Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Engaging the Safety


Just an update on how things are going for my BFF, the Virginia Citizens' Defense League and its ridiculous ilk.

Yesterday, victims of last year's Virginia Tech shooting -- the ones who, you know, survived -- and their supporters held a rally at the state's Capitol to push for a gun control bill being proposed by the governor. The bill is almost comical in its obvious good sense: It would essentially prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying weapons at gun shows.

Needless to say, the thought of any restriction at all sends the schoolyard bullies in the "gun enthusiast" crowd into apoplectic fits; they showed up to stage a counter-demonstration, making the tired and completely ass-backward argument that more guns, not fewer, is the answer to the violence.

The confrontation provided a few predictably unfortunate moments.

According to the Associate Press:

"At one point, Jeff Knox, director of operations of the Manassas-based Firearms Coalition, approached survivor Colin Goddard and said students could have stopped student Seung-Hui Cho's rampage if they had been allowed to carry guns on campus.

'I would have stopped him,' Knox said. 'Because when I went to school, I carried a gun. It was legal; I did it.'

Goddard, a Virginia Tech senior who was shot four times in the April 16 massacre, was taken aback, then said: 'I feel sorry for you -- the fact that you feel you need to protect yourself in every situation.'"


Goddard's reaction was far more restrained than mine would've been if I were nursing four bullet wounds and now faced some paranoid asshole trying to drill it into me that I could've prevented my own suffering and the deaths of my friends had I just been willing to shoot back. Of course he's also missing the point slightly. This particular brand of gun-worshipper doesn't feel the need to protect himself -- because he knows the likelihood of ever coming face-to-face with a legitimate reason to draw and fire his weapon in self-defense is practically nil. The truth is, he wants to shoot; he dreams of that moment when he happens to be someplace where he can plug a crazed shitbag like Seung-Hui Cho (and make no mistake -- in the testosterone-fueled fantasy of the guy I'm talking about, the rampaging criminal he's forced to get all Wyatt Earp on is always either an immigrant or some other form of interloping vermin, if you get my drift).

Which leads me to say it one more time: Anyone who thinks like that is the last fucking person you want walking around armed.

(Deus Ex Malcontent: Blow Back/6.21.07)

(Deus Ex Malcontent: Automatics for the People/5.18.07)

(Deus Ex Malcontent: And All That Could Have Been/4.19.07)

22 comments:

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Well-said, dude.
As if these guys would ever have the balls to shoot some lunatic like Cho anyway. They'd be the ones hiding in the closet, mark my words.

kanye said...

I dreamed I saw Joe Horn last night...

Sherry said...

You've said it all; I can only reply, "amen."

kelley said...

The bill is almost comical in its obvious good sense: It would essentially prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying weapons at gun shows.

[snaps fingers] I got it! just call Tom Cruise, he can DO SOMETHING about it! he can rehabilitate the criminals!! and there's no such thing as mental illness!!

RottweilerTOM said...

When i went to school, I brought with me a ABC Deli turkey sandwhich, water and some Drake's Funny Bones. Oh, and my gym bag with sweaty and smelly shorts from the day before - yes the same ones.

BV said...

I'm okay with this law. But, what I really want to know is the number of people who buy guns from these gun shows and then go off killing people with said gun. I just don't think the number is very high. People that go to guns shows are gun people. They own guns, they know how to use guns, they are in the "gun circuit."

So, to me, this law seems like a cop out. This law could have been a whole lot more and it uses gun shows as a way to settle every one down. The good thing the law did was add mental background checks, because at the end of the day Cho didn't buy his gun at a gun show. He bought it from a gun dealer that did do a background check. The background check failed, not any gun show.

Starbuck said...

Gun restriction laws work, Canada is a perfect example. Gun violence is mostly linked to and between gang members, with the exception of a few extremely unfortunate (but unusual) cases in the last few years.
They are however, not perfect. People must register their guns in Canada, but typically the guns used in violent crimes are unregistered guns coming from the US. If we ever truly want to significantly reduce gun violence, or any violence we have to look at the underlying social conditions that lead people to it. Spoken like a true pinko canuck, eh?

girl with curious hair said...

So based on this moron's analysis, it's the victims' fault that they were victims, right? And if they were confronted by a crazy person they would be justified in taking some kind of action? Just wondering.

Well written (if somewhat depressing) post, as always.

Vermillion said...

The bill is almost comical in its obvious good sense: It would essentially prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying weapons at gun shows.

Well, there's your problem. Who else would protest such a bill than the people it would affect? And I don't know about you, but that Knox guy screams "mentalliy ill" to me.

Someguy said...

If the chance of a regular person encountering a legitimate reason to wield and use a gun is nil, then why do we have armed police officers roaming the streets, armed guards in shopping malls, in airports, in post offices, etc. etc. etc.

