off at what happened today, check out the NRA's website. There is NOTHING about the shooting at all. Just like nothing happened.

Posted by Andrew | April 16, 2007 2:09 PM

The airplane metaphor is incorrect because airplanes crash unintentionally. The type of gun violence you're referring to (homicide) is intentional. Though it is certainly prudent to restrict guns from the hands of those with records of violence, tougher gun laws may not curb gun violence very much because those with the mindset to kill do not pay attention to the nuances of gun laws and permitting procedures.

What we need is a culture change: a strong reaffirmation that people are entitled to live despite whatever disputes we may have with them or with society.

Posted by Eric | April 16, 2007 2:22 PM

i'm not saying i agree with this, but gun advocates believe that more guns would prevent this sort of thing from happening... they actually see these events as signs that we need less restrictive laws.

Posted by infrequent | April 16, 2007 2:29 PM

The reason nuts have so much access to guns, though, is that they have been so widely available for so long. What we need is gun control starting fifty years ago, so the streets and the gun shows wouldn't be flooded with weapons like they are now.

The NRA types will always make the argument that "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns", ignoring the fact that the guns that the outlaws have are only there because of the unrestricted flow of them. Every gun out there started off as a legal weapon in the hands of a law-abiding citizen. But they can't control them. They get stolen and then feed the underground supply.

Too many guns.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 2:30 PM

makes about as much sense as declaring the crash of EgyptAirís Flight 990 off-limits during a discussion of airline safety.
But that discussion of airline safety rarely involves banning airplanes. It may involve how planes are built, who can fly planes and under what conditions, procedures for maintenance and retiring of planes, but it doesn't assume that the way to handle a plane crash is to eliminate planes. The "rational" discussion that anti-"gun nuts", to use your phrase, seek always seems to start off by assuming that guns need to be eliminated; small wonder that this is labeled by some as "exploiting" a tragedy.

Posted by torrentprime | April 16, 2007 2:32 PM

I'm a complete New York Liberal but I cannot believe that people actually believe these kind of events would not happen if handguns were taken off the streets. Seriously. Ever notice that school campuses are "no gun zones", yet continue to be the setting for massacres? How many kids would have been killed a Colombine if the science teachers were armed? Just throwing that out there...flame on.

Posted by nobody | April 16, 2007 2:35 PM

Just like drug laws? If we started banning drugs longer ago than we did, we wouldn't have as many drugs on the street as we do now? Seriously?

Posted by torrentprime | April 16, 2007 2:35 PM

the drugs and planes analogies don't match up entirely with the guns one. but yes, the choice we make now will have a difference 50 years from today. it might be worse for a decade, but might that be worth it? it is a valuable question. and while criminals might always have guns (the type of criminals you cannot defend yourself again anyway), wackos having a bad breakup might be prevented from getting them. it seems these shooting rampages are not career criminals, but people who snapped and either could get guns are happened to already have them. many of them.

Posted by infrequent | April 16, 2007 2:41 PM

Torrentprime, are you under the impression that guns grow on trees?

If handguns had been made illegal everywhere a long time ago, today's shooter wouldn't have been able to procure one so easily. "No gun zones" are a joke precisely because 100 yards away some cracker can hold a gun show and sell anything he wants to convicted felons, serial killers, misguided idiots whose gun collection, bought for "protection", is going to end up back at the gun show after some creep breaks into his house and steals it.

And disgruntled engineering students.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 2:44 PM

Just like laws that ban abortions, marijuana, and ripping CDs, and prohibition of alcohol, gun control is unenforceable in this country and always will be.

When people decide on an individual basis or through moral suasion that they do not want to pack guns, then and only then will there be fewer guns.

Posted by ivan | April 16, 2007 2:45 PM

Of course Dan Savage is going to use this tragedy to push his gun control agenda! I should've known!

It's not a national gun problem, it's a national inability to control one's own violent rage problem. Take away guns from crazies and they'll either find ways to get guns illegally, or use other weapons. If someone wants to kill people, he/she will always find ways to lash out and kill people.

Gun control solves little to nothing. Guns are one piece of a large puzzle.

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 2:46 PM

It was illegal to bring guns onto that campus, and yet miraculously the killer did it anyway!

Laws on paper don't mean a thing to criminals or crazies who want to get their hands on a lethal weapon. They simply prevent the law abiding from defending themselves, because they are the ONLY ones who will obey those laws in the first place!

If one of those students had been armed with a concealed firearm, perhaps they would have prevented the gunman from getting much further and killing over 30 people.

Posted by Honey | April 16, 2007 2:50 PM

FNARF, Are you under the impression that outright gun bans do anything but drive the possession and sale underground, where there are fewer/no checks, rules, procedures, and tracking abilities? Sanity check: How "gun-safe" is DC?

"No gun zones" are a joke precisely because 100 yards away some cracker can hold a gun show and sell anything he wants to convicted felons, serial killers, misguided idiots whose gun collection, bought for "protection", is going to end up back at the gun show after some creep breaks into his house and steals it.
So "cracker," yeah, racist comments about gun owners reveals nothing about your biases, not at all, so we'll skip that one.
So you have a problem with certain types of people owning guns. So do most of us. What you haven't explained is how bans will do anything but keep guns out of the hands of those who do own guns and in the hands of those who will break the law in order to have them. Also, if you really think guns won't come in from out of the country if we ever completely stop their domestic production, then you need to have a little chat with the DEA.
"No gun" zones are a problem because they guarantee that any one who does bring a gun into them will face no opposition.

Posted by torrentprime | April 16, 2007 2:53 PM

I was robbed at gunpoint in the Bahamas where possession of a gun is illegal and punishable by a mandatory 5 year prison sentence - and believe me Fox Hill Prison is no day camp. Yet people who wanted guns still had them. You can't stop a black market on guns anymore than you can stop the sale of drugs. Also, as long as the U.S. keeps nudging closer to a police state and dictatorship, we need to keep our guns. And remember, we've haven't seen a war on U.S. soil since 1865. Our luck could run out. What we need is a culture change where mental health treatment is readily available and not stigmatized, where violence is not glorified as entertainment, where sexual repression is not encouraged, and where every child born is wanted and nutured properly.

