VATech: Dying to Protect the Crazies (Updated)


(Cartoon by Jim Borgman)

Scott Horton, Harper’s worthy answer to Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald, quotes some of the European press on the VATech shooting. Unlike the coverage here, it ain’t about immigration or Cho’s anger or the school’s slow response or the heartbreaking stories of the victims’ lives. It’s about one thing: the guns. Excerpts:

Hamburg’s Der Spiegel runs a summary of press reactions across Europe and finds that Charlton Heston and the NRA are repeatedly singled out as responsible for the tragedy. “The shooting at Virginia Tech is the result of America’s woeful lack of serious gun control laws.


Madrid’s El País, puts the blame squarely on the National Rifle Association and reproduces a photograph of Charlton Heston brandishing a rifle. “[C]ontrol measures,“ writes that paper, ”are systematically challenged by an abusive interpretation of the Second Amendment….”


The conservative London Times writes “But why, we ask, do Americans continue to tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year, when presumably, tougher restrictions, such as those in force in European countries, could at least reduce the number?”

Horton, a lawyer, concludes:

Around the world, America is being portrayed as a land of wanton violence, obsessed with firearms—as the locus of a bizarre death cult. The grounds for this are not simply what happened at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School, but the way the American public has reacted to these tragedies.

Or not reacted. Despite the furor after Columbine, absolutely NOTHING was done to control the sale of deadly weapons. The Pub Congress refused to extend the assault weapons ban, and even relatively painless strengthening of gun registration laws were rejected practically without discussion. In fact, gun laws have actually been loosened in the 12 years of Republican rule.

Le Monde in Paris pointed out that “President Bush’s condolence message…incorporated a defense of firearms” and found nothing surprising about the American president defending gun rights the day after 33 people were murdered by an unstable young man who had access to semi-automatic handguns thanks to the fact that he was living in a state with lax gun laws.

Never mind. Nothing’s going to change this time, either. Democrats yesterday were admitting as much.

Democrats on both sides of the issue were skeptical that the 33 deaths at Virginia Tech would change a political equation that has turned in the favor of gun rights advocates. Even after Columbine, no major gun-control laws passed Congress.

Since then, restrictions on guns have eased, with the 2004 expiration of President Bill Clinton’s landmark assault weapons ban, passage in 2005 of legislation shielding gunmakers from lawsuits, and a 2003 measure preventing local enforcement agencies from consulting police in other states on firearms traces.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) boasts of a favorable rating from the National Rifle Association, which lobbies against gun control, and House Democratic leaders are in no rush to jeopardize conservative freshmen elected from Republican-leaning districts in Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas.

“Unless we get some leadership from the White House, we’re not going to take this kind of political damage bringing up something that would never become law,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), a gun-control advocate.

Yeah, right. Good luck with that. Dumping the responsibility for leading on anything on Bush, let alone in going against the NRA and the GOP’s slavish toadying to the gun lobby, is the same as advocating for the NRA. The Democrats have been utterly spineless on the gun control issue for 20 years and they apparently plan to go right on sacrificing their vertebrae for votes.

Because that’s the political problem: gun nuts are single-issue voters when the NRA can convince them their precious personal Death Stars might be taken away (and the NRA deliberately interprets every attempt at regulation as if the govt is trying to confiscate all firearms).

I’ve owned guns in the past and may again. I know how goddamn dangerous they are. So do the nation’s police depts who are almost without exception in favor of gun control.

But gun control makes sense so we won’t do it, not even after a tragedy of this magnitude. Instead, we’ll force schools and courts and govt agencies to spend millions on security, weapons detectors, and therapists so a compendium of idiots can pretend they’re John Wayne in a western or James Bond saving western civilization with his Beretta.

It’s sad, it’s sick, and it’s us. The blame for VAT and Columbine and numerous other similar events lies squarely on the shoulders of the gun-loving dingbats who consistently vote en masse against anyone who doesn’t kowtow to their absurd, illogical, primitive, mind-numbingly stoopid demands.

It’s time for the Truth: People who vote against gun regulation are crazy, dangerous maniacs with no concern for public safety who don’t give a damn about the victims and who are in fact perfectly prepared to stand by while dozens – hundreds, thousands – die to protect their “right” to be insane.


Update: The gun culture claims another innocent victim:

Clayton County police have not filed charges against a College Park man who fatally shot his wife Tuesday afternoon as she entered the family’s apartment, apparently because he thought she was an intruder.

Horace Henry, 60, fired a .38-caliber revolver when the front door of the family apartment opened a little, said Deputy Chief Tim Robinson said. Henry’s wife, Andrea Henry, was struck once in the neck.

“He apparently didn’t know that she and their daughter had walked outside for a few minutes,” Robinson said. “When he heard someone at the door, he said he called out, ‘Who’s there?’ but he said no one answered. He thought she was an intruder and fired his gun.”

Total this week: 33 and counting.

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