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« I Prefer Cats To Dogs, Though | Main | Getting A Life »

Get Ready For The Political Posturing

This sounds worse than Columbine, from what's being reported so far. Only thirteen died there.

Of course, the gun grabbers will use it as an excuse for calls for more gun control, though probably none of the nostrums that they put forth would have prevented it from happening. And defenders of the Second Amendment will point out (as I'm admittedly doing in this post), that if people had been allowed to carry legally on campus, as they are in the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia, that the shooter would almost certainly have been taken out long before he could kill twenty unarmed people. And it's not clear that he couldn't have killed even more if he'd chosen to, since it's unclear whether he (or she, to be fair) was killed by a self-inflicted wound, or someone else.

We'll find out in due time.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Some related comments from Instapundit. The legislature apparently made the campus a "gun-free zone." Well, you can call a tail a leg, but it doesn't make it one. Modern "liberals" see the words "gun-free (or nuclear free, in the case of Berkeley) zone" and somehow thinks that this magically makes the place safer. But the sign that mass murderers see is "free-fire zone of unarmed victims."

[Update at 2 PM]

Now it's up to almost thirty fatalities? Whoever did this was serious, and well trained.

Perhaps multiple people? A terrorist attack? Who knows? I'd think a shopping mall would be a better place for that. All speculation at this point (at least on my part).

[3 PM update]

Thirty-two people now. I suspect that this is the worst such incident in US history. What lessons will we draw from it? Not good ones, I suspect. I heard some "security analyst" being interviewed who was basically advocating making university buildings into lock-down prisons, with no classroom windows, and wanding of everyone going in and out.

[Update at 4:40 PM EDT]

Here it comes. Now they're going on about "the children, won't someone think of the children"? Someone on Cavuto is demanding to know what they're doing for "the kids." Are they being kept warm, are they being fed, are they getting the grief counseling they need?

These "kids" are college students. Almost all of them are of the age of majority. They're the same age as the "kids" who are off fighting for us overseas, who are seeing things just as horrific, or more so, every day. Yes, one doesn't go off to an idyllic campus in the western Virginia mountains with the expectation that they'll have to deal with something like this, but they're not kids. In every society up until this one, they would have been considered adults, and many of them would have already been married (or not) and raising families. The notion that we should treat them like grade schoolers, for whom we are responsible for feeding, and heating them, is ludicrous. Yes, they're upset, but I'm pretty sure that they're still capable of feeding themselves, and finding a blanket, if shooting people somehow caused the heating systems on campus to break down. If I were one of them, I'd be insulted and appalled at this kind of stupid, stupid commentary.

The infantilization and extended adolescence of our society continues apace.

[Update at 5 PM]

One more thought. I already noted that it was probably the biggest death toll in US history from such an event, up above. I heard Cavuto say so as well.

But I'll bet that now that the news reporters (I don't count myself in that category--I doubt many people read this site for up-to-date news, except on those rare occasions when something exciting is happening in manned spaceflight or New Space, and not that many people read this site, period) are making the point, there is at least one, and probably more than one, person listening to all the coverage, and thinking "You know, I could beat that. He was a wienie."

One unfortunate consequence of advances in technology is an advance in the ability to kill large numbers of people with ever-smaller numbers of people, in a short period of time. This is Vernor Vinge's (and Bill Joy's) nightmare (I don't think Vinge's interview with Mike Godwin at Reason is on line yet, though). This is also the core of the so-called "War on Terror," and it's unfortunately only going to get worse as time goes on, particularly as world population increases, and the number of people on the tails of the bell curves increases as well.

[One more update a few minutes later]

What happened in Blacksburg today, and Columbine, and other similar incidents, is very similar to what happened on 911, in that it was a catastrophe, in the mathematical sense. It's probably worth a TCSDaily column.

[Another, listening to John Gibson]

No, I haven't listened to the other news channels, because I'm working in my office, where I can't easily browse channels, but I think that it's safe to say that this is the only story of the day.

[Update at 5:40 PM EDT]

Finally. Gibson and Judge Napolitano are discussing the fact that no one on campus was allowed to carry, and the fact that it was a decision by the university administration, regardless of the bill that failed in Richmond. I don't know whether it will or not, but in a just world, this would open them up to lawsuits.

[Update at 6 PM EDT]

Brit Hum lead story: "Worst mass shooting in American history."

Yeah, that will discourage the next one seeking equivalent publicity.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 16, 2007 10:58 AM
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Comments

Rand

without commenting on the "event" I would agree with your generazilzation about "gun free" and "nuclear free" and "(blank) free"...

saying it so doesnt make it so and NOTHING, at least in this country enforces the rights of free people, like the people themselves being responsible for their rights.

One thing (grin) I got wrong in life was the "carry" law in Texas. I was oppossed to concealed carry permits by non law enforcement people...and that is something that I got wrong.

The law has been well implemented, there have been "ZEO" events of people acting irresponsibly and a few saves.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 16, 2007 11:35 AM

I have heard reports from a VT student that there were bomb threats called in within the past week or so at VT, as well. Perhaps someone thought that they weren't being taken seriously enough?

Further, I think that there's probably a 1 in 1000 chance that the ethnicity of the shooter will be reported if it was anything other than caucasian, so we may never know if it was delusional rage, or a carefully planned (terrorist) attack.

Posted by John Breen III at April 16, 2007 12:07 PM

Reported already:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18134671/?GT1=9246

"young Asian man wearing a maroon cap and a black leather jacket"

Posted by Ilya at April 16, 2007 12:18 PM

and of course, having a bunch of students in a state of panic firing at anyone they thought might have been the shooter certainly would have resulted in fewer casualties.

People are nuts, in general. Some people go REALLY nuts, and sometimes it results in other people getting killed. Thankfully, it is rather infrequent. Given the propensity of people to come unglued over the slightest things these days, I'll take my chances with the effort to try to keep weapons out of their hands over the very unlikely odds that some wacko with an automatic rifle is going to come into my AO and start blasting away.

Posted by Andy at April 16, 2007 12:34 PM

> there have been "ZEO" events

Dare I ask?

Acronym finder provides the following possibilities:

Z Education On line (website)
Zope Enterprise Objects
Zoning Enforcement Officer
Zespol Elektrowni Ostroleka
Zope Enterprise Option
Zamenhof Esperanto Objektoj
Zaklad Energetyczny Opole
Zamenhof Esperanto Objekto
Zoning Enforcement Officials

Any brave souls care to guess what Robert is talking about?

Posted by Edward Wright at April 16, 2007 12:37 PM

"ZEO" → "ZERO"

Posted by Annoying Old Guy at April 16, 2007 12:51 PM

Thee are two possible end states that result in equlibrium.

One: Disarm everyone.

Two: Arm as many as possible.

One is fantasy and wishful thinking. all it soes is disarm those who most need be armed. Two other is possible but requires the courage to accept responsibility for the safety of yourself and others.

It is amazing the lengths of fantasy the anti's will go to to justify the unworkable first option.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 12:54 PM

You always have increased gun violence - and general violence -- in "gun free zones", and that violence is always pointed to as a reason for more gun control.

;/

Posted by Kelly Starks at April 16, 2007 01:04 PM

Thee are two possible end states that result in equlibrium.

One: Disarm everyone.
Two: Arm as many as possible.

I like the third option. Allow people to carry small arms, but don't let college students buy FRACKING CHAINGUNS.

If they have to reload, that's a chance for everyone to either run away, or someone else with a pistol to take the motherfracker down.

Posted by Adrasteia at April 16, 2007 01:15 PM

"Two other is possible but requires the courage to accept responsibility for the safety of yourself and others."

And herein is the problem. Responsibility (I would add discipline as well; the discpline to get the proper training. The discipline to maintain your weapon and secure it when you're not carrying it. The discpline to know when and where its use will benefit you and those "others." ). Qualities sadly lacking in society these days (exemplified by "blame someone else first, it can't/wasn't possibly MY fault").

