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April 16, 2007

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The ACLU focuses on the First Amendment and due process issues. That keeps them busy enough.

The NRA is bigger, better funded, more powerful, and perfectly capable of sticking up for the Second Amendment.

Guns aren't a source or guarantor of political freedom. They are, at most (I'm not going to get into the pros and cons), self-defense against assault.

I'd rather the ACLU continued the work it already does than take on an issue not, frankly, key to preserving our civil liberties.

Erasmussimo: A little concept-check here.

"Freedom of speech" does NOT - repeat NOT - mean "freedom from criticism." I absolutely defend your right to say what you want. And I equally absolutely maintain my right to call you on it, to point out that only an insensitive boor would throw "decency and respect" out of the window in considering what to say and when and where to say it.

Thus you are wrong, even in jest, to suggest I might be a "self-righteous tyrant." Self-righteous, maybe. ;} My father was a missionary, and although I've lost the faith, some of the preachiness lingers at times. But tyrant, no. Such "tyranny" exists only in your fevered imagination, which defines your "freedom of speech" as a claim that you should never be held to account, by anybody, for your speech.

Now, am I the only person who wants to wait in the parking lot of the National Review offices and deal John Derbyshire the ass-whipping of his life, just for the hell of it?

I don't believe in hurting children.

cleek, not that I disagree with your general point -- I have no problem with denying gun ownership to crazy people -- but can we get away from this idea of referring to 23-year-old college students as "kids?" It's just a pet peeve of mine -- this person was an adult for every purpose I can think of under the law. Sure, he was someone's kid, as were all of his victims, but he was not a kid they way we normally think of it. He was all growed up.

Similarly, it really gets under my skin when media refer to 18 and 19 year old criminal suspects and perpetrators as "teens." It makes it seem as if they're trying to elide a serious distinction between 14 and 18.

and yet people like you and Reynolds (a fncking teacher himself!!!) say that putting more guns into schools is a good idea.

I don't think I've ever advocated putting more guns into "schools." I don't have a problem with adults, having been properly sceened, possessing firearms.

I also agree with Phil's comment, even as he largely disagrees with me:

cleek, not that I disagree with your general point -- I have no problem with denying gun ownership to crazy people -- but can we get away from this idea of referring to 23-year-old college students as 'kids?'

Similarly, can we stop referring to the issue of "guns in schools," as if anyone who thinks that an appropriate 21 or 23 or 25 year old college student should have the opportunity to carry a firearm* also thinks that 12 year olds should bring guns in to show and tell?

*There should, of course, be exceptions as to where they carry their gun. (E.g., no courts, airports, etc.)

Again the question: Would it be useful to have a "rapid response" person (or 2-3) equipped with both a weapon and protective gear (body armor also covering the head)* at schools/colleges/etc. as a general rule?
(Leave out the question, whether there'd be enough funds available)

*and adequate training in both handling the equipment and difficult situations/persons.

this person was an adult for every purpose I can think of under the law
But not in the eyes of car rental companies, who often think adulthood begins at 25.

Von, why is a classroom an appropriate place to carry a gun but a courtroom or an airport isn't? The logic of making things safer by allowing everyone to be armed implies to me that we should just get rid of all these metal detectors and let the people defend themselves in courtrooms, airports, and elsewhere.

Similarly, if Republicans in Congress want to repeal DC's gun laws over the objection of our citizens and elected officials, then they ought to favor allowing people to carry those guns into the Capitol.

Hartmut,

I don't think so. You simply can't harden everything, or protect everything. Whether it is terrorism or rampages, there will always be an undefended target.

Despite how horrible this incident is, I don't see the sense in having a huge increase in SWAT like teams on campus.

For one, I would hope that there would not be enough incidents on campus requiring a team for the team to maintain proficiency (unlike a large city serving warrants and such that could keep them sharp), and I also doubt the caliber of officer that a campus would likely attract for that job. It seems unlikely to me that you will get the quiet professional who can calmly determine the right course of action under fire.

For the most part, I think they are better off using the local reaction teams rather than making their own, even if that means a delay.

KCinDC,

DC prevents people from having guns in their own homes as a means to protect themselves. I don't get the impression that anyone is asking for a blanket right to carry in DC, but that they can at least defend themselves at home.

But I agree that courts and other government offices should be open for carry, if schools are. And while not the issue here, I think that hardening military bases and government buildings makes softer targets like schools more likely to be hit by terrorism, and that another means to make schools safer from political violence is to reduce the protection on other government functions.

