Wed. Open Thread

As I said yesterday, make sure you don’t learn the lessons that people will try to teach you in the next few weeks:

Police can’t be everywhere, and as incidents from Columbine to Virginia Tech demonstrate, by the time they show up at a mass shooting, it’s usually too late. On the other hand, one group of people is, by definition, always on the scene: the victims. Only if they’re armed, they may wind up not being victims at all.

“Gun-free zones” are premised on a fantasy: That murderers will follow rules, and that people like my student, or Bradford Wiles, are a greater danger to those around them than crazed killers like Cho Seung-hui. That’s an insult. Sometimes, it’s a deadly one.

Again, I don’t know what fantasy world people live in that “more guns on campus” is the solution to the tragedy the other day.

It may very well be that an armed person may have pulled a gun and downed the gunman at VT. Just as plausible, he could have pulled the gun and shot another innocent. Or would have been armed when police showed up and accidentally shot. Or any number of things.

Regardless, suppose the best case scenario happened- an armed individual shot the killer before he finished his spree, and only half the people killed would have died. I am betting the number of people involved in accidental, spur of the moment rage shootings, drunking shootings, and what not would top those lives saved in simply a matter of weeks were campuses populated with heavily armed young men and women.

Those who want armed campuses will point to statistics that state that shall-carry states have seen no rise in violence as gun possession increased. What they are not looking at is that those statistics show no sign of increase in violent gun crime across the population as a whole. Colleges are a very unique cross-section of the population, composed of 18-22 year olds, the most violent members of society. Pointing to statistics from the entire population and extrapolating to behavior of a limited cross-section of society would and should be problematic. Social science researchers are aware of this and that is why research designs which use data only from student populations are always somewhat dangerous to make broader assessments about the larger population.

As far as I am concerned, only if you want more gun violence would you support heavily armed students on every campus. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am- regardless, I refuse to let the actions of a crazed mass murderer dictate policy decisions that would have broad and potentially disastrous implications for society. And that is what this is really about- knee-jerk reactions to the actions of a crazy person.






189 replies
  1. 1
    canuckistani says:

    Here’s another option… that edgy armed guy full of beer and No-Doz* might have shot his professor six months before the mass murderer even showed up.

    *Yeah, I know.. an unthinkable combination for university students.

  2. 2

    Fortunately most Democrats have learned to stop comitting political suicide over the issue. If the majority of Americans want weapons suitable for warfare freely available, fuck em.

    BTW, Iraq just have VT times five.
    I hate Fox but the have the story.

  3. 3
    The Other Steve says:

    I’m rather in the middle either way on the gun issue. I’ve considered obtaining a concealed carry permit, and a handgun myself, just to go through the process. It seems to me the key is if you have it, you better be well trained. I don’t mean the one day gun class the NRA teaches… I mean police academy level training.

    I think what’s interesting. The NRA nuts were pushing for concealed carry here in Minnesota, with these claims that it would reduce crime. They based this on statistics in states during the 1990s which passed concealed carry were crime went down.

    Now they were lying, because crime also went down in states without concealed carry.

    What’s more interesting, is that since the concealed carry law went into effect, crime has gone up. I’m not so dishonest as to claim the concealed carry bill was the reason, I think it’s more complicated.

    But we did have a bouncer at a old popular bar who was shot and killed by a patron. He had thrown the guy out for causing trouble. The guy went to his car and got his gun, which he had a carry permit for, and came back and shot the bouncer.

    Life is never how it appears in the movies. As I’ve repeated on several blogs now… You aren’t John McClane. This isn’t Die Hard, and you are aren’t going to be shouting “HEADSHOT! PWNED!” in real life.

  4. 4
    Frank says:

    The Derb has kids, so do a number of conservative luminaries. How about we send them all to the same Uni and institute the conservative prefered everywhere all the time gun policy.

  5. 5
    The Other Steve says:

    BTW, Iraq just have VT times five.
    I hate Fox but the have the story.

    Yeah, but Iraq has five times the population. So in aggregate, Iraq is really no less safe than Virginia.

    Right?

    And what about the new schools that were painted? How come the media never talks about those?

  6. 6

    Before we allow students to have weapons in their dorm rooms I would suggest letting them posses hot plates and immersion heaters first to see if they can handle the pistol/rifle responsibility.

  7. 7
    uh_clem says:

    The important perspective to keep in mind here is that this event was an aberation and to base policy on a rare and unusual incident is a very bad idea, no matter how sensational the event.

    About 30,000 people a year die in the US due from guns. Very very few of this total is from mass shootings. Let’s focus on what is to be done about the 29,967, not the 33.

  8. 8

    By: John Cole April 18, 2007 at 10:18 am

    …What they are not looking at is that those statistics show no sign of increase in violent gun crime across the population as a whole. Colleges are a very unique cross-section of the population, composed of 18-22 year olds, the most violent members of society. Pointing to statistics from the entire population and extrapolating to behavior of a limited cross-section of society…

    Are college-attending 18-22 years olds really the most violent members of society?

  9. 9
    mrmobi says:

    Well, John, as you know, I’m very much on the handgun-control side of this issue, but you make a salient point.

    Even given free access to guns, can we not have some arenas in our society which are free of weapons? If there’s a mass-killing at a football stadium, does that mean 80,000 half-in-the-bag football fans should be armed? (on the other hand, I think I just came up with an idea for a new “reality” show.)

    Do these people really want high school (Columbine) students to be armed? Sounds to me like some of these “pundits” are taking their talking points from the NRA.

  10. 10
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    The important perspective to keep in mind here is that this event was an aberation and to base policy on a rare and unusual incident is a very bad idea, no matter how sensational the event.

    Case in point: the USA PATRIOT Act.

    Yeah, maybe legislation-by-emoting isn’t the best of ideas.

  11. 11
    The Other Steve says:

    One, more thing. The story of Professor Liviu Librescu really got to me last night.

    John mentioned it briefly yesterday. A Romanian Jew who survived the Holocaust. He emigrated to Israel in 1978, and then to America in 1986 where he began teaching.

    He threw himself in front of the door, trying to block the shooter while yelling at his students to jump out the windows.

    He died. But his students lived.

  12. 12
    mrmobi says:

    Since this is an open thread, here’s a clip from Rick Pearstein’s blog, about food safety:

    The Associated Press studied the records and found that between 2003 and 2006 the Food and Drug Administration conducted 47 percent fewer safety inspections. FDA field offices have 12 percent fewer employees. Safety tests for food produced in the United States have gone down by three quarters—have almost ground to a halt—in the previous year alone.

    What does that mean, in practical terms? Consider the peanut butter.

    Factories producing the foods most susceptible to contamination, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are supposed to be inspected every year. (That’s cold comfort to those who ate this year’s bad batches of spinach, lettuce, cantaloupes and tomatoes.) Since the last known outbreak of salmonella in peanut butter was in Australia in the 1990s, that puts it in the “low-risk” category; peanut butter factories are inspected only every two to three years.

    People started getting sick in February. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control traced the illnesses back to a single plant in Sylvester, Ga. The next day, the FDA arrived for a post hoc inspection (by then 425 people in 44 states had been sickened). Then they covered their own back: “What you saw with the spinach and certainly what you saw with the spinach and certainly what you saw with the peanut butter, is when we see those signals, we’re going to act to protect the public health,” a spokesman promised.

    He was saying: The system worked. In a sense, he was right. This was the system working as it is presently designed. Barn door: closed. Cow: already long gone. That, basically, is as good as it gets in the modern FDA.

    As Dr. Phil would say: How’s that working out for you?

    I guess the “drowning government in a bathtub” movement is grinding right on.

  13. 13
    mrmobi says:

    Oops, that’s Rick Perlstein.

  14. 14
    ThymeZone says:

    While we are “avoiding” the wrong lessons, we might want to consider some of the right ones, after the victims are buried and there has been time for the tv trucks to go away.

    One of the “right” lessons is going to have to do with the mental health care system ….. or I should say, lack thereof. In the last fifty years, the pendulum in this area has swung from abuse of patients to being too cautious about privacy and other patient rights, at the expense of families, friends, employers, and society at large. And ultimately, at the expense of the patients themselves.

    Mental health care is underfunded, understaffed, underinsured, and widely neglected in this country. The litany of tragic stories would break even the hardest heart.

    If you ask me, VT is about crummy mental health care and bad laws.

    BLACKSBURG, Va. – The gunman blamed for the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history had previously been accused of stalking two female students and had been taken to a mental health facility in 2005 after his parents worried he might be suicidal, police said Wednesday.

    What was this kid doing living in a dorm in an apparently unsupervised situation? Buying handguns and apparently carrying them on campus?

  15. 15
    AkaDad says:

    I’m pretty sure that keg parties would be much safer with firearms.

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    were campuses populated with heavily armed young men and women.

    After “heavily armed”, you ought to hammer the point home by adding “often drunk and/or stoned”, and after “women”, add “, easily spurned by the other sex and often confused and angry at the opposite sex, difficult professors, bouncers, and a late pizza delivery guy”

  17. 17
    Pb says:

    So, the Texas Futile Care Law is at it again, and people are still dying against their will. But in the meantime, this asshole tried to hawk his book to me because I was on his e-mail list–because I flamed his pathetic Glibertarian ass and he never replied, until now, trying to sell his book. Moron. Original flame follows:

    To answer the question posed in your recent inflammatory and heartless article in Slate ( http://www.slate.com/id/2133518/ ) — namely “A woman who couldn’t pay her bills is unplugged from her ventilator and dies. Is this wrong?”:

    The answer is yes. Yes, that is wrong. It is wrong because it is murder — and specifically in this case, the killing of a helpless, innocent, cognizant human being in a hospital, no less. Sorry, you don’t get a free pass when you murder ‘the poor’–they’re people too. There is no minimum dollar amount in someone’s bank account below which you are suddenly allowed to murder them. That means you can’t go out this weekend and kill a hobo for fun, just so you know.

    As for your ridiculous discussion of ‘ventillator insurance’–does such a thing actually exist outside the confines of the Machiavellian workings of your brain? That was a rhetorical question–it doesn’t. Therefore, I will correctly rename and generalize your imaginary and alleged health care/life insurance policy to its proper name: murder insurance.

    Murder insurance–akin to protection money–is the amount that you are required to pay to not be killed by the institution being paid for said insurance, in this case the state. This is a policy that rightly should be at the opposite pole from your alleged libertarian views. And yet, that’s precisely the policy you proposed–state-supported extortion and capital punishment, all rolled into one. This is no different from the classic line of muggers everywhere, “your money or your life”. And by positing it, you have shown yourself to be no better morally than a common murderous thug–but on a much greater scale.

    And the response I just got, excerpted:

    Your comments on my Slate column

    Steven E. Landsburg

    You’re getting this (one time only!) email because you took the trouble to write me and share your thoughts about one (or more!) of my columns in Slate.

    My new book

    No book plug for you, asshole. Now learn read your fucking e-mail for once, you overpaid morally decrepit sack of shit.

  18. 18
    Face says:

    Before we allow students to have weapons in their dorm rooms I would suggest letting them posses hot plates and immersion heaters first to see if they can handle the pistol/rifle responsibility.

    PoTD.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    Here’s a somewhat OT topic: The Supremes supported the ban on some special abortion procedure.

    Here’s my question: Why does the Court even hear arguments anymore? Why even bother? It’s clear that Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Roberts will all vote the same way EVERY TIME. Likewise will the chick, the Elf, and whoever else. Why not just save a TON of time and just ask Kennedy how he feels??

    Honestly, we dont have a court of 9. We have a court of 1. Whatever Kennedy thinks is exactly how the ruling will turn. Amazing the polarity of such a court body.

  20. 20
    srv says:

    As the descriptions of the killers anti-social writing and behavior come out, it reminds me of how I feel when I read so many wingnut blogs.

    sglover was right to call these people ill.

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    Are college-attending 18-22 years olds really the most violent members of society?

