Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tighter Gun Control

Not usually a very political person...but recent events make me want to voice my opinion. Guns are used for killing. There is no other reason. If guns weren't so easy to get a hold of, a lot of people would probably still be alive today. I think it's time for our country to realize that there is possible causation between our lax gun laws and our murder rate. We are a civilized country that no longer needs arms to protect ourselves. This isn't a personal freedom thing. Tell that to the families of those murdered at Virginia Tech.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to jump in on a political post, but...

I believe that there are valid arguments for better (not necessarily more) gun control, no question. That said, I'm not sure that VT can or should be associated with the discussion of "tighter gun control".

This evil bastard was deranged. He would have gotten a gun, no matter what kind of controls were in place or how tight they were. He wasn't using an assault rifle or a high powered sniper rifle or hell, even a bazooka. He was using a handgun, legally obtained. Should this asshole have had a gun? Not at all, but that's easy to say after the fact.

The real question here is one of nut control.

His professors were reporting this guy, two female peers had reported him. Yet, the dean didn't take any action at all. He had a history of mental illness - should we have a "mentally ill banned list"? I dunno... lists don't tend to work, but certainly look good on paper. The no-fly list, banned web site lists, and sex offender lists all have massive problems to offset the potential good.

When you talk about "tighter gun control", what do you mean? Do you mean making it harder, more background checks, more government lists? Do you mean simply banning the sale of guns generally?

In my mind, I have every belief that even if Virgina had insanely difficult gun laws, the VT people would still be dead at the hand of evil asshole. He was deranged, and had clearly spent time thinking through this. I doubt if an extra few weeks or months would have stopped him.

I think there are larger cultural issues that have very little to do with the *tactic* of gun control:

1. The love of violence - as a country, we're obsessed with violence. Be it the rap music culture, the hunting culture, or the action movie culture, we're a culture obsessed with the gruesome. And we're exporting it worldwide.

2. Danah Boyd pointed out the "Generation Me" book, and the correlation between self-obsession and acts of violence:

While I think there is plenty, and I mean plenty of reason to talk about gun control and to take a serious look at our freaky relationship with guns, I don't think VT has much to do with that conversation.

Unfortunately, we can put all kinds of restrictions in place about what guns can be obtained, how difficult they are to get, and how much the government knows about your purchase, and we'll still continue to have as much or more murder. We have to address the underlying cultural issues if not first, at least at the same time.

And I wholeheartedly disagree with you that because we are a civilized society we don't need guns to "protect ourselves". My car has been broken into 3 times in the last year, and my house had an attempted break in once. Who knows when someone will actually be able to make it into the house. Far far far from civilized, in my opinion.

Further, I'm no advocate of governmental overthrow, and doubt it will need to happen in my grandchildren's lifetime, but... who knows?? Look at the direction the current administration is heading - consolidation of power with the executive branch, extension of citizen monitoring and arrest powers, general disregard for the citizenry... that's scary. While I don't believe that citizens should be able to park a tank in their garages, I do believe that we are part of the checks and balances that the founders built into the system. It's not just the three branches - we're all here too. Unfortunately, a well-armed citizenry is part of that balancing force.

(By the way, I'm not a "2nd amendment freak"... I think the NRA is one of the most damaging organizations to this country at this point, and I don't own a gun)

Anyway, enough ramble. :)


May 01, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger Michelle Marts said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that no one besides military should have a gun. I realize that may seem like I believe in limiting our rights..and I guess that I do. I think because the primary use of a gun is to kill - that's the problem I have with people claiming that they have a right to own them. If protection was the issue, there are other ways to go about protecting yourself. I'm sorry you've had so many run-ins with people trying to damage your property and get into your home. I can't imagine what that would be like. It would probably make me feel the same way you do. Some experiences shape our views more than others. My devout Catholic mother believes in capital punishment, which is obviously against her religion. Her dear friend was brutally murdered in college.

And of course, I agree that this is certainly a major cultural issue that we need to address. I can't offer any insight into how we would or should address that.

I think VT should bring up the issues of gun control and our culture of violence. If our culture did not glorify violence, this may not have happened. If guns were not made available, the outcome may have been different as well. Would Seung-Hui Cho still have been able to murder so many? Maybe. Maybe not. Guns are lightweight and can shoot from a distance. But then he could have bombed the place. It's an interesting discussion. A lot of "ifs" and "maybes" and "perhaps."

May 16, 2007 3:47 PM  

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