It's like family, only weirder…

Gun Laws

You might have guessed at this headline. With the news of the Virginia Tech shootings so fresh in everyone’s mind, debate about weapon laws entered into this morning’s conversations at work.

Yeh – an Asian man with grand visions of America’s wild west compares those good ole days (notably via Hollywood entertainment and the likes of John Wayne) to what life could be like in modern society. His idea is simply that, while he doesn’t feel a need to carry a weapon, he would feel safer knowing that a percentage of other citizens do.

Brandon – a good friend of mine now for over seven years always has an informed perspective on issues of law, politics, and their possible effects on society morale. He sees that modern society has a tendency to escalate situations to the point of violence too often for him to feel comfort knowing citizens are carrying concealed weapons.

Damon – the minister by night, techie by day; new(ish) guy. He generally has a specific slant to his interjections – one of Godliness and a faith-based perspective. His statement is one of idealism…we should all just love each other more.

I see validity in all of their statements. Unfortunately, I don’t see drastic changes occurring to society as a whole based upon this event. Brandon said it best, “any law that is created based on these events would be a knee-jerk reaction.” Love and peace go without saying. The days of the wild west, as portrayed in the movies, seem orderly enough – that is, the majority of violence was kept between two men. Or at most a man (Clint Eastwood) and a marauding gang. In an idealistic way, I can agree with Yeh because I want to believe that most people are good. Most people are reasonable. And as Yeh says it, the knowledge that anyone could be carrying a gun prevents the “bad guy” from outrageous exploitations of the innocent. Alas, I live in the southeastern United States where I think that pondering fails experience. It’s likely a global fault, to be sure.

So what’s the answer? How do we protect the innocent without inflicting the very rights by which they can protect themselves? Clearly the issue is less about enforced justice and instead one of individual righteousness. Just when you think (hope) everyone is decent, your theories are dashed by a frenzied, yet incapable member of society.


Reader Comments

  1. I firmly believe that the only way one person is able to shoot 50+ people, killing 32, is if the victims are completely defenseless. While I do not believe it should be compulsory for every individual to carry a gun, I believe that the right that allows one to do so should not be suspended – even while on a college campus.

    What’s ironic to me is this:

    A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

    House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

    The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

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

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

    How safe do you think those defenseless students felt yesterday Hincker?

    A student carrying yesterday could have stopped this tragedy.

  2. We’ve all heard the old adage “Guns don’t kill, people do.”. The problem at Virginia Tech was not a gun, but an ill-intentioned person(or people). Given that the problem was not a gun, the ultimate solution will not be gun related. A bigger question is: Why do people hurt people? An even bigger question is: Why do people WANT to hurt people? Our national and local security efforts lean heavily on trying to prevent people’s ABILITY to hurt others. These are worthwhile measures, including gun control, but these measures will only ever have limited success. We must also, if not more so address the desperation within humanity that drives a person WANT to inflict such consequence on another life. If a person wants to hurt another person, eventually he/she will. Society doesn’t so much have a gun problem as a heart problem.

  3. I personally think society has gone down the tubes. Things that were taboo years ago are more socially permissible nowadays, some even cool. Guns have nothing to do with it, it could have been explosives made at home or even a butcher knife or a samurai sword used to hack people up, it doesn’t matter, the bottom line is that people have all these thoughts in their mind and these thoughts are out of wack, and they act upon them, why? Why is this happening now more than years ago, guns have been around, as well as other weapons, so why? I think its media and society and what they put in front of us. I watched a show the other day where this couple was staging a fight and the man was physically assaulting his wife and 1 out of 10 people did something about it. It’s ridiculous, nobody seems to care and more importantly this sort of stuff is seen on TV or heard about so often its almost seen as sort of happenstance. It gets even worst in high school/middle school, I have a 17 yeard old, and if you think you know what its like, time for a reality check, they are doing stuff you would probably pass out over, I shudder to even mention it here. Quite sad actually, I’ve pretty much lost all hope for humanity.

  4. As many know I am very Pro-GUN. Actually I am a card carrying lifetime member of the NRA. Do I think that every person in the US should be carrying? nope. But I think that we as citizens should be able to carry. I am lucky that I live in a state that does not try to prevent all citizens from carrying. Just ones that do not have the right mind set (someone that has been in drug rehab/facility or mental hospital/facility in the last 7 years). I have had my CCW permit since 2000. Do I carry all the time? nope. I do occasionally.

