Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Guns R Us

I made the mistake today of sitting down to eat lunch where the only newspaper available was the Ottawa Sun. In response to yesterday's shooting at Virginia Tech, there was the usual opposition to gun control, on the grounds that law-abiding citizens with guns aren't the problem, and that gun control isn't effective in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Several of the Sun's informed and enlightened readers went as far as to suggest that the school was at fault for banning guns from its premises. Because if the other students were armed, someone could have taken the guy down before he killed so many people.

I'm going to resist the temptation to suggest that these letter writers (and one candidate for the Republican presidential nomination) need to increase the dosage of their medication. Instead, I'll actually look at this rationally, as if these were reasonable arguments.

The first one's almost too easy to dispense with: Cho Seung-Hui was a law-abiding citizen, right up to the moment he took his legally purchased handgun, loaded with legally purchased ammunition, and started killing his fellow students with it. Criminals don't wear black hats. They're law abiding citizens before they become criminals, and they don't usually announce their intention to make the change.

To the second suggestion, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that some of the other people at the school were armed – perhaps as many as one in six. What happens when these people pull out their guns and start shooting? A fire fight, that's what. And not the pretty Hollywood kind, where the good guys hit what they aim at and the bad guys keep missing. We're talking complete fucking chaos. Everyone panicking and ODing on adrenaline. Bullets flying everywhere indiscriminately and no one even sure who the bad guys are.

Then the police arrive. They don't know who the bad guys are and who's trying to save the day. All they know is that people are shooting.

I'm willing to be large sums of money (well, hypothetical sums of money, anyway) that this results in way more than 33 dead bodies. I'm also willing to bet that it results in many otherwise law-abiding people having to live with the consequences of killing or crippling innocent bystanders in their amateur attempt to save the day.

And that's just in this extreme scenario. Never mind the day to day impact of having a fully armed population. It would make our experiences with road rage and bar brawls look like a church picnic.

Of course, we Canadians can take comfort in the fact that this is an American problem that could never happen here.

Oh, wait...

6 comments:

generalmoron said...

What I heard on the radio this morning was that his two guns were most likely illegally obtained as the serial numbers were filed off on both of them.

All the legal gun control in the world can't stop that.

Steve Marsh said...

Yes, well this is a good illustration of the difference between speculation and evidence. The serial numbers were scratched off, true, but they found the receipt for the legal purchase of the Glock in Cho's backpack.

I guess this is also a good illustration of how mass murderers aren't generally the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Danick said...

Ottawa Sun sucks! Canada's New Government also for all their bad decisions and for letting the gun registry become less and less useful to police! http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070417/tories_guns_070417/20070417?hub=QPeriod

Danick said...

The following link is disgusting, especially after the brutal killing of 32 students and teachers from Virginia Tech.

http://www2.vcdl.org/webapps/vcdl/vadetail.html?RECID=1702146

"No one can say for sure if allowing students and faculty members to carry arms would have prevented the rampage on Monday, said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. “But they wouldn’t die like sheep, at least, but more like a wolf with some fangs, able to fight back.”"
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/18/us/18pistols.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070417/CPMONDE/70418001/6488/CPACTUALITES

cenobyte said...

Also, Seung-Hui was accused of stalking at least one woman, possibly more, long before he 'snapped'. I don't know if he was ever convicted; I do know that his mental state was in question at least some time before he purchased at least one weapon.

And in Virgina, you can buy one gun a month, provided you pass all the (fairly lax) prerequisite 'safety' regulations.

StacksCustom trucking said...

lets take a minute to stop and think, steve says "What happens when these people pull out their guns and start shooting?" he trys to make it seem like there will be a fire fight that will kill more people then the murderer alone killed. he also states that when the police get there "All they know is that people are shooting." by the time the police arrive the shooting will be over, i say this because he killed 33 people before the police arrived and that many people takes some time. its not like he was using "an evil black glock with high capacity magazines" as was said on cnn on the day that this happened, he was using a ruger mark 2 and a walther p22 both of witch are 22's that hold 8 rounds of ammo. there is not even aftermarket high capacity magazines available for these pistols, being an FFL (firearms dealer) on the side i would no if there was. mr.cho saw a target of oppertunity sense there was no armed personel such as students, security gaurds and teachers within reasonable distance to stop him. one last thing "Never mind the day to day impact of having a fully armed population. It would make our experiences with road rage and bar brawls look like a church picnic." 45 states allow conceiled carry weapons permits to its citizens, why are there not more of these incedents like steve likes to think? send responses to: alabamatruckpull@aol.com