    You are looking at it the wrong way. I would assume that aggression is normally distributed like all other personality/behavioral characteristics. There may be something to a claim that those 18-22 year olds may be better at channeling their aggression into what we would consider more pro-scoial activities like politics, sports, etc., than would those who do not go to college. I would argue there is less difference between the behavior of 18-22 year old colege students and 18-22 year-old non-college students today than there was 10, 20, and 30 years ago, given the much wider access to college today.

    But you are still dealing with the base aggression and lack of full and complete brain development that comes with 18-22 year olds. I, for one, do not want to add firearms to an already volatile situation that contains immaturity, hormones, stressful and tumultuous times, etc.

    At any rate, it is up to those who wish to propose a drastic policy change such as free-fire zones on campus to prove that it would be fine. Not the other way around.

  22. 22
    Jake says:

    Mental health care is underfunded, understaffed, underinsured, and widely neglected in this country.

    And I’m afraid one of the “Lessons” people will take from this is depressed people are dangerous to society at large. Just what you need to cheer you up!

    However, I assume he was taken to a MHF diagnosed, treated and released in the same way any other ill person is diagnosed, treated and released. If a psych. doesn’t think a patient is a danger to himself or others, they can’t keep the patient.

    What pisses me off no end is the fact he wasn’t thrown in jail for stalking. There you have a clear criminal offense. What’s more, anyone who pays attention for five seconds knows that unless the victim has round-the-clock body guards, stalking rarely ends with the perp. taking up stamp collecting as a hobby unless someone gives him a kick. In DC last year a woman was being stalked by her husband, the judge hearing their divorce case ignored her concerns and didn’t extend her PO. Hubby took this as a cue to follow her to work, throw gasoline over her and strike a match and I know that made national news because a friend in Ohio asked about it. Hello? Is anyone paying attention? Perhaps any school admins. in the vicinity? Guess not.

    Maybe one of the Lessons people will take from this is that you can’t ignore stalking. When I was at IU the girl in the room above me was killed, along with the RA who tried to stop the killer (paying attention Mr. HatTrick?) from some shit who followed her from Germany and managed to acquire an assault rifle along the way. (How do you say clusterfuck in German?) The woman had been scared of this guy for a long time but the police response: Nothing we can do unless he attacks you. Yeah.

    But I’ll imagine we’ll have a “debate” about stalking and that will give CNN an excuse to trot out all of the old tape about celebrity stalkers and the people who think there should be stricter punishments for stalkers will be labeled FemiNazis and Girly Men and then back to sleep until the next outbreak of mayhem.

  23. 23
    curtadams says:

    Handgun control needs to be national. Regardless of the laws on concealed carry, the fact is that a handgun is very concealable. As long as they’re legal anywhere in the country, they can and will be carried and concealed everywhere. They’re not good for hunting and they’re not good for armed insurrection. Why are people so eager to defend a weapon which has good uses only in suicide, armed robbery, and killing friends and relatives during domestic disputes?

  24. 24
    Dreggas says:

    So now we’ll get mental instead of racial profiling? I bet Dean Koontz and Stephen King would have been committed by their teachers too.

    People write dark shit, they write psychotic, emotional, homicidal shit. That doesn’t mean they are going to act on it. Case in point. A good friend of mine in Highschool wrote a poem about suicide. She was very outgoing, had lots of friends, was a cheerleader etc. but she wrote this poem, not because she was suicidal but because she was inspired to write it for an english assignment. The teacher called her parents, got the school psychologist involved and tried to have her committed, it was pure bullshit.

    The kid in this case had a long list of issues, I see that. However what was the cause of those issues? Were they medical or societal? Same went for the Columbine killers. We live in a society where everything is based on who has the most money. Popularity isn’t determined by who you are it’s who you know. This is even more prevalent in Highschool and to some extent college. We all know the cliques of preps, jocks, etc. You either fit in or you don’t and god help you if you don’t.

    Teachers and faculty, especially at the high school level play into this as well. If you don’t fit into what the teachers view as acceptable your made even more of an outcast. Don’t conform? You must have issues so we’ll send you to the shrink and marginalize you while we heap praise on those who do conform, those who are the sports star, the head cheerleader, or the class know it all.

    There’s no real support for the outcast in all of this. They are just that, outcasts and since no one listens to them they feel even more helpless and desperate. In cases such as the Columbine issue they snapped.

    They didn’t have the support of their families, they had no support in the school system so they snapped, they weren’t able to deal with the shit they were going through and from what I saw they weren’t equipped to do so.

  25. 25
    Pb says:

    I’m afraid one of the “Lessons” people will take from this is depressed people are dangerous to society at large.

    Well, it’s true that a few (very) mentally ill people are quite dangerous to society at large. The problem is, we don’t know exactly who these people might be. So the solution, in my opinion, is to treat mental illnesses more seriously than we have in the past. Better health care for everyone saves lives, directly and indirectly.

  26. 26
    Paul L. says:

    Why are people so eager to defend a weapon which has good uses only in suicide, armed robbery, and killing friends and relatives during domestic disputes?

    Forget about defensive use of handguns?
    So being used to stop someone from killing, raping or robbing does not qualify as a good use?

  27. 27
    RSA says:

    I bet Dean Koontz and Stephen King would have been committed by their teachers too.

    I think this is an important point. People are naturally concerned about identifying potentially dangerous people before they go off, but (of course) there’s the cost of false positives. George W. Bush might have been committed for his fun with frogs and firecrackers, for ex—Oh, now I see the other side of the argument. . .

  28. 28
    Zifnab says:

    Those who want armed campuses will point to statistics that state that shall-carry states have seen no rise in violence as gun possession increased.

    Yeah. The other fun side of that statistic is shall-carry states have seen no decrease in violence as gun possession increased. So, while its true that adding more guns hasn’t turned the Deep South into the Wild West, it also hasn’t done much to decrease crime in respective neighborhoods.

    Ask any pawnshop owner who keeps a gun under his desk if he would feel safer with a gun or working in a nicer part of town – you know, one with more cops in it.

    If you really want to make Virginia Tech, or any University, immune to this sort of massacre, put a uniformed officer on every street corner and in every school building. But that shit’s expensive, right? So better to just deputize the campus population and hope the kids can sort it out for themselves. It’ll be like Lord of the Flies, but with guns. Horray.

  29. 29
    Dreggas says:

    RSA Says:

    I think this is an important point. People are naturally concerned about identifying potentially dangerous people before they go off, but (of course) there’s the cost of false positives. George W. Bush might have been committed for his fun with frogs and firecrackers, for ex—-Oh, now I see the other side of the argument. . .

    I see both sides of the argument but it does come down to a form of profiling. We scream bloody murder when it’s done based on gender or race but now we want to profile people based on what they write? Is an english professor qualified to make a judgment about your mental health because you wrote a story about a homicidal maniac?

    I mean yeah the whole frogs and firecrackers thing is a good example (and killing small animals seems to be a hobby of the criminally insane). Usually that does get you committed or at least evaluated but there is a difference between writing about it and doing it.

  30. 30
    ThymeZone says:

    Handgun control needs to be national.

    It also needs to be rational.

    The presumed shooter here was involved in some serious mental health intervention in 2005, but in March of this year apparently purchased the handgun he used in the shootings (or one of them, the other having been also recently purchased) at a retail gun store and according the store owner “passed the background checks without a problem.”

    Do we suppose that if the university authorities, his teachers, and dormmates knew that he had been seen in a mental health intervention involving police, and had recently purchased handguns, or tried to, we might have had the possibility of a different outcome here?

  31. 31
    Paul L. says:

    curtadams Says:
    Why are people so eager to defend a weapon which has good uses only in suicide, armed robbery, and killing friends and relatives during domestic disputes?

    Let me try your emotional argument with another hot button issue.
    Why are people so eager to defend a medical procedure that would be illegal if the baby was moved another 6 inches in the birthing process.

  32. 32
    Buck says:

    Why are people so eager to defend a weapon which has good uses only in suicide, armed robbery, and killing friends and relatives during domestic disputes?

    Well that and the fact that they fit so easily in the glove compartment of your car.

  33. 33
    Jake says:

    We scream bloody murder when it’s done based on gender or race but now we want to profile people based on what they write?

    I’m sure that’s exactly what some cretins will demand if they haven’t already started.

    Round up all the people who write violent stories, produce violent movies, perform violent music, create violent video games and while you’re at it, grab anyone who reads, watches, listens to or plays, same.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    Why are people so eager to defend a medical procedure that would be illegal if the baby was moved another 6 inches in the birthing process.

    Let me take your emotional argument and reverse it.

    Why are people so eager to attack a medical procedure that would be legal if the baby was moved back another 6 inches in the birthing process?

    Also, in America we use question marks with our questions. Now that you’re in the country freak’n learn English.

  35. 35
    Dreggas says:

    Jake Says:

    I’m sure that’s exactly what some cretins will demand if they haven’t already started.

    Round up all the people who write violent stories, produce violent movies, perform violent music, create violent video games and while you’re at it, grab anyone who reads, watches, listens to or plays, same.

    Oh they’re starting to talk about it. After all one of the “lessons learned” is be on the lookout for anyone with a macabre writing style.

  36. 36
    ThymeZone says:

    Let me try your emotional argument with another hot button issue.

    The patented PaulL deflection. “I got nuthin, so let me set off this firecracker …..”

  37. 37
    MNPundit says:

    Hmm I wonder how much of 18-22 year olds getting in trouble is due to police focusing disproportionately on them

    If you are an 18-22 year old male (let alone non-white) the police LIVE to harass you.

  38. 38
    Jake says:

    As far as I am concerned, only if you want more gun violence would you support heavily armed students on every campus.

    And by this logic, why should college kids be the only ones who are able to defend themselves from gun wielding peers? A few months ago not one but two schools were invaded by an adult male who sexually assaulted and then killed a bunch of grade-school girls. (Colorado [?] and Pennsylvannia.) And of course there’s Columbine and all of the other instances where a student has shot up the school. Based on memory alone I can say a student is far more likely to get shot while at school during grades 4 – 12 than on a college campus. Why do the “Guns on Campus” folks hate children?

    Sorry, I just wanted to see if I could come up with a more assinine argument.

  39. 39
    jg says:

    Colleges are a very unique

    ‘Very unique’ professor?

    The handgun issue is important but I think I’m with Greenwald that the more importatn issue is the the gov’t seems to be aware that the guy wasn’t taking any medications after checking their database.

    Also Captain 2nd Rank Vasily Borodin would be disheartened to learn that the country he was trying to defect to when he was shot dead by a saboteur, has since changed to one that will require you to show papers when traveling state to state. He, his large american wife and all their rabbits will need a Real ID or National ID to drive his recreational vehicle out of Montana.

  40. 40
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Every state in the union has a university system. Each of those systems have multiple locations. (The University System of Georgia has 25 locations. Florida has 12. West Virginia, which I think we can all agree is probably the back end of pretty much anywhere in the country, has 11.)

    Let’s take the small number and go with 10 public colleges per state. Two or three of those will be “major campuses” with 20+ students (like VA Tech.)

    Let’s say that, accounting for the smaller sizes of some of the campuses (Glenville State, I’m looking at you) there are two (2) students on each campus that writes “disturbing” fiction in his or her creative writing class.

    50 X 10 X 2

    1000 students as a low end estimate of “disturbing writers.”

    Of those 1000 students, exactly one (1) has gone off and murdered 30 people.

    Do we really want to suggest that we forcibly encarcerate/educate/medicate 999 macabre writers because ONE GUY went postal?

    And then next year, we do the same to all 1000?

    Legislation as emotional response is a BAD IDEA.

  41. 41
    Paul L. says:

    The patented PaulL deflection. “I got nuthin, so let me set off this firecracker …..”

    Look at post before that one.

  42. 42
    Jake says:

    Shorter Paulel.

    Ha ha, made ya look!

  43. 43
    ThymeZone says:

    Legislation as emotional response is a BAD IDEA.