Posted by Cat | April 16, 2007 2:55 PM

A gun ban would spare our grandchildren this kind of horror, but there's no hope of it passing, especially when so many people believe that more guns are the answer to preventing this kind of violence.

The only way out of this mess is are technological innovations that renders guns easily controllable or that make them obsolete.

Posted by Sean | April 16, 2007 2:56 PM

"its WAY too late for gun control in america" - steve earle.

there is no solution to this tragedy. america wants to keep sleeping. it will happen again & again, every year of your life.

i don't see ANY well-regulated militias.

Posted by Max Solomon | April 16, 2007 3:00 PM

"Take away guns from crazies and they'll either find ways to get guns illegally, or use other weapons."

If the guy at Virginia Tech were forced to use another weapon, the body count would have been 1 or 2, not 30+. Face it, Gomez, without a gun, most mass murderers would simply be murderers or attempted murderers.

Posted by Sean | April 16, 2007 3:03 PM

I just can't get over the fact that all of these people died and everyone is talking about an abstract political argument.

Posted by Soupytwist | April 16, 2007 3:07 PM

Actually, itís Americans themselves that are the problem. If you look at the number of people killed by guns in countries that have strict gun control (Canada, Western Europe, Japan), itís infinitesimal compared to the constant bloodbath in the US. Gun control works -period.

However, our KKKrackpot kultchur is based on violence, paranoia, militarism and domination through superior firepower, so weíll continue to have these episodes periodically and nothing is going to change. Ultimately, people are the problem.


Isnít the name of the gun shop on the Simpsons ďBlood, Bath and Beyond?Ē

Posted by Original Andrew | April 16, 2007 3:08 PM

OT, but does anyone else find that it takes as long as 20 seconds or so to submit a comment the past few weeks?

Posted by Gabriel | April 16, 2007 3:13 PM

To all you apologists for the NRA: Get stuffed. With cacti.

30 bodies on the deck and you claim that gun laws are "unenforceable", so you shouldn't try?

You say that US culture loves guns, so no-one should try to stop them?

You blame this on some soi-distant "personal rage" problem and say that banning guns would be like banning aircraft or cars?

How odd that more mass murderers don't choose to run twenty or thirty people over; or that apart from the events of September 11th 2001 no-one has chosen to kill people using a plane.

How weak you sound, and how pathetic.

30 dead people. Dead at least in part by a cancerous hankering for firepower on behalf of US culture?

The lone gunman without a gun is simply a lone man.

Stop making excuses for arming him.

Posted by Metro | April 16, 2007 3:14 PM

"[b]Also, as long as the U.S. keeps nudging closer to a police state and dictatorship, we need to keep our guns.[/b]"

I was about to say that same exact thing... It is a fallacy to assume that pretending something doesn't exist will do anything to prevent tragedy. I consider gun-control freaks to be on par with abstinence-only advocates; "just close your eyes and everything will be fine."

Fucking retarded Dan, employ logic! LOGIC! (I love you...)

Posted by Faber | April 16, 2007 3:16 PM

I tend to agree with what Original Andrew said. While I can see certain statistical rationales for gun control, I'm just not convinced that it's addresing the real problem, which I think is social. There's just a particular strain of culture that makes people more likely to feel that the solution to their problem can come in the form of a deadly weapon.

Banning guns is probably easier than tackling that. (It's also unfortunate because, well, shooting guns can be fun. Ever done any target shooting?)

Posted by tsm | April 16, 2007 3:17 PM

Oops, I guess I don't know my markup codes for this here blog very well... boy is there pie on my face.

Posted by Faber | April 16, 2007 3:19 PM

No, METRO, we don't claim gun control (i.e, bans) are unenforceable. The current drug market in this country pretty much proves they are, but perhaps you see the millions imprisoned and foreign crime lords enriched as a result of drug bans as a necessary price to pay for the "safety" of the ban.
And, leaving your name-calling aside, you might notice that most of your own descriptions of the gunman involve his attitudes and not his weapon.

And "we" did not arm him. He picked those guns up himself. Your claim that we arm him by not being willing to pass laws that try to ban all guns is just as foolish as those on the right who claim that when we teach kids about safe sex instead of teaching abstinence-only and hiding the condoms that we are "arming them" and telling them to go have sex.

Posted by torrentprime | April 16, 2007 3:29 PM

@soupytwist. This is the standard GOP argument. Whenever the tide turns against one of their sacred positions, it's "not the time or place to start up that debate." Unless you are currently helping families evolved in this tragedy, you have the right, and i would argue, the obligation to talk about the politics of the situation.

Posted by ORthey | April 16, 2007 3:29 PM

Well, gollie, them bad guys will just git their guns illegally if we take away the right to buy 'em legally".

Again: you are missing the point. The illegal guns were owned legally at some point, and then stolen from them. That's how they made it to the black market.

And if you think that removing the millions of guns produced in this country every year from the ownership stream wouldn't have any impact on the availability of guns, you're nuts.

A very proportion of the guns sold overseas is made in the US too; we are the world's largest exporter of guns, and our net gun trade is overwhelmingly positive. This has had a terrible impact in countries on every continent. Right now our soldiers are being killed with weapons bought originally from the United States.

Everything illegal is by definition hard to control. You might as well argue that "despite all these laws against murder, murders continue to happen all the time. Fighting murder is pointless. We should just legalize it and let people commit murder if they want to".

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 3:29 PM

@ORthey - Huh?

Posted by Soupytwist | April 16, 2007 3:32 PM

Canada has a significant number of guns. 26% of Canadian households own guns vs. 41% of U.S. households. Meanwhile, our firearm homicide rate is more than five times greater than theirs.

I'm going to blame it on our culture that encourages people to "settle" their disputes with violence.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 16, 2007 3:34 PM

What we need is bullets and ammo control - we need laws to restrict the number of bullets that can be manufactured and distributed as well as rounds of ammo a person can buy. If the gun advocates claim that they just want self defense then they should not need that much ammo to defend themselves do they.

Posted by princegoro | April 16, 2007 3:36 PM

no, FNARF, that's not what anybody is saying. And you know this, but we'll walk you through the steps anyway. Murder is a crime against someone else's rights from the get-go. Someone else's rights are violated in the act of murder, so making it a crime is not the same as "preventative" laws, which ban possession and use of all kinds, both harmful and non-harmful, to you and someone else, regardless of situation or context: They become victimless crimes: a gun or a joint in my closet is a crime because society thinks that no one, anywhere, under any circumstances, can handle the possession. Again, it's like drug laws or other laws where a perfectly non-violent possession of something becomes a crime in and of itself, with no one hurt, no one's rights violated, simply because in some tiny fraction of cases, possession leads to a crime.

Posted by torrentprime | April 16, 2007 3:39 PM

When a plane drops out of the sky, we search for the cause and pass laws if needed to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Why do we not do the same with guns?

Because you can't do the same with guns. Planes crash due to mechanical failures that can be fixed. Gun violence happens because of certain realities of human nature that will never be fixed.

Posted by thehim | April 16, 2007 3:39 PM

Thanks for stealing my argument Torrentprime, you BASTARD!

Regardless of the perjury; I like where you're going.

Posted by Faber | April 16, 2007 3:44 PM

I personally believe in the German gun laws. In Germany, you can have whatever gun you want, however, you must go to a schutezenhaus (shooting range) for a minimum 1 year to learn how to use the gun. Then you submit for a permit. However, even after that you can't BUY BULLETS JUST ANYWHERE. You can buy bullets in the Schutzenhaus, where you have to turn in all bullets that you don't shoot. The exception to this are hunters, who have a whole other route to take (longer, with more permits, etc).

Now, many of you will bring up the tradgy at Essen (i think it was Essen at least, started with an E...fuck) where there was a kid who killed like 16 students. Even though this happened, the amount of gun murders is still MASSIVELY lower over there (and they had that one incident, whereas we apparently still have them).

So, even though Germany borders eastern European countries with extremely lax laws, they still don't have enough of a black market of guns to increase gun violence. They have all the same movies, video games, and music that we do. They dig hip-hop more than Americans, or so it would seem going clubbing over there.

Also, as Fnarf pointed out: GUNS DON'T GROW ON TRESS. And its fucking unfortunate that we have been so lax as to let any number of firearms LEGALLY come into this country. The thing that is wrong with the "only criminals will have guns" thing is that many people are not criminals until they go to the store and get a gun and some bullets. More crimes are committed in the heat of passion, rather than criminally thought out plans.

To futher this rant, fucking canada borders our country, the country with the MOST amount of guns. Yet they still dont have the incredible gun death statistics that we have. Its because fucktards that go psycho or fucktards that get angry cant just grab a firearm and go to town. Sure, you can get anything in the black market, but most people don't live near one, or even know where to look. Its a hellavua lot easier to go to fucking wal-mart. BTW, I wonder if any bullets are for sale today? Or how much that shooter paid for his goddamn gun..."Blue light special on .38's!"

Posted by Monique | April 16, 2007 3:44 PM

@32: realities of human nature like SSRIs?

Posted by Max Solomon | April 16, 2007 3:47 PM

To nobody in particular: Is "gun control" always the same as "banning guns"?

Posted by Obsrvr | April 16, 2007 3:48 PM
Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 3:49 PM

Also: Just lets just say

"What if the teachers had guns?"

It is extremely hard to hit a target in the heat of the moment. That is why police, and military personnel have training on how to fire accurately under duress. Even then, its a low hit rate. So what, then you would have a teacher shooting at someone, possibly hampering the efforts of the police, or having a stay bullet hit an innocent person??? Come on.

And, even with how our govenment is going, do you think that some fucking guns would stand up against the military weapons our govenment has? If we really needed to "fight the government" you think that we could??? You are fucking kidding yourself. At best, you could hold off some people, but your ass would be toast when a .50 cal mounted to a tank rolled into your neighborhood. Jebus.

Posted by Monique | April 16, 2007 3:50 PM

The right to defend one self against one's fellow citizen and one's government is a fundamental human right.


No ifs, ands, or buts. You have to respect that right if you are to be an ethical person. That means you have to figure out PROPER ways of preventing gun violence. Many of us believe concealed carry is one very good way of doing so.

Another is institutionalizing the loons. There are a lot of folks who do not belong out on the streets unless medicated and at this point we aren't assuring their medication.

Probably the single best means of minimizing gun violence is to legalize drugs. Those folks aren't killing each other over cigarette profits (yet), nor over gin profits. They ARE killing each other over meth profits and coke profits and the turf that such things are sold on.

Most gun related deaths are either domestic or drug related. Since there is NO hope of stopping drug use, treat it and quit causing people to be killed over the profits.

But do NOT take away MY single best means of defense, and do NOT take away the one thing that keeps our statist thugs in line--fear of the armed citizenry.

Posted by Lestat | April 16, 2007 3:52 PM

33 people are dead in a senseless tragedy, and people are arguing about gun policy. Personally, I think the knee-jerking from both sides that starts with the first news reports of events like this is a trivialization of death. Whoever's right, if anyone is right, it doesn't look good on anybody.

The bottom line: these deaths are senseless. Arguing policy is an attempt to bring sense to what has no sensible explanation. There are partial explanations in an American culture of violence, lack of attention to young men who are threats to themselves and others, and insert your favorite explanation here, but in the end there's no explaining it. All of the explanations in the world don't change the fact that 33 people are dead for no goddamned reason.

Posted by Cascadian | April 16, 2007 4:05 PM

Monique: A fucking scary point. How many gun owners -- even among the perfectly legal and licensed -- are often trained to the same extent as military or law enforcement personnel? Not nearly at the same rate, I imagine. If they gave guns to those in professional positions, such as teachers, doubtlessly they'd receive the appropriate training (and retraining when time inevitably dulls the memory), but what about ordinary gun owners? Are they all going to be as diligent and responsible? Are they going to undergo the same psychological screenings professional gun users are subjected to?

