by DaveB, Wed Jun 20, 2007 at 03:23:36 PM EDT
by Democratic Courage, Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 06:17:10 AM EDT
Gun Lobby's Declining Pull
By Glenn Hurowitz
Even in the wake of a shooting as horrific as the Virginia Tech massacre, the gun lobby still looms very large in Washington. Neither the congressional leadership nor any of the leading presidential candidates have indicated that they're going to bring up gun control legislation that could prevent guns from getting into the hands of people like Cho Seung-Hui - or the criminals who used guns to kill 11,624 Americans in 2004 alone. "I hope there's not a rush to do anything," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.
It's not that most Democrats think that common sense gun control measures don't make sense. It's that they've bought into the notion (peddled aggressively by the National Rifle Association) that any support at all for gun control is political suicide.
It's an old Washington trick: if you can't win a policy debate on the merits, convince politicians that a certain policy will help them get elected. And the NRA has been a master at this gambit. During the 12 years in which Republicans controlled Congress, lots of pro-gun candidates won big with the NRA's vocal support.
But are those victories actually attributable to the gun issue - or were there other factors at work as well?
Public opinion data suggests that the gun lobby has played only a very small role in determining election outcomes; indeed, there's a strong indication that support for reasonable gun control measures actually boosts performance at the polls, even in relatively conservative districts.
by Steve Love, Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:32:40 AM EDT
What I am trying to suggest is that, for the person with the intent to harm others, it is just a matter of the means: a fertilizer bomb, an airplane, a chlorine gas bomb, homemade nerve gas, an assault rifle, or a pair of automatic handgun, that is the issue. I am trying to get us away from talking about the HOW of mass murders and focus on the WHY. What is it that brings a person to do what Tim McVeigh and this guy did? One thing we know: it wasn't the availabilty of guns! The linkage is not guns; it is hatred and the violence hatred justifies.
Were these guys just nutcakes or did they have unwitting accomplishes...maybe people in government or in the marketplace? Did they do something totally off the wall or did they just do in reality what they see done all the time in the media? But more important than that, has their desire to harm others -- to inflict violence on those who had somehow offended them -- been legitimized by our society for either political or monetary purposes?
The question I want us to wrestle with is not gun control but what is responsible speech? We have all kinds of limits on speech: libel, shouting "Fire" in a theater, slander, fraud, incitement to riot, et.al, but someone can suggest that killing a doctor or bombing his clinic is justified under some theory of being "pro-life." We can take the nation to war and justify it because we are weary of negotiating with an adversary. We can talk about the bombing of a city and merchandize it as "shock and awe" and the author of the idea is reelected to office. We can talk about politics as "war by other means" and are lauded as leaders by some political party. We can suggest that a certain president cannot go to a certain state "without a body guard," suggest that there are those in the state willing to assassinate him.
My belief is that if we make the Virginia Tech tragedy only a gun-control issue we will miss the opportunity to talk about speech that incites violence and hatred or that in subtle, or maybe not so subtle, ways legitimizes attacking others because they do not share our opinion on some aspect of society.
The question I am asking is this: Are we a violent society because guns are here OR are the guns and other instruments of violence here because we, as a society, have accepted hatred and violence as acceptable parts of our social environment? And if the latter is the case, is the misuse of our freedom of speech a contributor to that kind of think and, if so, what do we do about that? I am suggesting that what we need in this country is more debate about speech-control...the inculcation of civility, tolerance, gentleness, love and compromise at all levels of society...and less scapegoating guns as somehow the genesis of all that is evil.
After all, the Bible says: "As a man thinks, so is he. "...not whether he is packing heat or not.
by Steve Love, Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:51:57 AM EDT
The tragedies of Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9/11 and now Virginia Tech do not share guns as the instrument of murder. What they do share is the killers' hatred for and a willingness to kill those who disagree with them. Beating up on the NRA and giving a pass to America's violence cottage industry that exists solely to foment hatred and glorify violence against others is an inappropriate and incomplete response to the Virginia Tech tragedy.
by smitton, Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:22:31 AM EDT
The Virginia Tech shooter was a piker. Check out some of these other mass killings:
Bath, Michigan school killings, 1927...45
Julio Gonzalez, Bronx, .................87
Jack Gilbert Graham, 1955 ..............44
David Burke , 1987 .....................43
Then of course you have your serial killers who kill only one or two at a time...but the numbers really add up:
Wayne Williams, Atlanta ............29
Randy Steven Kraft .................67
Ted Bundy .......................30~50
Gary Leon Ridgeway .................48
John Wayne Gacy ....................33
(very few of the killings above involved firearms)
But all these guys are rank amateurs compared to the pros...governments:
USSR (Stalin, et al).......61,911,000
China (Mao and crew) ......35,238,000
Nazi Germany ..............20,946,000
Viet Nam (Ho Chi Mihn)......1,697,000
Castro & Che .................513,000
Yet some a**hole is going to call for the disarming of the populace....go figger. Without the second ammendment there can be no First Ammendment.