    I agree. The Patriot Act is in response to the actions of 19 hijackers. Nineteen fools out of 300 million people in the country, nineteen bad apples out of the thousands who boarded planes that day.

    Repeal the Patriot Act now! Seriously, repeal the piece of crap.

  44. 44
    BlogReeder says:

    It may very well be that an armed person may have pulled a gun and downed the gunman at VT. Just as plausible, he could have pulled the gun and shot another innocent. Or would have been armed when police showed up and accidentally shot. Or any number of things.

    First I want to say this was a terrible tragedy.
    But what interests me is your definition of innocent. Those students who were shot were innocent too. But ARE they somehow different than a bystander in a self-defense situation? One of the assumptions here, I think, is that they are. I don’t think so. It sounds like one side of the argument is “well, anyone can be a bystander” but a victim is different. Is it that you can control whether or not you’re a victim? You have no control over being a bystander. Is this the issue?

    I know. I’m going to be accused of creating a straw man. Again this has been a terrible tragedy.

  45. 45
    The Other Steve says:

    Oh they’re starting to talk about it. After all one of the “lessons learned” is be on the lookout for anyone with a macabre writing style.

    Quentin Tarantino and Steven King should have been committed years ago.

  46. 46
    jg says:

    ThymeZone Says:

    Legislation as emotional response is a BAD IDEA.

    I agree. The Patriot Act is in response to the actions of 19 hijackers

    9/11 wasn’t the reason for the Patriot Act, it was the means.

  47. 47
    HyperIon says:

    Do we really want to suggest that we forcibly encarcerate/educate/medicate 999 macabre writers because ONE GUY went postal?

    our VP reasoned if there was only a 1% chance of the worst case scenario, we should act like it was a 100%. so there is a precedent….

  48. 48
    capelza says:

    MNPundit Says:

    Hmm I wonder how much of 18-22 year olds getting in trouble is due to police focusing disproportionately on them

    If you are an 18-22 year old male (let alone non-white) the police LIVE to harass you.

    Is it cause or effect? ~looks outside at the totaled car her 21 y/o has plonked down in her driveway for the last five months and thinks about his further adventures in vehicles and the idea that showing up for court is a good thing..but meh, enough about me ~

    DO the police focus on 18 to 22 year olds because the little shits think they are invincible and “it won’t happen to me” My kid is a “good kid”, works hard and can be thoughtful. We talk about everything, BUT he and his friends still dazzle me with their incredible rashness and bad choices.

  49. 49
    Jake says:

    Quentin Tarantino and Steven King should have been committed years ago.

    Not to mention Jim Webb (D-VA). MacacAllen tried to make an issue of books Webb wrote, which were based on his experiences in Vietnam.

    Clearly people who write about a country wracked by war should do so in a tasteful manner that does not offend the sensibilities. If they can’t, clutch your pearls and then lock ’em up before they hurt someone!

  50. 50
    Wilfred says:

    This got me thinking about Wayne Lo, the kid that shot up that music school years ago, wearing a Sick of it All t-shirt. I recall that the father of one of the students Lo killed wrote a book about it.

    The Sufis say: First ask: Who do you blame? Then ask: Why do you blame? Blame is the only way to give meaning to some horrible and otherwise inexplicable event. Religious people used to say “God’s will” and got on with their lives. In some places in the world, they still do, every fucking day; it’s Mash’Allah in Arabic. But materialists don’t have that option – there has to be a reason somewhere, somehow. Without that reason, there’s only blame.

    Unless they’re deeply religious (the why explained) the parents of the dead kids will need someone to blame or a lesson to be learned (the how obtained).

  51. 51
    HyperIon says:

    BUT he and his friends still dazzle me with their incredible rashness and bad choices

    but, but…it has always been so, no?

    it’s just human nature, male adolescent human nature, in this case. now they can hurl themselves at others at high speed whereas previously they were limited to jumping out of trees, etc. again i come back to the combination of flawed humans and increasing means of mayhem. giving cars to adolescents is less dangerous than giving them guns but neither is “safe”.

  52. 52
    Perry Como says:

    Should University employees with a CCW be allowed to carry on campus?

  53. 53
    chopper says:

    Here’s a somewhat OT topic: The Supremes supported the ban on some special abortion procedure.

    the decision isn’t as big as either side is making it out; essentially the SCOTUS said ‘get back to us when you have an actual event come from this law’ as the suit was merely over the law itself rather than some harm coming from out of it. that being said, that means that one of two things is going to have to happen to bring this law before the court for a real decision on the merits of constitutionality, either a woman dies from an ectopic pregnancy that would have lived had she gotten a D&E, or (more likely) a doctor breaks the law to give care in such a case and gets in trouble for it.

    obviously the second case is better than the first, but a doctor’s career still gets screwed up. however, i can imagine enough idealistic docs exist who are willing to challenge this law due to the lack of exception for the life/health of the mother.

    personally, i think avoiding the issue is a dodge by the SCOTUS. roe is pretty clear on the necessity of the life/health exception, so any third-trimester abortion ban that doesn’t include it is by default in disagreement with roe.

  54. 54
    Rome Again says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I read this introduction, and I see a bunch of pissing fraidy cats wanting a US Marshal in every classroom, and mall and plane and discoteque and every single place there might be a crowd of 10 or more. Jesus H. Christ, WTF?

  55. 55
    RSA says:

    MacacAllen tried to make an issue of books Webb wrote, which were based on his experiences in Vietnam.

    Fortunately, Scooter Libby’s already a felon, though for a different offense.

  56. 56

    The wisest comment I’ve read so far is this:

    As with the Columbines of this country, people will stare into the pool seeking answers. Some will see reflections and try to generalize from them about the nature of the shooter and the victims, but the reflections they see will only be their own. Interest groups will look into the pool and see their causes, filling the talk shows with spokespersons who will say that if we had only done “x” the event would have never happened. Others will take a longer view trying to peer into the depths of the pool seeking confirmation of trends historical, social and psychological. They too will see only their own reflections.
    http://www.myleftwing.com/show.....ryId=16062
    (seems to have been deleted, though.)

  57. 57
    Dave says:

    And that is what this is really about- knee-jerk reactions to the actions of a crazy person.

    Actually what this is about is people using a tragic moment to push an agenda. Disgusting.

  58. 58
    Buck says:

    Should University employees with a CCW be allowed to carry on campus?

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why not but I think I am in a miniscule minority here on this board on this topic. It just seems logical to me that in a gun free zone the guy with the gun is king until he kills himself or runs out of ammunition.

    Everybody just wants to call the cops. The reason you call the cops is because they have guns. But by the time they get there (and they will eventually arrive in the hundreds) all they can do is help load up the dead and wounded.

    I do not advocate handing out weapons to college students the same way you hand out pencil sharpeners and toothbrushes. But hell. It seems to me that somebody somewhere needs to be able to do something besides throw a book at the shooter.

  59. 59
    Jimmmm says:

    I’m not against gun ownership, per se. But it really chaps my ass when all the bubba gun nuts talk about rights, without giving equal thought to responsibilities.

    And where in the Bill of Rights does it say that Amendment 2 is the most important among them? That seems to be the article of faith among the LaPerierreistas.

  60. 60
    Pb says:

    I do not advocate handing out weapons to college students the same way you hand out pencil sharpeners and toothbrushes. But hell. It seems to me that somebody somewhere needs to be able to do something besides throw a book at the shooter.

    So your suggestion is…? How about an emergency gun in every classroom–“in case of shooter, break glass“? Oh wait, the crazy shooters could probably figure that one out too…

  61. 61

    John Cole Says:

    Are college-attending 18-22 years olds really the most violent members of society?

    You are looking at it the wrong way. I would assume that aggression is normally distributed like all other personality/behavioral characteristics. There may be something to a claim that those 18-22 year olds may be better at channeling their aggression into what we would consider more pro-scoial activities like politics, sports, etc., than would those who do not go to college. I would argue there is less difference between the behavior of 18-22 year old colege students and 18-22 year-old non-college students today than there was 10, 20, and 30 years ago, given the much wider access to college today.

    But you are still dealing with the base aggression and lack of full and complete brain development that comes with 18-22 year olds. I, for one, do not want to add firearms to an already volatile situation that contains immaturity, hormones, stressful and tumultuous times, etc.

    At any rate, it is up to those who wish to propose a drastic policy change such as free-fire zones on campus to prove that it would be fine. Not the other way around.

    April 18th, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Ahhh, so that’s why they’re targeted for military recruitment.

  62. 62
    KB says:

    By all means, let’s repeal these gun-free zones. I propose starting with legislative chambers, courts and executive offices – heck, why not the White House as well? Everyone will be MUCH safer if everyone in these areas has the option to carry a concealed weapon. Right?

  63. 63
    Tom Gellhaus says:

    I agree with Buck.
    I also note that for anyone talking loosely about the problem of handing out guns to 18-22 years old, you may want to read VA gun law. The minimum age for legal gun ownership is 21.

  64. 64
    Andrew says:

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why not but I think I am in a miniscule minority here on this board on this topic. It just seems logical to me that in a gun free zone the guy with the gun is king until he kills himself or runs out of ammunition.

    Why can someone keep a gun in their car or on their person one block away from where I work, but not down the adjacent side street through campus?

  65. 65
    Andrew says:

    I also note that for anyone talking loosely about the problem of handing out guns to 18-22 years old, you may want to read VA gun law. The minimum age for legal gun ownership is 21.

    That is quite incorrect.

    18 is the mininum for handguns, age 12 for rifles and shotguns.

    CCW permits are 21+.

  66. 66
    AkaDad says:

    Keg Party + Firearms = Increased Safety

    Duh!

  67. 67
    John Cole says:

    Rusty,

    You are an idiot.

  68. 68
    Dreggas says:

    Jimmmm Says:

    I’m not against gun ownership, per se. But it really chaps my ass when all the bubba gun nuts talk about rights, without giving equal thought to responsibilities.

    See you hit the nail on the head. I am supportive of the second Amendment, I like guns period. However the right to own a gun comes with a responsibility. That is one thing my father instilled in me when he was teaching me to shoot.

    Sadly most people would rather hide the guns (or take them away) rather than teaching any modicum of responsibility. All anyone sees is the shit on the boob tube (as my grandmother called it) and not the reality. I remember taking my Hunters Safety Course in NY (a requirement to get a hunting license) one of the first things they demonstrated was just what a bullet would do to a person. They showed why one doesn’t mess with black powder when dealing with muzzle loaders (ie smoking while loading one) and in general taught common sense stuff.

    Of course my folks taught me a lot as well, above all else that you can’t take back a bullet and that unless you have to in self defense (ie when someone comes into your home with a gun intent on harming you) or are in the military, you don’t point or shoot guns at other people, period. It was common sense stuff back then.

  69. 69
    Punchy says:

    The reason you call the cops is because they have guns and they’re highly trained in using them correctly.

    Seems to be a rather important correction…

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I’m pretty sure that keg parties would be much safer with firearms.

    Absolutely. After all, alcohol causes problems, and guns solve them.

    In other news, The Malkin is blaming not only the victims, but “college” in general. What an utter fucking twit.

  72. 72
    Perry Como says:

    The reason you call the cops is because they have guns and they’re highly trained in using them correctly.

    Seems to be a rather important correction…

    Hahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. BWAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, now that I got that out of the way:

    http://www.theagitator.com/arc....._raids.php

  73. 73
    Focus On Your Own Damn Family! says:

    Is an english professor qualified to make a judgment about your mental health because you wrote a story about a homicidal maniac?

    Perhaps not — in fact, most assuredly not.

    I submit, though, that an english professor is uniquely qualified to note when a student’s writing has taken a step away from “normal” angst into dangerous territory.