Posted by Andy at April 16, 2007 01:21 PM

If they have to reload, that's a chance for everyone to either run away, or someone else with a pistol to take the motherfracker down.

Remember the guy that drove his truck through the front wall of a diner, and ended up killing a half dozen or so people with a muzzle-loader? Sometimes even a reload isn't enough to slow someone down when those they attack are too inept and afraid to defend themselves.

Posted by John Breen III at April 16, 2007 01:23 PM

What I really don't understand is how this guy was shooting the place up for two hours. I assume he took out the campus security first?

Posted by Adrasteia at April 16, 2007 01:29 PM

Allow people to carry small arms, but don't let college students buy FRACKING CHAINGUNS.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but neither of the assailants weapons were chainguns: 22-calber handgun, 9-mm pistol.

Posted by John Kavanagh at April 16, 2007 01:52 PM

Simberg: "I heard some "security analyst" being
interviewed who was basically advocating making
university buildings into lock-down prisons, with
no classroom windows, and wanding of everyone
going in and out."

Well, what do you expect from a self-identified
"security analyst"? They get paid to talk like
that!

-dw

Posted by dave w at April 16, 2007 01:57 PM

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but neither of the assailants weapons were chainguns: 22-calber handgun, 9-mm pistol."

I heard two 9mm pistols.


"And herein is the problem. Responsibility (I would add discipline as well; the discpline to get the proper training. The discipline to maintain your weapon and secure it when you're not carrying it. The discpline to know when and where its use will benefit you and those "others." ). "

There are plenty of CCW carriers that meet that criteria, espacially in Virginia. There is a high proabailty there were several in that building that were prohibited from carrying them in order to maintain the fiction that the emperor has gun free clothes.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 02:04 PM

Two handguns, 60 or so victimes of some fashion...no id, no cellphone, offed himself...

This guy had just made up his mind he was going to kill himself and a lot of other people...the campus cops and all the folks responding must have had their hands full...

as an aside (and dont take this wrong)...good shooting.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 16, 2007 02:11 PM

Bet you couldn't sneak a library book out of the place without an alarm going off.

Posted by rjschwarz at April 16, 2007 02:15 PM

A great tragedy. I mourn for the vicims and their families.

I also mourn for the victims of auto accidents killed today. There were 42000 deaths in 2001, which means that it is likely that something over one hundred people died today from the general use of automobiles as a transport system.

Posted by K at April 16, 2007 02:15 PM

One: Disarm everyone.
Two: Arm as many as possible.

The problem with that is that once everyone is disarmed, the weak are prey to the strong, unless you somehow go for the "Harrison Bergeron" solution (RIP, Vonnegut). There was a reason that the Colt was called "the equalizer." And the Derringer did the same for women.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 16, 2007 02:23 PM

Certain facts about this story do not add up:

1) The shooter shot people in a dorm, then crossed the entire campus (heavily armed, says the media) to the engineering lecture hall, then shot many more people, all of this over a 2 hour period. How could this have gone on for 2 hours without the campus police or anyone else not noticing anything unusual.

2) The shootings were half a mile apart. Like in #1, could a single shooter have committed both shootings and not have anyone notice anything for a 2 hour period. Or are there two (or more) shooters involved. The notion that a giy could spend two hours shooting people at two locations at completely opposite ends of a large university campus without anyone noticing anything unusual streches the imagination.

3) The reports are of an "Asian male". Asia streaches from Japan to Turkey, with the appearance of Japanese people being very different than those of Turks or Pakis. The description of the shooter (one shooter) being "Asian" is pretty meaningless.

4) Virginia Tech is known to have a (relatively) large student body of muslim students, many of them being Pakistanis. Last I looked in the atlaa, Pakistan is a part of Asia.

Is the story being "spun"?

Posted by Kurt9 at April 16, 2007 02:33 PM

I aggree with Rand about extended adolescence. Until about 100 years ago, it was very common for people to go out on their own starting at age 15. This was especially common during the American frontier period. Also, much of the worlds warfare has been conducted by young people in the age range of 16-22.

This extended adolescence is a recent (last 50 years) phenomenon that has no historical precident.

Posted by Kurt9 at April 16, 2007 02:37 PM

Rand, as far as the technology, the basic technology for this act, a high capacity 9mm has existed since 1935. The Glock may be lighter and cheaper to manufacture but it has no significance between it and a browning high power circa 1935.

I remember years ago reading about the Tazewell county Virginia Court House being raided by a disgrunteled individual in the first decade of the twentieth century. He used a single acton colt peacemaker and a sack full of derringers to great effect. The practical close range firepower equation has been solved since the mid 1870's at least.

It wasn't the fact he had a modern gun and a lot of ammo, it is that no one had the capability to stop him as I am sure you understand.


Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 03:05 PM

It wasn't the fact he had a modern gun and a lot of ammo, it is that no one had the capability to stop him as I am sure you understand.

Mike, I do understand, but the larger lesson is that this problem is only going to get worse over time. After all, since the capability has existed for that long, why hasn't it happened sooner?

If you have some comforting and persuasive argument against that, I'm certainly open to it.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 16, 2007 03:22 PM

Kurt9,

I don't know about VT, but I can easily believe that a shooting started at the dorm and then ended at the Engineering building later, without campus PD noticing. At my college, campus PD was not configured to deal with SWAT situations. Some carried firearms, but they were not trained to use them as a show of force, not necessarily to respond to return fire. Further, to be effective with the small arms the police carry, you have to get close. If initial reports claim a rifle, then you have to gun up, before engaging. This is why SWAT teams were invented (see UT clock tower shooting), and Universities typically don't need them.

As was said before, if the students could carry fire arms, they could have responded. However, before I necessarily agree that arming college students is a good thing; I would like to revisit the statistics in suicides among college students. Sure, high suicide rates can suggest a poor soul can find a way to kill themselves, but poor souls with a gun usually find a way to kill themselves and who ever drove them to suicide. Still, that number may be 2 or 3 instead of 32.

Posted by Leland at April 16, 2007 03:30 PM

This discussion reminds me of Charles Whitman and the UT Tower. Other students limited his effectiveness by (drum roll):

1. Returning to their frat houses / dorms
2. Going to their arms room / locker (!)
3. Signing out their rifles / ammo.
4. Laying down suppressive fire.

This forced Whitman to shoot through the scuppers on the observation deck -- greatly limiting his mobility and field of observation.

And Whitman STILL killed many.

I kinda think that era needs to return.

MG

Posted by MG at April 16, 2007 03:54 PM

Is anyone suspicious that this happened nearly eight hours ago, and we still do not have a positive ID? The shooter is dead, so their is no search going on. Are we supposed to believe that there is some reason for this delay? The only reason that I can think of is to push the news into the deep evening to avoid the national evening news shows. They still have a vast audience, compared to the cable shows. What if the shooter was a Muslim? The authorities would have every reason to obscure this fact because of "Islamphobia." Create a "legend" that obscures, rather than the truth. Don't belive it? The shooter in the Utah mall reportedly yelled "Allah ackbar" as he shot. Where has that been reported? Where have you seen any reporting regarding what was on his computer? The FBI snatched his hard drive. Does that tell you something? They tried to paint it as another Columbine. When they did not fly, they just abandoned the story. Did you know that his body was transported back to Bosnia for a Muslim funeral? Would he have deserved that if he was a "murderer," rather than a beloved slayer of infidels?

Posted by JOSEPH MCNULTY, JR. at April 16, 2007 04:36 PM

Do you need to be well-trained to kill that many people? Or do you just need a lot of ammo and a bunch of sitting ducks who can't shoot back?

Posted by Jim Treacher at April 16, 2007 04:47 PM

"You always have increased gun violence - and general violence -- in "gun free zones", and that violence is always pointed to as a reason for more gun control."

Yes, because the 1991 Lubys cafeteria shooting happened in Texas, and we all know that Texas has very restrictive gun control laws. If people had been allowed to carry handguns in Texas, that NEVER would have happened.

