Deadly Women (with Matt Fullerty)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guns Don't Kill People, Gun Laws Do!

Dear England, The recent incidents at Virginia Tech University have created an incredible interest in gun laws Stateside - and back in the UK - and rightly so. What is amazing to me is the resistance to change - yes, and I mean to tighten the gun laws against gun culture. The Second Amendment to the Constitution (the right - the civil right - to bear arms) was never set in stone, but was included because the Founding Fathers of the US had to sanction a militia army in the face of a foreign occupying power, namely the British colonizers. They expected culture and society to change and US culture and society has changed. The Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars took care of that! Owning a gun is not an act of freedom, but a fear of your neighbors' guns. Guns are not a civil liberty. The incidents in which citizens defend other citizens against criminals - with guns - are practically non-existent. Dare I say it: Stop the fear at home and the fear of the barbarian insurgent enemy might lessen a little. It depends on what you consider safe - you having a weapon to defend yourself in the sheer panic of someone pulling their gun in a McDonald's line - or the fact that everyone else will pull their gun too and everyone being less safe. US gun laws are notoriously lax. But the indiviudal is more important than the soical whole? By lax, I mean there are literally thousands of places you can buy a muderous weapon on any given Sunday.



The fact that Cho Seung-Hui was able to kill dozens of people with hundreds of rounds one morning at Virginia Tech University, Blacksberg, Virginia, was because he could walk over the single road from campus into a local pawnbroker's and with a credit card and no cash buy a Glock 9mm pistol for $571 ($1 for a free bullet) with no check on his mental illness record. Then on the radio I learn the Virginia gun laws might be tightened by "considering" laws to make people with mental illness find it "more difficult" to purchase a handgun. Of course they should. What is wrong with this picture, England? In Blighty we are so immune to the idea of gun deaths that our Olympic shooting team has to leave the country to fire its weapons. Is this right? Well, a bit extreme, but when was the last time they shot anyone? (Do they ever win? No, okay. But our Scottish women's curling team has an gold medal!) Anyway clearly someone with mental illness should have their civil liberties and second amendments rights not curtailed, but simply erased. Should they be allowed to carry a big stick either? Sure.

The second alarming comment was the "disappointment" from the internet gun shop owner that he sold the online weapon to Cho "out of all the 10,000 gun shops in America." My disgrace! He was saddened to hear of the bad luck and wild improbability of Cho landing on his website? As though through a freak accident someone got killed? He sells guns for a living!

In fact, I believe the only solution to American gun culture is to have everyone who wants to carry a weapon in public, no matter which side of the train tracks they live (yes, and I know America incarcerates more peole than any country in the world in relative and absolute terms) should first have to carry a very large stick. They can speak softly or loudly - that is the right of free speech - but no shouting in libraries)! Then they can beat someone first and see if they like it. Only then do they graduate to guns. In the meantime they carry a stick perhaps with a knife on the end to see how they find stabbing before shooting. Given the proximity and danger of retaliation, I believe this would reduce crime, sincerely, and would be eminently better for public safety. Trying shooting me with that piece of wood! I really don't mind black eyes! Then decommission the criminals America because, yes, they will be the only ones with guns!

As for erasing gun ownership rights of the mentally ill, I don't include anti-depressant patients or folks with New York City Upper East Side therapists. Those people have enough problems of their own and can keep their guns! But anyone else who sees their freedom in their big speech and their Glock should know that their freedom is not reflected in their high chance of being either shot or incarcerated. One of these things is not like the other one, one of things things is not the same!
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