Reader Mail

Guns on Campus

The debate continues, in full force. Also: Withdrawal from Lebanon/Iraq. Bush and conservatives. Boomers and shakes. Plus more.

4.19.07

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WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
Re: Philip Klein's Anatomy of a Withdrawal:

Though he concedes that "we'll never know what would have happened had the U.S. Marines stayed in Lebanon," Mr. Klein tendentiously suggests that American withdrawal from Lebanon in 1984 directly contributed to the growth of Hezbollah, emboldened al Qaeda, and increased terrorism in the Middle East and Africa. I don't think that he has made an adequate case for the supposed lessons to be learned from this episode vis a vis Iraq. The possibility that American forces could have made a permanent difference for the better in Lebanon is just as much a hypothesis as it is now in Iraq. In my opinion, this pie-in-the-sky thinking is overwhelmed by the immediate intractable problems associated with the American presence.

We have precipitated a humanitarian crisis, with millions of refugees and an estimated 40,000 orphans. Above all, there are hundreds of thousands of wounded and dead. Our continued presence is most likely to produce similar results. We as a nation do not have sufficient military or financial resources or international support to guarantee the success and stability of a democratic government in Iraq. It is therefore excessively optimistic to think that staying in Iraq is on balance better than leaving.

I found it interesting that the current president is essentially following the same script as Reagan. I hope that Bush will find the wisdom and courage to admit his failure and accept the withdrawal of our troops.
-- Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

BLAME GAME
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Enough Blame to Go Around:

Love the Spectator, but Lisa Fabrizio's Faberge sensitivities are really tiresome. Yes, college kids drink beer and look at naked women, as they probably have for quite some time. It might not be worthy of praise, but it doesn't make the prosecutor's actions any less reprehensible.

Hope the Spectator gives Rudy a fair shake. The Dems have finally dared to challenge their one-issue cranks. Now the Republicans must show they are not beholden to one-note pro-lifers, gun rights purists, and anti-gay rights crusaders.
-- Jason Davis

Just one little nit-picky thing about Lisa Fabrizio's column on Imus and the "Dukies" as she calls them.

Don Imus was born in 1940. He might be an aging '60s leftist, but he isn't an "aging baby-boomer." Boomers start with the year 1946 (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush). Please, media folks, don't lump every person who looks about the right age in with my generation. Neither Imus, nor Rather, nor Kerry, nor Pelosi, Leahy, Levin, Murtha, Reid, Kennedy, nor John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, are boomers. They are all from the generation between the "Greatest" and the boomers.

The Boomers span birth years from 1946-1964. Please name that earlier generation, so I don't have to take the hit for every one of those wackos! Just FYI, I was born in 1952. Imus was 12 when I was born.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

DISRESPECTING BUSH
Re: Quin Hillyer's Conservatives Must Rally:

Quin Hillyer thinks conservatives should rally behind George W. Bush. Why? In November 2004, George Bush was reelected and the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans. George Bush was given a mandate to govern with a conservative agenda.

But, George W. Bush turned his back on conservative principles. He chose to embrace the politics of our enemies; Teddy Kennedy and his ilk. He went along with outrageous congressional spending programs. He has been in the forefront in favor of rewarding illegal immigration with citizenship. And, he has blown the war in Iraq, and who knows where he is on the war on terrorism.

George Bush is not a conservative, Mr. Hillyer. Conservatives should not rally to support Bush as you suggest. Conservatives should disassociate themselves from George Bush. Communicate to the world that he is not one of us -- because he's not!

George Bush is now being stomped on by the Democrats and the media -- the people he longed to cuddle with. He deserves all the disrespect that he is getting.
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

GUNSMOKE
Re: John Tabin's A Disarmed Campus and the letters under "Gunning for the Second" in Reader Mail's In the Face of Evil:

John Tabin writes, "Mightn't a law-abiding armed student have stopped the spree in its tracks?"

I have been astonished at the number of conservative commentators who apparently think that putting MORE guns on a college campus would be a helpful idea. I'd wager that there is not a single law enforcement officer or academic official in this country who would agree.