Posted by Randy Miller at April 16, 2007 04:51 PM

What about the attack on the Dominican Happy Land Social Club in NY? Didn't that perp kill 87?

Posted by Bill at April 16, 2007 04:55 PM

Jim, training isn't necessary to do what this scum did, at point blank range with the advantage of surprise. I shudder to think what someone could do if they really wanted to do some damage with firearms, and halfway planned it out. In order not to give it away, all I'll say is think of a full lecture hall with several hundred students, and five minutes to operate in before the police arrive. If you know a damn thing about guns (and I mean semi-autos), you can fill in the blanks. I have the awful premonition that what we are going to get out of this is more laws designed to make people feel safer, rather than what really needs to be done to make us actually safer in fact. RKV

Posted by RKV at April 16, 2007 04:59 PM

"Yes, because the 1991 Lubys cafeteria shooting happened in Texas, and we all know that Texas has very restrictive gun control laws. If people had been allowed to carry handguns in Texas, that NEVER would have happened."

Ransy, you may be trying to be sarcastic but you are being too clver by half.

Bcause concealed carry was not allowed in Texas at that time, several people left their handguns in their cars.

"Register on Line
Instructor

New Laws
Guest Lecturer

Eligibility
Staff

Fees
Our Military

Schedule
Our Firefighters

Procedures
The Ladies

Renewals
The Range

Location
Gift Certificates

Texas on Line Texas Instructor Assn US CHL Database SA Critic Review Links FAQ's Home Contact Us
The Original
Texas Concealed Handgun
(Concealed Carry)
of San Antonio

The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America gave the right to all citizens to keep and bear arms. Most, although not all, legal scholars interpret this to mean the government cannot arbitrarily confiscate weapons from an individual's home. It really does not address the issue of citizens carrying a concealed handgun, or a open view handgun as in the old Texas wild west days. Individual states, Texas included, started enacting legislation to limit this by creating unlawfully carrying laws to apply to citizens outside their homes. In reality, this would be the first step in gun control. In Texas, this created somewhat of a dilemma for peace officers, as carrying a concealed handgun in your vehicle was as common as... well... driving a pickup, wearing cowboy boots, eating chicken fried steak and BBQ. After the Luby's massacre (Oct, 1991) in Killeen, Texas, rumblings were heard throughout Texas for the Texas Congress to pass a Texas concealed handgun carry law, much like other states had already done. One of the survivors of Killeen, Dr. Susanna Gratia Hupp got herself elected to the Texas Legislature and immediately, along with Senator Jerry Patterson, started to work on an old, never passed, Texas Concealed Handgun law. The governor of the state at that time was Ann Richards (D). She made it perfectly clear she would veto any legislation brought to her concerning the issuance of a concealed handgun permit. She was defeated in the next Gubernatorial election (1994) by George W. Bush (R), who let it be known he favored a Texas concealed handgun law. The bill was passed, signed by then Governor Bush in May, 1995, and enacted into law effective September, 1995."

It shows Bush was a much wiser person than Ann Richards.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 05:00 PM

Brit Hum

Is that worth the air fare?

Posted by D Anghelone at April 16, 2007 05:00 PM

Randy, you don't know what you are talking about. The Luby's shooting was the catalyst for Texas' concealed carry liberalization, and occurred during a time when CCW was severely limited by law.

"Let me make a point here, in case this isn't becoming extremely clear. My state has gun control laws. It did not keep Hennard from coming in and killing everybody! What it did do, was keep me from protecting my family! That's the only thing that cotton pickin' law did! OK!"

Dr. Suzanne Gratia Hupp, Killeen Texas Luby's massacre survivor

Posted by RKV at April 16, 2007 05:04 PM

Randy, Texans couldn't legally carry until 1995, four years after the cafeteria shooting:

http://www.txchia.org/artbird3.htm

Posted by Eric E at April 16, 2007 05:09 PM

Modern "liberals" see the words "gun-free (or nuclear free, in the case of Berkeley) zone" and somehow thinks that this magically makes the place safer. But the sign that mass murderers see is "free-fire zone of unarmed victims."

Like This?

Posted by Topsecret at April 16, 2007 05:10 PM

Rand,

As I said, the technology has existed since 1935 at a minimum. What has changes is broken families on the part of the shooter and a don't fight back, just take it mindset on the part of society that acts an enabler for these incidents.

At least the passengers of flight 93 had time to rationalize their way out of it.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 05:18 PM

As of this Monday evening, April 16th, we have heard virtually no mention of the parents or families of those destroyed in this horrific fashion. Has Virginia Tech done anything whatever to assuage such catastrophic loss, to let these desperately afflicted people know the circumstances and the identity of this depraved mass-murderer?

The idea that squalid PCBS contemptuously veils the reality of this occurrence is maddening. As a parent, I would ten, a hundred, ten thousand times rather have my beloved sons and daughter carry means of self-defense than suffer the caterwauling incantations of phony sympathizers indelibly marked for throwing lives away.

Since the 1950s, perhaps since 1965, American society has become atavistic, brutal, dangerous. Coarsening, ultimately self-regarding, promoted by derelict media fueling malignant paranoia, people turn to "concealed carry" because, ironically, big-talking Nanny States prove incapable of basic public functions. Civic order, equal justice, national defense-- reduced to bureaucratic ratholes, subject to overweening Statist fiat that drains every vestige of personal initiative or responsibilty.

Not for one moment do we think this murderous assault resulted from a disgruntled love affair. But since it reflects so terribly on all authorities concerned, from the State Legislature to Virginia Tech's administrators to local law-enforcement agencies (where were they, hours after the first incident?), we suspect that --as in many another recent episode-- accounts of what transpired will be incomplete at best, massively and purposefully distorted at the worst.

Maybe some victim's parent will eventually bring facts to light, on public record. Experience teaches, we can't trust any other source for beans.


Posted by John Blake at April 16, 2007 05:24 PM

Another thing that has chanaged is the glorification of violence in mass media and the ability to indulge in a pretty realistic manner in video games.

Not offering an answer, sadly, just a rueful observation.

Posted by gm at April 16, 2007 05:32 PM

Good point John.

Do we really want these people in charge of our health care?

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 05:32 PM

In order not to give it away, all I'll say is think of a full lecture hall with several hundred students, and five minutes to operate in before the police arrive.

I'm thinking mezzanine and a box of M67's. What about you?

Posted by Adrasteia at April 16, 2007 05:41 PM

"Jim, training isn't necessary to do what this scum did, at point blank range with the advantage of surprise."

I agree. I was reacting to Rand's opinion that this guy must have been well-trained. This wasn't a military operation, it was a piece of garbage slaughtering a bunch of innocent college students with hangovers. I wish I believed in Hell, because this bastard would be in it.

Posted by Jim Treacher at April 16, 2007 06:05 PM

I remember reading years ago about some farmer blowing up a school in Wisconsin or Michigan during the Depression (I think.) I don't remember exactly how many kids he killed (maybe around 60) but it was more than at VT and I think it was a grammar school.
My point is, this is not a gun issue either way. There have always been nutjobs. They'll find a way to kill, with or without guns.

Posted by Chuck Broeker at April 16, 2007 06:14 PM

I was reacting to Rand's opinion that this guy must have been well-trained.

It's all relative, Jim. I wasn't saying that he was well trained in any absolute sense--just that he wasn't a complete moron, as most mass shooters (fortunately) have demonstrated themselves to be in past years.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 16, 2007 06:24 PM

My guess is the guy suspected the new boyfriend was in the engineering building. Instead of being wholly indescriminate he was attempting to take out the new boyfriend by killing all the males and anyone in his way.

Posted by Allen at April 16, 2007 06:35 PM

Original Sin is alive and well and acted out its foul stinking brew, destroying lives and families. May God comfort all those touched by this tragedy.

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 16, 2007 06:46 PM

Guns don't kill people. People on student visas kill people.

Posted by Tristram at April 16, 2007 07:12 PM

I wonder if professor Christopher D. Hall (http://www.aoe.vt.edu/~cdhall/) is ok. He blogs at: http://krishl.us/spacecraft/

Posted by Elwood Jetson at April 16, 2007 07:37 PM

Chuck Broeker: Hell Comes To Bath, via Crime Library. 40+ killed, including his wife, 61 injured, and the only reason it wasn't more is that most of his explosives didn't go off.

1927. Blame that on television.

Posted by B. Durbin at April 16, 2007 08:01 PM

You say "get ready for political posturing," then you cite one of the earliest examples I've seen: Instapundit trying to score political points about a "gun free zone," political posturing that you happily join.

But of course you meant *lefty* political posturing, and you have no objections at all to right-wing pro-gun political posturing that tries to ride the coattails of a tragedy within hours of it happening.

Posted by bobb at April 16, 2007 08:09 PM

Thee are two possible end states that result in equlibrium.

One: Disarm everyone.

Two: Arm as many as possible.

One is fantasy and wishful thinking. all it soes is disarm those who most need be armed. Two other is possible but requires the courage to accept responsibility for the safety of yourself and others.

It is amazing the lengths of fantasy the anti's will go to to justify the unworkable first option.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 16, 2007 12:54 PM
-------------------------------------------

Mike I'm with you on the fact that if at least some students were armed this may not have been as bad as it has turned out.

However, to set the problem up properly one would have to go further in the analysis.

What if a percentage x of a fully armed populace lost their cool very badly at the slightest affront, so much so that their impulse to destroy ran way with them? Yes, they would be killed by someone else who was armed, but would likely kill a few innocents before being killed.

If x is high, then one could argue that restricting the availability of guns is good from a minimum loss of life due to guns perspective.

On the other hand if x is quite low, then it would be better to have an armed populace which would readily address the emergence of the rare event with minimum casualties.

I think the low x case is where your argument holds.

One can't say wihout dispute what would really happen if everyone was armed, and more importantly insisted on walking around armed. Given that I think we have about 15% of the population that is really much too aggressive or nuts in one way or another, the aggregate numbers of deaths due to guns may go up as compared to what we see today.

Obviously my equation is quite simplistic but I hope you see my point. I can't think of a way to really test out the hypothesis.

Oh incidentally, and on an unrelated matter having read a bit more on the topic let's say I'm somewhat more skeptical of the CO2/GW hypothesis. So your nudges in that direction have had some effect! ;-) Thanks.

Also, just to be nasty, there is another kind of equilibrium with your end state Two: A non-increasing population due to self annihilation. Valid since you haven't defined what you mean by equilibirum.

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 16, 2007 08:17 PM

"Another thing that has chanaged is the glorification of violence in mass media and the ability to indulge in a pretty realistic manner in video games."

I think its more a mass media issue then any other entertainment product. The media serves as a psycho's "save" button and "high score" board that others can gawk at.

I recall that in some public schools they were training students to throw things at a shooter that storms into a classroom. I wonder if his effectiveness would have been diminished if a hail of heavy textbooks had started to pummel him.

It sounds like from the general chaos that took hold of the whole campus that most people initiated the flight response then the fight. A battlefield commander can attest to the dangers of fear and how contagious it can become to even the most brazen of soldier.

Posted by Josh Reiter at April 16, 2007 08:40 PM

::One: Disarm everyone.
Outcome : some, the criminals will still have arms, but definitely not as many. A person with a gun is easily identified as either as law officer or a criminal.

::Two: Arm as many as possible.
Outcome: frequent shootouts.

Say if you have two armies, in one case everybody is armed with Uzis and lots of ammunition.

In other case most have forks and knives, some still have pistols.

In which case will the battle bring fewer casualties ? Mind you, history has the answer, as we didnt use to have Uzis a while back...

Posted by kert at April 16, 2007 11:11 PM

"I wonder if professor Christopher D. Hall (http://www.aoe.vt.edu/~cdhall/) is ok. He blogs at: http://krishl.us/spacecraft/"

I was wondering the same thing. He hasn't updated that blog in quite a while and the last time I e-mailed him there was no reply. Anybody hear from him?

Posted by Fred Kiesche at April 17, 2007 03:50 AM

Mike: "There are two possible end states that result in equlibrium."

What you're relying upon is the simplicity of the policy, not of the outcome. Disarming everyone is not an equilibrium, since it drives an arms race between black markets and police forces that costs the citizenry money and freedom. Arming everyone is not an equilibrium either, as it forces a lot of nonviolent crime into the realm of violence by virtue of the vigilante mentality and the inevitable response to it by criminals (i.e., shoot first).

The answer, if perhaps seeming like a riddle, is that the only people who should have guns are those who aren't liable to use them except under the direst circumstances. Having guns is a right, of course, but laws defining acceptable varieties, etc., should be tailored to this principle.

Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 17, 2007 04:46 AM

Count me in with the people who think that the biggest contributor (not the only contributor) is the nonstop media coverage this type of event garners. If someone snaps, and decides to take themselves out along with a couple close friends or enemies, why not etch your name in history by trying to go for a record? A parital list of 'mass murder' incidents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_murder) show that they started before the mass media 'pile on' effect, but there have certainly been more since then.

I've gotten to the point to where, when I hear someone committed suicide, I'm saddened by the event but thankful that they didn't decide to take anyone else with them.

Posted by Tom at April 17, 2007 05:05 AM

You say "get ready for political posturing," then you cite one of the earliest examples I've seen: Instapundit trying to score political points about a "gun free zone," political posturing that you happily join.

That's right. I warned you, then I provided some. What's your beef?

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 17, 2007 05:24 AM

kert,

I do not expect you to come back and answer me. But you can not get rid of guns in this country, the 2nd Amendment gives me the right to own and keep arms. Secondly, we can not keep drugs out of this country, do you honestly believe we can keep weapons out?

The answer is hell no. In fact, take away the legal weapons and a lot of bad guys will get illegal ones, such as AK47's.

Imagine that nutjob with an ak47, it would have been a lot more than 30 killed.

But you go on believing the fantasy that you can get rid of guns.

Gun violence is on the rise in England while it is dropping here in America. And which country is it illegal to carry guns?

Posted by James Stephenson at April 17, 2007 05:27 AM

The very premise of your argument - that if everyone was allowed to carry guns, the shooter would've been taken down earlier - is absurd. And this comes from someone living in Virginia, which is pretty freakin' flexible in terms of gun ownership.

How many college kids pack a handgun when going to class? How many professors do that? How many kids do we feel comfortable letting be armed in a setting that is both not necessarily prone to responsible behavior (let's face it, we all did stupid stuff in college), is high-density AND includes a serious amount of alcohol use (not just Virginia Tech, but any college). How do you handle the fact that for each kid who might've pulled out his handgun on this shooter, there might've been others who pulled handguns on people they thought were accomplices, or on police sneaking around buildings, or other students caught in the crossfire from a ton of students randomly shooting at a shooter. How would students have differentiated between good and bad shooters in that moment, or how would cops have done so. And how on earth would you assume that bringing guns into the classroom would make anyone safer, let alone contribute to the mission of the school - to teach students.

Unreal post on your part. Absolutely unreal.

Posted by Virginia_Mike at April 17, 2007 06:27 AM

Brian says:Arming everyone is not an equilibrium either, as it forces a lot of nonviolent crime into the realm of violence by virtue of the vigilante mentality and the inevitable response to it by criminals (i.e., shoot first).

I disagree. If someone is going to be violent in that way, I would think they would be less likely to carry out the violence if they suspected others may be carrying too. There was a recent case where someone outside a courthouse opened fire and a civilian shot him, ending the episode. Granted, the civilian lost his life too, but had the concealed weapon license and used his weapon only in the extreme circumstance he found himself in. There comes a time where you have to trust your populace to have responsibility. That's why a lot of the left wants bigger government, to control everything because they trust no one.

Then he says: Having guns is a right, of course, but laws defining acceptable varieties, etc., should be tailored to this principle.