    Now back to the question at hand. Would students/facility carrying weapons have prevented this? no way. It might have made the gunman take a second thought about it and when he became more disgruntle/insane/whatever-the-infliction-was then he would have done it again. The one potential that could have come of students/facility carrying is that one of them might have been able to stop him before he kill the 32 victims nor the other 20+ that were injured. Maybe he would have only gotten one or two. Maybe a dozen, maybe all of them. Who knows. But there would have been a chance for someone to stop him.

    As Carlos and Marc were talking about, we need to figure out why he wanted to hurt people (or even kill them) or the knee jerk reactions that our country is prone to do of lately.

    Only time will tell.

  5. I own a gun. I’ve carried it everywhere I’ve been for the past 17 years. I’m short tempered and have yet to pull the gun on anyone. It’s been with me at times I would have otherwise felt very unsafe. Would I use it if I “had” to? You bet.

    The problem with making gun laws more strict is that the law abiding citizens will be the only one’s affected by the restriction. If someone is going to kill you, do you think they give a crap about some silly gun law? No. Of course not.

    The question should be: How did a RESIDENT ALIEN from Korea get his hands on two hand guns? Our laws need to be focused on border and gang control. We don’t know who those people are sneaking into our country. And, if they commit a crime here, most go back to their country where they are safe from extradition. Does that make you feel safe? Instead of wasting time in some 3rd world country, we should be focused on cleaning up America’s woes. Our government is so watered down with politcal correctness that things like the VT shootings are going to continue, simply because no one really has the balls to enforce the laws we already have in place. And why? Because every time a cop shoots some jerk committing a crime, he gets fired, jailed, sued, accused of racism, etc.

    What was the question? Guns are a necessary evil. As long as they are available to the crooks, they HAVE to be available to law abiding citizens. And, if you get rid of all the guns, people will just invent new ways of killing each other, or go back to using rocks. Common sense, good home training and the innate ability to communicate without using violence are the tools everyone needs. But, people are violent, and they always will be.

  6. I have to agree with the others. There are enough laws on the books today that tightening restrictions on guns does nothing. Lawmakers make themselves feel good with meaningless bureaucracy that makes it virtually impossible for law abiding citizens to arm themselves in public while criminals still arm themselves easily.

    Our behavior as a society is the problem. There is no respect for life, for authority, or for order. We put people on the streets who belong in institutions because those were overcrowded. We fail each other when we miss the signs of other people’s unraveling.

    Society’s problems are born in the home. Virtually all of the folks that crack up and go on these benders have serious problems with their home life. How do we fix it? I don’t know.

  7. @jeff:

    While I agree with your position on guns, I do not believe that this situation is linked in any way to immigration. I also do not believe it is accurate to attempt to link these two, distinct issues. Remember, the shooter legally entered the US when he was 8 years old – immigration/border laws are irrelevant. No attempt should be made to tie this incident to the shooter’s race or national origin.

    Regarding the availibility of guns to resident aliens, I have several friends who are green card holders and also CCW holders. The US Constitution does not just apply to American citizens – but to all individuals legally within our nation’s borders.

  8. My thoughts have already been echoed in many of the posts above. While I don’t carry a gun, that decision should be mine. Call me a non-carrying-pro-gun person I guess. I agree that guns don’t kill, people kill. Furthermore, restricting gun toting won’t stop those with ill intents from buying them illegally and using them.

    The problem in this incident doesn’t lie with the availability of guns; the problem was the shooter’s mental state. I may be mixing facts since I’ve only heard this third-hand but, from what I’ve heard, he had written in detail all sorts of ways to kill people and the staff at the school knew about it. What I don’t understand is why the school wouldn’t intervene when someone writes something like that. Maybe the school isn’t allowed to make a decision like that? Regardless, his mental state seemed apparent to students and faculty – shouldn’t someone have stepped forward and prompted him to get help?

  9. RBTL to Jason: My point about illegal immigrants is that most of them are here under the radar, with no extradition laws from their country should they commit crimes here. And, many of them do just that, then flee back to their country to never be punished. That makes them extremely dangerous. Most have no regard for out culture, language or laws. And, with so much increased gang activity, which includes guns, that should be enough to alarm anyone that nothing is really being done about it.

    I took the wrong opportunity to voice concern over illegal immigration. Didn’t mean to hijack Olaf’s thread.

    As for the gunman, turns out he exhibited problems long before the shooting. But, so many people come off as weird, etc. How do you tell who is dangerous and who isn’t?

    Maybe the “precogs” can tell us?