Stop and think for a moment. Does it really make sense for an entire community of 18-22 year old kids to be walking around armed to the teeth? We're not speaking of a phase in life known for its emotional stability here! Does Mr. Tabin suppose that such guns would never be drawn in an altercation? During a drunken frat party? How about when a disgruntled student receives an F from a professor?

If Mr. Tabin is seriously suggesting this idea, I would like for him to spell out its implications in detail. Otherwise I will take it as simply more delusional -- and extraordinarily unhelpful -- talk from the guns-come-first right wing.
-- Stephen Main
San Francisco, California

Folks should keep a clear head and recall that armed students stopped the killer at the Appalachian School of Law, as your reader Doug Roll points out. Those who object to guns on campus should realize that getting a concealed weapons permit (CWP) is not a cakewalk and requires, at a minimum, a criminal records check and either attendance at a course or evidence of handgun training. Most importantly, CWP holders are folks who really want to carry handguns and understand all of the infractions that can strip them of that permit; they are a rather responsible, sober lot who realize that even showing their handgun to others can result in permit loss. Finally, like any responsible gun owner, they know that guns and alcohol don't mix and put their weapons in a secure location before the drinkin' starts.
-- Mike Cakora
Columbia, South Carolina

Mr. Tabin has presented a concise and accurate appraisal of the cost of gun control. The Europeans and other of our "friends" re much more socialist than we are; they have all enacted draconian gun control measures which have all failed miserably yet like the lemmings they appear to be, they would have our government impose such measures on us. Thankfully, and unlike the subjects of European socialist tendencies, we here in the USA have a Bill of Rights.

Among these enumerated right is the Second Amendment acknowledging an individual right to own and possess firearms. So unlike our socialist brethren, "The Government" can't just slap our hands and take our personal defense firearms. That being said, it is a sad state of affairs that none of the multitude of students who could have been armed, were not. It seems that regardless of what the law allows, academia prefers to keep it's head planted firmly in the sand and proclaim it's fear of firearms at the top of it's lungs. Their anti-self-defense neurosis has cost us the lives, the futures, and the potentials of 32 innocents, and crushed their families forever.

It is not a coincidence that whenever an event such as this unfolds, sensible people want to know why there was not one armed person in the multitudes.
-- Benny Rubino
Lebanon, New Jersey

Your article on the Virginia Tech shooting stated a need for more anti-gun control. It will not work. As long as a person can get a weapon from any source, a problem like the Virginia Tech shooting will nevertheless take place again sometime in the future. There are enough weapons in this country to give everyone, men, women, and children at least one weapon if not two. Confiscation of these weapons is not likely and probably unenforceable as a practical matter.
--- nelsonsamuel

In response to this article I would have to agree with most of it. All though I don't think that putting gun controls on top of gun controls would have anything to do in this situation. Here in Tucson anyone can by a gun as long as the proper paperwork is filled out and a background check is completed. Total time fore this is about 30 min if the computers are up to par with DPS "department of public safety." Too many people are trying to find a blame to vent anger, rage and or retribution. The gunman killed himself per the news articles and there is no where for these feelings to go. All you can do is ask why. This may sound harsh but the only answer is a "normal" guy goes out and buys a gun. He passes all background checks per laws passed by the politicians and for some reason he snaps. He is driven to do one thing and one thing only. When innocents are backed into a corner they are driven to survive armed or not. If one may have had a firearm it could have possibly ended differently. I have seen elementary schools locked down faster than this just because someone looked out of place. Go figure!
-- unsigned

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!

I am a mother of 3 children who dreads the day when ALL of our gun rights are taken away and we are left to defend ourselves from crazy people who don't obey the law and choose to take other's lives.

I can't understand why the media is giving credence to people who believe that the V Tech murders could have been stopped if Cho was not allowed to purchase the guns so easily in the state of Virginia. It seems like we are going backwards on this issue. It was Cho who killed innocent people, not the guns. He simply would have used a different method if he could not get the guns.

I hope that this tragedy does stir up gun control issues in America, and I hope that licensed gun owners stand up and defend their right to defend themselves and their families!
-- Rhonda Lesley
Zebulon, North Carolina

I'm appalled that you would even consider allowing students to arm themselves, as you report in your online editorial on American Spectator tonight.

All statistics show that carrying a gun just makes it more likely that you will die by a gun.

