Is the right to bear arms worth the death of 33 innocent people?

When you can’t send your son or daughter off to college without worrying about someone coldly killing them in the midst of enriching their lives, something is morbidly wrong with the nation in which you live.

As a US citizen currently living abroad, and with a child, I face none of the fears that I faced living in the states. Yes, there are psychos, wack jobs and disgruntled high-school dropouts all over the world. However, the rest of the world is somehow smart enough to not give them easy access to guns. Why, in one of the richest and most “advanced” (I use that word with great reservation) societies on Earth are we not smart enough to realize this?

Just moments after the attack, our White House, in its infinite wisdom and compassion, stated, “The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said. Abhorrent! With the blood of the crime not yet dried, the President is already thinking of this in terms of an issue rather than a travesty, and in effect, supporting the rights of the killer. Will the United States government forever be an ostrich with its head in the sand on this issue?

As much as the White House’s response to this was pathetic and unconscionable, the government is not the only one to blame. We the people need to stop thinking about this problem as a foregone conclusion. Across Europe and Asia they have no such problem because you cannot easily purchase a gun—certainly not pistols and automatic weapons. There is no reason that US citizens cannot live in communities like this one day. When are we going to start caring more about the gun catastrophe in the United States, than we do about next years taxes, which judges were fired last month, or who wins on American Idol?

We need to stop accepting the premise of guns as a necessary part of US society. In Virginia’s shooting, several students are already trying to lay blame on the university for not getting the word out about the shooter—as if this is something the university should have a ready contingency for. Press a red button and alert the school another lunatic is shooting people. These students shouldn’t be blaming the reactions of the school; they should be blaming the actions of the government, the NRA, the gun makers, and any of their family or friends who support the easy purchase of guns.

So what can you do? The same thing we’ve always had the opportunity to do. Write an email or letter to your Congressman, Senator and President and tell them that enough is enough. The US needs stricter, much stricter, gun controls. The tragedy of these college students’ deaths is far too monumental to truly take meaning on this page. Nor will it mean anything after countless hours on CNN. The only way to give this horror the gravity it deserves is to do something about it. Please join me in letting the US government know that they are wrong supporting the companies who manufacture guns, organizations who proliferate gun use and people who use guns to kill.

22 responses to “Is the right to bear arms worth the death of 33 innocent people?

  1. Ironically, I read another blog suggesting the problem is NOT allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons–then the victims could have defended themselves! I agree with you; but gun control is just one contributing factor to this massacre, and others in America.

  2. “Is the right to bear arms worth the death of 33 innocent people?”

    Yes.

    Bad things happen. They will always happen. To restrict the rights of the overall, law abiding, decent population of a nation to prohibit or at least limit the actions of a few psychopaths is wrong. We don’t need “stricter, much stricter, gun controls.” We need better human controls. An unstable, unpredictable, violent individual is going to cause harm no matter what. To cut the rights of everybody in an effort to limit him is the wrong way to go about controlling violence.

  3. Pingback: Gun control and yesterday's tragedy at VA Tech « A [sometimes] Logical View of the Illogical

  4. arclightzero–Why do decent, law-abiding people need 9mm handguns? And what kind of twisted worldview do you hold that makes you think that having such a weapon is a “RIGHT”. The US constitution that proposed that right is over 200 years old and not at all relevant today. And the rest of the world thinks we’re idiots for protecting it. All across Europe and in rich industrialized societies like Japan, it is almost impossible for someone to gain access to weapons like this. Yet in the states, any 19-year old who has the patience to wait a few days can get a gun. Christ, it’s easier to get a gun than it is a driver’s liscnece–that’s insane! And what exactly are these “human controls” you propose? Can you please elaborate so the US government can make good use of your wisdom. Yes, I agree that people will cause harm no matter what, but if the Virginia Tech killer would have been using a knife instead of a gun, there might be 30 or so people left in the world to live their lives in peace.

  5. If not a 9mm, then a deer rifle.. Or a shotgun… Or a homemade bomb… You cannot keep somebody who intends to inflict mass casualties from fulfilling their intentions simply by limiting one method or another. The guy in VA would not have gone out using a knife because his intentions to take people out in mass, not just to inflict harm.

    With few exceptions, people do not simply “snap” and commit crimes like this without giving out warning signs. The individual in VA alarmed people, but due to politeness and people’s desires not to get involved with uncomfortable things, they let it slip by, and this is the price that was paid.

    Human controls include things like dropping this whole politically correct, feel-good, minding our own business and not watching our fellow men attitude that Americans have adopted, and start reigning in problems before they develop.

    That aside, human controls also means keeping better track of violent criminals. Once again, you can have all sorts of gun controls in place, but if a criminal wants a gun, he will get one. We just recently had a murder that involved an individual who, while on probation for weapons charges, went out and obtained a gun illegally and killed a man for $45 in his wallet. Would gun control have prevented that? No, because the individual was violent already and had the ability to obtain illegal weapons through illegal channels.