  10. Hi. I’m a girl. I have some thoughts from my perspective about guns too. Guns scare me. I dated my boyfriend for quite a while before I realized he had a gun and it freaked me out. I don’t like guns. We have been in situations (very few) where his having a gun did make me feel safer. It has surprised me to find out that many of the people I know, respect and love carry guns and have learned how to shoot them. But in saying that, I don’t really agree that another student or professor having a gun on the VT campus would have been able to stop the psychopath. That is a very convenient hero scenario that is a result of thinking of what could have been- which is what we are all doing right now to cope with this. Just because one person has the right to carry a gun, that doesn’t mean that they know how to use it properly OR that they will be LUCKY enough to use it successfully at just the right moment OR that they won’t just get their head blown off that much faster because they are fumbling for their gun. What if there were several students with guns- and the chaos and confusion resulted in even more deaths from “friendly fire.” There is no right answer to the gun law issue- and just about anyone you talk to will feel very strongly about it, particularly right now. I’m kinda on the fence here.

  11. From what I understand he wrote two bad plays: Richard McBeef and Mr. Brownstone, they are poorly written and contain questionable content. Very good question, why wasnt anything done about this sooner, I believe they were reported to some person with authority in the school, but no action was pursued.
    So do they report every person that writes a play or paper with questionable content, or maybe says something offensive that comes through as an intent to harm, where do we draw the line, I can see this becoming a huge endeavor, that could very easily be poorly managed.

  12. Perhaps those wanting the ‘good old days’ of the wild west should be watching HBO’s Deadwood instead of John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. The brutality and violence depicted in Deadwood (while entertaining) don’t lead me to long for a return to those times. In Deadwood, disagreements are solved quickly and definitively with force. The powerful people in the town obtained and maintain their positions through force – deadly force. I believe this to be a more realistic depiction of ‘how things were’ than John Wayne in Rio Bravo.

    Let me be clear, I’m a card-carrying liberal. I’m also a gun-owner. I grew up in Georgia, so I grew up with guns. I know how to use them and I’m comfortable with them. I leave my gun at home because I believe you should only pull a gun if you intend to use it. I’m 37 and have never been in a situation where I feel a gun would have made me feel or be safer. I would definitely feel less safe if more people were packing heat.

    I agree with Marc. The problem is not a gun issue, its a people issue. Why did this guy want to hurt people? Legislating more gun restrictions would be missing the point, but it would also be playing to the media, so I am sure some bullshit posturing is coming from Washington.

  13. From what I understand he wrote two bad plays: Richard McBeef and Mr. Brownstone, they are poorly written and contain questionable content.

    Damn! He took the two titles I was kicking around for my one-man show! Guess I’ll have to use my alternate titles: Dick McBeef or Mr. Browneye.

  14. Now, what constitutes “feeling safe.” I’ve heard from numerous people that they would like to feel that when they send their children to school, they want to feel that the children are safe. Since they VT tragedy, they question this idea. However, most have no alternative. Would it be a safer environment if kids or teachers could carry weapons? I don’t think so. There seems to be a pervasive sense that individuals are entitled to certain priveleges and should be allowed to behave, speak, etc in any way, without having to take responsibility for consequences of behavior. If one is mentally ill and leaves calling cards to that effect, it is the responsibility of those in control to remove that person from harm’s way. If there were a person walking around with a contagious disease (TB being a good example) and it is detected, the person is taken in and given appropriate medication and follow-up. True, some will fall through the cracks, but the vast majority are treated. Why we treat mental illness differently is beyond me. To feel truly safe, we must all realize that our behavior has certain consequences and we must all be willing and ready to act accordingly. People in authority must stand up and do the right thing, being willing to risk some censure or even, the threat of lawsuit. The truth is that any and all behavior is NOT all right or acceptable, whether one directly injures another or not. I do not feel that more legislation is the answer as morals cannot be effectively legislated. However, I do feel that taking a good look at the types of violence in other countries that do have gun control laws is worthwhile. The fewer guns, the fewer gun related violence.
    Love,
    Mom
    Don’t get me started.

  15. I think in looking at this, you have 2 extremes. One where everyone is walking around armed. The so called “wild west”. And the other is where only criminals are armed. This second extreme is the unfortunate reality for school campuses, post offices, and a bunch of other locations where it is widely known that the only folks walking around armed are the ones breaking the law.

    I think this tragedy could be compounded by any effort to further gun control. Someone going crazy and bent on murder became a mass murder when the people he targeted were known to be unarmed. Why are schools so easy for crazy people to enact such devastation? One reason (as if we could ever assign reason to something so completely unreasonable) may be that schools are sterile areas where no citizens are armed and there also is a very small percentage of armed police.