People like you make Americans the butt of jokes all over the world.

And do you think packing a piece is going to make you any safer from The Feds when and if they come calling? Give me a break. Have you seen those guys? They make Darth Vader look insecure. They'll make mincemeat out of you.

America....on the countdown to self-immolation, and all because of the religious-military-holier than thou alliance including people such as yourselves.
-- Rick Ruffin
South Korea

In response to the recent killings at Virginia Tech, I personally think any student who tries to obtain firearms should be reported to either their school authority or the police irrespective of their rights to own firearms. If this was the case, I think the school may have been able to march the profile of the student and be more aware, based on his writings in the two weeks before he went on a rampage.

Inasmuch as we live in a so-called "Free Country" and the freedom to purchase firearms, I wonder when the lesson will be learnt that firearms and angry/depressed young adult males do not go well together. It is about time lawmakers stop blaming each other and put legislation in place that protects not only the rights of those who wish to own fire arms but also the rights of innocent people who do not wish own fire arms.
-- Margaret N.
New York

In attempts to ridicule the gun-control advocates, John made an absurd comparison when equating loosening information to loosening gun control. For one, information informs people of the approaching danger and guns kill. They are opposite in nature and, in fact, comparing them was like comparing eating an apple to consuming a dose of poison. Virginia Tech's decision not to close down the campus was not smart but definitely not the root of the killings. What or who should we blame? Cho should not be blamed for all the killings had it not been easy for him to obtain deadly firearms. Did we forget the Columbine, the Amish girls' killings, etc. and etc.? Let's look at the mass-killing equation: a disturbed individual + killing weapons = massacre. Today's competitive society will only produce more and more disgruntled individuals who cannot achieve what they want. Then the other component of the mass-killing equation is the freely available firearms. Cho would not be able to kill all these people had he used a knife, don't you agree? Then, imagine if Cho were able to obtain a mass-killing weapon like a nuclear weapon. So this is simple, if we could not eliminate the number of disturbed or dissatisfied individuals in our society, we M U S T take away the freely available killing weapons. What Americans consider as an inalienable right to possessing firearms is outdated and simply doesn't deserve a nod in a civilized modern society.
-- Norman Tang

I went to a small college in Vermont in the Sixties. Locals had guns. Students (from all over the country) had guns, either the personal property of the teenaged student, or provided by parents who hoped some rugged individualism enthused by the Vermont wilderness would produce spangled trophies for the city den at home. The guns were kept in dorms or cars, or carried out into the woods to pursue hapless wildlife or for the American tradition of bull's-eye contests.

Nobody at school shot students or visitors or professors or janitors or lovers. Not at the school. The locals were famous for shooting old enemies off their tractors mid-farm furrow during hunting season and saying whoops. But even stewed to the gills, Vermonters with firearms used guns for feeding their families or, wow, defending themselves. Like Virginia and it's armed Blue Ridge residents, the casual perpetrator does not walk down the mile long road to the farm house ready to maim, rob, and kill because he knows the farmer's got guns and will use them.

We are teaching generations of children to be alarmed at the sight of a gun, to not know which end is up or if it is loaded or how it is fired. And certainly not how to remove it, violently and effectively, from the hands of someone aiming at us.
-- B.D. Sparhawk

Mr. Flahtery of Idaho refuses to acknowledge the fact that states with conceal carry laws have not had an increase in gun violence. He also does not stop to consider that by the time most college students are old enough to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, they are out or nearly out of college. Therefore, few frat boys or sor sisters would be able to legally carry a weapon to a party or sporting event.

There is a moral responsibility carried by the few who choose to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. That person who fires his or her gun is responsible for that bullet. Someone in a crowded venue who has a concealed weapon had better think hard on leaving that weapon holstered if someone opens fire on the crowd. So, perhaps in this situation there would not have been much that a law abiding person could have done to stop that evil man. But then again, maybe if at the commencement of this murderous rampage, some student or faculty member was near enough and the mayhem had not been in full swing, he could have been stopped short of 30 some murders.
-- James Langford
Harrisonville, Missouri

I've just read the usual responses from the usual anti-gun suspects.

So-called "Gun Free Zones" are just shooting galleries for murderous trolls. How many anti-gun policies did the Virginia Tech killer violate? What good did those laws/rules do?