    And as far as rights go, having served in the military, I have and always will swear to uphold the constitution and protect American’s rights to live as free as possible. There may be no reason for a law abiding citizen to own a 9mm aside from his enjoyment in going target shooting or protect his family and property, but if that’s all there is, I will still support his right to enjoy target shooting and protect his family.

  6. arclightzero–Don’t get me wrong, I do see your point–though I disagree with it strongly. But when you talk about someone going out and getting a gun illegally, that’s part of what I’m talking about. Guns are everywhere in the US, and they shouldn’t be. I hate to keep bringing up Japan, but there, if you wanted a gun you would have to be incredibly connected to either law enforcement or the mafia to get one. And then it would still be very sticky and very expensive. And then if you were ever caught with it, your jail term would be extreme (hence, a big discouragement). When I talk about gun control, I am referring to this level of control. As the US gets more and more populace (it just topped 300 million) the gun problem is only going to get worse. And arming everyone is not the solution. Check out this article on how some other countries see this problem.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070418/ap_on_re_eu/virginia_tech_world_view

  7. I have said this in various places now: irrespective of the politics, logic suggests that the argument that people may be a large (maybe even the largest) contributing factor does not equal the justification for completely disregarding guns! Pro-gun people put the blame on what they perceive as the inherently evil nature of people (which is in itself logically untenable, but I will disregard that for the moment), suggesting that this is where we need to take action. Good idea. But this cannot mean that gun control must not be supplemented in order to further get to a point where violence becomes less and less likely. It cannot be considered a valid argument to point the finger at society just to silence the argument that also finds fault in guns. No one says guns are the only factor in such crimes. No one says violence will become impossible if we regulate access to guns. But together with other measures it will surely improve the situation. Who would argue against the attempt to achieve this goal?
    The pro-gun argument is sadly never constructive as it becomes a solution in itself to the social problem: we need to guns to protect ourselves from “the maniacs,” so if they come we’ll shoot them. Why don’t we improve our social structure to actually take care of people with problems in appropriate ways and supplement this social action by taking away the things they can hurt each other with? It is beyond me how this is not an argument all of us who love peace and a functioning social bond can agree with.

    Even in the smallest social unit, between, say, two children who do not get along with each other, one of whom throws toys at the other child, you will surely simultaneously take away the toys so that there cannot be any further injuries and then try to resolve their problem. Apparently the parenting philosophy of some people would suggest providing the second child with a pile of toys to throw as well and then leave the room thinking that the situation will resolve itself because now there is an equality of power.

  8. The problem with gun control advocates is that they never explain how they would prevent lawbreakers from getting guns.

    The people who aren’t supposed to have guns already have them. Taking them away from law-abiding people won’t change that.

  9. Why don’t we improve our social structure to actually take care of people with problems in appropriate ways and supplement this social action by taking away the things they can hurt each other with?

    Because that would be impossible. Especially in a society of 300,000,000 people.

  10. FraudWasteAbuse
    You don’t just take guns away from “law-abiding” people (law-abiding is in quotes because all it takes is a pull of a trigger to go from law-abiding to not–the Korean kid was law-abiding until last week). You take the guns away from everyone. And when you find someone with an unlawful gun you don’t just slap them on the wrist, you give them a harsh jail term–so others will think twice. You also harshly penalize any companies manufacturing ANYTHING BUT HUNTING RIFLES! By the way, this isn’t a pipe dream, read the article link I left above for arclightzero. Many many countries are far safer and manage to control guns amazing better than the US (and we’re supposed to be the smart ones)

  11. “You take the guns away from everyone.”

    Quit impossible. The people who you don’t want to have guns will get them anyway and the rest of us will be defenseless.

  12. Fraud waste–clearly you’re either 16, from the south, or on the executive committee of the NRA. In any case, you’re not worth convincing.

  13. I think it may be Middlescott who may be either 16 or a little nieve.

    Drugs are illegal- could you get those?

    There’s an old saying that FraudWaste was trying to summize- “if you outlaw guns, the only people with guns will be the outlaws”.

    If guns were illegal, just like drugs, and this guy wanted one, he’d have one. And the same thing would have happened. Go take a look at statistical evidence in regards to gun laws and gun bans.

    New Hampshire has a high rate of fire arm possession (Is that the south?) and it also has an extremely low crime rate. Do you want to break into a home were the odds are the owner is armed?

    Coincidently, look at the effect in Britain or until recently Wash DC. DC was always one of the murder capital cities even though there was gun ban (that was recently overturned). How could that be, if guns are banned? Could it be that criminals know that citizens can’t protect themselves so they are easier targets? Since London initiated their gun ban, they’re brutal crimes rate is up an astonishing 40%.