Still, teachers with guns? Even I can admit that students would sure be quieter.

Posted by Gloria | April 16, 2007 4:09 PM

I'm not going to take away your gun, Lestat. Some junkie is, when he's prowling through your drawers when you're at work. Or maybe a killer will -- when he takes it out of your hand while you are discovering that it's damned difficult to pull the trigger on another human being even in -- ESPECIALLY in -- an emergency. Or maybe your kid will take it away from you and blow one of his schoolmates away in a moment of unsupervised play.

Your display of the paranoid style of gun defense is pretty classic. But it's wrong. Owning a firearm isn't a fundamental right. It's a limited right, recognized in the Constitution in a very particular limited sense. Of course, I see that YOU are a proud and dedicate warrior, so I assume you belong to a well-regulated militia?

Obsrvr has it right.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 4:10 PM

Oh my god. On Headline prime on CNN some lady named Pat is this spokesperson hero to tell us all Its the movies, Its Hip Hop, Its internet porn and its Video Games that are causing this by making us numb dumbdowned insensitive to violence and unsensual zombies. We are all doomed. Boycott Hip hop and entertainment industry.
More abstinence education Yay lady save us.
And I'm sure there are going to be more freaks like her that take this angle.
WTF lets just stop everything we do and enjoy just to turn our lives at college and life in general to suit this ladies needs. she's a criminal profiler too. What a quack.
Please people don't let this viewpoint about our society get out of hand and let these culture warriors and censorship authorities brainwash you into thinking like that.
please I beg of you all. This tragedy sucks, but it is not friggin video games or violent movies or football advertisements. If you do then cartoons and comics are next, and manga.
And I really like manga.
If this is the case then how come Japan which churns out tons of this entertainment and video games has not one incident like this occuring every damn day over there like this lady says is going on here?

Posted by summertime | April 16, 2007 4:28 PM

To all those who say, "if the students could bring guns on campus, the shooter could've been shot dead before 30 people died."

You ignore the corrollary. If students had guns on campus, shootings would be far more frequent.

Posted by him | April 16, 2007 4:33 PM

Fnarf, alas, the right to defend oneself is fundamental and readily derivable. It's OBJECTIVE. It's not granted by a bunch a dimwits in D.C. It is INALIENABLE. Of course, the US Constitution validates this and it does not, fantasies of the left not withstanding, refer only to some "militia". No credible constitutional scholar will ever claim such. Of course a simple understanding of a the English language should be adequate.

Neither you, nor the statists nor all the bleeding hearts on earth have a right to infringe upon the human right to own a reasonable weapon for self defense.

As for self defense, the data is there and it is compelling. More guns = LESS crime. Very rarely is a gun taken away. Trying is a good way to die from "lead poisoning" too. THAT is a very dangerous thing. Often the mere site of a weapon drives a criminal off. Anecdotally, upon occasion in my home state, a citizen shoots and kills an intruder or mugger or thief and the crime rate declines for a while. I can't remember EVER hearing of someone being harmed with their own gun by an assailant.

Now, is this an argument for poor gun safety? Nope. Poor gun security? Nope. An argument for EVERYONE to carry? Of course not. But if enough responsible citizens do so, you and your ilk will be a lot safer. That's supported by all responsible research.

But one important point. Even if the research didn't support the safety and efficacy of guns for self defense, one's right to defend oneself by any reasonable means possible is inalienable. That means no matter what, it would be wrong to prohibit gun ownership.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 4:37 PM

We better all keep our guns, the way things are going in this country I'm a think'un we'll want to over throw the nuts in DC, cuz they be a pack o'nuts that steal from the poor and give to the rich. Of course Virginia is a God fearing state and them thur Chreestians justs got to have them guns. Rabbit huntin don't ya know.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | April 16, 2007 4:39 PM


Sorry about that. Cut and paste error. I'm not you. I only accidentally look that way.



Posted by Lestat | April 16, 2007 4:41 PM


C'mon! Bullshit! Can you tell me that the Iraqi insurgents aren't winning that little conflict? Small arms in a guerilla war are much more useful than tanks and bombers.

Posted by Faber | April 16, 2007 4:48 PM


C'mon! Bullshit! Can you tell me that the Iraqi insurgents aren't winning that little conflict? Small arms in a guerilla war are much more useful than tanks and bombers.

Posted by Faber | April 16, 2007 4:49 PM

Taking away people's guns!? Oh noes! We are feminizing society! Where have all the cowboys gone? Take Back The Date!

If only John Q Cowboy had a gun in his sock drawer at college... We'd all be so much safer!

Posted by Now I get it! | April 16, 2007 4:52 PM

#48 yes in a guerilla war they are. but in a war that didn't have constraints like WW2 all hell would be unleashed if we did the same to Iraq. but that wouldn't be pc or follow geneva conventions would it now.
We play nice with our tanks and weaponry even though we waste billions of dollars on that crap.
On this shooting and gun control. What they are really going try and take away from our society is our music, our entertainment, and our underground views. There is a culture war brewing and there is a lot at stake than the right to bear arms argument.
Its our essential freedoms and everytime something like this happens
another artist bites the dust because supposedly violent art kills people as I'm hearing the argument on T.V right now. stay away from manga and video games if that makes you upset and paranoid. Art does not kill people, people do.

Posted by summertime | April 16, 2007 4:57 PM

Just to clarify, I said this:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

...but hell, I was drunk when I said it...

Posted by U.S. Constitution | April 16, 2007 4:59 PM

I may be too close to the situation to be arguing in a rational sense right now, but I do not think it is wrong to expect enough courtesy and respect for the victims to constrain yourself from using their deaths for political means on the day they died! Both ends of the political spectrum should feel obligated not to reduce these peoples LIVES to an abstract, philosophical argument hours after the event. These people had families and friends, they had futures and dreams, and I do not think it is so wrong to spend some time thinking about that.

Posted by megan w | April 16, 2007 5:04 PM

@48 and 49...

When you compare the numbers of dead insugents to dead Americans, no I am sorry but small arms fire is not winning. They keep killing people for sure, but its only because our military is not shooting all people they see (all out war), or trying to take over the country (not that I am promoting that, but its a big fucking difference). If we had all our military power completely distroying Iraq, we would "win" in a matter of weeks. Duh.