Citizens with Concealed Carry permits should not be placed at risk by the ill conceived policies of clueless administrators. Have any of you seeking to disarm the rest of us noticed that these rampages never occur at shooting ranges or NRA conventions?

If you wish to be a sacrificial lamb, that's your choice. I'd rather be able to protect the life that God granted me.
-- M. McClain
San Antonio, Texas

As soon as I heard of the evil perpetrated on the Virginia Tech campus, my heart sank. First, for the innocent dead and the lost promise of bright young and experienced old lives that our country has had taken from us. Second, for the renewed verbal assault on "guns" that would soon follow. You printed a few of these. Ms. Lauren McCormack clearly does not understand responsible gun ownership and handling. Ralph Manning and Greg Webster use the typical left wing line of argument: push your opponent's position to the absurd extreme and then point out how ridiculous the position is. No one is arguing that everyone or underage students be armed. All that is needed is that a few mature, responsible, trained students ("well regulated militia" is an excellent term!) be authorized to carry concealed weapons. Then, the next pinhead will know that his two hour shooting spree will probably be reduced to about 30 seconds.
-- David Shoup
Grovetown, Georgia

Some time back, an off-duty police officer who was at a restaurant multi-shooting in Texas said she didn't think she could forgive herself for not having her gun with her at the time. She knew she could have taken the killer down as soon as he started firing. This situation, miles away in both location and culture, has this in common: Someone armed could have stopped him. If every non-felon there had had a handgun and knew how to use it, he could not have wandered around for hours, shooting, killing whomever he wished. He would have gotten his final wish long before that.

By the way, I'm not a violent person. Currently I don't own a handgun. But I will consider it seriously. Especially now.
-- J

The question of whether students who are licensed to carry concealed firearms should be allowed to do so on a college campus is a difficult one. If VT had not been a "gun free zone" there may have been a chance that a lawfully armed student, or faculty member, could have engaged the shooter and stopped the massacre. On the other side of the coin, it is always possible that disagreements between students could escalate to the point where a readily available firearm is used. Then again neither of the aforementioned situations may also occur. The world is an uncertain place.

What is certain, however, is that VT was not a "gun free zone" on April 16, 2007. One lone man disregarded the rules and effectively ruled that classroom building long enough to kill 32 people and wound several others. What is also certain, is the fact that the administration effectively disarmed all of the law abiding students at that school. It denied them the most effective means of defending themselves and, as a result, 32 of them died. If you deny a person the ability to defend himself, then you must assume the responsibility for that defense. VT obviously did not do this.

To clarify, a person does not need to be "deputized" to use deadly force against another if he reasonably believes that force to be justified to save his own life or the life of another from illegal attack. It is useful to remember that there are people in this world who refuse to obey the law and follow the rules. They are known as criminals and they usually do harm to others. The police do a very good job of identifying criminals after they commit a crime, tracking them down and taking them into custody. But, criminals rarely commit crimes in front of a police officer. They wait until they feel safe in attacking an unarmed citizen. Why? Because unarmed citizens can't hurt them.

The debate concerning allowing legally licensed student to carry firearms on college campuses will continue. But I think that we can all agree that the "gun free zone" at VT was a myth.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Two recurring themes keep being drudged up with these mass killings that define the cowardice of Liberalism.

The first is best described as the false prophecy. Time and time again those that support the "gun free" killing fields that VT and other Public organizations adopt are defended by projections that not doing this will lead to the "Wild West" environment. First off, Hollywood's portrayal of the West is mostly fiction. The killing rate shown for the West throughout decades of Hollywood fiction would have exhausted the West of its population. Second, the same claims were made about widening the use of concealed carry permits and none of the horror stories came true where they were put in place. Violent crime rates in those states that did this fell faster and more than their non-issue states. Facts speak volumes to this matter; fear based prophecies are just vapor. Having said this, no one can say with any certainty what measures could have stopped this before it spun out of control but the measures in place at VT were totally ineffectual from top to bottom. The victims in this case had no options as a result of VT's policies regardless of how well VT's security response might have worked.