I agree completely. Owning a gun should be protected, but there is no reason to own an M-16 unless you plan to go to war. I'll definitely agree with you there.

My problem is the push that's coming for more gun laws. We have enough laws, let's try enforcing them. More laws, more confusion, more violence from non-enforcement, and then more laws...kinda self-defeating.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 07:11 AM

what do you say .. i came back and will answer. nobody is having fantasies of getting rid of guns altogether.

leaving aside the comic-book differentiation of bad guys vs good guys, but if there is a choice of having 5 of 10 random people carrying guns, or one in ten thousand, which society would you prefer to live in ? In which society there is a higher likelyhood of gun violence, per capita ?

simple as that.

or, in a world where every country has atomic weapons, vs. a world where only a few do ? which do you prefer ? Which has higher likelyhood of trigger happy general acting under excuse of protecting his country firing the first nuke ?

Posted by kert at April 17, 2007 07:11 AM

btw, why dont you legalize stun guns for "protection against bad guys?" and outlaw firearms ? why does the "protection" have to be lethal ?


Posted by kert at April 17, 2007 07:15 AM

"::One: Disarm everyone.
Outcome : some, the criminals will still have arms, but definitely not as many. A person with a gun is easily identified as either as law officer or a criminal.

::Two: Arm as many as possible.
Outcome: frequent shootouts.

Say if you have two armies, in one case everybody is armed with Uzis and lots of ammunition.

In other case most have forks and knives, some still have pistols.

In which case will the battle bring fewer casualties ? Mind you, history has the answer, as we didnt use to have Uzis a while back...

Posted by kert at April 16, 2007 11:11 PM

"

Kert, everwhere CC-W has been implemented, the 'wild west' scneario you have proposed has never materialized. We have a large sampe size now to test this and the evidence so far strongly indicates it is a falsehood.

As far as identifying the shooter, he trasported himself and his weapons over a quarter of a mile over a nearly two hour period and no one identified him.

So much for your hypothesis.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 07:19 AM

The very premise of your argument - that if everyone was allowed to carry guns, the shooter would've been taken down earlier - is absurd.

No, that's your straw man, not my argument. Nowhere have I proposed that everyone be allowed to carry guns, or assumed that even if they were, everyone would.

Your bizarre fantasies aside, we have two recent examples in Virginia of gunmen at universities. In Grundy, the gunman was quickly subdued by armed students. In Blacksburg, he was stopped only by his own weapon, after murdering dozens. So we have a pretty good empirical test for the thesis.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 17, 2007 07:42 AM

The very premise of your argument - that if everyone was allowed to carry guns, the shooter would've been taken down earlier - is absurd.

Posted by Virginia_Mike at April 17, 2007 06:27 AM

And "mike" if that were the argument then you might have a point, it isnt and you dont!

Almost everyone can "own" a gun, (there are some exceptions) but in the end at least in The Great State of Texas not everyone can conceal carry a pistol.

The is a reasonably invasive procedure to get a concealed carry permit, including "gasp" firearms and law training...

You need to remember this is "concealed carry" like on your person...

There have been zero instances in TExas of a problem with this...and a few saves..

I dont know how things would have turned out had someone at the campus been "packing"... as I tell people who want a concealed carry permit or a weapon in general, the first bridge you really need to walk over is can you "smoke" a person in the first place and can you deal with that?

If you cant dont buy and carry a weapon. For all I know the person in our mythical scenario who was packing "froze" (cops have been known to do that) and couldnt squeeze the round...

But I dont know about you but when back home my badge carrying days or done, I'll probably still "pack the heat" because if someone has it and starts using it, at the very least I am going to reach for that "heater" (sorry sort of having a good time with this) instead of, as the guy/gal points it at me saying "this sucks".

Peace through individual freedom and responsibility.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 08:06 AM

I agree completely. Owning a gun should be protected, but there is no reason to own an M-16 unless you plan to go to war. I'll definitely agree with you there.


Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 07:11 AM

Not taking a stand here, but there are so many things you seem not to understand about the 2nd Amendment.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 08:10 AM

Robert says: Not taking a stand here, but there are so many things you seem not to understand about the 2nd Amendment.

I understand it fine. I'm just agreeing that some weapons are not necessary for citizens to have. Do you suck at hunting so bad that you need a fully automatic assault rifle to succeed? They have rifles that will kill from a great distance, so hunting is taken care of with existing weapons. Do you want the assault rifles to display at home? Get one that's plugged and unable to fire and display that. The Bill of Rights was a great addition to the Constitution, but fully automatic weapons didn't exist then. Who knows if they would have included those? Personally, assault rifles should be for police and military. In my opinion at least.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 08:23 AM

Do you suck at hunting so bad that you need a fully automatic assault rifle to succeed?

If you think that the Second Amendment is about hunting, you don't understand it at all. And if you think that police and soldiers should be better armed than citizens, then you are really clueless about it.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 17, 2007 08:28 AM

Mac - Re: M-16s. 1) Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution defines the missions of the militia - "to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." An M-16 is entirely appropriate for those missions. 2) TITLE 10 Subtitle A Part I Chapter 13 311 (current US law) defines membership in the militia of the US as "all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard." You are likely to be a legal member of the militia already if you are a male US citizen age 17-45 (the exceptions mentioned above are few in number). 3) Contrary to popular belief, a well aimed semi-auto fired from cover, in a situation where a crowd cannot take cover or escape, can be every bit as deadly as full auto. 4) I don't intend to describe the kind of scenarios in which number 3 could take place, but let's say they are numerous, and damned hard to defend against.

Posted by RKV at April 17, 2007 08:32 AM

Do you suck at hunting so bad that you need a fully automatic assault rifle to succeed?

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 08:23 AM

No I am proficient at long and short guns. Your taxes did most of my "serious" training.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting. It is about preserving the rights of a free state. Last I checked it said nothing about hunting.

What I dont like about arguments such as yours is the inconsistency of them. Sorry but "you" and others pick the "rights" you like and cherish them and say the others are part of an "outmoded" (my word) time.

Your view on the Second Amendment is PRECISLY the view that this Adminstration incorrectly I believe takes on the 4th and a few others of them...ie that they are "great" in normal times but we are in a time the Founders never could figure out so they dont need court orders or that your "person, place, or things" does not include well your personal financial information or well lots of things.

See I tend to read those Amendments and of The Constitution well literally.

Not in the context of "our times".

The Founders would be aghast at the infringement of "persons, places and things" that this administration has managed to more of less do with not so many people saying "by your leave" and they would be horrified at your logic that the 2nd was about hunting and they would not understand at all why some lefty nut job is saying that enemy combatants get access to the Federal Courts.

Try reading the entire document, not just the parts you like.

The 2nd Amendment was not about hunting...and the First Amendment does include campaign money in speech...

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 09:03 AM

sorry should be

"and the First Amendment does NOT include campaign money in speech..."

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 09:04 AM

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 08:23 AM

one more thing...do you know where all our rights come from?

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 09:05 AM

Not to mention Robert, that there are over 50,000 class three weapons(fully auto and such) legally in private hands and in 60+ years since the NFA was codified, there has only been one documented murder. This was by an off duty police officer on an informant with an M-11. There is also a documented case of an old man usinga FA weapon to save his own life during that time frame. One would be hard pressed to find a more responsibly owned class of technology than this.

Mac's chances of being bludgoend to death by hands, a laptop computer or a golf club are inifintely greater than his well to do collector neighbor using an M-16.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 09:19 AM

Called Chris Hall's office phone and sent him e-mail. I only have his office phone number and his office e-mail; if the university is closed for classes, it may be a bit before he sees the messages.

Posted by Fred Kiesche at April 17, 2007 09:43 AM

Wow, one little comment posted with "In my opinion." and its a stick in a fire ant pile. Not one of you people that responded with shots (pun) across my virtual bow explained WHY you feel you need an assault rifle. I know the 2nd doesn't mention hunting, I put that in there so that you guys could explain why you need assault rifles and not use hunting. I really don't want to hear that its a right by the 2nd amendment either. I want to know why you "feel" you need an assault rifle.