But not schools?

How often do armed police officers use their guns? (rarely) How often to mall security guards use them? (never) Or airport security? (never) Why are they there if, by your own words, "the likelihood of ever coming face-to-face with a legitimate reason to draw and fire his weapon in self-defense is practically nil."

?

One armed student or campus police officer, or janitor on that VT campus could have saved 1,2, 10, 15, or maybe even 30 lives. But we'll never know because no one was armed, and, again, by your logic, those bad things will probably never happen again, right?

Ellipsis said...

@someguy --
What malls are you going to? The only thing mall cops I've seen are armed with is a radio. Moreover, armed security guards on the Tech campus wouldn't likely have made much difference based on the killer's unfortunate precision and preparedness.

Someguy said...

ellipsis,

St. Louis malls. THe movie theater down the street 2 blocks from me routinely has an armed, on duty police officer in the theater lobby as well. And it is in a nice county.

My point remains. Why do they feel the need to put an armed person inside those places if nothing is ever going to happen?

I'm not out here to say that the guy in question, Mr. Knox, isn't a huge tactless douche who deserves a kick in the nuts, but his point, regardless of the fact that it was poorly timed and chosen on its delivery, is still somewhat valid.

-Someone in that building with a concealed carry permit and registered weapon might very well have stopped him.-

In this day and age, why shouldn't someone be able to protect themself at school if their school can't provide the necessary security, equal to that of banks, malls, movie theaters, and airports?

sansho1 said...

why do we have armed police officers roaming the streets, armed guards in shopping malls, in airports, in post offices, etc. etc. etc.

Because they're working, and the gun is a tool of their trade. And every time they discharge their weapon, they have to answer for it professionally.

But not schools?

Because of all the kids.

Vermillion said...

If the chance of a regular person encountering a legitimate reason to wield and use a gun is nil, then why do we have armed police officers roaming the streets, armed guards in shopping malls, in airports, in post offices, etc. etc. etc.

By the nature of their jobs, the likelihood of violence is much greater than that of an average citizen. They have to go towards trouble, and are specifically trained to handle such. Most of that training is focused towards not having to fire a gun in the first place.

Wanting to protect yourself is a understandable goal, but having such a cavalier attitude about taking a life isn't. And that is exactly what this Knox guy is preaching.

Sherry said...

someguy said "One armed student or campus police officer, or janitor on that VT campus could have saved 1,2, 10, 15, or maybe even 30 lives."

Indeed. Because before the shootings began, someone handed out fliers with a description of the shooter noting that there was, in fact, only one shooter. Thus ensuring that anyone with a gun wouldn't shoot anyone else with a gun, including armed students or janitors, right? Stellar logic there, sport. I was on campus that day and it wasn't until well after the shootings were over -- around 12:30 p.m., that it was firmly established that there had only been one shooter. Until then, even students in the classrooms that were under fire weren't entirely certain that there had only been one shooter. So given the chaos and fear, your armed students likely would have shot anyone in sight who had a gun and the death toll would be even higher. Hindsight's 20/20 -- you need to think in real time.

Holden Magroin said...

It's sad that in this country we went from citizens/farmers/soldiers who, when necessary did what was needed; to sheep who stand around waiting and expecting others to rescue us.
Alexis de Toqueville would no doubt not recognize the America he once knew...

Someguy said...

Sherry,

I appreciate your counter suggestions, but it boils down to basic numbers and common sense, and here's why: The odds of two law abiding, concealed carry permit holding students or faculty members attending the same classes, in the same building, on the same day at the same time, are pretty darn small.

The chance exists, yes, but then there is this notion you have that gun carrying people will run blindly around, trying to "stop the bad-guy," and will inevitably shoot each other instead. Well, now it is my turn to tell you to start thinking in real time: That shit just doesn't happen.

People just don't do that. Especially in a freak situation like VT which lasts but a few minutes, tops. If you are in class and hear gun shots, you barracade the door, take cover, arm yourself, and wait. You don't buy a gun to seek out altercations, you buy a gun for the moment when an altercation seeks you out. When the armed guy breaks down the door to your house, or car, or apartment, or, in this case, classroom.

I think you all should take a moment and realize that statistically, towns and cities and states with concealed carry permits have had a decrease in violent crime since their approval. And really, how is a campus like VT not a city or small town? 27,000 students and a campus that is 4 sq. miles?

There are no wild west shoot outs in reality, at least not with people who legally own and carry weapons.

All you have are people who every year are put into a situation where the deciding factor between life and possibly death is the gun in their hand. (Statistically, firearms are used 2-3 million times a year to stop a crime, the overwhelming amount of which involve simply brandishing the weapon, and not actually using it.