  14. al66888,
    I’m not nieve. Though I may be naive. Don’t worry they’ll cover the meaning (and spelling) of that word in Junior year.

    As for your comment, you are being as ignorant and narrow minded as the other two.

    Stop looking at the US as an example of how to do things–the US is a freaking mess and is no longer a world leader in anything other than murder, armed forces and Hollywood movies.

    Instead, take a look at Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Japan. These are countries that have successfully implemented gun bans. The average death by gun in a year in Japan (150 million people) is equal to the average death by gun in Chicago in a week (3 million people). In Chicago, and in the rest of the US this in NOT a case of people killing people–this is a case of GUNS killing people. If the guns were taken away, the murder rate would go down–plain and simple.

    I’m not saying the US can be like this these countries overnight. It will take some time to take all the guns away. But if we never take the first step, it will never happen at all.

    I know, you’re saying to yourself, “But Middlescott, if there are no guns, how will rednecks like me compensate for our small penises and 5th grade educations?” Sorry, I can’t help you with that one.

    Cheers,

  15. I’m so sorry I don’t have time (or care to) go through and spellcheck. I’ll try and do better next time (though I still won’t check it- dont’ have the time to). I always find it funny when someone replys that way.

    Who exactly is the leader if not the US? I hope your talking about the leader when it comes to gun control. Bc I wouldn’t want to be or be like any of these countries. Maybe Japan has such a low gun violence rate bc 1/2 their population has 1 foot in the grave already. And they’re not getting any younger.

    Why instead don’t we look at some more recent #s of societies that are like ours. Besides, you are only taking into account murders, which, I’m not going to argue, is rediculously high. And this from a guy who’s is from Philly and knows fist hand. (Philly- ahh, that most redneck of cities- idiot). Guns are used in all sorts of crimes, but you would just like to take 1 crime, murder, and lump in for everything.

    So heres some info- the US doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of industrialized nations whose citizens were victims of crime. The study also showed that each of those countries had more stringent gun control laws.

    Let’s take a look at 2 of the countries that recently imposed a gun ban – the UK and Australia (shocked they didn’t make your list).
    In Australia, the rate of sexual assault had increased 36% from the pre ban mark in 1995. US dropped almost 15% in the same time frame. Sexual crimes against women in the UK saw a 63% increase since pre-ban 1995. Here’s some stats for you:

    Burglary rates in England and Wales were also among the highest recorded. Australia (3.9 percent) and Denmark (3.1 per cent) had higher rates of burglary with entry than England and Wales (2.8 percent).

    After Australia and England and Wales, the highest prevalence of crime was in Holland (25 percent), Sweden (25 percent) and Canada (24 percent). The United States, despite its high murder rate, was among the middle ranking

    England and Wales also led in automobile thefts. More than 2.5 percent of the population had been victimized by car theft, followed by 2.1 percent in Australia and 1.9 percent in France. Again, the U.S. was not listed among the “top 10″ nations

    Australia also led in burglary rates

    You catching the pattern yet- let me know if you need me to slow down.

    Now, I agree, our murder rates are absurd, but that is a product of inner city conditions (not that I’m saying all of them occur in the city). But you pointed out Chi, and though I don’t live in the city anymore, I still am in the Philly DMA, and I can tell you that 3/4 of these murders are occuring in specific sections of the city. And guess how many of them occur with legal, registered guns? Just like drugs, if someone wants something, they can find a way to get it.

    Fix the problems of the people, but don’t take away the rights of good, honest, law abiding citizens to defend themselves. Is someone comes into my house, and tries to harm my wife and family (must have got married sophomore year) they’ll have to get past me first, and trust me I won’t be looking to make this a wrestling match.

  16. Don’t quote statistics when you have no idea what you’re talking about. The UK and Austrialia’s gun bans have been very successful. The rise in the other crimes you mentioned are NOT due to the gun ban! They’re due to the incredible socio-economic problems those two countries have been going through for some time now.

    Besides that, I would put up a year’s salary that said more people with guns in their homes were killed BY them either through carelessness or from a criminal finding it and using it, , than were criminals trying to break into gun-owning homes. In fact, I know this is true (though admittedly I don’t know the exact numbers). Which means the whole, “I have to protect myself” argument is just a bunch of bullshit perpetrated by the NRA, Republicans and constitution wackos.

  17. Are you kidding- but here in the US it’s the gun and not the socio-economic problems of the inner cities that are causing the murder rate. Brilliant- thanks for proving my point for me. And for totally ignoring the statistics.