Even with constant training, people are not very good with guns, and shooting under duress. Also, a little stat for you: it takes at least 30 secs for a trained law enforcement officer to draw and aim his gun. How long do you think it would be for an average citisen? We have to take tests to get a car, yet there are NO FUCKING TESTS to get a handgun?????

I call BULLSHIT on that, 48 and 49.

Posted by Monique | April 16, 2007 5:21 PM

I know of no one who has had any close contact with guns like Dan has. I mean robberys or shootings. We have guns in Canada -- they're for hunting (yes, there are the few illegal ones, but NOTHING like the US).

I can't relate to any of this in the slightest.

Posted by Maggie | April 16, 2007 5:30 PM

Cut and paste error. In the name field, which, if you know what you're doing, never needs touching. Right.

And now I get to have your hateful garbage spewing out under my name. Great, thanks a lot.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 5:39 PM

Re: When a plane drops out of the sky, we search for the cause and pass laws if needed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

I maybe would have written that in 1999 too. But actually, legislation (if it comes as a result of an air disaster) is just half the battle and gives a false sense of consequence. It may not matter what the law says, if it isnít funded and therefore enforced. In aviation, many safety measurers are not implemented because they are too costly and there isnít enough political will. For those close to the crashes, it is terribly frustrating. I fear the same would go for those close to gun violence.

Posted by False Sense | April 16, 2007 6:06 PM

44. assumes that many students have a violent temperament, a la high school. But many of those violent HS kids never go to college. What a silly point to assume, that guns would lead to more shootings.

The point of allowing firearms is debatable, but one thing is not: the Va Tech police failed miserably. That they did not collaborate with local law enforcement to put a police presence in every class building after the 7:15 shooting, knowing there was an armed and dangerous suspect on the loose, is ridiculous.

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 6:15 PM

I apologize beforehand.
Do you, Americans, honestly believe that in any other "civilized" society ordinary people feel the need to sleep with a gun under their pillows? How does all of Europe, and, believe it or not, most latin america manage to live without three guns per household? Do you ever wonder? Internationally, you look like pathetic brutes, and I am really sorry to be so insulting. If any of you is naive enough to believe a pathetic little gun can protect you from governmet authoritarism and state-generated violence, you'd deserve to live in a south american dictatoriship for a while, to find out how useless you are, weapon or not, when real violence arises, and why civil society SHOULD BE WEAPONLESS

Posted by tinydoc | April 16, 2007 6:15 PM

Its funny how gun nuts always make it a "they're going to ban all guns, oh my!" argument. Since when does closing the Gun Show loophole, or other sensible approaches to gun control equal taking your precious gun away? Not to mention, the completely discreidted idea that an armed society is safer.. wow, you seriously have to have slept through history class to believe that one. Get in your time machine back to Tombestone and have a blast in your safe gun totin society! If the automobile had existed around the time of the constitution we would have these morons defending our "inalienable right" to operate a motor vehicle by denying laws that require a drivers license. I am for Gun legality, with strict ownership regulations, or hell SOME ownership regulations.

You know what Le Stat, et al, I'm sorry, but "my ilk" does NOT feel safer knowing that YOUR ilk is so easily armed.

Posted by longball | April 16, 2007 6:26 PM

if people are going to be crazy and think that they need to protect themselves against the government, can't we just let them have their shotguns and hunting rifles. hell, i own a shotgun. just outlaw the ownership, manufacturing, and sale of handguns.

we'd see how far the gun guy would have made it with a 20 guage instead of two 9mms.

Posted by konstantConsumer | April 16, 2007 6:32 PM


Not that Wikipedia is by any means authoritative, but I have seen it in numerous other sources that a sizeable number of Swiss households have actual bona-fide assault weapons.

(From Wikipedia regarding gun ownership in Switzerland)

"Number of guns in circulation

In some 2001 statistics,[3] it is noted that there are about 420,000 assault rifles stored at private homes, mostly SIG 550 types. Additionally, there are some 320,000 assault rifles and military pistols exempted from military service in private possession, all selective-fire weapons having been converted to semi-automatic operation only. In addition, there are several hundred thousand other semi-automatic small arms classified as carbines. The total number of firearms in private homes is estimated minimally at 1.2 million; more liberal estimates put the number at 3 million."

That's a lot of guns for a very small country, and yet their murder rate is infinitesimal. Even Michael Moore understood that other forces are at work in the figures surrounding American gun violence (like our history of violence and conquest, perhaps?)

Additionally, those of you who feel no need for self-defensc might want to consider what happened in Bosnia - which was a fairly modern European country. I'd venture to say that many those folks would have been a lot better off with firearms than without them when the Serbs showed up at their doors. At the very least - they wouldn't have been the only ones killed.

Posted by liberalgunnut | April 16, 2007 7:09 PM


we'd see how far the gun guy would have made it with a 20 guage instead of two 9mms.

Probably pretty far. Every look into a cop car? Notice what they have in there? 12 gauge shotguns. Notice what they pull out when things get ugly? Said 12 gauge shotgun.

Personally I despise most gun-control advocates. Why? Well for one because they're hypocrites. Gun-control advocates are generally the first people who bitch and shit and piss and moan about the brutality of the military and the police, yet are also the first ones to say that only the police and military (and other government employees) should have guns. The second thing that pisses me off about gun control advocates is that they're stupid and ignorant; 99 percent of them don't know the first thing about firearms, listening to their bullshit really pisses me off, it's like listening to right-wingers spout off about 'partial birth' abortion. I'm sorry, but if you don't know the difference between semi-automatic and automatic, or between a pistol and a revolver then you should shut the fuck up. The third thing that pisses me off about gun control advocates is again hypocrisy; gun control advocates will say that they're against violence and that they would never own a gun, yet if someone breaks into their house what's the first thing they do? They call a cop. Sorry, but being against violence doesn't mean that you get to delegate it to someone else. In this many gun-control advocates come off like a man who eats meat, but condemns the butcher. Finally gun-control advocates piss me off because they assume that just because someone wears a military uniform, carries a badge or works for the government that they are somehow morally more qualified to possess deadly weapons than someone who doesn't. This last is total bullshit. I was in the Army with guys who would have cheerfully driven an M-1 tank through a gay rights parade and then gut shot any survivors. I remember back during the first Clinton administration and the imbroglio over "Don't ask. Don't tell" hearing guys in my unit say that we should just kill all the faggots so we didn't have to worry about them joining the military. As far as cops go remember David Brame? Or, if you believe that only the police should have guns perhaps you should re-read the series the Seattle P-I did on corrupt sheriff's deputies. Or look at the problems with the Seattle Police Department's Office of Public Accountability. Yeah, paragons of public virtue, each and every one of them.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | April 16, 2007 7:34 PM

