Thursday, April 19, 2007

NRA: Never Responsible for Actions?

Was there really anything remarkable about the Virginia Tech shootings other than the death toll?

Deadliest Mass Shootings (10 or more dead) in Western Democracies
26 Apr 2002 Erfurt, Germany16 + 1 Legal guns, pistol club member
27 Sep 2001Zug, Switzerland 14 + 1 Legal guns, licensed pistol owner
29 Jul 1999Atlanta, GA, USA 12 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
20 Apr 1999 Littleton, CO, USA 13 + 2 Not legal guns
28 Apr 1996 Port Arthur, Australia 35 Not legal guns
13 Mar 1996 Dunblane, Scotland 17 + 1 Legal guns, pistol club member
16 Oct 1991 Killeen, TX, USA 23 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
13 Nov 1990 Aramoana, New Zealand 13 + 1 Legal guns, licensed gun owner
18 Jun 1990 Jacksonville, FL, USA 9 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
06 Dec 1989 Montreal, Canada 14 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
19 Aug 1987 Hungerford, England 16 + 1 Legal guns, pistol club member
20 Aug 1986 Edmond, OK, USA 14 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
18 Jul 1984 San Ysidro, CA, USA 21 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
01 Aug 1966 Austin, TX, USA 16 + 1 Legal guns, no licence required
Philip Alpers, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Judging from these statistics ‘Guns don’t massacre people; people who legally own guns do’ (usually).

Now it is perfectly possible to buy a gun sane and then become mentally unbalanced later and go on a rampage, so there’s no preventing that whilst guns are legally available.
In the case of Virginia Tech, the shooter was apparently demonstrably mentally unbalanced and a recorded risk according to police records which, had a background check been run and professional competency applied there ought not to have been a gun sale. That wouldn’t necessarily have prevented Cho-Seung–Hui from mass murder, but it would have made things more difficult.

Last I checked their website, the NRA is waiting “for all the facts” before making any comment. How very ‘responsible’ of them. The most salient fact at the moment is that Seung –Hui was able to buy a gun without a background check that could have revealed he was a risk. The legislation allowing him to do that was the result of lobbying efforts by the NRA who are of course headquartered in Virginia.

Whilst the NRA remains silent for the moment, the apologists (who never apologize) have already come out with guns blazing (pun intended).

A favorite argument is that if guns were allowed on campus the students could have fought back. So if all students carried guns any argument or even the sense of a threat could be settled with a shooting. Brilliant! It was the easy availability of guns that allowed Seung-Hui to begin killing.

People who kill either themselves or others with guns are gun-owners (legal or illegal), DUH! It is the purpose of a gun to facilitate killing.

The self-defense argument doesn’t wash either. At least as many people get killed when defending themselves with guns as those who don’t and as often as not bystanders get wounded and killed too.

Most gun-owners don’t intend to kill but they must certainly entertain the possibility that they will use their gun—why own one otherwise? And those citizens who do decide for whatever reason, to kill, use guns to do so more than any other means. Why? Because they are effective and easily available, more so in some states such as Virginia, then others.

I can’t see any practical way to eliminate private gun-ownership completely in the interests of general public safety given the huge numbers of guns already in circulation. But the constant lobbying by the NRA to make guns as easily available as possible guarantees that their illegal use is more prevalent than needs be and that many of the deaths that result are in part the NRA’s responsibility.


teaghan's mom said...

the NRA consists of a bunch of loons that think everyone should have a gun and everyone should be able to carry it with them everywhere they go. you should look up the accidental shootings and fatalities of gun owners - a good friend of mine was killed by his roommate by accident. in 1992, the roommate was cleaning the gun, he reloaded the magazine and it fired because he had forgotten to unload the magazine, and it was a faulty hair trigger, and he shot my friend in the head. the wound wasn't instantly fatal, so my friend knew what happened to him, but there was nothing he could do about it, so instead he slowly and painfully bled to death waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

gun owners are not always responsible with their weapons. and more often than not, children are killed because they find a loaded gun without a trigger lock and they shoot themselves or their friends or family. the statistics may appear "low", but if it were your child, friend or family member, that died as a result of an accidental gun discharge, would that comfort you? it wouldn't comfort me.

i'm not saying make all guns illegal, far from it - i am a gun owner myself, but i comply with the laws and use common sense. you must have a firarms owner ID card - for which i applied, passed the background check, and got per state law. my city prohibits the storage of guns at your residence, so i have my gun locked up at a shooting range outside of city limits. it is locked in a separate jacket and has a trigger lock, and the bullets are locked in a separate box. additionally, i take lessons to refresh my skills and only use the gun at the firing range. why bother to own a gun? you may ask. i like knowing how to use a gun, understanding it's power and deadly consequences. if i am confronted with a gun, i will NOT rush the person holding it because i know that the trigger is very sensitive and the gun can discharge if they even twich, so i understand how to act when faced with a gun. you NEVER charge a person holding a gun from the front and you NEVER charge them if there are people in their firing range. if you are not trained how to disarm a person - you have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS attempting to do so, unless you want to get yourself killed in the process. i would like anyone that thinks that the victims are at fault in the VT shootings to be put into the same situation and see if they survive - or if they practice what they preach. because i know that if faced with a maniac weilding a gun and shooting indiscriminately, the big talkers would pee their pants and shit themselves before they even thought about rushing the gunman.

that's my 2 cents - take it or leave it.

5th Estate said... don't actually state why you own guns which is a point of interest.
For many people guns have a very visceral appeal. (I include myself in that regard). But shooting inanimate targets (or even animals)is quite different from shooting people -which was the original purpose of guns and continues to be their major function and use today.
Your closing comments about action and reaction when faced with a gun are most interesting.

teaghan's mom said...

i own a gun because A) it's my right, B) owning one allows me the opportunity to understand it's power and deadly consequences, and C) it shocks the hell out of fright wingnuts when i tell them i own a gun but also support tougher gun laws and longer "cooling off" periods.

different thought here:
guns are seen as objects of power and control and used to intimidate and kill. you can kill a person with your bare hands, but a gun allows you to disconnect from your victim and thereby making killing almost unreal. it's been said that only cowards use guns (and any other sort of long range weapon) to kill. i can see how this rings true, but i also think only cowards feel the need to kill their adversaries. self defense is the only exception to this belief. survival is our first instinct so killing in self defense is a natural reaction. as human beings, we are fortunate to have the gift of reason and logic and language. unfortuantely, a great deal of people fail to use their reasoning and logic skills in favor of violence and rage. even more unfortunate is the fact that the people that let their rage control them and dictate their actions are the ones using guns in a cowardly manner - using guns to kill others and themselves rather than facing their fears or asking for help.

KEvron said...

"For many people guns have a very visceral appeal."

i'll never understand why some people relish their weapons. i can appreciate the desire to keep weapons, but to fawn over them as some people do speaks to a flaw in their character. that kind of behavior betrays an acute lack of respect for the power that a gun offers.

and the nra has completely lost all of its perspective. it ain't your father's nra....


5th Estate said...

tg....there you go...very succinct. I wonder if I had a gun I might be "seduced" by it? I', thinking not....but one never knows. I thought I didn't like Sushi, but found that I did--in moderation.

Carl said...

We're number two! We're number two! USA! USA!

Until some asshole in another red state decides to go for the gold....