    I will take that bet! (though I doubt you make much) Actually, gun accidents are at an all time low, gun ownership is on the rise, and crime rates are on the decline.

    http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=120

    you need to get rid of the stereotypes and the slander

    1. it’s not a bunch of rednecks- actually NH has one of the highest % of gun ownership. This may sound shocking, but it also has one of the lowest crime rates

    2. it’s not just Republicans- both D’s and R’s support gun rights and own guns

    3. constitution wackos?! See, right at this moment (and I know you can’t help yourself) is where you lose your credibility. If you consider someone that wants to follow the 2nd Am a wacko, what else in the supreme law of the land are you against

    Do you know that a child has a 1000% greater chance of dying in a swimming pool than by a gun at home? I think your first crusade should be to outlaw home pools, then move on to guns.

  18. Yes, the US has tons of socio-economic problems. Which is exactly the reason why we need to start working on them. Taking guns out of people’s hands is a move to help correct those problems. There is no way that a rational human being can or should argue that taking away something that can KILL can be a bad thing for improving social problems.

    As for the link you sent me–it was from the NRA! Are you kidding? Do you really think that using this incredibly biased organization as “proof” of something has any viability whatsoever? Are your blinders really that large?

    Regarding your other points:

    1. I use the word “rednecks” as a cliche. I know that. I simply use the word to represent someone ignorant or blinded by the status quo. Yes, there are plenty of gun owners in NH–and Canada too for that matter. But they don’t seem to be killing people in Canada. On the other hand US citizens seem to be too ignorant and irresponsible to handle guns in the same way–so the guns should be taken away.

    2.Far MORE Republicans support gun ownership.

    3.Constitution wackos. Yes, that’s right. The fact that you don’t understand this is what I meant by being blinded by the status quo. The constitution is an outmoded, out of date shackle around the neck of the US. Until it is completely scrapped and rewritten the US will continue to go downhill i.e insane health care costs, overcrowded prisons, excessive murder rates, devalued currency, poor international relations, etc etc. Most political scientists agree with this. And frankly, I think it’s pretty freaking obvious. The damn thing was written over 200 years ago, when much of what was relevant then, is not relevant now.

    Finally, yeah, I read Freakonomics too. The writer of that book made the point about pools to play with statstics not to prove a point. The real issue is that someone can’t conceal their pool in their pocket and then put it to your head ont he street. Pools are like cigarettes, you CHOOSE to take the risk. What he illustrated by that example is how stupid many parents are for leaving their children unattended by a pool–or in a house alone with a gun for that matter.

  19. wow- this is all I needed to read:
    3.Constitution wackos. Yes, that’s right. The fact that you don’t understand this is what I meant by being blinded by the status quo. The constitution is an outmoded, out of date shackle around the neck of the US. Until it is completely scrapped and rewritten the US will continue to go downhill i.e insane health care costs, overcrowded prisons, excessive murder rates, devalued currency, poor international relations, etc etc. Most political scientists agree with this. And frankly, I think it’s pretty freaking obvious. The damn thing was written over 200 years ago, when much of what was relevant then, is not relevant now

    that to me is unbelievable. You should go back and re-read the Constitution this weekend. It is quite posibly the greatest piece of governmental literature ever written. The Constitution is our backbone, and not meant to be changed by the whim of the day. The reason we are having so many problems is that we moved away from the Constitution, not towards it. And please, don’t make things up- who are ‘most political scientists’? Would these be the same ones that scrapped their own Constitutions for the crumbling EU?

    As for the NRA link, I sent that bc the NRA is under constant attack and scrutiny. They are constantly being challenged and sued by those who oppose them. If they can keep those stats live on their site, you know they’ve been challenged and found to be correct.

  20. I’ll agree to disagree (wholeheartedly) about the US constitution. Yes, it is a great historical document. But history is exactly where it belongs.

    Regarding the NRA, they are under constant attack and scrutiny because they deserve to be. It is one of the few organizations in the country dedicated to promoting something that kills people. They make the tobbacco companies look downright beneficent.

  21. Do you live in the US? If so, why? There are plenty of other places that don’t have anything like our Constitution. And the good thing is, our Constitution gives you the freedom to go whereever you’d like. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s the best thing out there. Why would anyone chose to live in a country where they don’t believe in that country’s founding document?

    I don’t recall all the 1000s of stories of cigarettes saving peoples’ lives.

  22. Yes, the Constitution allows you to go whereever you like as long as you pay taxes to the US. The United States is the ONLY industrialized country in the world whose citizens have to pay US taxes even if they do not reside in the US. And try to renounce your US citizenship. It is almost impossible. Once they have you, they’re going to keep you–And they’re going to tax you until you die. What you call freedom is an illusion.

    Hey Pal, this has been a fine discussion–you got my blood boiling and that was a hoot. But in the end, this preposterously long chat has been a waste of time. I might as well be trying to convince Bush to get out of Iraq. You’re not budging and neither am I. So let’s call it a day and move on.

    Thanks for playing.

    MiddleScott

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