a shotgun holds, what, 5 shells. he'd have to reload, and that's when he'd be in trouble. also, he would have to be much closer.

Posted by konstantConsumer | April 16, 2007 7:46 PM

additionally, it's hard to conceal a shotgun.

Posted by konstantConsumer | April 16, 2007 7:47 PM

There sure is alot of hate going around today about gun control, the military and cops and the entertainment industry and all I hear is fear fear fear.
I had a dream i woke up to this morning(i'm for real) and it was I got shot by a sniper in Iraq trying to kill another sniper.

Posted by summertime | April 16, 2007 7:51 PM

You know what I hate about gun nuts, KonstantConsumer? They can't stop themselves from mucking up every tragedy that comes around with their hot and sweaty talk about weapons, calibers, the best angles for head shots, and all that other good stuff that turns their crank. It's creepy and disgusting.

And it's the gun nuts who insist that they need to load up to protect themselves from the impending Police State, jack-booted thugs and so on, yet also insist that the "real solution" to these mass shooters is to "lock 'em up", presumably on the barest suspicion that they might be thinking about violence. So much for logical consistency.

Liberalgunnut: every Swiss male is REQUIRED to own an assault rifle. He's also REQUIRED to maintain that weapon and take lifelong training in it, and to serve in a -- my, my -- well-regulated militia, and they take these tasks extremely seriously.

That's a million miles away from Virginia, where even a convicted murderer can easily purchase any kind of weapon his heart desires at a gun show (which might be a dude with an open trunk lid) without so much as showing ID. That's against the law, of course, selling to a felon, but it's also illegal to require even the most rudimentary background check to find out. That's just plain sickening.

As is most gun nut conversation.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 8:13 PM

I've never been shot but I've seen action of a fire fight. In my dream this morning I was crouched behind a wall and spotted through a window a sniper aiming on soldiers of my unit in some alley way. There was a girl with me in uniform and I handed her my weapon to tell her to cover me when I make my aim on the target which was the sniper I saw. I crouched and leaned around the wall to get my aim and suddenly fear. Fear I was being targeted from the building behind me.
I turned and looked up at window and saw a rifle barrel pointed at me and the sniper behind that. He aimed and shot me me. and in my dream i felt the bullet enter my heart. It took the wind out of me and hurt. then he aimed for the second shot to finish me and that went to my head. i awoke and was freaked out by my dream. I never felt so much dread and felt death as I did in that dream.

Posted by summertime | April 16, 2007 9:02 PM

The sad rewality is when after doing some school work to see what had only happend to me ina dream and the violence of it and the context of war. This really was happening after I awoke.
But it was not Iraq. It was a college. And those students are not going to school to learn how to do combat. they are not there to plan everyday waiting to shoot some pshycho nut. They are students not warriors. The last place guns should be is at a school. I feel for everyone in this tragedy and am saddened. But everybody going around debating and saying we got to kill the bastards before they kill us and bringing a gun to school just for that purpose is not the world I want to be in. I am afraid of a culture of fear. It would be just like the battleground in my dream. And getting shot or shooting someone is not fun or cool.
I was lucky I died only in my dream.
So all you gun advocates want everybody to be trained killers to defend themselves. Cause in the army thats what we did. Thats bull. Not on a civilian school ground. do not warp education into some place to have everybody living in fear. Stop the fear. its friggin sad.

Posted by summertime | April 16, 2007 9:14 PM

Torrentprime - by your "logic", we should be all be allowed to own personal nuclear weapons. After all, the act of owning a nuclear bomb by itself doesn't hurt anyone.

Posted by Sean | April 16, 2007 10:33 PM

Fnarf, bless you for trying to bring some sense to these idiots, but it's a lost cause. Tell a gun nut that guns make it easier to murder, and he'll say guns are no more deadly than knives. Tell that same nut to use a knife for home defense and he'll say a knife is no match for an intruder carrying a gun. Point out the inconsistency, and he'll call you names.

Posted by Sean | April 16, 2007 10:43 PM

i think what's even more upsetting, especially after the recent events here in washington, is no one speaking out on violence against women.
domestic violence was not only behind the senseless cowardly act today, but also over @ CNN and here at UW as well.

Posted by m | April 16, 2007 11:39 PM


"You blame this on some soi-distant "personal rage" problem"

It's "soi-disant," actually, and what do you have against the word "so-called"?

Posted by Rooth | April 17, 2007 8:13 AM

a) the day I actually advocate that, you go right ahead and remind me of it. Until then, you've got nothing but a slippery slope argument that proves nothing, ala "But if we let gays get married, what's next? Dogs?" Your argument means nothing, as a handgun is not a nuclear weapon.

b)Owning nuclear weapons isn't protected by that pesky 2nd amendment, not one of which I've heard the gun banners on this thread mention.

Posted by torrentprime | April 17, 2007 8:22 AM

Thank you. The extra "t" dropped in in the heat of the moment. "So-called" would have worked as well; just my choice is all.

A thought:
The Constitution is a living document. It's not frozen in glass or set in stone. It is supposed to evolve along with the society it represents.

Y'know how you can tell?

Because it has amendments. The original document was amended and changed to meet the changing needs of society. Prohibition was begun with one amendment and ended with another.

US society no longer needs easy access to guns. The second amendment needs amending.