A crazy man named Knox who shouts the truth is still telling the truth. Unfortunately for you, statistics are on his side. Again, I think Mr. Knox is an asshat for presenting his side of the argument the way he did and to whom he did, but he is still right. Maybe not logically to you, but statistically he is.

Sherry said...

I appreciate that you are speaking rationally but I'm not sure where you're getting your statistics. First, "The odds of two law abiding, concealed carry permit holding students or faculty members attending the same classes, in the same building, on the same day at the same time, are pretty darn small."

Have you been to Southwest Virginia? I can promise you that the population here is such that if students were allowed to carry guns on campus, it would be more than just a few and there would certainly be several of them in the same building on the same day. I don't know how familiar you are with Virginia Tech but we have one of the nation's three corps of cadets here and I would guess that every single member (nearly 1,000) of them would register to carry. And of course, that's not counting the other students. So, statistically speaking, you need to understand this population before applying generic national numbers and theories.

Second, "People just don't do that. Especially in a freak situation like VT which lasts but a few minutes, tops. If you are in class and hear gun shots, you barracade the door, take cover, arm yourself, and wait. You don't buy a gun to seek out altercations, you buy a gun for the moment when an altercation seeks you out. When the armed guy breaks down the door to your house, or car, or apartment, or, in this case, classroom."

Really? How do you know this? How can you realistically predict how someone is going to react in the moment? People were literally stunned into immobility when they first heard the gunshots. Because construction was happening in the adjacent building, most thought that's what they were hearing since they'd gotten used to the sounds. It was only after Cho had shot up a classroom and left that the students in that room would barricade the door. The one exception is Professor Librescu's classroom, where he figured it out pretty early on and urged his students to jump out the second-story window while he held the door. He was shot to death. Yet you're telling me that because a student is carrying a gun, he/she is somehow going to know, with stunning clarity, just what's going on and how to react? Trained soldiers freeze in combat, much less students who wouldn't expect such a thing to ever happen. Not to mention that almost immediately after Cho shot himself, police accessed the building and burst into the barricaded rooms. In your scenario, they might well have been shot, too: The students and teachers didn't yet know that the only shooter was dead and Cho had (deliberately?) dressed in military fashion -- many survivors report thinking at first that he was a campus policeman when he first entered their classrooms. So again, no gun is going to save you at that moment if that's your impression, if you're confused, or if you're simply, and quite justifiably, scared.

I don't expect us to agree on this. I simply don't think that statistics apply here, particularly in a case where statistics would show that this should never have happened in the first place.

RottweilerTOM said...

Fuck this - you all need some FUNNY BONES.

BEST DRAKES CAKE EVER!!!!

Dave said...

Mmmmm..... funny bones

Anonymous said...

so, "gun enthusiast" and bully are mutually exclusive ?

You ruined your credibility to comment in one fell swoop.

You'll find that gun enthusiasts are comprised of generally the most courteous and helpful individuals you'd ever hope to know.

Yes, there are douchebags in the gun enthusiast camp. They, however, are the exception vs. the rule.

Please, show me ANY group that is completely absent of douchebags.

I'm sorry to have to say that with the opening statement equating all enthusiast with bullies, author has placed himself squarely in douchebag territory.

Try arguing your point without the ad homs and painting everyone with one brush. Try going to a high-quality gun range and shooting for yourself; maybe you'll end up shooting in a league yourself. It's fun. My kids and I all shoot.

Don't be a douchebag.

Chez said...

What, did you just Google "Virginia Citizens Defense League," find this site and decide to comment on a piece from nearly a full two years ago?

The difference between the "douchebags" in other groups and the ones in the gun enthusiast crowd is absurdly simple to notice: the latter group is armed, which makes their stupidity and bullying tactics quite a bit more frightening.

Now obviously you didn't go back and read the previous linked posts otherwise you'd have known that my father is an ex-Navy SEAL and ex-cop, and therefore I grew up with guns in the house and have used them safely many, many times. None of that changes the fact that these clowns in the VCDL -- the ones who consistently stand in defiant protest of common sense gun laws and who held an unbelievably offensive gun giveaway in Annandale, Virginia just one month after the V-Tech shootings -- don't come off simply as gun enthusiasts; they're gun worshippers (and there are a hell of a lot more like them in the gun crowd, particularly these days). A long time ago, my father essentially made it clear to me -- and to this day I think his logic is extraordinarily sound -- that people who worship guns are the last people you want to be armed. That was the point I was making and have been making in my pieces that take shots, no pun intended, at the VCDL.

I'll stop being a douchebag when you start bothering to go back and read the previous material that lead up to the post you chose to leave an inane comment on just so you could hear yourself talk.