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Old 04-17-2007, 01:20 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Very few compared to the US. Very few.

Not to mention, the majority of the illegal guns in Canada are courtesy of the US gun market.
Agreed. My point is they still occur despite our gun laws therefore it would be impossible to completely avoid these tragedies altogether.
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Old 04-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #32
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i don't see how tighter gun control could have prevented this particular tragedy; i do see it preventing potential tragedies like the one joyfulgirl posted.

i do think that if, say, the professors had been armed, this guy could have been stopped. it is true that sometimes the possession of handguns prevents crimes from occurring. but i'd also think a fully armed armed citizenry would cause many, many, many more deaths than we already have. there is a right in the constitution. i don't have a problem with hunting (though i'd never hunt myself) and i don't have a problem with legitimate self-defense. but i do have a problem when people pretend that guns aren't the issue, or that they are the whole issue.

ultimately, focusing just on the guns -- pro or against -- is little more than a quick-fix solution. we need to examine a rat race culture, a culture that views violence as an acceptable means to solve problems, the sometimes excessive individualism that can cut many adrift, feelings of isolation and detachment, as well as proper health care that should include mental health check-ups as well.

this is a multifaceted problem we have here. sure, no one is going to knife 33 people in a classroom, but if there were no guns, what's to stop someone from a suicide bombing (which is, basically, an equivalent to what just happened)?

it has to be said that there's an ethos and mythology of violence that does permeate American culture, and it's not all bad. there was a violent Revolution that was, i think we can say, A Good Thing. it was, and in many places still is, a wild and unkempt piece of land filled with bears and moose and other animals that can and will kill you. there is something about the empowering of the individual to defend his life and property with the deadliest means reasonably available (a gun) that i do find somewhat noble -- would you not shoot an intruder? would you not shoot someone about to rape your daughter? and i can agree with the ideology that, should a government become oppressive, it is up to ordinary citizens to overthrow that government (though it works better in the abstract -- the government has Stealth Bombers these days).

but there's something about a country that expanded through the genocide of the Native Americans, still has the death penalty in a majority of States, still has the NRA as one of the most powerful lobby groups, still thinks that violence is an acceptable foreign policy.

and say what you will. Blacksberg was safer yesterday than Baghdad.

in fact, only 33 dead. that's a pretty good Monday morning for Baghdad.
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:36 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i do think that if, say, the professors had been armed, this guy could have been stopped.
Not sure I agree with this. I believe he shot the professor first in every classroom he went into, and for sure he would have if he'd known they had guns. Futhermore, if I were armed and heard gunfire in a nearby classroom, my first priority would be to immediately begin directing and assisting my own students in taking whatever measures they could to protect themselves, not to sprint next door and attempt to shoot the gunman, which could just as easily result in me getting shot and him proceeding on to my own classroom. Perhaps what you had in mind was more a posse of professors converging with guns drawn all at once, but in a typical classroom building that's not a very realistic scenario--occupied classrooms are often spaced quite far apart, we don't have "panic buttons" specialized for communicating with each other (or anyone for that matter, though I suppose that much could be changed) and based on the eyewitness accounts I've read, many of the students and professors simply did not register what they were hearing as the action unfolded. I would gladly risk my life to protect my students, but I am a scholar, not a security guard charged with looking out for the safety of all students collectively. And frankly, if colleges actually tried to implement a measure like this, it would only be a question of time before some disturbed prof opened fire on his students or colleagues, at which point you'd have cries to repeal it.
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ultimately, focusing just on the guns -- pro or against -- is little more than a quick-fix solution. we need to examine a rat race culture, a culture that views violence as an acceptable means to solve problems, the sometimes excessive individualism that can cut many adrift, feelings of isolation and detachment, as well as proper health care that should include mental health check-ups as well.
I agree this is relevant (although cultural factors too can be overstated, and I've heard more than enough gruesome tales while researching in rural India to be quite certain that criminal sociopathy is alive and well in the most idyllically community-oriented little villages), but how do we go about addressing things like this? This student had already been referred for counseling, so apparently it hadn't gone unnoticed that he seemed "troubled." Not sure what any college could do to ensure that no one ever falls through the cracks socially.

Gun control won't prevent a black market, you're right about that, although I'm not sure how comparable isolated disturbed individuals are to, say, gang members (who often live in neighborhoods where black market sources are entrenched, and are well-versed in using them) in terms of how likely they would be to seek out such networks.
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:41 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511


and say what you will. Blacksberg was safer yesterday than Baghdad.

and what if we added to the mix
the same ratio of guns and munitions ratios to Blacksberg that Baghdad has?
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:42 PM   #35
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There's no way to every guarantee this won't happen again.