There is no difference between "illegal" guns and legal ones. Especially since most "illegal" guns were not, in fact, bought at the factory gate by gangsters. They began life as part of the flood of perfectly legal weapons held by allegedly-responsible owners who sold them, lost them, or reported them stolen.

If the shooter had had to resort to a knife or a bat to express his rage, imagine how many lives might have been saved.

Tight control on guns works. It's been proven over and over again. Not in dictatorships, but in active democracies (and the odd constitutional monarchy).

To argue against gun control at a time like this is to support the right of maniacs to kill.

Because if you're not going to take the guns away from the honest men, you're saying that the criminals should be allowed to have guns.

Posted by Metro | April 17, 2007 9:21 AM

Tight control on guns works. It's been proven over and over again. Not in dictatorships, but in active democracies (and the odd constitutional monarchy).

Posted by Metro | April 17, 2007 9:21 AM

Erm, not necessarily. Here in the UK private ownership of pistols and revolvers was banned around 10 years ago following the Dunblane slaughter. We now have much more gun crime than ever before. We also have the situation where an Olympic sport is illegal in this country and our Olympic shots have to train abroad. Quite where their replacements will come from is not yet clear

Posted by Bob | April 17, 2007 10:03 AM

How does one become a "professional gun-hugger"?
Sign me up!

Posted by K X One | April 17, 2007 11:36 AM

"44. assumes that many students have a violent temperament, a la high school. But many of those violent HS kids never go to college. What a silly point to assume, that guns would lead to more shootings."

Not really. I work in student affairs at a large university and we see our share of "troubled" individuals, including one or two who genuinely scared the hell out of me (and who are no longer welcome at this school). Social well-being and academic achievement don't necessarily correlate 100% of the time.

Posted by Rob Lll | April 17, 2007 12:16 PM

From Virginia Tech's website...

"The two weapons used in this incident were a 9-milimeter handgun and a 22-caliber handgun. Investigators have traced the weapons and confirmed that Cho did legally purchase them in accordance with Virginia law."


Posted by Anon | April 17, 2007 3:22 PM

If only one or two people at V.T. had a concealed weapons permit and been carrying in the vicinity of the Korean killer, fewer people would have been killed. The killer would have been taken out much sooner, before he could have completed his deadly mission.

Guns are for DEFENSE. That's why far more intelligent people than Danny Savage instituted the 2'nd Amendment into our Constitution...

Posted by sae | April 17, 2007 11:41 PM

If only one or two people at V.T. had a concealed weapons permit and been carrying in the vicinity of the Korean killer, fewer people would have been killed. The killer would have been taken out much sooner, before he could have completed his deadly mission.

Guns are for DEFENSE. That's why far more intelligent people than Danny Savage instituted the 2'nd Amendment into our Constitution...

Posted by sae | April 17, 2007 11:41 PM

If only one or two people at V.T. had a concealed weapons permit and been carrying in the vicinity of the Korean killer, fewer people would have been killed. The killer would have been taken out much sooner, before he could have completed his deadly mission.

Guns are for DEFENSE. That's why far more intelligent people than Danny Savage instituted the 2'nd Amendment into our Constitution...

Posted by sae | April 17, 2007 11:41 PM

Dan, this post and especially the plane crash analogy really hit home for me. On July 29 of last year, my little sister, a sky diving enthusiast, was killed when the jump plane she was riding in crashed just after takeoff. In perfect health, she was taken from us without warning. In the intervening months, the pain of losing her has subsided marginally at best.

But my sister was not murdered. Somewhere out there is an explanation for what happened to that plane and with that explanation will likely come steps that can be taken to prevent the same fate for others. That is indeed exactly what must be weaned from my sister's death, the deaths of five others on the plane with her that day and of the pain and suffering for the two who actually survived. It's all about understanding why and doing something about it.

Failing to do exactly the same thing, even it does mean enacting tougher gun laws, with regard to the much greater tragedy at VT would be a travesty to all of those who were victimized by the event.

Your point about the supposed "new worthiness" of a "random slaying" is also accurate. The plane crash that took my sister's life made CNN and other national new outlets. The same for the resulting investigation. Yet, every day people are murdered by hand guns in what is indeed typically described as a "random shooting." In my opinion, a highly dysfunctional, institutionally violent society is the underlying cause.

Posted by Protractor | April 18, 2007 9:10 AM

No issue better illustrates left/right hypocrisy than that of guns.

Conservatives: Yes, we're detaining people indefinitely without due process! We can't let constitutional rights get in the way when we're talking about LIVES, people!

But heaven forbid that death interfere with my right to own as many guns as I want.

Liberals: Prohibition just forces industries underground, where they cannot be safely regulated. Yes, drugs harm people, but how DARE you interfere with my right to use them?

But, we should prohibit people from owning a tool often necessary for legitimate hunting or self-defense, because some people might misuse them or be incompetent in their usage. After all, we're just talking about a bunch of "crackers", not good, secular urbanites.

In a perfect world, the ACLU and NRA would be natural allies, both fighting for maximalist interpretations of individual liberties. It's a shame that the prejudices of both groups prevent this from happening.

Posted by MHD | April 18, 2007 10:50 AM


Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 3:49 PM

You know what I hate about gun control nuts?

Read this entire thread and you'll get the idea. This is worse than the damn viaduct debate.

People who want guns will find ways to get them, controls or not. Period. Gun control does not solve the larger, societal problem.

Posted by Gomez | April 18, 2007 4:06 PM


Posted by mac | April 18, 2007 4:21 PM


Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 4:24 PM

BERLIN HAS 3.8 !!!

Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 4:33 PM


Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 4:42 PM


Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 4:48 PM

Hey Mac,
You really sound like a well educated guy. I wonder when they will ban homemade bombs in Iraq. According to your theory, that will solve the problem...just ban them. LOL

By the way, you might want to compare Washington, DC with those other countries. Guns were outlawed there in 1976 and the crime rate has gone up every year since. Go figure!!