    Most writing professors read millions of words written by adolescents and near-adolescents. Believe me, they’ve seen it all. The grandiose, the wannabe shock, the depressed, the emo kids, the outsiders. Considering how very personal and revealing the written word is, those teachers may have more exposure to naked and thinly veiled emotions than some of their psychologist peers. Especially creative writing instructors. Unless a writer is very skilled in writing as another voice, which most kids are not, who they are and how they feel comes through loud and clear.

    My dad is a retired english professor and my best friend teaches. Both kept a file of student submissions that set off their alarm bells. Just in case.

    If a creative writing instructor came to me because he or she was disturbed by a student’s writings, you’d better believe I’d listen.

  74. 74
    John S. says:

    It was common sense stuff back then.

    Common sense is a commodity these days. Too few people have it, and those that don’t could care less whether or not they do. Of course, we have a government that has made lack of common sense an art form, so there isn’t exactly a highly visible effort to reverse the trend. My only hope is that at some point natural selection will start to take care of these common senseless people – especially the ones that don’t believe in evolution.

  75. 75
    Dreggas says:

    My only hope is that at some point natural selection will start to take care of these common senseless people – especially the ones that don’t believe in evolution.

    If Idiocracy is predictive of the future we’re all doomed.

  76. 76
    Buck says:

    I agree with Buck.

    Thanks Tom. I was beginning to think that I was going to have to be sent to a re-education camp. And Punchy it does not matter how highly trained an officer is. If he or she is across town when the shooting starts they are less than worthless.

    PB my suggestion is to allow competent adults who have a CCW permit to carry weapons on campus. It just does not seem to me to be that radical of an idea.

  77. 77
    Dreggas says:

    My dad is a retired english professor and my best friend teaches. Both kept a file of student submissions that set off their alarm bells. Just in case.

    Those are the key words here. Lot’s of things can set off alarm bells, hell I did my senior paper in Highschool on the psychology behind mass murder, more specifically Serial Killers since I had to submit it for 3 different classes: Sociology, English, Criminal Justice And Security. I covered the gammut of 20th century serial killers and mass murderers to include governments and political parties (The Nazi’s).

    My fascination with the subject had my English teacher ready to press the panic button (this is the same one who tried to have a friend of mine committed) rather than be objective.

    It’s like the whole Federal access to library records bit. For that paper I was getting books from Mein Kampf to Helter Skelter and everything in between. Based on the book selection alone one might insinuate I was nuts. But I am a relatively well adjusted *twitch* member of *twitch* *twitch* society.

    Yeah keep things “just in case” but don’t go calling the funny farm because someone writes a story about dismembering someone.

  78. 78
    demimondian says:

    PB my suggestion is to allow competent adults who have a CCW permit to carry weapons on campus. It just does not seem to me to be that radical of an idea.

    It is, though. College campuses are not just a place where people live, but are also the workplaces of many adults. Like almost all workplaces, they look at the actuarial benefit of allowing weapons in the workplace — and ban them.

    Maybe well adjusted people don’t feel the need to carry concealed in a relatively safe place — such as a college campus. Doesn’t seem too irrational, now does it? So, let me ask you: wouldn’t it seem that anyone who was willing to carry concealed in such an environment was not “competent”, but rather paranoid? Wouldn’t that person be exactly one that shouldn’t be allowed to carry?

  79. 79
    Perry Como says:

    So, let me ask you: wouldn’t it seem that anyone who was willing to carry concealed in such an environment was not “competent”, but rather paranoid? Wouldn’t that person be exactly one that shouldn’t be allowed to carry?

    I guess it depends.

  80. 80
    Focus On Your Own Damn Family! says:

    My fascination with the subject had my English teacher ready to press the panic button (this is the same one who tried to have a friend of mine committed) rather than be objective.

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a screening process to weed the twits out, before TPTB hand oover the chalk. Sounds like you and your friend won the twit lottery english-teacher-wise. ‘Grats :D

    I stand by what I said though. Most english teachers have very good instincts about their students. Instincts that have been honed by reading millions of adolescent words.

    It’s really easy to speculate about Koontz, King, and Tarantino, but let’s get real. Is it possible to confuse their writing and mental state with that of someone like the Unabomber? Or Kleibold and Harris? Or whichever Crazy Du Jour we may care to point to?

  81. 81
    Dreggas says:

    Maybe well adjusted people don’t feel the need to carry concealed in a relatively safe place—such as a college campus. Doesn’t seem too irrational, now does it? So, let me ask you: wouldn’t it seem that anyone who was willing to carry concealed in such an environment was not “competent”, but rather paranoid? Wouldn’t that person be exactly one that shouldn’t be allowed to carry?

    Quite honestly the talking point of “if everyone has a gun on them then criminals will not do X because they don’t know if you are packing” is one of the stupidest arguments I have ever heard. It would make people more paranoid not less. Also, in a fight or flight situation all rationality goes out the window and so does most control. In that case the person who’s packing is more likely to pull their gun and start shooting wildly than to even think about aiming etc.

  82. 82
    Jake says:

    Everybody just wants to call the cops.

    The cops want you to call the cops. The cops don’t like it when people decide “I’ll handle it!” because that often means more people get hurt and they have to figure out who is the good guy with the gun, who is the bad guy.

    Of course, based on your location, letting the cops handle it might mean everyone gets shot/beaten/arrested, but in general there’s a reason we’re encouraged to dial 911.

  83. 83
    Pb says:

    my suggestion is to allow competent adults who have a CCW permit to carry weapons on campus

    I’m not necessarily against that, for some definition of ‘competent’ (likely higher than what is actually required for a CCW permit, and with the consent of the university for the people involved). But even if that had been the case, (and if we make the ridiculous assumption that no one else had a gun on campus) I doubt it would have changed much in this situation, but if it had, there’s no guarantee that it would have been a positive change, either.

  84. 84
    Dreggas says:

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a screening process to weed the twits out, before TPTB hand oover the chalk. Sounds like you and your friend won the twit lottery english-teacher-wise. ‘Grats

    Oh I had fun with it. I had the distinct misfortune to have her 3 times throughout middle, junior and senior high. By my senior year I was thoroughly sick of her so it was with some grim satisfaction that I played up some of the things (like the term paper) just to make her get a bit paranoid. I also like Shakespeare’s sonnets about death and always picked those to have read aloud.

    I stand by what I said though. Most english teachers have very good instincts about their students. Instincts that have been honed by reading millions of adolescent words.

    Oh believe me I know they do, hell the good ones can extract emotion from writings and writing, unless done for some analytical purpose is usually an expression of emotion.

    It’s really easy to speculate about Koontz, King, and Tarantino, but let’s get real. Is it possible to confuse their writing and mental state with that of someone like the Unabomber? Or Kleibold and Harris? Or whichever Crazy Du Jour we may care to point to?

    I could probably spot a Kleibold or Harris a mile away based on just observing them, why? Because it would have been far too easy to wind up being just like them as I was one of the “outsiders” in school. As for the Unabomber it was my understanding that while he was a Luddite his writings seemed rather coherent (after all he was quite educated). One might be able to distinguish them from a King or Koontz by their writing but to judge their mental state based on it is something best left to a professional, at least in my opinion. Like I said I wrote a lot of dark macabre stuff but was, in reality, a pretty happy kid once I discovered being an “outcast” was better than conforming.

  85. 85
    RSA says:

    The reason you call the cops is because they have guns and they’re highly trained in using them correctly.

    Nice correction. It raises an issue that I don’t think has received enough attention: Some people talk a good deal about having a gun for self-defense. I think we’re talking about a much less clear-cut situation at Virginia Tech. How many self-defense classes teach people that if there’s a guy a couple of rooms away shooting people, and you have a gun, you should go over and try to shoot him first? Part of being a police officer involves having to make hard decisions about that sort of thing, and I wouldn’t expect someone even well-trained in how to use a gun safely, and how to defend himself or herself personally with it, to be able to decide how to take on some crazy guy on a shooting spree.

  86. 86
    Punchy says:

    And Punchy it does not matter how highly trained an officer is. If he or she is across town when the shooting starts they are less than worthless.

    PB my suggestion is to allow competent adults who have a CCW permit to carry weapons on campus. It just does not seem to me to be that radical of an idea.

    And what happens when all the competent adults carrying weapons on campus are across town? They are less than worthless.

    Obviously, the answer is to hand out Magnum 45s to all incoming freshman and show them how to always aim for the head in any dispute. THAT’LL put an end to sooooooooo many of these campus mass murderers we have to deal with seemingly weekly…

  87. 87
    Jake says:

    For your edification, here is the check-list distrubuted by the National School Safety Center. It lists common characteristcs shared or exhibited by students who have killed in school. So far, so good, maybe.

    Unfortunately it’s just a list and doesn’t weigh factors. So if I’m a school administrator I look down the list and see “Has been bullied.” On the list. That doesn’t tell me if the student for whom I’d check that one factor is a lesser or greater risk than the student who is preoccupied with explosives (half the kids I went to school with) and prefers reading materials with violent themes, rituals and abuse (the other half).

  88. 88
    srv says:

    Stephen King actually is a mass murdered. He just wasn’t ever caught.

  89. 89
    ThymeZone says:

    If a creative writing instructor came to me because he or she was disturbed by a student’s writings, you’d better believe I’d listen.

    Thus, the failure of the odd “My Pet Goat Ate Your Pet Goat” story to catch on in the childrens’ literature market.

  90. 90
    Buck says:

    The hard decision cops usually make is to squat behind their car until the shooting stops and I say that with all of the respect I can muster.

    Maybe well adjusted people don’t feel the need to carry concealed in a relatively safe place—such as a college campus. Doesn’t seem too irrational, now does it? So, let me ask you: wouldn’t it seem that anyone who was willing to carry concealed in such an environment was not “competent”, but rather paranoid? Wouldn’t that person be exactly one that shouldn’t be allowed to carry?

    In my opinion carrying a weapon does not mean that you are paranoid. As the old saying goes, I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. In fact you might be surprised just how many people around you are carrying and you don’t even know it. Happy, well adjusted people.

    Should airline pilots be allowed to carry weapons? Or should the desire to carry a weapon automatically disqualify a person from being a pilot because they are obviously paranoid and not mentally stable?

  91. 91
    The Other Steve says:

    Quite honestly the talking point of “if everyone has a gun on them then criminals will not do X because they don’t know if you are packing” is one of the stupidest arguments I have ever heard.

    I think the criminal mind operates a bit differently…

    “if everyone has a gun on them, then I’m just going to pop them in the head and be done with it.”

    Happened here back in ’98, a guy robbed an armored car which had stopped at a department store to pick up the days take. He walked right up, shot the guy in the head, took his bag of money and made a run for it.

    Now maybe you could argue if everybody in the parking lot that day had guns, he wouldn’t have gotten away.

    But I think Cole is right, and the more likely scenario there is another six people killed in the resulting shootout from untrained dorks with guns.

    The police caught him… like six years later. He came up on something else, and they tapped him back to that old crime.

  92. 92
    The Other Steve says:

    In my opinion carrying a weapon does not mean that you are paranoid. As the old saying goes, I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    Only a truly paranoid person would say that.

  93. 93
    The Other Steve says:

    Should airline pilots be allowed to carry weapons? Or should the desire to carry a weapon automatically disqualify a person from being a pilot because they are obviously paranoid and not mentally stable?

    I think all Air Force pilots should be carrying a side arm.

  94. 94
    demimondian says:

    In my opinion carrying a weapon does not mean that you are paranoid.

    OK, so would it surprise you if I told you that I’m carrying at least four deadly weapons right now? I’m wearing a belt, a necktie, and a pair of socks, and I’m carrying a fountain pen and a heavy key ring on a carabiner. The belt, tie, and pen are each deadly (in my hands), and the socks and keys together are a vicious club in anyone’s hands. I’ll bet you’re carrying several such weapons, too, although you may not have the training to use them.

    So, I’m armed to the teeth. Here’s another fact: against someone carrying a firearm, I’d get the one shot that a pistol-packing moron would, too, and my odds would be no worse. Realistically, either one of us would do the smart thing: bar the door and hide.

