Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The English View

Gerard Baker, who covers the wild colonial Americans for The Times of London, weighed in today on the VPI shootings yesterday. Here's his final thoughts:

The sheer scale of the carnage yesterday may after all make the Blacksburg killings truly unique in American history. That will doubtless lead to more self-examination and perhaps calls for new restrictions on firearms. But it won’t change America’s deep-rooted and sometimes lethal commitment to its own freedoms. (Emphasis added).

I know he meant that last bit as a criticism, but I am happy to wear it as a badge of honor.

Here is an earlier point completely missed:

But why, we ask, do Americans continue to tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year, when presumably, tougher restrictions, such as those in force in European countries, could at least reduce the number? Do the laws prohibiting gun ownership reduce the number of innocent deaths?

The truth is, not all Americans do oppose such measures. The US of course, is a vast, federal nation, with different laws and cultures in different states. In Virginia, scene of yesterday’s shootings, they passed a law a few years ago that did indeed restrict gun purchases – to a maximum of one per week. In the neighbouring District of Columbia, on the other hand, the law bans the possession of all guns. And in Virginia, where you can buy and have guns, there is a much lower gun death rate than in DC where up until recently you could not possess a working gun in your home. Does Gerard not know this or is he ignoring it because it doesn't fit his "gun restrictions good" point of view?

DC’s draconian measure highlights one reason tighter gun control is difficult in the US. The federal courts recently ruled that the ban violates Americans’ right to bear arms, as protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
America, wrote James Madison, trusts its citizens with firearms. European nations don't. Which citizens have greater freedom?

Don't tread on me. ...cold, dead hands. Lethal commitment to Freedom. All good thoughts.

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I am not going to participate in a dialogue regarding gun control about which my feeelings are ambivalent. I maintain my position that one does not need a fully automatic weapon to hunt but as I said, I think such a dialogue at this juncture is a distraction.

The crime @ Va Tech was almost certainly not one of opportunity. I think the prospect of gun control laws preventing it were close to nil.

At the same time, I am very wary of ordinary citizens carrying guns in their daily lives in situations in which their jobs would not reasonably require carrying a firearm.

I do not wish to hear an advocate of the right to bear firearms intone somehing to the effect of: "If I were there w/ my Glock, I could have saved the day."


Too late. I already made that exact point. If you guys can check it out and get back to me, I'd be much obliged.
You can't hunt with a fully automatic weapon, although if you pay the transfer tax (stamp) and pass the background check you can own full auto weapons if your county's police chief will sign off on it. Why do you immediately think of hunting? Clearly the point of owning weapons is to join in a common defense in the militia (and George Mason wanted us to have them to overthrow the government when (not if) it becomes too oppressive). I'm not saying carry permits for the students would be a good idea, but making schools gun free zones means no good citizen will have one until the police arrive and move on the shooter, which, as we know, takes a while. It is at best an imperfect but cheap solution. At worst, it accomplishes nothing at all. Mike, I'll comment on your post at your site

How do we tell the good citizens from the bad until they start shooting?

The fully auto hunting weapon was an attempt @ humor in an Uncle Duke kind of way.

With a background check at the time of the carry permit application. And sorry to be humorless. It was good, in perhaps too subtle a way for me.
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