But would have a waiting period made him reconsider? Who knows?

Would he have had the connections to buy a gun off the black market? Who knows?

Will tighter gun control evenutally reduce the guns out on the black market? Hopefully, if done right...
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:47 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono


You raised some very good points Ormus.

However you must remember that a war is going on and the enemy is watching everything that is going on. Don't think they don't rub their hands with glee when they see the level of disention(sp?) within the American public. They see this as a sign of weakness on America's part and use it as an excuse to intensify their efforts against America.

By all means, criticize George Bush, impeach him and even put him on trial if warranted.....but do it AFTER the war is over. To do so now would play right into the hands of the terrorists and undermine the efforts to defeat the enemy and end the war as soon as possible.

Thanks.
Oh, please...this is all a bunch of bullshit. Freedom of speech and dissent is what got the U.S. out of an unnecessary war in Vietnam. You can't honestly expect Americans to just sit by idly and in silence as a idiot like Bush leads thousands of men and women into harm's way.

I'll continue to say what I feel about the current administration because I have the right to do so. And, even if I didn't have the right, I'd still be out there screaming about the faults of Bush and his cronies.
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:48 PM   #37
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Let's keep the objections civil please.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:19 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
[B]
Not sure I agree with this. I believe he shot the professor first in every classroom he went into, and for sure he would have if he'd known they had guns.

it's a slightly exaggerated point, and i take your logistical concerns. but the point i was trying to make, as surreal as it is to me, is that unarmed people are totally defenseless against the armed. the case that is being brought up by the pro-gun crowd is the January 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School where a disgruntled student shot and killed a dean, a professor, and a student, before being gunned dwon by two armed students.

the same argument surfaced during Columbine where some stated that an armed security guard or teacher could have stopped Klebold or Harris sooner rather than later.

it repulses me to think of weapons of any kind in institutions of learning, but i think the Appalachian Law incident does warrant some attention.



[q]Not sure what any college could do to ensure that no one ever falls through the cracks socially.[/q]

not sure either. i was the equivalent of an RA where i went to college, and to be sure there were a few kids i was mildly concerned about, but i was lucky as i'd heard horror stories from other RAs. what i do think my college did well was making sure that people don't fall through the cracks. and, for the most part, people didn't. but that was a small community-oriented school. i think these things get harder to do at a larger university. and i agree, there's no evidence, yet, that there were credible warning signs to justify the student's removal from campus (which did happen where i went to college -- if anyone seemed a remote suicide threat, they were immediately removed from campus, which struck me as little more than institutional CYA).

i think a real conversation has to take place.

i've been combing through the British and Australian press the past 24 hours, and it does strike me how incomprehensible this is to virtually everyone else. it's one of those things about the US that no one else understands, along with our excessive religiosity and belief in our ability to one day be rich.

it baffles me too. i don't understand the appeal of guns. my best friend on earth is a gun owner. he keeps trying to get me to go shooting with him on the weekends. and i won't do it.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:26 PM   #39
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Interesting that these sorts of massacres happen in places where theres nobody to shoot back; Port Arthur, Columbine etc.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:48 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Interesting that these sorts of massacres happen in places where theres nobody to shoot back; Port Arthur, Columbine etc.


agreed. i also wonder why these things always happen in the middle of April (Columbine, OK City, Waco).

but the conclusion i'm feeling comfortable enough to draw is that this is precisely the wrong case to use as an argument either for or against gun control. this psychopath was going to figure out a way to kill a whole bunch of people no matter what, legal guns or not.

the argument about gun control is probably best served in the incident joyfulgirl has mentioned. we should examine the amount of what would be small incidents that escalated into murder due to the presence of a gun against the amount of crimes that were thwarted due to the presence of a gun. it's the ease and availability of guns that should be addressed, not such an outlier.

at least that's how i feet at 4:48pm today. tomorrow, who knows?
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:51 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono
However you must remember that a war is going on and the enemy is watching everything that is going on. Don't think they don't rub their hands with glee when they see the level of disention(sp?) within the American public. They see this as a sign of weakness on America's part and use it as an excuse to intensify their efforts against America.

By all means, criticize George Bush, impeach him and even put him on trial if warranted.....but do it AFTER the war is over. To do so now would play right into the hands of the terrorists and undermine the efforts to defeat the enemy and end the war as soon as possible.