  95. 95
    ThymeZone says:

    Should airline pilots be allowed to carry weapons?

    Apparently, airline pilots don’t think so.

  96. 96
    Pb says:

    The belt, tie, and pen are each deadly (in my hands)

    Stay away from demi, folks, he’s a fucken ninja!

  97. 97
    Ben says:

    “The important perspective to keep in mind here is that this event was an aberation and to base policy on a rare and unusual incident is a very bad idea, no matter how sensational the event.”

    MADD has made an entire friggin career out this crap… more people die in car accidents every year due to tired drivers, yet all we hear about from the whackjobs at madd is their bac bs.

  98. 98
    Jake says:

    Kill two people. Go to the Post Office. Kill 30+ more.

    Gods. I think we can rule out unplanned rampage.

  99. 99
    demimondian says:

    Stay away from demi, folks, he’s a fucken ninja!

    [Poses grandly.]

  100. 100
    ThymeZone says:

    I’m carrying at least four deadly weapons right now? I’m wearing a belt, a necktie, and a pair of socks

    Yeah, if you’d rinse those socks out once in a while, we’d all be a little safer.

  101. 101
    Dreggas says:

    demimondian Says:

    In my opinion carrying a weapon does not mean that you are paranoid.
    OK, so would it surprise you if I told you that I’m carrying at least four deadly weapons right now? I’m wearing a belt, a necktie, and a pair of socks, and I’m carrying a fountain pen and a heavy key ring on a carabiner. The belt, tie, and pen are each deadly (in my hands), and the socks and keys together are a vicious club in anyone’s hands. I’ll bet you’re carrying several such weapons, too, although you may not have the training to use them.

    Alright Macguyver…cut the mullet or else.

  102. 102
    Dreggas says:

    ThymeZone Says:

    Yeah, if you’d rinse those socks out once in a while, we’d all be a little safer.

    the socks are somewhat concealed thus making them hidden weapons of mass destruction…

  103. 103
    bud says:

    Conflation, thy name is John Cole.

    No one (except everyone here busily constructing straw men) is talking about “handing out guns on campuses” or making it into a “free-fire zone”.

    We’re talking about allowing otherwise qualified people to carry in full accordance with state law. That would be people over 21, who have gone to the trouble of getting a CC permit. That DOES NOT include drunken 18 year old freshmen, or drunken anybody, for that matter. The silly “argument” you float about fights, drinking, etc, etc, is the same argument that was bandied about by opponents of CC licensing in state after state. None of those fanciful predictions came true, and neither would yours.

    But you are still dealing with the base aggression and lack of full and complete brain development that comes with 18-22 year olds.

    Funny you should say that, since I listened a few days ago to a podcast from Glenn and Helen Reynolds
    http://instapundit.com/archives2/004088.php (links and references to Epstein’s book)
    interviewing Dr. Robert Epstein. About a third of the way through the interview, the subject of “immature” teenage brains cam up and Dr. Epstein forcefully attacked that notion, calling it a complete scentific fraud, saying that the studies that support that notion had major structural flaws, and that the “science” that came to that conclusion was identical to the “science” that explained why segregation was necessary: because the “Negro brain was childlike”.

    You might want to listen.

    Back to the subject – the “gun-free zone” fantasy enforced by an administration who wanted everyone to “feel safe”

    Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/wb/xp-50658

    certainly accomplished it’s mission; most of the academic community felt safe right up to when the firing started. Removing the self-defense option from everyone, faculty, administration, and, for instance, 22 year old freshmen on GI scholarships, is a dumb idea. Conflating an 18 year old barfing his guts out on Friday night with the remaining 90 + percent of the “community” is a poor argument.

  104. 104
    Dreggas says:

    http://instapundit.com/archives2/004088.php (links and references to Epstein’s book)
    interviewing Dr. Robert Epstein. About a third of the way through the interview, the subject of “immature” teenage brains cam up and Dr. Epstein forcefully attacked that notion, calling it a complete scentific fraud, saying that the studies that support that notion had major structural flaws, and that the “science” that came to that conclusion was identical to the “science” that explained why segregation was necessary: because the “Negro brain was childlike”.

    Well now we know how Reynolds can justify his immaturity…he just looks in a mirror an claims he’s doesn’t have the mind of an immature teenager because one guy on his podcast said it was so.

  105. 105
    jg says:

    In fact you might be surprised just how many people around you are carrying and you don’t even know it. Happy, well adjusted people.

    I know a few people who carry. The only ones I would happy and well adjusted are the ones who carry because they transport cash. The ones who carry because they want to be prepared when the shit goes down, well, not so much.

    The ones who wear their gun openly while standing behind me at the AM/PMs here in Phoenix are a different breed altogether.

  106. 106
    Punchy says:

    As the old saying goes, I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    With this logic intact, I wholeheartedly support that every student carry a bazooka and two hand grenades in their backpacks. After all, I’d rather have that shoulder-fired missle when those Russian MIGs start to strafe my campus than need it and not have it.

  107. 107
    bud says:

    Pb:
    But even if that had been the case, (and if we make the ridiculous assumption that no one else had a gun on campus) I doubt it would have changed much in this situation, but if it had, there’s no guarantee that it would have been a positive change, either.

    You sound like Woody Hayes (revealing my age, I guess. Look it up, whippersnappers). “Three things can happen when you throw a football, and two of them are bad.”

    That’s not an argument, that’s an assumption.

  108. 108
    jg says:

    “Three things can happen when you throw a football, and two of them are bad.”

    replace ‘throw a football’ with…….

  109. 109
    Chad N. Freude says:

    I would argue there is less difference between the behavior of 18-22 year old colege students and 18-22 year-old non-college students today than there was 10, 20, and 30 years ago, given the much wider access to college today.

    As is evidenced by the distribution of violent behavior along the bell-shaped curve that runs from UCLA to South Los Angeles.

  110. 110
    DougJ says:

    Why stop at conventional guns? What if we let the students carry rocket launchers in their backpacks while we’re at it? You’ve got to admit, a would be gunmen would not open fire on a classroom full of students armed with rocket launchers.

    At any rate, what’s going on in Iraq right now teaches us how safe a place can be when everyone there is armed.

  111. 111
    ThymeZone says:

    Why does DougJ hate America?

    Why? Why?

  112. 112
    Paul Wartenberg says:

    You know who I blame?

    The guy who invented the gun. Thanks a lot. Instead of dealing with swords and trebuchets we’ve got to worry about glocks and AKs. Thanks a whole bunch.

  113. 113
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Legislation as emotional response is a BAD IDEA.

    I would add “Legislation as payoff response to lobbyists is a BAD IDEA. Unfortunately they both seem to be the principal drivers of legislation in this country. (There are, of course, others, like the urge to protect people from making bad choices, Sen. Ted Stevens’s ego, etc.)

  114. 114
    DougJ says:

    I would add “Legislation as payoff response to lobbyists is a BAD IDEA.

    Maybe we should try arming the legislature. Would you try to bribe a Congressman if you knew he was packing?

  115. 115
    Chad N. Freude says:

    We’re talking about allowing otherwise qualified people to carry in full accordance with state law.

    I think the VT shooter was able to get his gun because no one bothered to check his history of involuntary commitment to a mental institution. How do you guarantee that unqualified people are identified?

  116. 116
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Would you try to bribe a Congressman if you knew he was packing?

    You’ve got a point. Congressmen are notoriously outraged when offered bribes.

  117. 117
    DougJ says:

    Because remember, ethics committees can’t be everywhere, and as incidents from Jack Abramoff to Abscam demonstrate, by the time they find out about Congressional ethics violations, it’s usually too late. On the other hand, one group of people is, by definition, always on the take: Congressmen.

  118. 118
    John Cole says:

    We’re talking about allowing otherwise qualified people to carry in full accordance with state law. That would be people over 21, who have gone to the trouble of getting a CC permit. That DOES NOT include drunken 18 year old freshmen, or drunken anybody, for that matter. The silly “argument” you float about fights, drinking, etc, etc, is the same argument that was bandied about by opponents of CC licensing in state after state. None of those fanciful predictions came true, and neither would yours.

    Woah, woah, woah. How are 18 year olds getting access to alcohol? I thought that it was illegal. In your fantasy land, 18 year olds will never get access to guns. How do they get access to booze?

    http://instapundit.com/archives2/004088.php (links and references to Epstein’s book)
    interviewing Dr. Robert Epstein. About a third of the way through the interview, the subject of “immature” teenage brains cam up and Dr. Epstein forcefully attacked that notion, calling it a complete scentific fraud,

    Lemme guess. The next topic after this was a discussion stating that our main problem in Iraq is media bias.

  119. 119
    Chad N. Freude says:

    True Story: On a plane about ten years ago, I overheard an outraged Texan talking about a woman he knew who had been convicted of a felony for trying to carry a gun onto a commercial flight. His outrage was at the injustice of convicting her of a felony just because she forgot the gun was in her purse when she tried to board. (Not stated, but presumably she had a proper license.)

    Aside from the spasms of mirth this anecdote causes, I would like to know who among the posters here would feel safe or safer knowing that other people on their plane might be carrying guns in their purses or pockets.

  120. 120
    Dave says:

    From The Carpetbagger Report today.

    National Review’s John Derbyshire opened the door yesterday, and others appear anxious to walk through it. I can’t say I’m completely surprised, though I thought conservatives might wait more than 48 hours before putting their callousness on display.

    As we talked about yesterday, Derbyshire got the blame-the-victim ball rolling, questioning why victims of the Virginia Tech massacre didn’t do more to attack the well-armed madman. “[W]hy didn’t anyone rush the guy?” Derbyshire asked. “It’s not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons… At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him.”

    He then goes on to quote a bunch of other pundits echoing Derbyshire’s sentiment.

    Seriously, how fucked up does your brain, your thought process have to be to have watched the horror of this week and then think:

    “What a bunch of pussies”

  121. 121
    Chad N. Freude says:

    one group of people is, by definition, always on the take: Congressmen.

    Cynical, cynical.

  122. 122
    curtadams says:

    Handguns are used for thousands of suicides every year. Dozens every day. Yes, people occasionally stop crimes with them – but it’s a rare, newsworthy event ( and news loves to report those rare events, because they’re “feel good” and they play to Rambo fantasies). Those rare events don’t change the main use of handguns – people killing themselves.
    (I admit that killing innocent people is a close second for handguns. Woo-hoo, what a great item! Obviously we need more.)

  123. 123
    Andrew says:

    Obviously, the answer is to hand out Magnum 45s to all incoming freshman and show them how to always aim for the head in any dispute.

    Is that some sort of condom?

    Woah, woah, woah. How are 18 year olds getting access to alcohol? I thought that it was illegal. In your fantasy land, 18 year olds will never get access to guns. How do they get access to booze?

    Gosh, 18 year olds can carry firearms 10′ away from my building on a public road, but because they are banned from “campus” I figure that I am perfectly safe.

  124. 124
    Andrew says:

    Crappy block quoting tagination darnit.

  125. 125
    jg says:

    Why stop at conventional guns? What if we let the students carry rocket launchers in their backpacks while we’re at it? You’ve got to admit, a would be gunmen would not open fire on a classroom full of students armed with rocket launchers.

    I always had a backpack nuke on me when I went to class. Of course BU is in a bad neighborhood so it was actually encouraged.

    Maybe the Derby-Steyns are calling the victims pussies in an attempt to lay the groundwork for the new right wing talking point that you shouldn’t look to gov’t to protect you from your fellow citizens.

  126. 126
    jg says:

    Was Smokey the Bear a republican?

  127. 127
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Re the Carpetbagger’s Wall of Shame: I would like to put this question to the quoted Punkdits. What gives you the moral authority to make these judgments about the VT students? Your spirituality and closeness to God? The wisdom you’ve accrued through your study of moral philosophy and ethics? Your certain knowledge of what went through the minds of the students? Your judgments of character and motive of people you don’t know anything about are always accurate and correct? Or do you merely take immoral and untenable positions to launch attacks on pople and institutions that, for whatever reason, you dislike?