RKV says: Contrary to popular belief, a well aimed semi-auto fired from cover, in a situation where a crowd cannot take cover or escape, can be every bit as deadly as full auto.

So why do you need an assault rifle? Because the bad guys have one?

Robert said: Your taxes did most of my "serious" training.

Nope, I got all my taxes back because I'm in the lowest "I get it all back" bracket. Now, that I start a new job on Monday, I'll sneak into the first bracket and get 1K bucks a head for my children, thank you very much GW.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 09:48 AM

Not one of you people that responded with shots (pun) across my virtual bow explained WHY you feel you need an assault rifle.

Do you even know what an "assault rifle" is?

The reason some might "need" one (whatever it is)is to support the purpose of the Second Amendment, to ensure an armed citizenry against threats both foreign and domestic.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 17, 2007 09:54 AM

"Wow, one little comment posted with "In my opinion." and its a stick in a fire ant pile. Not one of you people that responded with shots (pun) across my virtual bow explained WHY you feel you need an assault rifle. I know the 2nd doesn't mention hunting, I put that in there so that you guys could explain why you need assault rifles and not use hunting. I really don't want to hear that its a right by the 2nd amendment either. I want to know why you "feel" you need an assault rifle."

Why do you 'need' a high power scoped sniper weapon to hunt deer? Do you not have supermarkets where you live? I have found the most effective way to take deer it with the front bumper of my Oldsmobile.

Better yet, I am a reponsible, law abiding tax paying citizen who served his country. The worst criminal offense I ever comitted is a speeding ticket for 11 miles over the limit. If I am deemd worthy enough to carry a reall assault weapon in her defense and possibly die carrying it, why am I not worthy to fulfil my constutionally guarenteed right to own a fake smei-automatic clone as a civilian or better still the real thing?

If I am not worthy of that, I suspect you are proabaly not worthy of enjoying the protection around half or more of the Bil of Rights.

If you are going to attempt to restrain my rights, a heavy burden of proof is upon you. I have no burden of proof to defend them.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 10:33 AM

Guns are not a problem per se, but you should not be giving it out to every one like candy. But gun control advocates will also have to admit that most of these school incidents are caused by people with almost no previous criminal records. Even though the intentions of gun control may be good, incidents like these just cannot be prevented.

But arming EVERYone is a downright stupid and impractical thing. There would be more accidental deaths if everyone going to school/public places was armed. Not to mention the dangers of theft by not so well intentioned people. In fact there are more guns to steal/abuse now.

There will be more incidents like these. Either there can be a total ban on guns which would provoke an outcry on 2nd amendment rights or we just move along with stricter background checks and age limits to buying a gun. That might prevent high school maniacs from going on a rampage but when it comes to college students above 21, it might still be impossible.

One also has to wonder how people from almost every country other than the US seem to get along just fine without any personal firearms. I can't believe that there are'nt hunters in the rest of the world or those who live in dangerous neighborhoods. This is indeed some thing really hard to explain.

Posted by NS at April 17, 2007 10:40 AM

Mac, It's a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs, or a bill of privileges. Self-defense is moral, as are the tools used to accomplish it. The police, btw, are a) incapable of protecting us and b) not legally required to protect us (ya' can't sue them if they fail). Your line of thinking leads us to a world where the government and its agents are a kind of "nobility" with special rights the rest of us don't have. That's not what the founders created when the Constitution was written.

Posted by RKV at April 17, 2007 10:46 AM

"One also has to wonder how people from almost every country other than the US seem to get along just fine without any personal firearms. I can't believe that there are'nt hunters in the rest of the world or those who live in dangerous neighborhoods. This is indeed some thing really hard to explain."

How do countries like Switzerland and Finland get along so fine with hig rates of forearm ownership?

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 10:51 AM

"But arming EVERYone is a downright stupid and impractical thing."

Who has advocated arming EVERYone? Every strawman you are arguing? Others have advocated allowing properly trained indidivuals to carry thim with them and perhaps arming the Professors. No one is advocating handing out CC-W permits like green stamps.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 10:56 AM

No one is advocating handing out CC-W permits like green stamps.

To expound on that, who's to say that, even if CCW permits were easily obtainable, that the ENTIRE populace would even bother to get one?

It's infinitely easier to vote in national elections than to even buy a gun (let alone carry one concealed), but you don't see large numbers of people actually voting.

Posted by John Breen III at April 17, 2007 11:13 AM

CCW .... The filter would not let me type CCW earlier.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 11:16 AM

Rand said: The reason some might "need" one (whatever it is)is to support the purpose of the Second Amendment, to ensure an armed citizenry against threats both foreign and domestic.

We already have plenty of guns types that you can purchase and own. As a case of need, there is none for an AR-15 (M-16) where a handgun or rifle is not good enough. As stated before the rifle in the right hands is equally or more deadly than the automatic.

Mike said: If I am deemd worthy enough to carry a reall assault weapon in her defense and possibly die carrying it, why am I not worthy to fulfil my constutionally guarenteed right to own a fake smei-automatic clone as a civilian or better still the real thing?

I never said anything about worthiness. I just asked why you need a fully automatic weapon, such as an M-16 when more than enough handguns and rifles exist on the market already. Why do you 'need' an assault rifle? "Because the law says I can have one." is not a need, it is a want.

RKV says: Mac, It's a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs, or a bill of privileges.

Great, it was also a simple question. I'm not disagreeing with the 2nd amendment at all. I'm just asking why you feel you 'need' an assault rifle.

This will touch off another firestorm, but here goes...

Rand asked: Do you even know what an "assault rifle" is?

Any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles designed for individual use in combat.

RKV said: Your line of thinking leads us to a world where the government and its agents are a kind of "nobility" with special rights the rest of us don't have.

My line of thinking is asking why you need a combat weapon for your ownership. I'm not suggesting that one group have special rights over another. Do you 'need' an assault rifle because the amendment says you can have one? That's a 'want' not a 'need'.

Again, I'm just asking about 'need' and its only a question.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 11:22 AM

I really don't want to hear that its a right by the 2nd amendment either. I want to know why you "feel" you need an assault rifle.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 09:48 AM

I will avoid the "assualt rifle" bit since thats a "red herring" (my Great Grandfathers "lever gun" could be an assualt rifle...lol)

Why own weapons...the security of a free state.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 11:40 AM

"Rand said: The reason some might "need" one (whatever it is)is to support the purpose of the Second Amendment, to ensure an armed citizenry against threats both foreign and domestic.

We already have plenty of guns types that you can purchase and own. As a case of need, there is none for an AR-15 (M-16) where a handgun or rifle is not good enough. As stated before the rifle in the right hands is equally or more deadly than the automatic."

Try reading US V Miller. The most protected firearms are the ones most applicible to militia use. AR-15's and the like. If you accept Rand's premis of the 2nd amendment, why limit the militia to obselete firearms?

Again, you haven't answered, why do you NEED to hunt deer? Are you starving? That is a very thin reason for owning a firearm.

"Any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles designed for individual use in combat."

The US Army does not share your definition. An AR-15 is not an assualt rifle because it is not fully automatic.

Alos, I would challenge you to show where these weapons are being used in a disproportionate fashion.

You are the one wanting to curtail a constutional right, you need to make the case to do so if that is your belief. As has been said, it is a bill of rights, not of needs.

The burden is yours. Make your case and I will respond. Show me how these weapons are so dangerous when the semi automatic clones are used in less than 1/2 of 1 percent of all homicides and the registered, class three, reall fully automatic deals are ued in only one homicide in 60+ years?

Why should we curtail a constutional right because of your irrational fears?

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:06 PM

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:06 PM

Mike.

If it is accurate that the shooter lined people up and shot them and encountered no significant resistance, that is a trouble statement on the will of The American people.

But then again I am still trying after all these years to understand the people on planes two and three on 9/11....

...the security of a free state...