Thanks.
Explain to me how dissent plays into the hands of the terrorists and undermines our effort to defeat the enemy. I'm serious - I'd very much like to hear this explained, because I certainly don't agree with it on face value.

For me, what I would see playing into the terrorists' hands is this: Not having the courage to stand up for our beliefs. Being too afraid of our enemy to speak out when we feel WE are doing something dreadfully wrong. Staying silent while our country goes off in the wrong direction.

If I believe that our current direction is wrong and is hurting our country and aiding the enemy's cause, and if by chance I am right, then by staying silent I am helping the enemy win. I may even believe our cause, but disagree with the methods used. If I believe our current methods aren't working well enough, don't you think I should be able to voice that opinion so it spurs the leadership to explore other methods that might be more effective?

Besides, if we all just shut up and don't challenge our leadership and their decisions, how is the leadership to know when they've made a mistake? Do you think they'll just recognize it on their own?
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:15 PM   #42
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I believe those Appalachian Law School students were both former police officers who'd run to their cars for their guns (as guns weren't allowed on campus), and also that the 'random firing' phase of that incident was very brief--as I recall, the shooter took aim at several students in a hallway as he exited the building where he'd just shot the two faculty in their offices, then was cornered outside by the two armed students. It may be true that he would've wandered on into a classroom elsewhere and shot more students if they hadn't done that, but the fact is that the same laws which in principle make it easy for almost any student to purchase a gun for self-defense also made it easy for Cho Seung-Hui to buy the gun he used yesterday, no questions asked. And you have to think long and hard about the implications of all students being allowed to have guns on campus...how many drunken dorm fights, lovers' spats, conflicts with administrators etc. might blow up into something much worse if guns were around, and would that offset the number of lives potentially saved on the off-chance that a mass shooting should ever happen. I can see where it makes somewhat more sense to say, OK, let's not let students have guns, but let's let faculty have them; but there too (and setting aside the fact that most faculty would resist that tooth and nail) you have to weigh the potential benefits of that against the inevitable risk of a prof using their gun for revenge in some moment of rage or distress. Simply arming them and providing them with a little training would not give them the mentality towards, nor the expertise with, their guns that a police officer has. And how far are you going to expect them to go should an incident like yesterday's happen? Setting aside the fact that the doors to Norris Hall were chained, and that there was no way to instantaneously relay across campus what was happening--if faculty had come running from all directions with guns drawn, might there not have been confusion as to which armed person "the bad guy" was in the chaos of the moment? I know probably only a fifth, if that, of my fellow faculty members by sight.
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
what i do think my college did well was making sure that people don't fall through the cracks. and, for the most part, people didn't. but that was a small community-oriented school. i think these things get harder to do at a larger university.
I've never either studied or taught at anything but a large school, but my guess is there's some truth to that. Even small schools are going to have their impenetrable cliques and poor-fit students who feel pissed on, but at least it's in principle easier (or so I'd imagine) to find and seek comfort with your fellow angst-ridden malcontents (to put it cynically). It probably is easier to get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the "community" around you and withdraw altogether when you're at a really large school.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:55 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
I can see where it makes somewhat more sense to say, OK, let's not let students have guns, but let's let faculty have them; but there too (and setting aside the fact that most faculty would resist that tooth and nail) you have to weigh the potential benefits of that against the inevitable risk of a prof using their gun for revenge in some moment of rage or distress. Simply arming them and providing them with a little training would not give them the mentality towards, nor the expertise with, their guns that a police officer has.



just to reiterate, i'm not disagreeing wtih you, i'm just trying to present a different side (one that is starting to echo loud and clear in the right-wing blogosphere). i think the argument is less, "let's arm students and train professors to shoot-to-kill," and more that in a zone that is gun free you are utterly defenseless should someone break the law and violate that zone as we saw today. it's not so much that all students should be encouraged to have guns for personal safety reasons; rather, those who so choose should be entitled to the same rights of self-defense permitted to all citizens of Virginia and when those rights are suspended, as they are on college campuses, people aren't free to defend themselves.

that is the argument i am hearing.

bluntly, i've never touched a gun, but i'd rather have one, than not, should, say, a Katrina-style disaster befall Washington DC and it's 48 hours before law and order is restored.



Quote:
It probably is easier to get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the "community" around you and withdraw altogether when you're at a really large school.
that was one of the reasons i loved my school, and still do. i've felt a part of it since i showed up for orientation, and even though i outgrew it, i would never have wanted to go anywhere else, given my personality.
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:18 PM   #44
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Re: It is time to revise/update the U.S. constitution.....

Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono
Yesterday's massacre in Virginia was the last straw as far as I'm concerned.

The U.S. constitution was written in the 1700's after the U.S. won it's independence from Britain in order to make sure that the citizens of the newly-formed nation will never again suffer the opressions of monarchy and that they will be granted freedoms that were denied them during the British rule.

These freedoms included the right to free speech, assembly, religion, the right to bear arms....etc., and were instituted as a remedy for the previous opression the citizens were under.

For the past 220 years, the U.S. has been an independent nation and is no longer subject to the rules of any other country. The wording of the constitution was suitable for the 18th century and, apart from various amendments that were added throughout the centuries, the basic structure hasn't changed.

There have been constitutional amendments which have come and gone (such as slavery and prohibition) and I see no reason why the constitution can't undergo a revision to suit these dangerous times we live in.

I'm talking specifically about freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. The ease in which anybody can get his hands on a weapon is frightening....and yesterday was a shining example. The facts of yesterday's massacre aren't yet completely known but I have no doubt that something has to be done about gun control. You can give the old ARA argument that "guns don't kill people, PEOPLE kill people" but the fact remains that the lax gun laws in America have made it so easy for anyone to purchase a firearm with almost no questions asked.

As for free speech - I'm very sure that the founding fathers didn't mean the freedom to insult or incite. Don Imus and Rosie O'Donnell are textbook examples of how freedom of speech has gone too far. Rosie O'Donnell calling for the impeachment of a sitting president during a time of war would be considered treason in some countries. Don Imus calling a group of women by a racial slur in a live radio broadcast is totally unacceptable.

The lunatics who subscribe to the 911 conspiracies are perhaps the BEST example of why 1st amendment should be revised. In this case, freedom of speech equals freedom of STUPIDITY. People who use their free speech to insult the memory of the innocent people killed on 911 shouldn't even be allowed any forum. People like Cindy Sheehan (who downgrades her son's sacrifice to his country by calling Bush a murderer) should be denied access to a microphone.

Here are perfect examples of the right way and the wrong way to use free speech: let's say I'm at an anti-war rally and I have a megaphone handy, I am deeply disappointed in the way the war is being waged and wish to express my views to the crowd.

One way:
"Please stop the killing, bring the troops home and negotiate a peace....don't let any more innocents people on either side be killed. George Bush, please hear our cries and bring the troops back home".

Another way:
"Let's send George Bush's children to Iraq so they can die in the war that he started. All he wants is oil and world domination. George Bush is a killer and he should suffer the same loss as we do.....he should be put on trial for war crimes and hung in the Hague and burn in hell forever".



Do you think that both statements should enjoy the same 1st amendment rights equally? I don't.........you can clearly see the difference between them.

To summarize, the U.S. constitution is outdated and needs to be revised to meet today's challenges and today's threats.

I welcome your comments on this matter.

Thanks.
I disagree with the ideas about "free speech", except when such speech somehow infringes on the freedoms, security, and rights of others.

As for the 2nd amendment, I agree that it is outdated. It was introduced at a time when the country really did not have a significant standing army or police force which is obviously not the case today. Comparing the number of murders in the UK/Ireland/Canada to the USA shows that the wide availability of guns to civilians in the United States is not effective in reducing the murder rate and is probably a key reason as to why the USA murder rate is so high. Over 12,000 US citizens are murdered by firearms every year. Despite the lower populations of Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, firearms deaths per year are often only in the dozens, well below the US rate once you adjust for population.

I think only the US military, Police and other members of security organizations should have firearms, not civilians. This is the firearm policy in many countries and the greatly reduced rate of murder in those countries is evidence that suggest very strict gun control or a total gun ban for civilians would help to reduce the overall murder rate substantially. The UK, Ireland and Canada all have plenty of crime, but the big difference is the murder rate. What seems to probably be the biggest reason the murder rate between the USA and these other countries is the availability of guns to civilians.
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:29 PM   #45
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Originally posted by Irvine511


and say what you will. Blacksberg was safer yesterday than Baghdad.

in fact, only 33 dead. that's a pretty good Monday morning for Baghdad.
Actually, that is false. Baghdad has a population of over 5,000,000. Blacksberg VA has a population of 39,500. For Baghdad to have an equal death rate as Blacksberg yesterday, it would need a little over 4,000 killed. Baghdad's single worst day in the past 4 years is not even 15% of that.
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