  128. 128
    Chad N. Freude says:

    That should have been “people and institutions”. Damn keyboard!

  129. 129
    John Cole says:

    BTW- I give it a week before they dig up some kid from VT who was in the building one over and could have stopped the shooter, but couldn’t because the mean administration wouldn’t let him pack any heat.

    Anyone want to bet?

  130. 130
    Rusty Shackleford says:

    John Cole Says:

    Rusty,

    You are an idiot.

    April 18th, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Eh, it comes and goes.

  131. 131
    Rusty Shackleford, Resident Idiot says:

    Lt. Col. Bob Bateman is definitely not an idiot.

    Name: Lt. Col. Bob Bateman
    Hometown: Capitol Hill, Washington DC

    I am sick of stories about guns, and how the blessed Founding Fathers wanted every little patriot baby to grow up with a Kentucky long-rifle over the mantle. It is a lie. It is a myth. The very idea is a concoction by people who want to believe something, regardless of the facts, and the fact that the lie has deep roots does not make it any more accurate.

  132. 132
    Shabbazz says:

    Guns are banned on campuses because higher education is designed to re-enforce the notion that the pen is mightier than the sword — that ideas are to be weighted by their merit, not the force with which they are delivered. We need to arm our populace with more pens and fewer swords. To suggest otherwise is madness.

    “But if all of our windows had bars on them, then babies would NEVER AGAIN fall out of them”

    That may be true, but it sure sounds like prison to me.

  133. 133
    dslak says:

    The idea that unarmed, untrained students were under some obligation to challenge the shooter runs afoul of the distinction between obligatory and supereragatory actions in ethics.

    People who have no training, no weapon, and a limited chance of success even if they had both are under no obligation to risk their lives in a vain attempt to take out a confirmed killer. Sure, it would be really, really great if they could, but that’s the exception. There’s a reason heroes are recognized as going above and beyond the call of duty. Seeing neocons reducing the options to either ‘hero’ or ‘pussy,’ I think it should be obvious to everyone exactly the kind of juvenile, action movie lenses through which these people see the world.

  134. 134
    dslak says:

    Oh, and just to get off on a tangent, how many of those folks who claim they would be ashamed if they didn’t rush the gunman and are eligible for military service have signed up? I hear there’s plenty of gunmen to rush in Baghdad. I mean, you’d think they’d be ashamed if they didn’t fight!

  135. 135
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    BTW- I give it a week before they dig up some kid from VT who was in the building one over and could have stopped the shooter, but couldn’t because the mean administration wouldn’t let him pack any heat.

    Shit, I must be slipping–I hadn’t even thought of that until I read the post, but yeah, it’s pretty much inevitable. He’ll make several appearances on Hannity & Colmes at the very least.

  136. 136
    Pb says:

    Paging Debbie “Paki Muslim” Schlussel:

    Thanks to you, I die, like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.
    […]
    Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?

    Not only is he South Korean (not “Paki”), but now we know that he was comparing himself to Christ as well… Is it time to watch out for those dangerous Christian foreigners now, Debbie?

  137. 137
    jake says:

    Anyone want to bet?

    I’ll put $100 on some Derbyshire/Jack Bauer wannabe saying that. Of course if he’s anything like HatTrick he might have accidentally taken out a few of his fellow students because “handguns aren’t that accurate, even at close range.”

    I blammed away at the shooter for hours and all the only things I hit were several of my classmates. Stupid handguns!

    I won’t mind though because while Derb, Steyn, Blake, Malkin et al are holding him up as an example of manly-manhood he’ll turn out to be a pre-surgery transsexual who’s starred in films with names like She-Males of Planet XXX.

    Re the Carpetbagger’s Wall of Shame

    I held my nose and followed the links to Blake’s “Where are all the men?” site. According to one poster the kids at VT have set up a face book about the victims and they’ve heard about the Brave Brigadiers of the Keyboard calling them sissies.

    Anyone want to bet Derb etc would meet with these people and repeat their litte critiques?

  138. 138
    tBone says:

    Is it time to watch out for those dangerous Christian foreigners now, Debbie?

    It’s time to watch out for foreigners who are trying to steal our Savior in addition to our jobs, moonbat.

    Maybe that’s too wordy, though?

    It’s time to watch out for foreigners who are trying to steal our Savior in addition to our jobs, moonbat.

    Yeah, that’s better.

  139. 139
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Anyone want to bet Derb etc would meet with these people and repeat their litte critiques?

    Excellent observation. I wish I’d thought of it. Could we get them onto Bill O’Reilly’s program? Chris Matthews? Sean Hannity? Anybody have FoxNoise’s phone number?

  140. 140
    Chad N. Freude says:

    How exactly does one steal a Saviour?

  141. 141
    tBone says:

    I held my nose and followed the links to Blake’s “Where are all the men?” site.

    You and Ted Haggard.

  142. 142
    CaseyL says:

    It’s amazing that controlling access to firearms is barely discussed, and only then in the context that “it’ll never happen.”

    The killer had a history of mental illness. He’d been in therapy. He’d been institutionalized. How was it possible for him to buy firearms?

    The gun shop he bought the guns at said it ran a one-minute background check on him. One minute sounds like all that happens is a search for a previous criminal record – and a lousy one at that, since it didn’t pick up on the previous complaints of stalking and harassment. Also, apparently, mental health histories aren’t part of the background check. Or, if they are, they’re more expensive and more time consuming.

    Maybe that 72-hour waiting period isn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe a 72-hour waiting period would make sense if it means a better, more thorough background check – one that looks at non-criminal but still troubling behavior, like mental health problems, ‘minor’ incidents like stalking and harassment, and things like that.

    And maybe if someone with all that history shows up to buy a gun, the gun shop tells the police – who can then pick up the guy, and see what he wants a gun for, before he gets one via illegal channels.

  143. 143
    Tsulagi says:

    I’ve got the solution. It’s not giving CC permits to students and .357s as Xmas presents. Derby astutely points out a fundamental problem…

    Handguns aren’t very accurate, even at close range.

    To prove his point that handguns are defective, not the shooter…

    I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can’t hit squat.

    See the problem? Shit hits the fan, everyone pulls their pieces, and good chance after the smoke clears the only one left standing will be the fucker that started it all. Given that, do we want our army of bright, education seeking Derbys on campus without the proper tools? I say no.

    Solution is simple: Claymores. Every new student is issued student ID and a Claymore. To lessen user error, one side even says “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY”. That could be translated for foreign students. It’s curved which would lend itself to being strapped on in front. A new fashion statement for those strolling to class.

    Operation is as simple as point and click. Every student knows how to do that. Plus, virtually guaranteed to take out the evildoer if he’s in front of you within 100 meters. Everything else too, but like education, peace of mind isn’t free.

  144. 144
    Chad N. Freude says:

    One can only assume that the Derbyshite crowd admires the shooter. He meets all of their qualifications for manliness and courage. Well, except for not being white. And being an immigrant.

  145. 145
    jake says:

    Also, apparently, mental health histories aren’t part of the background check.

    Nope and they never, ever, will be.

    First, you’d have to re-write several pages of legislation created to protect patient privacy.

    Then, you’d have to have a long, tedious debate about which diagnoses are appropriate to enter into such a database.

    When you’re done with all that you’d have to compel health care professionals to surrender that information.

    And they’ll tell you to fuck off. End of story.

    Or look at it another way:

    John Doe feels sad all of the time, he can’t sleep and his appetite is non-existent. He suspects he’s depressed but he’s a little ashamed of even thinking about getting treatment. If John knows his name and health information will going to go into a national database, will he be more or less likely to seek help? (The answer is Less) And given that John will be less likely to seek help do you think that leaving his symptoms untreated will make John more or less likely to cause himself or another person harm?

  146. 146

    As far as writing suicide poem sop rother extreme violent / secual materials for school assignments. If the student is thinking rationallly, he / she will explain it to the teacher beforehand in a note or face-2-face.

    Because one factor that is a common-enougbh thread to be looked at in these cases is the writen or drawn violent fantasies.

    I’m a writer and can write a lot of really dark !@#$, but it’s always in the voice of others. But it’s not any type of burden to explain that ahead of time. Or even for a teacher to say that at the begining of the school year.

  147. 147
    Chad N. Freude says:

    mental health histories

    Nuance Alert! I think I read that his commitment was involuntary. Involuntary commitment is (I presume) the result of the judgment of some legally constituted authority that he may be a danger to himself or others. This distinction might trump confidentiality. Any legal guys care to comment?

  148. 148
    J says:

    “It may very well be that an armed person may have pulled a gun and downed the gunman at VT. Just as plausible, he could have pulled the gun and shot another innocent. Or would have been armed when police showed up and accidentally shot. Or any number of things.”

    Yes, god forbid that an armed citizen might have possibly accidentally shot an innocent. It is a MUCH better alternative that no one was armed and THIRTY TWO innocent people were slaughtered like sheep instead. Yes. Thank god for that.

    Ever heard of the Appalachian School of Law shootings? No? That’s because the media ignored it, because two armed citizens stopped a crazed gunman after he killed three innocent people…. with their personally owned firearms. ASL is a private school, and exempt from the idiotic ‘gun free zone’ public school policy in Virginia.

  149. 149
    jake says:

    I think I read that his commitment was involuntary.

    Nope. Scroll down to page 6

    This distinction might trump confidentiality. Any legal guys care to comment?

    Nope. People don’t lose their right to privacy when they need medical care.

    Seriously, ask yourself what good it would do to put IC information in a database. Knowing someone was ICed tells you that at some point the potential gun buyer was deemed a danger to himself or others. Fine, but unless you want to say anyone who has ever been ICed can never have a gun, you need more info to make the call. Did the person get carried away with the acid and run through a blizzard dressed in just his socks? Did he suffer some great personal loss and stop talking, eating, bathing for three weeks? Did he threaten to cut someone’s throat?

    In other words, a little star by a person’s name if they’ve been ICed doesn’t tell you jack without the medical record and it requires a subpoena to get your hands on those.

  150. 150
    demimondian says:

    J, you’re an idiot. In fact, the ALS shootings were stopped because an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, who happened to be on-campus, heard the gunshots, and *went back to his car to recover his service weapon and his bullet-proof vest*. So what really happened is that a deputized officer responded to an emergency situation, just as he was supposed to.

  151. 151
    J says:

    demimondian: Nice. The ad hominem attack: the definitive sign of a rational and reasoned argument.

    Actually, it was two individuals who retrieved their firearms from their cars when the ASL shooting started. Both were students, one was an off duty police officer, Mikael Gross, and one was a private citizen, Tracy Bridges. Nice try though.

    http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/04/01/13/lang.htm

  152. 152
    leefranke says:

    J did you think no one was going to do a little research on your claim?

    On January 16, 2002, ASL Dean Anthony Sutin, Professor Thomas Blackwell, and 1L student Angela Dales were shot and killed by disgruntled student Peter Odighizuwa, 43, of Nigeria. When Odighizuwa exited the building, he was subdued by two students armed with personal firearms. At trial, Odighizuwa was found mentally competent, pled guilty to the murders to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison

    So am I getting this right, that he was apprehended AFTER he had killed those he was after?

    Yep those personal firearms saved all those people who were not targeted by the crazy guy. Of course except for the 3 that he did target. It did not turn out so well for them.

  153. 153
    jake says:

    Actually, it was two individuals who retrieved their firearms from their cars when the ASL shooting started.

    Based on this story, students don’t need guns, they just need convincing replicas. Thanks.

  154. 154

    Yep those personal firearms saved all those people who were not targeted by the crazy guy. Of course except for the 3 that he did target. It did not turn out so well for them.

    Quit dissing on J’s fantasy world.