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 12:10 PM

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:06 PM

YEah.

the founding fathers didnt say "the right to have the arms that the government says is ok...."

these are the guys who had seen The Crown try and excersize "gun control" and met their army with their militia...

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 12:12 PM

I apologise for my extremely poor typing skills today, I have a skullbuster of a non-hangover induced headache. Something related to chasing down a water leak under a rental propety for the landowner last midnight after gettin up extra early yesterday morning I think. The joys of being a groundskeeper in your spare time. The joys of CO2 headaches from sleeping too soundly under the covers.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:20 PM

Robert,

The founders obviously wanted the public to possess something equivilant to the standard service rifle of the day. Now what would that be in this day and age? Humm? A bolt action circa 1898? A flintlock musket or a light weight, air cooled, shoulder fired piece of goodenss?

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:23 PM

The founders obviously wanted the public to possess something equivilant to the standard service rifle of the day. Now what would that be in this day and age? Humm? A bolt action circa 1898? A flintlock musket or a light weight, air cooled, shoulder fired piece of goodenss?

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 12:23 PM

------------------------------------------------

A shoulder fired GPS guided missile, perhaps?

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 17, 2007 12:57 PM

"A shoulder fired GPS guided missile, perhaps?


Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 17, 2007 12:57 PM"


Since when is a MANPAD a standard issue service rifle??

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 01:10 PM

Mike says: You are the one wanting to curtail a constutional right

Nope, again, I'm asking a question.

He says: If you accept Rand's premis of the 2nd amendment, why limit the militia to obselete firearms?

I'm not limiting anything. Today's rifles are obsolete?

Robert said: Why own weapons...the security of a free state.

Great reason to own a weapon, but my question is different. Why do you need an assault rifle? Security of a free state is a goal that can be achieved with standard firearms. To quote security of a free state as a need for an assault rifle is incorrect. You WANT to enforce security of a free state with an assault rifle.

Mike also said: The US Army does not share your definition.

That's nice. Dictionaries define an assault rifle as what I posted above.

I'm all for arming. I'm all for allowing citizens their right to keep and bear arms. I'm also thinking you guys want the heavy weapons because they're cool and you feel more manly with them. Might as well break out the M-60s while your at it and hose down the free state while you're securing it with superior firepower.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 01:55 PM

Mike,

I get tired of hearing those comments on how the founding fathers of this country wanted private citizens to be armed so that they could ready to fight against foreign/domestic transgression. I dont think the founders ever anticipated the USA becoming the greatest military force ever known - may be they were concerned that the Brits could come back to attack the States (which they sure did) and it was in this light they wanted people to be armed.Just maybe. I dont think the original intent of the Founding Fathers was to have armed students going to schools/colleges.

"Who has advocated arming EVERYone? Every strawman you are arguing? Others have advocated allowing properly trained indidivuals to carry thim with them and perhaps arming the Professors. No one is advocating handing out CC-W permits like green stamps."

The 2nd Amendment does not distinguish between properly trained individuals and those who are'nt. You may be right to say that not every one will buy a firearm. But every one can. Also who exactly is going to certify them as "properly trained" ? The Government ?

Consider the realistic case where only a few of them buy it and only a few of them take it to a public place like a mall or a college. These individuals have to be
A. Responsible - they cannot let their firearms be stolen/abused

B. Be Ready to act - its one thing to be armed and trained, but its another thing to fearlessly confront a maniac who is shooting randomly at you.

C. I dont know if these weapons can be carried openly, but if they do, they would have to prove to their class/teachers that they are indeed "trained" shooters and intend no harm.
I am not going to sit in a class where a fellow student has a gun, no matter what his intentions. You can argue all day long about 2nd Amendment rights but i can bet you students come to a class expecting a safe environment - even taking it for granted. Having fellow students carrying guns is'nt exactly conducive to a class setting to put it mildly. And this is nothing personal against the person who wants to carry a gun.

D. Professors being armed with a gun is actually not a bad idea. I dont know of many professors who undergo firearms training.

Also incidents like the one at VaTech are unpredictable to say the least. Even if Professors/students are armed in one class, what about the assailant picking on another class where no one is armed.?

The only solution to this problem is to have trained/trusted people who carry firearms in EVERY classroom. How practical is this situation, regardless of people's views on gun rights/ gun laws/ controls etc ?

I have had people tell me that they carried guns when they were working on night shifts/dangerous places etc. I can completely understand and agree with them. Such people have a valid point.

But bringing guns to sanctuaries of learning, even if it is with good intentions seems as knee jerk as calling for total gun control.

How ever the rate at which these monsters (who give legit gun rights a bad rap) turn up, ppl may be forced to turn schools into high security zones or something. And that's a shame and an indication of how sick and terrible a few people can make life for the rest of us.

Posted by NS at April 17, 2007 01:58 PM

"That's nice. Dictionaries define an assault rifle as what I posted above."

Who is more authoratative?

That's nice. They are wrong. I trust the Army to understand how to classify weaponry. It is enlightening you trust a bunch of english majors more that those who develop and use them.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 02:00 PM

"He says: If you accept Rand's premis of the 2nd amendment, why limit the militia to obselete firearms?

I'm not limiting anything. Today's rifles are obsolete?

Robert said: Why own weapons...the security of a free state.

Great reason to own a weapon, but my question is different. Why do you need an assault rifle? Security of a free state is a goal that can be achieved with standard firearms. To quote security of a free state as a need for an assault rifle is incorrect. You WANT to enforce security of a free state with an assault rifle."

Yes, for a militarily relevant standpoint, most hunting weapons are obselete and handguns are of a very limited use.

The founders wanted the militia to have capable weaponry. Arguing the second amendment does not protect modern semi-automatic and automatic weapons is like arguing the first does not protect unpopular speech or new religions. Your stating you support the second amendment yet oppose the civilian ownership of self-loading arms is to take a wholly contradictary position.

It is like Bill Maher trying to claim he is a libertarian becauses he opposes the WoD. It is laughable to anyone who vaguely understands the precepts of libertarianism as well as those who have minimally researched the second amendment.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 02:10 PM

BTW Mac, you have yet to offer the slightest evidence to support your curtailing the second amendment to limit these technologies.

Why should people not be allowed to have these if they want them? The burden of proof is still on you to make your case. You haven't even begun to make it.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 02:12 PM

Mike said: BTW Mac, you have yet to offer the slightest evidence to support your curtailing the second amendment to limit these technologies.

Because I'm not supporting curtailing the 2nd. I'm asking a simple question that no one has the chest hair to answer.

Mike also said: Why should people not be allowed to have these if they want them?

I only said 'In my opinion' because I think that it is not necessary to own superior firepower, just because you WANT it. If you NEED technologically advanced firepower, sure...but what person really NEEDS a firearm of this type?

Robert said: Your stating you support the second amendment yet oppose the civilian ownership of self-loading arms is to take a wholly contradictary position.

I didn't say I support or oppse anything. Wasn't it you who asked for reading comprehension in another thread? Simple question...why do you NEED a technologically advanced weapon?

Actually, I'm trying to define a difference here between NEED and WANT. However, since no one is willing to give a simple answer to a simple question, I will have to assume (at gunpoint?) that I'm right.

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 02:33 PM

Bloody good point Mac, and no pun intended.

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 17, 2007 03:12 PM

I don't NEED a 3500 pound hunk of aluminum, steel, plastic, and titanium that can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 3.8 seconds. Does that mean that my license to drive only limits me to vehicles that other people think I should be driving? After all, with modern hybrids, I can sneak up on people much more easily than with most ICE-powered cars, I can kill a LOT more people in a MUCH shorter time with a car than with a horse and buggy.

I'm not sure that anyone really particularly NEEDS to have an M60 in their private ownership. And those that do will probably fire it once or twice in the time span that they have it. But if the government ever decides to turn on its own people, I would feel much better knowing that the people have at least a slim chance of defending themselves. And that's what I understand the founders intent to be as well.