The second theme is simply that your neighbor can not be trusted. This is consistent with the group think collectivism that binds all Liberal fear based single issue groups together. The central tenet of Liberalism is freedom from something or someone not freedom of anything. If you aren't part of their "group" you can't be trusted and must be feared or controlled. All forms of evil feed off of this human weakness and our Media and Press are consistent sellers of what the Nazi's developed to a high degree in this regard.

As someone who has been scared by a personal tragedy like this in my extended family, served in this country's military, had formal training inside and out of the military with weapons, spent several years on some Campus furthering my education and having undergone more background and security checks than most of the known criminals in and out of prison, I find this notion that I can't defend myself from deadly threats both offensive and disrespectful of the rather long list of law abiding years I have on this planet. I further know that I'm not required by any authority to be a sacrificial lamb to suit anyone's fear complex. In addition, this notion that college age young adults can't be trusted with this responsibility isn't supported by the facts given the bulk of our military and a large portion of our police force is composed of college age people. I was 53 years old the last time I took a class on a College Campus. There will always be bad apples in the barrel but with no means to defend one's self the bad apples will run amok with impunity. Time and time again this Utopian ideal created on the Campuses of this Nation enables the monsters that exist in every society to have their 15 minutes of fame without interference. Everywhere "gun free" zones for large groups of the public are created a killing field is waiting for an opportunity to be fulfilled. If anyone seriously doubts that please explain why the people that do these evil deeds as far back in time as there are records don't go attack crowded places like a Police Station or a Gun Range? Both would seem to be ideal places to attack since there are plenty of guns and ammo there. Even the most irrational perpetrators always go where they know nothing but sheep will be found. Why? That's been true since the beginning of time and isn't going to change with these kinds of killers. If you build a killing field, someone will eventually take advantage of the gift you provide.

VT like many other well-known schools have well-deserved reputations for excellence in their fields. They also like most such communities are run by people with their heads in the Utopian stratosphere. They need to start living in the real world the rest of us have to.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

With reference to John Tabin's article, I can only state "amen." We apparently learn nothing in this Nation from our 9/11s, whether it be terrorist thugs bringing down our skyscrapers with our own planes and a handful of box cutters or an armed psychotic gunning down college students.

This is what happens when people buy into the lie that bleats that if all of us are made equally weak we are somehow "secure." Every right and responsibility that one delegates to some outside authority, including to no small degree the right to and responsibility for self-defense, causes one to be at the mercy of that outside authority should a crisis occur.

We currently have societies in the U.S. where the population is strictly prohibited from possessing firearms or any other weapon, for that matter. Only the authorities are allowed arms. These oases of peace and tranquility are none other than our Nation's prisons. There the most brutal reign in a gun-free paradise, beating, raping and even killing weaker inmates should the guards happen to be out of the immediate area.

I am not suggesting for a nanosecond that prisoners be armed, but merely pointing out that transforming America into a kind of giant penitentiary where the law-abiding live at the mercy and whim of the depraved is not conducive to security. On the contrary, it borders upon insanity. After the tragic events of this past Monday, one can observe the Gun-Ban Lobby and numerous media personnel nearly salivating over the prospect of law-abiding citizens being further disarmed; unfortunately, far too many of my fellow Americans will buy into the pernicious suggestion that because 80 million of us choose to exercise our Second Amendment rights in good faith, we are somehow culpable every time some miscreant opens fire.

Whether people want to admit it or not, we are currently engaged in a civil war in America waged between those of us who recognize that freedom defines the difference between living and merely existing, and those who claim that freedom is too dirty, too expensive, too selfish, too unfair and simply too dangerous to be enjoyed by this and future generations. When I observe potential tyrants whisper "danger," and watch far too many of my fellow Americans nearly trample one another in their haste to surrender yet more freedom in the name of some false security, I greatly fear for the future of our Republic.

If America falls, she will fall from within. Perhaps a fitting epitaph for a Nation that achieved her greatness not from a mindset of "safety first," but rather "live free or die," but whose citizenry ultimately lost their backbone along the way will be simply this: "Too timid to be free."

Thanks to John Tabin for a thoughtful, substantive article.
-- Mike Glaser
Cincinnati, Ohio

Great article!!! This should be in every newspaper, but you and I know it won't. Thanks,
-- Gary Hazen

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