  155. 155
    RSA says:

    I especially liked this part of the linked report, by Ted Lang:

    Dr. Lott is a renowned statistician who has done extensive research proving irrevocably the false and fraudulent “evidence” consistently churned up and mass produced by the media for public consumption. These lies, falsehoods, spikes and the withholding of important facts is what enables tiny, insignificant statist minority groups to greatly magnify their power and dominate and subjugate the majority, forcing upon us an agenda guaranteeing the destruction of one of the American people’s greatest constitutional protections.

    Is Ted Lang really Mary Rosch?

  156. 156
    J says:

    leefranke: I don’t see the point of your statement. Odighizuwa killed the dean, a professor, an innocent student, and wounded three others. If he was just after the dean and professor, then what about the others? Just collateral? Certainly they weren’t the ones he was after and yet they were shot nonetheless. Who is to say under different circumstances he wouldn’t have kept shooting. The whole thing is really neither here nor there, however.

    The fact remains that a deranged gunman was subdued by two armed citizens in a situation eerily similar to VT.

    How do you think the events there would have played out if there were two armed bystanders who ran towards the sound of the guns instead of in the opposite direction?

    The Other Steve: Fantasy world? No, I live in the real world. I simply accept the fact that I cannot depend on others for my own personal defense.

  157. 157
    Richard 23 says:

    Open Thread? Did you notice that the Supreme Court, for the first time, has ruled against abortion?

  158. 158
    jake says:

    In the first edition of More Guns, Less Crime (May 1998) Lott first referred to the 98%/2% saying “If national surveys are correct, 98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack”.

    More ^Fake Guns, Less Crime.

  159. 159
    sab says:

    I’m the step-mother of three college aged kids. With concealed carry, for every thirty students per generation you might save (minus however many are injured in friendly fire) you will lose thousands in stupid drunk kids with guns horesplay. I can’t minimize the staggering pain that the VT parents have sustained, but stupid suggestions to allow arming untrained college students are beyond idiotic. Police undergo extremely rigorous training before they are allowed to trot around in public with weapons.

  160. 160

    How do you think the events there would have played out if there were two armed bystanders who ran towards the sound of the guns instead of in the opposite direction?

    With far too many people shot to death.

  161. 161
    Pb says:

    More ^Fake Guns, Less Crime.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea–why don’t they give us all tasers instead, or those guns that shoot rubber bullets, or those nifty microwave thingies that burn from a distance, or tear gas, etc., etc.? I mean, it’s all harmless (until someone loses an eye), right?

  162. 162
    DougJ says:

    They’ll pry Derbyshire’s guns from his sticky, cheeto-stained hands.

  163. 163
    J says:

    sab: Exactly who said anything about arming untrained college students? The issue at hand is the ‘idiotic’ state law restricting firearms on state campuses in Virginia. Not the laws with regards to purchasing and owning firearms. I am saying that people who are legally competent and able to purchase and possess firearms should not be forced to leave them off campus.

    You realize that Virginia is an ‘open-carry’ state? That means that permit holders do not have to even carry their weapons concealed. Virginia is an extremely gun friendly state, and people aren’t being massacred in the street due to drunken misunderstandings or accidental shootings. This is the standard liberal counterpoint to concealed carry, and the fact of the matter is that it just does not hold water.

    And ‘rigorous’ police training? Ha… Right. Level of training varies wildly from department to department, but to say that all law enforcement agencies provide their personnel a high degree of firearms training is laughable.

    Tom in Texas: Far too many people would have been shot to death? Is thirty-two an acceptable loss? Do you actually believe that there would be anywhere near as many casualties if the playing field was leveled and an innocent student bystander had been armed? You really believe that scores of people would have died in the crossfire? Wow. That is an impressive level of self delusion in an attempt to preserve preconceived political beliefs. Well, I at least have to respect your commitment to the cause!

    If someone at the dormitory had been allowed to keep their personally owned firearm (as I’m sure many students there possess, it being in rural western Virginia) in their room or vehicle or in a safe with campus security, the whole thing could have found resolution in the morning, without this psycho even getting a chance to continue murdering people on the opposite end of campus two hours later.

  164. 164

    Since you apparently are completely unaware of how dorms work, let me be the first to break it to you that students in dorms have roommates. That roommate might not be the miraculous Bruce Willis you seem convinced is at every campus. That roommate might, in fact, steal his neighbor’s gun and use it for nefarious purposes. Dormitories are far too insecure a place to keep a firearm. The single stupidest solution to this is to let students living in dorms have guns.

  165. 165
    rachel says:

    The gun shop he bought the guns at said it ran a one-minute background check on him. One minute sounds like all that happens is a search for a previous criminal record – and a lousy one at that, since it didn’t pick up on the previous complaints of stalking and harassment.

    Looks like there’s a class action suit waiting to happen here.

  166. 166
    rachel says:

    Since you apparently are completely unaware of how dorms work, let me be the first to break it to you that students in dorms have roommates. That roommate might not be the miraculous Bruce Willis you seem convinced is at every campus. That roommate might, in fact, steal his neighbor’s gun and use it for nefarious purposes.

    My roomate would never have done a thing like that. Her boyfriend, now, I didn’t know him well enough to say.

  167. 167

    judas priest. Some of the folks commenting have some idea of what a firearm is and what it does, seems there is a lot of movie magic induced thinking also going on.
    1) there are very few parts of the human body where a gun shot is fatal, particularly pop guns like a 9mm.
    2) law enforcement is firearm expert – horse pucks – cops have around an 80% miss rate in actual shootings
    3) a gunshot wound incapacitates or knocks down, utter nonsense, there are many police reports of individuals with multiple gunshot wounds still advancing on police
    4) physics – the absolute maximum energy generated in a gunshot is in the gun, if you can stand up to shoot it, the bullet cannot knock someone down. I shoot hand cannons – I can put a 360gr bullet downrange at 1250 fps, that is an awsome amount of power, it will not knock you down, it will mess you up.

    Chances are very good that every person killed was shot multiple times. Yes someone could have taken the guns and possibly not been killed, such an action would be unusual at any time in our history. Experience with a handgun is only just so useful in hostile action, police seldom hit, it is a function of adrenelin overload, sensory overload, and plain stress. Any competent shooter is likely to do as well as a policeman in a combat situation. Police come after something bad has happened. Some people should have guns, some should not – some people should have free speech, some should not (per outcomes). Making that decision is problematic. I propose to you that a lot of people in Iraq have died because some people were allowed to shoot their mouths off, everybody seems to be in favor of it though – shooting off mouths.

    Re: handguns and hunting, I taken a mule deer with a .45 Colt Commander, not hotrodded, just garden variety. The 2nd has not squat to do with hunting, anyhow. He likes a typewriter, him a desktop, him a laptop – not your call.

    Yes, I’m a leftwing Democrat

  168. 168
    D. Mason says:

    This being one of the very few issues that keeps me from being a full fledged Democrat, I guess I will chime in here. Certainly, having freshman college students packing heat would not solve any of the nations problems, and for the hystericals on the left to suggest that rational people would suppose that it would is simply ridiculous. The few loons on the right are no more crazy for suggesting it than the loons on the left are for taking their words seriously. I think the arguments involving accidental shootings are far more compelling for the case of gun control or abolition of the second amendment depending on how far you take it.

    On the “reality based” side of things, there is nothing wrong or dangerous about permitting faculty and campus security especially from having firearms to protect students from events like this and other crimes which are a regular part of campus life. Just like there is no reason that pilots should not be able to carry firearms if loaded with air safe bullets to prevent hijackings.

    The vast majority of gun related crimes are committed by people who obtained their firearms illegally, going with the whole criminal motif I suppose. This, to me does not in any way indicate a need to restrict legal gun owners, someone feel free to explain to me how it does. Certainly, legal gun owners use those guns to occasionally commit crimes, just like legal car owners do, but I didn’t grow up in a country where we throw away important rights because of a few bad apples assholes.

  169. 169
    jake says:

    I am saying that people who are legally competent and able to purchase and possess firearms should not be forced to leave them off campus.

    Cho was legally able to purchase and possess a gun. If you’re suggesting that VA and other states add some sort of competency requirement, I can get behind that but I suspect the pro-gun folks would tell me I’m nuts.

  170. 170
    J says:

    Tom in Texas: Thank you for educating me on campus housing! It’s almost as if I had never lived on a university campus myself for three years of my college career. Actually, I am aware that students have roommates. However, to purchase a handgun, by federal law, you must be at least 21 years of age. Generally, that means a junior or senior, who often are allowed to live in single rooms…

    But it’s all besides the point really. I’m not going to wrangle with the logistical solution to allowing handguns on campus. I’m merely pointing out the dangerous thinking behind a blanket banning of firearms on campus.

    You want to make reasonable restrictions on firearms on campus? Fine. But it is unreasonable, and as events have shown, dangerous to outright ban them from, not just campuses, but any type of public area. No handguns in dorms? Ok, you could make a defendable argument for that. But there is absolutely no reason why concealed carry permit holders should not be allowed to carry their firearm on a college campus. What is even the rationale behind that? How is it more dangerous carrying a concealed weapon to literature class than carrying it while walking down a public street?

    Again, let me reiterate: I never said anything about handing out pistols to every incoming freshman at orientation. I said that declaring a campus a zone off-limits to any type of firearms — whether that be carried concealed by a permit holder, locked in a safe in a dorm or with campus security, or in the trunk of a personal vehicle — is ludicrous. Do you think it’s any coincidence that all these mass shootings just so happen to occur at “gun free zones”. If criminals obeyed the rules they would by definition no longer be criminals.

    Oh, and if you really believe that the defensive use of firearms is such a rare occurrence you really are deluded. Just because it is not portrayed in the national media doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen every week across the country. In each issue of the NRA publication American Rifleman there is a section with tens of vignettes on the past months’ defensive use of firearms by private citizens. Different surveys have estimated the number of instances of defensive uses of firearms annually in the US anywhere from the hundreds of thousands to the millions.

  171. 171
    John S. says:

    J-

    We get it. You love guns. You think guns are the answer. Personally, I happen to think that ARRs (Assault Repelling Rocks) are the answer.

    the NRA publication American Rifleman there is a section with tens of vignettes on the past months’ defensive use of firearms by private citizens

    That doesn’t square with my experiences. In Rock Repulsion Monthly published by the NARRA (National Assault Repelling Rock Association) they have a section that shows hundreds of vignettes of people that have had no significant attacks on their person or property as a result of having an ARR in their yard. I think the numbers are on my side.

    Do you think it’s any coincidence that all these mass shootings just so happen to occur at “gun free zones”.

    Not at all! Just like I don’t think it’s a coincidence that since I bought this ARR to put in my front yard, I haven’t been attacked once in over five years. I think it speaks volumes about the effectiveness of it, and I urge everyone to protect themselves by buying one.

  172. 172
    J says:

    I don’t ‘love’ guns, they are inanimate objects. They are tools for us to use.

    Assault repelling rocks… Hmm. If you’re going to be snarky, you should at least attempt to be humorous. What is funny though is that so many anti-gun folks actually believe that they are just as safe (or paradoxically, safer) with a can of pepperspray, a set of car keys, or a ballpoint pen as they would be with a firearm. Amazing. I guess they never heard the one about the idiot who brought a pen to a gunfight…

  173. 173
    ape says:

    The very first comment on Little Green Footballs was something like ‘they’re going to try to take our guns away’.

    Bill Hicks pointed out that the US was so much more violent than other wealthy developed countries and said: “But there is no relationship between NOT having guns and NOT shooting people and having guns and shooting people. And you’d be a fool and a communist for saying so.”

    Pretty much sums up the American attitude.

    John Cole says “I refuse to let the actions of a crazed mass murderer dictate policy decisions that would have broad and potentially disastrous implications for society”.

    This isn’t quite right. We KNOW that there are madmen, as we know that there are diseases & negligent errors in the use of vehicles. Societies deal with these realities. In particular, leaders cannot abdicate their own responsibiliites by pointing out that a negative event was an ‘act of god’ or one for which someone else was culpable.