Posted by Blaire | April 18, 2007 5:37 PM

I have an opinion as a victim of violent crime. There are 80,000,000 gun owners last night in this country who did nothing wrong. I own a handgun to protect myself and my family. I'm not right wing or liberal. If there were no guns available to any of us, a nut like this would find another way to kill.

Posted by Bobby | April 18, 2007 7:53 PM


Posted by MAC | April 18, 2007 9:42 PM

A respectful and appropriate response to the tragedy is for us to immediately discuss stronger gun controls, i.e., to talk of solutions.

In another era when such massacres occurred, politicians were strong enough to take action immediately (NYC).

In other countries, when such massacres occurred, politicians are strong enough to actually purchase the guns back from its citizens (Australia).

Now, people just say 'how can you talk politics after such a tragedy'. This is an attempt to induce guilt and silence discussion. It is a conservative conversational technique that prevents national discussion and effective problem-solving.

Besides, this is not so much a political issue -- it is a human issue. How to protect our college-age, young adults? How to teach young adults effective communication? If there were more Communication and Mediation 101 courses there would be not need for Rifle Range 101.

I do not understand how guns can teach children the very important skills needed for life -- skills such as understanding, mediation and communication.

"The world could use an over-abundance of understanding right about now."

Posted by Mimi | April 18, 2007 9:56 PM


Posted by MAC | April 19, 2007 7:03 PM

Your crass, hateful and tasteless accusation of Misty Bernall goes beyond the pale. Quit making failed efforts to appear to be a learned, self-styled intellectual. The Bernall statement alone proved beyond any challenge that you are an unethical and cowardly pig.

Your entourage of whimpering and uneducated (but highly indoctrinated) boobs are, each and all, personally and individually responsible for each and every firearm death of an unarmed person, ever. To mandate that a person cannot be his or her first line of personal defense is criminal.

As at Columbine, the police at VT arrived at but didn't enter into the building until the shooting stopped. Yet you would imply that we wait for the cavalry and hope for the best in the meantime.

Well, Bozo, the cavalry didn't come in two of the biggest illustrations of gun control legislation in history. Innocents died. It's your fault because you and those of your ilk support the revocation of individual defensive capabilities.

We who support the 2nd amendment do not do so strictly for self defense. We do it for the war that you pansies declare on us, our families, and our once free nation. Hitler did the same thing in 1935 and then had the tenacity to proclaim that one day the whole world would join in the enlightenment of gun control.

Learn history from someone qualified to teach it. You are cowards and complicit in all crime.



Posted by ara | April 22, 2007 8:00 AM

Dearest Mac,

The reason one of those 80M were not at hand to stitch the creep, wingnut, is because those 80M were obeying the law!!!!

What a dick you are!

Lovingly yours,


Posted by ara | April 22, 2007 8:17 AM

TO ALL ANTI-GUN PEOPLE (I Won't refer to you as Nuts, as some of you do to us Pro-Gun People). See a difference already?

I would like to present the following scenario for you to deeply comptemplate.

You are a parent as I am. You have a 20 year old daughter and a 19 year old son. You do not own a gun but I do.

At 3 a.m. you and I hear a struggle in the bedrooms next to our own, in our individual homes, our daughters room. As we become more awake, we realize there is someone in your and my daughters room and they both are in pain and fighting with a person.

Now, remember, I own a gun, am qualified to use it and you do not.

As I act to save my daughter, with my personal firearm, that I chose to have in my home for this very circumstance and others, what will you do?

You will be overcome with a terrible feeling when you realize what is happening to your flesh and blood and that YOU cannot protect her in her pain and trembling fear.

You pick up the only weapon you have in the house, your telephone and call 911. In the next 5 to 8 minutes (average response time in most cities) what will you do as you continue to listen to your daughter screaming for YOUR help?

The guy in my daughters room? He has been dead or seriously wounded for the last five minutes you have been waiting for the police to show up.

There is nothing wrong with a free person to have the right to protect himself, and his family. If you choose not to avail yourself of that choice, please do not try to take it away from me and my family.

To end this, both my daughter and son were taught from the very early years what a gun could do. I demonstrated by shooting a watermelon. I told them when they wanted to look at my guns, to ask and they would be able to do so. They did and I did. Today, my daughter knows how to load and handle a pistol as does my son and both are very good shots.

I did not raise them to be victims.

So you will know I am not a "gun nut", I spent 20 years in the United States Navy, held a very high level security clearance both in the military and in civilian life and am a former police officer.

I just have seen to many innocent people killed by some crazy wanting attention and was able to do so because the victims were obeying our restrictive gun laws. I could cite many examples, but this is too long already.

Please consider what I have written and remember that we are not nuts because we want to own a gun.

Posted by BLAIRE | April 23, 2007 4:47 PM

Dearest ara.
My very point... what is the point of having "legal" guns if you can't use them to protect when protection is required, as in the case of VT.
Having legal guns only makes the person that is in conflict more likely to use the weapon "he has" because he believes that you have a weapon also.
Of course i do not expect you to understand this logical arguement as you seem to have the intelligence of a wart.

Posted by mac | April 25, 2007 7:57 PM

Ara... do you actually know what "beyond the pale " means???

Posted by mac | April 25, 2007 9:08 PM

I do apologise... i have had numerous complaints from warts and i do understand their frustration.
To all warts.... ARA is a complete prick with no more right to live on god's clean earth than a weasel.... she seems to have a brain the size of an ant's wedding tackle.... maybe in a future life he/she will come back as a fart !!!

Posted by MAC | April 25, 2007 9:18 PM

ARA ... you reap what you sow

Posted by MAC | April 25, 2007 9:27 PM

To ARA....... also known as A Right Asshole.
I trust your silence is because someone has rolled you back into the ocean as you seem like a complete fat, ugly, stupid, inbred, ... god i've run out of adjectives... oh no ... here's one.... bastard.
You seem to have the intelligence of a grain of sand... I think you should stick to sex sessions with your mother, father and uncle.

Posted by MAC | April 26, 2007 5:29 PM

Silence is not so much golden as telling

Posted by MAC | April 26, 2007 6:26 PM

and up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong while watching how his penis patches got wet at

Posted by penis patches | April 30, 2007 11:35 AM

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