There should, of course, be exceptions as to where they carry their gun. (E.g., no courts, airports, etc

what KCinDC said.

the first time someone walks into an airport and shoots 20 people, the usual suspects are going to be moaning about how "messed-up" it is that we don't allow guns into airports.

I don't think I've ever advocated putting more guns into "schools."

not gonna play "definitions" with ya, sorry.

re courts and government offices:

Back in the not so gay '90's when the NRA lost their minds, the State of Colorado passed some sort of gun law, the particulars of which I've forgotten.

As a result, the City Council of Colorado Springs, most of whom were tough Christian guys and gals who rode into office on the NRA's Republican demagogahorse, began noticing a guy (one of the literal sorts the demagogues like to lather up during the campaigns) sitting in the back of the room during City Council meetings fondling a hunting rifle as they discussed city business.

Well, you can imagine the thoughts running through the city fathers' and mothers' single brain cell that they shared with Grover Norquist, Wayne LaPierre, and any number of big-haired pulpit shouters as they imagined one day needing to discuss city business, maybe a sales-tax hike, (gosh, we took the pledge, but that was just our way of demagoging) while that guy in the back licked his thumb and ran it across the sights on his rifle.

Well, pretty soon, you know, they voted to "clarify" the gun law, to take a little local control, and maybe we shouldn't permit guns in City Hall.

The guy in the back could have been a gay liberal sharpshooter. You never think of these things while you are doing your Mussolini impression at the Elks Club during the campaign.

I meant the "rapid response" more as a hypothetical scenario (the Amish would probably refuse anything like it on their property in the first place). In the 18th/early 19th century that would have been an opportunity for veterans btw. In Prussia (before the introduction of pension plans) many a disabled soldier avoided poverty by becoming a schoolteacher.
Hey, I have an idea. Colleges etc. are infested these days with recruiters for the foreign wars ;-). Why not make that a standing position including defense of the institution against amok runners ;-)? "You may only recruit here, if you defend us against evildoers personally!"

von, I do disagree with you to the extent that I think a venue with as much free-flowing alcohol, pot and jackassery as your average college campus is probably a poor place to introduce a lot more firearms. Add in the general level of dorm-room thievery and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Think about what tends to happen in, say, College Park, MD whenever the Terps make the Final Four. Now add in a bunch of semiauto handguns? No thanks.

Joke aside, armed veterans from Bush's wars would more likely become amok runners themselves* than being a deterrent/first aid against a rampaging student that wants to go out with a bang.

*given their treatment or lack thereof yb this administration.

Just yesterday the University of Oklahoma went into lockdown over a guy carrying an umbrella. I shudder to think what might have happened if these jittery folks were all armed.

guy arrested at my

(oops. bad HTML)

guy arrested at my alma mater for having guns on campus. he had four 30 round clips in his car - could Super Derb accurately count to 30 while being shot at ?

as if anyone who thinks that an appropriate 21 or 23 or 25 year old college student

Define "appropriate" in this context.

CNN (developing): "A court order from 2005 states that Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui was declared mentally ill and "an imminent danger to others," a district court clerk tells CNN."

among other laws, gun laws need to be tightened and enforced. there is no way this guy should've been allowed to by guns a month ago.

by=buy, of course

oh, b.t.w., death to CAPTCHA

Add in the general level of dorm-room thievery and you've got a recipe for disaster.

I don't think that I ever advocated guns in dorms. But most students don't live in dorms.

Think about what tends to happen in, say, College Park, MD whenever the Terps make the Final Four. Now add in a bunch of semiauto handguns? No thanks.

There are likely hundreds of guns and concealed carry permits among the students who went to my alma mater, a large midwestern state university in a place with relatively relaxed gun laws. We also had more than our fair share of student riots. Gunplay was never involved, to my knowledge.

Having had a concealed carry permit in college, and knowing many others that did as well, the greatest barrier to getting a gun is its cost.

I don't think that I ever advocated guns in dorms. But most students don't live in dorms.

1. Can you think of a way to allow concealed carry on campuses that reasonably excludes them from dorms? I sure can't.

2. Who cares where most students live? It's not even remotely relevant to the question. The dorm factor is relevant for the students who do live in dorms.

3. There's a nontrivial number of car smash-and-grabs on campuses, too.

1. Can you think of a way to allow concealed carry on campuses that reasonably excludes them from dorms? I sure can't.

That's not quite the issue. Given the current patchwork of gun control laws, can you think of a way to bar someone from carrying a concealed weapon on campus that reasonable excludes them from dorms?

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