    Rush and many others of a pro-gun persuasion emphasize a truth which is misleading: “this was an individual choice”.

    If guns are widely available, then they will be available to those with mental frailties (or who later develop them), same as everyone else. Those who advocate the availability of guns are culpable through this knowledge.

    BTW – If you’re not prepared to advocate blanket restraictions, but still trying to prevent the ill or the criminal from having guns, why not just say that young men can’t have them? They are the group which causes all the harm, and by far the most likely to suffer from mental illnesses which are a threat to others. As young men’s mental health varies, I’m not sure that there is any other coherent option. (Not that any such efforts will be effective without a reduction in the total number of guns, ie, through the effective abolition of the right to bear arms. There have been other changes to the constitution).

  174. 174
    Buck says:

    The position that only well trained state employees should have weapons concerns me.

    But I am paranoid, not well adjusted and even my happiness can be brought into question.

    It is a real Catch-22. If I want a gun then that proves that I am mentally unstable and not fit to carry one. If I have no desire for a gun and see no need to own a gun then I have passed the test.

    But the fact remains that in a gun free zone the man with a gun is king. And that is true whether you are talking about a college campus or the nation in general.

  175. 175
    Punchy says:

    and a limited chance of success even if they had both are under no obligation to risk their lives in a vain attempt to take out a confirmed killer.

    Here’s my serious question–how does one “take out” a person with TWO guns? One gun…I guess you could attempt an ambush and crack his arm hard enough for him to drop the gun. But TWO guns? How does one simultaneously–and the simultaneous part is HUGE–force him to drop both weapons?

    See…if you only knock one gun out, you’re a goner. If you can manage to bear hug him, he’ll still probably shoot you in the legs/feet. And thats ONLY if you can somehow sneak up on him, which seems impossible.

    So I ask…what, exactly, does Derby think should have been attempted? A Judo Chop?

  176. 176
    Chad N. Freude says:

    J argues in favor of college students carrying guns. Let’s look at his argument.

    In one paragraph, we have

    You really believe that scores of people would have died in the crossfire? Wow. That is an impressive level of self delusion in an attempt to preserve preconceived political beliefs.

    J says “you’re making an argument with no evidence to support a belief with no factual foundation.” Then, in the next paragraph, we have

    If someone at the dormitory had been allowed to keep their personally owned firearm (as I’m sure many students there possess, it being in rural western Virginia)

    J says “I’m presenting as factual a speculation to suppost my political belief with three assumptions and no supporting evidence — many students at VT have guns, not many students at VT come from cities, and many students from rural places have guns.

    Later, we have

    But it is unreasonable, and as events have shown, dangerous to outright ban them from, not just campuses, but any type of public area.

    J says “a single cited event shows that my political belief is correct. This is conclusive and it is not necessary to cite any studies or present any published statistics.”

    How is it more dangerous carrying a concealed weapon to literature class than carrying it while walking down a public street?

    One could just as well ask “How is it less dangerous …?” The rhetoric is identical and no evidence is provided to settle the question either way.

    Do you think it’s any coincidence that all these mass shootings just so happen to occur at “gun free zones”.

    No evidence is presented. How many, when, and where were “all these shootings”? What were the gun-free zones — school rooms, shopping malls, the streets? This is extrapolation with no evidence presented.

    J may be correct in all of his conclusions, but his argument doesn’t support any of them. Dude, I hope you’re not a trial lawyer.

  177. 177
    jh says:

    Jeebus,

    There are several places, including most college campuses that are gun free zones. You can’t carry in government buildings, courthouses or hospitals either.

    Campuses are just another place where the liability of having guns outweighs any potential benefit.

    It’s not rocket science.

  178. 178
    Pb says:

    Certainly, having freshman college students packing heat would not solve any of the nations problems,

    Agreed.

    and for the hystericals on the left to suggest that rational people would suppose that it would is simply ridiculous.

    I must have missed that part–however, our problem is not–and has not been–with the rational people. Or as Adlai Stevenson once said:

    Anecdote: During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to him, “You have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back, “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”

  179. 179
    ape says:

    What you are all talking about is an arms race –

    “I have to have them because the criminals have them”.

    The whole purpose of the existence of a state is to prevent this state of affairs by monopolising the legitimate use of force, and approximating a monopoly on the actual use of force.

    If there really are so many guns in America that the criminal or deranged will certainly be able to access them, then there is no option but to resort to increasing one’s own capacity for force. [But this can never mean more ‘good guys’ having guns – such a category does not exist.]

    A ‘no-gun area’ in such a context must be assiduously policed by processes that are themselves actively forceful (checkpoints, access limitations and effective detection).

  180. 180
    John S. says:

    Assault repelling rocks… Hmm. If you’re going to be snarky, you should at least attempt to be humorous.

    Nothing snarky about it. I challenge you to disprove my assertion that the ARR in my front yard hasn’t kept me safe these many years.

  181. 181
    RSA says:

    I said that declaring a campus a zone off-limits to any type of firearms—whether that be carried concealed by a permit holder, locked in a safe in a dorm or with campus security, or in the trunk of a personal vehicle—is ludicrous. Do you think it’s any coincidence that all these mass shootings just so happen to occur at “gun free zones”.

    A few thoughts: First, “all these mass shootings” on campuses is something like a dozen or so over forty years, even if we count as a “mass shooting” the deaths of three or more people. Policy changes should be carefully considered. Second, I wonder if people in favor of allowing firearms on campus would be willing to consider suicide rates and accidental injuries in the years after a more relaxed policy were put in place, and to withdraw it if there were significant rises. I mean, it’s an empirical question about the costs and benefits. Third, what are the universities out there that allow firearms on campus? Are there a lot of them? One way to at least partly resolve this issue is the free market: Let universities advertise that they have less restrictive firearms policies, and see how their enrollment increases or decreases. Also whom they’re able to hire as staff and faculty.

  182. 182
    Jake says:

    Certainly, having freshman college students packing heat would not solve any of the nations problems,

    Well, over-crowded dorms might become a thing of the past.

    First, “all these mass shootings” on campuses is something like a dozen or so over forty years, even if we count as a “mass shooting” the deaths of three or more people.

    Correct. Most mass shootings take place in/near grade schools.

  183. 183
    KB says:

    I still think the best idea would be to eliminate those gun-free zones in the White House, the halls of Congress and the courthouses. We’d all feel much safer, and no one would get away with any shootings then!

  184. 184
    J says:

    Chad N. Freude:

    You really believe that scores of people would have died in the crossfire? Wow. That is an impressive level of self delusion in an attempt to preserve preconceived political beliefs.

    J says “you’re making an argument with no evidence to support a belief with no factual foundation.”

    No. I did not accuse him of lacking of empirical evidence. What I was implying was that the basic logic behind his statement does not pass the smell test.

    Using a simple cost-benefit analysis: to say that armed law abiding citizen(s) intervening in this situation would be more detrimental would mean that there would have to be more casualties resulting from the crossfire than would have been inflicted if the gunman had been allowed to continue on his rampage unabated.

    Presuming that there was an armed bystander nearby at the beginning of the incident, I think it is very reasonable to say that there is virtually no way that tens of people would die in the crossfire. If the gunman and an armed student (or professor, although it started in a dorm in this case) started exchanging fire, that would buy time for unarmed people in the vicinity to escape. Cho would have become ‘decisively engaged’ and his attention would have been forced to shift to the immediate threat, that is, an armed bystander.

    I find it a long stretch of the imagination to believe that more people would be shot, let alone killed, in that scenario. Especially considering that the main reason that there seemed to have been such a high kill rate is because Cho was “double tapping”, putting two or three rounds into people who had already been shot. The 9x19mm round, especially ‘hardball’, is not a particularly effective round at killing people immediately unless it hits the central nervous system (head, medula, spine, etc.).

    The likelihood of someone being killed by a stray 9mm round or a ricochette is far less than being shot, undefended, cornered, at point blank range, two or three times. Sorry, I cannot provide you with statistical analysis on that though, you might just have to actually exercise a little common sense to come to your own conclusion.

    J says “I’m presenting as factual a speculation to suppost my political belief with three assumptions and no supporting evidence—many students at VT have guns, not many students at VT come from cities, and many students from rural places have guns.

    And, uh, there’s a glaring logical fallacy in your argument: Of the three suppositions you stated, only the first one would have to be true “students at VT have guns”. Whether they come from the city or country is of no consequence if they are a law abiding gun owner…

    I’m not saying all or a majority of people on the Virginia Tech campus own or would own a firearm. I’m saying that there would very likely be some.

    And I make that assumption based on knowing the area, and people from there, and at that school, firsthand.

    J says “a single cited event shows that my political belief is correct. This is conclusive and it is not necessary to cite any studies or present any published statistics.”

    A single event does not ‘prove’ my supposition, but it supports it. I’m sorry, I’m just applying a little logic to conduct a gedankenexperiment here. I’m not writing a doctoral thesis. If you want statistics to make up your mind on the issue, you can do your own research and come to your own conclusion. I’m sure you’ll find an ample amount of manipulated and biased statistics to support either side of the argument, so you can accept whichever ones you decide fit your worldview.

    One could just as well ask “How is it less dangerous [carrying a concealed weapon to literature class than carrying it while walking down a public street]?” The rhetoric is identical and no evidence is provided to settle the question either way.

    Circular logic. The issue isn’t whether it is less dangerous. The issue is whether it is in fact more dangerous, because the law is far more restrictive in the case of firearms on campuses. On it’s face, to say there is a difference between the two situations is ridiculous. It is self evident and I shouldn’t have to ‘show evidence’ to support that.

    How many, when, and where were “all these shootings”? What were the gun-free zones—school rooms, shopping malls, the streets? This is extrapolation with no evidence presented.

    Now you really are just being lazy. Exercise your memory. School shootings for instance have occurred all over the United States, in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

    J may be correct in all of his conclusions, but his argument doesn’t support any of them. Dude, I hope you’re not a trial lawyer.

    “Dude”, rest easy, I’m not a trial lawyer. Likewise, I hope you aren’t, if you believe that you are going to persuade the ‘ignorant masses’ with conjured up, manipulated statistics and pretty charts and line graphs. Fortunately for myself, I’m in a profession where ‘common sense’ is considered one of its five principles.

  185. 185
    joe in oklahoma says:

    the Other Steve says:
    And what about the new schools that were painted?
    How come the media never talks about those?

    well, actually they have…i assume you are talking about the schools we rebuilt and painted, which is mighty nice of us since we bombed them in the first place!

    also, Other Steve, you said the criminal mind doesn’t work a certain way…Cho was not a criminal, he was certifiably mentally ill. i know our society treats the mentally ill like criminals and locks them up in prison, but there really is a difference.

  186. 186
    grumpy realist says:

    I like KB’s idea. If allowing everyone to go around armed is so much safer, let’s see the politicians putting their money where their mouth is by getting rid of all gun checks in all gov’t buildings in Washington, D.C.

    (Plus, good luck getting anyone willing to teach a class of pre-meds or pre-law sctudents.)

  187. 187
    RSA says:

    (Plus, good luck getting anyone willing to teach a class of pre-meds or pre-law sctudents.)

    I must be missing all the agitation on university campuses in favor of having students, faculty, and staff carrying firearms. I’ll see if that question can be included in my next set of student evaluations.

  188. 188
    BIRDZILLA says:

    This was cuased by those stupid GUN FREE ZONES preposed and installed by those mush headed liberal do gooders its time that they were heald responible for this as well as those who refused to remove this dangerous persons from the public

  189. 189
    The Next to Last Samurai says:

    Hello John,

    I’m another of your lurkers, finally moved to comment, or rather to question. I can usually follow your reasoning, but this time you’ve lost me. Where have you found statistics that violent crime rates rise in CCW states, which issue licenses to people who are 18 or older? I can’t find any. Nor have I found anything anywhere indicating that the murder rate in the 18-22 group goes up in such states. Can you please post whatever statistics you’re using? Thanks!

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