Granted, if the US Military decided to turn on it own country, us good citizens wouldn't stand a chance against smart weapons, air strikes, and the like, but if the citizenry isn't completely neutered in terms of its arms ownership, then there's a much smaller chance that it would ever happen in the first place.

The cat was let out of the bag almost 1500 years ago when someone decided to mix saltpeter with charcoal. Unless anyone has a time machine, there's not much you can do to get rid of all of the guns in the world going forward, much less try to get rid of every assault weapon in the US.

Posted by John Breen III at April 17, 2007 03:14 PM

And incidentally, I don't want an assault weapon. I would much rather have a shoulder fired GPS guided missile and I damn well claim that the 2nd amendment fully intended me to have one. (;-) None of this obsolete 17th century crap for me please.

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 17, 2007 03:15 PM

John, ever tried to kill a nasty neighbor's cat with your car? What you need, as I need, is a shoulder fired GPS guided missile which will be much more effective in terms of the arguments you raise.

Posted by Toast_n_Tea at April 17, 2007 03:19 PM

T-n-T,

You are arguing to own an area weapon, we are arguing to own a point weapon. What you want would be the equivilant of a cannon in the colonial era. That type weapon would have usually been the group property of the local militia.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 03:38 PM

Mac: "I would think they would be less likely to carry out the violence if they suspected others may be carrying too."

Do a thought experiment. Say that x percent of nonviolent offenders, if they expect their victims to be armed, would engage in some form of preemptive violence to avoid being shot, while y percent would be more selective about targets and z percent wouldn't change their behavior. No matter what combination of (x,y,z) you choose, if x and y are nonzero you've increased violence in order to decrease property crime. Is that a worthy tradeoff?

Secondly, one might argue this would be counterbalanced by a decrease in originally violent crime, so do a second thought experiment: m percent of armed robbers decide to preemptively kill their victims and/or close bystanders to avoid being shot, n percent of armed robbers are more selective, and w percent change nothing. If m and n are nonzero, you've decreased the number of armed robberies while increasing the number of shootings and murders. Worthy tradeoff?

Mac: "Owning a gun should be protected, but there is no reason to own an M-16 unless you plan to go to war."

Agreed. Nobody just looking to protect their family goes out and spends four figures on an assault rifle or submachine gun, let alone several.

Mac: "We have enough laws, let's try enforcing them."

I would suggest one very simple law that in no way violates the 2nd Amendment: a 100% tax on all profits from the sale of firearms.

Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 17, 2007 03:48 PM

"I would suggest one very simple law that in no way violates the 2nd Amendment: a 100% tax on all profits from the sale of firearms. "

Actually it would totally violate it. In regards to the NFA of 1936 the courts have already ruled a tax must be reasonable. To tax something into the point of bankrupcy does not pass the reasonable man test.

"Mac: "Owning a gun should be protected, but there is no reason to own an M-16 unless you plan to go to war."

Agreed. Nobody just looking to protect their family goes out and spends four figures on an assault rifle or submachine gun, let alone several."

A private transferrable M-16 costs five figures and since when is the second amendment limited to local criminal defense of your family? It contributes to the collective defense of society whether you chose to acknowledge it or not.

"I would suggest one very simple law that in no way violates the 2nd Amendment: a 100% tax on all profits from the sale of firearms. "

"For every complex problem there are several simple solutions that all have one thing in common, they are equally wrong." Albert Einstien

Boy, he had you pegged decades ago.

Actually it would totally violate the second amendment. In regards to the NFA of 1936 the courts have already ruled a tax must be reasonable. To tax something into the point of oblivion does not pass the reasonability test.

I propose a $100 per idea tax on all illogical and stupid liberal feel good ideas.

Think of it, you alone could pay the US out of debt Brian.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 04:11 PM

"Mac: "I would think they would be less likely to carry out the violence if they suspected others may be carrying too."

Do a thought experiment. Say that x percent of nonviolent offenders, if they expect their victims to be armed, would engage in some form of preemptive violence to avoid being shot, while y percent would be more selective about targets and z percent wouldn't change their behavior. No matter what combination of (x,y,z) you choose, if x and y are nonzero you've increased violence in order to decrease property crime. Is that a worthy tradeoff?

Secondly, one might argue this would be counterbalanced by a decrease in originally violent crime, so do a second thought experiment: m percent of armed robbers decide to preemptively kill their victims and/or close bystanders to avoid being shot, n percent of armed robbers are more selective, and w percent change nothing. If m and n are nonzero, you've decreased the number of armed robberies while increasing the number of shootings and murders. Worthy tradeoff?

Mac: "Owning a gun should be protected, but there is "

Except real world examples where CCW has been adopted shows crime and violence decreases without an increase in risk. Obviously, your model is making incorrect assumptions.

Posted by Mike Puckett at April 17, 2007 04:13 PM

Brian says: Agreed.

My heart may stop. :)

However, I noticed that Mike immediately deflected off of your post to ignore my simple question again. Wow, TnT agrees with me AGAIN and Squiddie too! Liberals and Conservatives working together...shocking

Posted by Mac at April 17, 2007 04:33 PM

"Granted, if the US Military decided to turn on it own country, us good citizens wouldn't stand a chance against smart weapons, air strikes, and the like, but if the citizenry isn't completely neutered in terms of its arms ownership, then there's a much smaller chance that it would ever happen in the first place"

I can't believe that some one here on this thread, even thinks that the US would turn on its own citizens. Hmm, and i thought people were worried about terrorists !!

EVEN IF the US military were to turn on its own citizens, no amount of privately owned firearms would be able to do a damn thing.

May be it would decrease the chances of being obliterated from 100% to 99.999999%

Posted by NS at April 17, 2007 05:15 PM

If I may slip a comment into the ongoing discussion on the right to bear/not bear arms...

Got a voice mail from Chris Hall (Spacecraft) at VT. He is OK. He said he would e-mail Rand directly.

Posted by Fred Kiesche at April 17, 2007 05:47 PM

That's great about Chris Hall!

Posted by Elwood Jetson at April 17, 2007 06:09 PM

Mike: "In regards to the NFA of 1936 the courts have already ruled a tax must be reasonable."

I find no such standard in the decisions, and indeed one statement that seems to directly contradict what you're saying:

"[...]the imposition of the tax is the determining feature and cannot be treated as being without the power because of the destructive effect of exercise of the authority upon the article or business connected therewith." United States v. Adams, 11 F. Supp. 216, 218 (S. D. Fla. 1935).

This sounds to me like "you can't challenge a tax because of its secondary effects."

Mike: "To tax something into the point of bankrupcy does not pass the reasonable man test."

Any tax whatsoever could force some firms into bankruptcy, so this standard itself is not reasonable.

Mike: "and since when is the second amendment limited to local criminal defense of your family?"

Since the invention of the tank.

Mike: "It contributes to the collective defense of society whether you chose to acknowledge it or not."

I don't have a problem with communities having assault weapons for emergencies, but there is no reason whatsoever for individuals to own them.

Mike: "I propose a $100 per idea tax on all illogical and stupid liberal feel good ideas."

The fact is the gun lobby exists to serve the gun industry, not the 2nd Amendment, so what exactly is your agenda? Are you about rights, or about keeping the gravy train rolling?

Mike: "Except real world examples where CCW has been adopted shows crime and violence decreases without an increase in risk."

Where is the evidence? Where is the gang-ridden, blood-soaked inner city made safer by distributing guns to the citizenry, who most likely already have them and are no safer for it?

Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 17, 2007 06:57 PM

Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 17, 2007 06:57 PM

THERE IS A VAST...difference between firearms owned by law abiding citizens and thugs in the inner city.

Robert

Posted by Robert G. Oler at April 17, 2007 08:09 PM

Robert: "THERE IS A VAST...difference between firearms owned by law abiding citizens and thugs in the inner city."

Yes, I just said that. Gangs don't care who is armed; they kill heavily armed rivals on a routine basis, and occasionally shoot cops, so they would laugh at the NRA's claims even if it bothered campaigning in inner cities.

Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 17, 2007 10:57 PM


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