    So my take on gun control specifically is that maybe there is a happy median where the deterrent of citizens being armed and able to defend themselves is enough to either convince someone looking for victims to not go through with a senseless act, or that someone armed could end a bad situation before it becomes worse.

    I don’t think I’m so doom and gloom as some. I haven’t given up on humanity as a whole even though this is so aweful and sad. I hope that people, maybe teachers and friends, learn to reach out more and try to see things that may lead to this, but boy its got to be hard to imagine that this could happen. How can we intervene? Who should intervene? To what extent should the intervention take place? That to me is what is more pertinent than gun control, but a whole lot harder to do.

  16. Not knowing what other’s actual experiences are regarding guns, my opions on them come from fact and experience.

    As long as I can remember, my father has carried a gun. He is a local business owner in a bad part of town, and I always feel slightly better knowing he keeps the gun at his side. A few years ago he was leaving his store at 10pm. As he turned from the door, some maniak was 30 feet away from him, running toward him firing a pistol. His first shot missed literally by a few inches. My father drew his gun and fired back 3 times, the other man’s shots continued to miss. The man retreated and was never found. One ricochet was found in a nearby structure, my hopes are the other 2 bullets hit their mark and that A-hole crawled off and died a painful death. No one knows who it was, or if he was hit. All I know is that if my father hadn’t been allowed to carry a pistol for protection, he would have died that nite.

    (Not long after that, another business owner 1 block away from my fathers store was shot in the head and robbed. He was in a coma for months, and finally died. Police think it was, most likely, the same person.)

    On the converse of that, I have had a relative, a police officer for Gwinnett county and 2 of his partners be killed execution style by 3 other crooked cops. This was during the 1960’s and was a huge controversy for years. They were shot with their own guns while handcuffed around a tree.

    (So, if you think that only cops are trustworth to carry guns, I beg to differ. But, if someone is trying to break into your house, and you don’t have a gun, what’s the first number you dial. Right, 911. And why? Because they bring their guns.)

    And, a former friend of mine fell on very hard times, got into drugs, etc. Somehow she had the bright idea to stage a car breakdown to rob someone. She went for help from a friend, the guy followed her back to her car where she drew a pistol to rob him. He, in turn drew his pistol and shot her to death. While I feel bad that she died, the real victim was the guy she tried to rob. And, I’m happy he could protect himself. In that situation, it was him or her. A wife and mother of 2, regardless, she was the thief and threatened the life of an innocent person, and deserved what happened.

    (Without a gun, would she have had the confidence to try to rob someone twice her size? Doubtful. But, she intended to break laws and paid the price.)

    And, there have been several instances that I have been broken down on the side of the road and forced to walk. One occassion someone stopped and tried to force me and a girl that was with me into his car. Without the confidence of knowing I had the added protection of my pistol, I could have panicked and made the situation worse. Luckily for us, I had my gun, kept calm and stayed alive. I never drew the gun, but my hand stayed in my pocket with it the entire time. (Looking back, knowing how the grief that girl caused me, I should have let him take her…. lol)

    The point here is that I have experienced, first hand, both sides of the story. And, my opinion still remains that guns are a necessary evil.

  17. First, let me give you a bit of background about myself. I live in a bad section of town. When my family purchased this house about 15 years ago, it wasn’t so bad, but time changes things. I was raised by a liberal anti-gun mother and a police officer father. BOTH agree that it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

    Gun laws in general have been shown to do little to actually lesson the amount of violent crime a society experiences. There are studies that suggest it actually increases it, as a matter of fact. Criminals, by definition, do not respect the law. Why would they respect any law that prevent them from carrying a firearm? “Oh, I’m going to rob that store, but guns are illegal, so I guess I’ll use a knife instead.” I just don’t see that happening.

    What DOES happen is that the law abiding store owner has no way to defend himself. He has no option to protect himself or his employees. “Gun Free” zones are simply areas that permit criminal activity to operate without fear from anyone save the police, which is fine, except that the police are NOT able to defend your life. The Supreme Court as stated that the police are not responsible for your well-being. If they aren’t, then who is?

    The incident at Virginia Tech is certainly tragic. Plenty of people will, in the next weeks, scream that the blame can be placed on video games, music, his parents, and even guns. However, the true blame can ONLY be placed on the shooters shoulders. HE is the one who did this, and HE is the one who used guns in an immoral and illegal way. HE is the one who scorn should be heaped upon. Only HE, and no one or nothing else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *