GUNNING FOR THE SECOND
Re: John Tabin’s A Disarmed Campus:
Tucker Carlson had the wisdom to say on MSNBC that there is nothing at the core of the massacre; the acts are senseless and meaningless.
It reminds me of Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot (which actually came true to some degree in the making of the film Hurricane). The main character was searching for an answer to the evil with which he and the world are afflicted. When the author has the main character come upon the fact of a man having sex with a teenager, the author informs us through the mind of the main character that there is nothing there. In the book, the Lancelot quest for the answer to moral evil echoes the answer of St. Augustine: Evil is nothingness, evil is a mystery, evil is incomprehensible. One can note the word “diabolical” also: it means “tear apart.” Evil fragments meaning and community. God and the good are “symbolic,” in the sense that they bind communities together with meaning.
The rest is silence.
— Richard L.A. Schaefer
John Tabin hammers the X-ring with his observation of Virginia Tech’s defenseless student zones, known euphemistically as “gun free school zones.”
Second Amendment rights and the desirability of licensed concealed carry without limitations of “defenseless student zones” aside, there is one other consideration in the present circumstance that appears to gain zero attention. That would be how the Left’s success in secularizing our country has nurtured a mindset that makes it possible to escape the consequences of mass murder by committing suicide, whether by one’s own hand or “by police.”
As a God fearing Catholic, and not a particularly good one at that, I do understand that murder/suicide is the one unforgivable sin on the books. The act of suicide is not escape, but rather a deliberate leap into an eternity of pain and suffering that renders any disappointment or provocation of mortal life infinitesimally trivial in comparison. The certainty of such punishment puts the affairs of mortal life into perspective, thus allowing one to tolerate what might otherwise have been considered intolerable.
It is that perspective that was lost, if it ever existed, on the Virginia Tech killer and the Columbine killers.
America does not need any legislation to impress the above perspective. That is not the role of government. But it is the role of our moral “leaders,” who have apparently abdicated their responsibilities, in pursuit of other not so holy grails, to their immense shame.
— Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Congratulations on reaching a new low in political opportunism and sucking up to the NRA.
In his commentary, “A Disarmed Campus,” Tabin attempts to draw a connection between the tragedy that occurred yesterday at Virginia Tech and the common ban on concealed weapons on college campuses. Tabin actually laments that state legislation which would have allowed students with concealed handgun permits to carry guns on college campuses, died in subcommittee.
Tabin goes on to state that “thirty-two people are dead — not including the shooter, who committed suicide — and at least fifteen are injured. Mightn’t a law-abiding armed student have stopped the spree in its tracks? We’ll never know.”
The suggestion that allowing students to carry licensed concealed weapons on campus could have prevented yesterday’s tragedy is predictably ludicrous, if not downright irresponsible. Are you suggesting that students carrying guns should consider themselves deputized in the case of similar emergencies? Do you really think that allowing college students to carry concealed weapons at college sporting events and fraternity parties will actually decrease the number of on-campus shooting incidents?
You are all dangerous fools.
— Joe Flahtery
Mr. Tabin asks, “Mightn’t a law-abiding armed student have stopped the spree in its tracks? We’ll never know.”
True enough, if scientific certainty is the standard. But it’s fair to revisit another incident with striking similarities and one strikingly different outcome.
That would be the January 2002 killing spree of Peter Odighizuwa, a Nigerian here on a student visa. Peter was a student on the Grundy, Virginia campus of the Appalachian School of Law when his humanity went AWOL. He gunned down six faculty members and students, killing three of them. Unfortunately for Odighizuwa — and the anti-gun crowd, I suppose — he was quickly neutralized by fellow students Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges, who, upon hearing the commotion, ran to their vehicles and retrieved their own guns.
Bridges pointed his gun at Odighizuwa and the killing stopped. The killer threw down his weapon at the sight of Bridges’ gun and was tackled by other students. Armed students stopped Mr. Odighizuwa’s spree in its tracks.
— Doug Roll
Thanks for John Tabin’s perspective in “A Disarmed Campus.” It has been reported that potential crime victims stop about one million crimes each year just by showing a gun to criminals; rarely do the intended victims have to fire. It would be a shame to take away guns and allow criminals to commit those million crimes just to avoid campus shootings that take place less than once a decade. And as Tabin points out, just one person in the building with a gun might have stopped the murderer. The left thinks we should rely on the police to prevent crimes, but it’s clear that the police rarely prevent crimes; they can only pick up the pieces afterwards.
— Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Was this serious?
First, let me state I am not a supporter of banning guns but come on, the confusion that would have been caused by non-professionals trying to take out the gunman is obvious. Once shooting starts, most would not know from where it began and anyone wielding a weapon would become a suspect, for yet another non-professional to take aim at. You weaken the cause by making weak, nonsensical claims such as the one put forth in this article.
— Lauren McCormack
I don’t pretend to have an answer to these incidents of mass killings. However, Tabin implies that if the campus was chock-full of students with concealed weapons, Virginia Tech would have been a safer place. Let’s set aside, for the moment, the minor problem of drunken arguments at beer-bashes between “law-abiding” 18-year-olds who happen to be armed to the teeth. Tabin apparently blithely assumes that, when the shooting begins, all these untrained college students won’t panic and shoot the first other person they see with a gun. Remember John, there will be a lot of them. Think for a minute!
— Ralph Manning
Certainly after the Virginia Tech shootings and other college shootings of the past, some new thinking regarding campus security is necessary. One source of potential security could come from ROTC programs on campuses that still allow them. Another source might be former or current police and armed forces personnel attending the school.
New legislation is also necessary granting immunity to volunteers who accept the security assignments. What is not needed is another government program expanding the law enforcement industry.
If the terrorists in the world begin actions in our schools, shopping malls and public facilities, we will need armed citizens in our midst. It’s time to get over the silly notion of gun free areas or locals that allow perpetrators access but not tested citizens whom are armed.
— Howard Lohmuller
Cudos to John Tabin for thinking rationally in an irrational society….
— Jerry Murph
American campuses would be incredibly safe places if every student carried a concealed handgun. Yeah, sure. That really makes a lot of sense. Did John Tabin even go to college? Any thinking, breathing person has to at least ask a few questions about our gun laws.
— Greg Webster
Thank you for your article, “A Disarmed Campus.” At least someone has good sense.
— Jim Mastin Sr.
Re: Yale Kramer’s The Race Police or Imus: Which Is Worse?:
— Peter F. Brush
Read with interest the article on Imus and thought the writer missed a few points.
* He’s incredibly nasty, mean spirited and an egomaniac. How many interns received tongue-lashings for small (my coffee isn’t hot enough) infractions? How about other women employed by the station that broadcast news, gossip or whatever? Did they deserve to be assaulted, verbally in public? Did Cardinal O’ Connor or Mother Theresa, even after they were dead deserve his scorn? What about his comments on Jewish people? Funny; I don’t think so!
* Rutgers Women’s basketball team did not deserve the scorn heaped upon them. They are not public figures.
* Imus believes he sets public opinion; now that’s a laugh! Let’s look at who he interviews; Frank Rich, Teddy Kennedy and best of all, John Kerry are three that come to mind! And where were all these people when this scandal hits? Every one of them hid under a bed. Only John McCain and Rudy Giuliani came to his defense.
As to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson; where were they when Imus humiliated Gwen Ifill as a “cleaning lady”? By the say; what has Jesse done to clean up the airwaves of rap and foul-mouthed hip-hop music? Little if anything would be my guess. We need civility brought back to the national dialogue. Losing Imus from the public airwaves may start a trend.
— Bob Montrose
Fort Lee, New Jersey
After reading Yale Kramer’s commentary, I was compelled to write and comment.
I’m a 52-year-old black female and I pretty much agree with Mr. Kramer’s overall assessment of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I won’t go as far as he did by calling them black racist, moth-eaten demagogues but I will say that both seem to take advantage of every opportunity to play the race card. For them, and for most in a capitalist society, it’s all about profit, often at anyone’s expense. Don’t get me wrong, what Imus said was very demeaning, damn right crude, and if I’d been one of these young women, I would have done some name-calling right back at him — old, wrinkled up, dried up, nappy-headed fart.
What Al and Jesse, our so called black leaders, need to focus on are the real problems that plague black American cities and communities: new HIV cases, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, unemployment, black on black crime, high-school dropouts, babies having babies, crack addition, to name a few maladies. (We black Americans seem to head every negative list ever compiled.)
Don’t think for a minute that I’m completely in agreement with most white Americans when it comes to race and race relations. I have issues with most white Americans not wanting an apology for slavery. I have issues with health care for whites versus health care for blacks. I have issues with white America being “deliberately dismissive” when debating issues that affect the black communities. Racism is indeed alive and well in America, and we all need to face these issues. I’ve often wondered why there has never been a Race Relations Committee in the United States Congress. Hmm…
Thanks for listening and may God bless and protect our children and soldiers everywhere!
— Pamela A. Hairston
I have only two complaints about Yale Kramer’s piece:
One, the assertion that Don Imus is funny. Perhaps he was at one time, but certainly not since he became one of the undead, which was, what, thirty, forty years ago?
Two, the characterization of Al Sharpton as “nappy-headed.” I don’t know what exactly is going on on top of that huckster’s head, but I don’t believe it fits the definition of “nappy.”
— Scott Pandich
Canton, New York
The recent toppling of Don Imus, that reincarnation of New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain in cowboy drag, was itself entertainment of the highest order, mostly because of the harsh light that the whole sorry episode cast on the raging hypocrisy that is the bedrock of political correctness. The suggestion by numerous commentators that Imus was not himself firmly ensconced in the PC world is absurdity hardly meriting retort; one has but to survey a list of his regular guests and “friends” whose names he incessantly dropped during broadcasts like an adolescent “in” crowd wannabe, mainstream powerbrokers all, to readily discern that it’s the very arbiters of political correctness who Imus most identifies with. Sure, he’d cuss and make impolite comments every now and again, but any anti-establishment quality that there was about him had as much genuineness about it as his asinine ten-gallon hats, and everyone knew the shtick. Can anyone name a serious counterargument to liberal orthodoxy that Imus advanced in recent years?
Imus’s fifteen-second judgment lapse was to parody the bile that spews forth on a regular, lucrative basis from young, mostly black thugs, euphemistically referred to in the rap and hip hop musical worlds as “artists,” who are crudely contemptuous of anyone and anything that they view as being either the object of, or an obstacle to, their immediate gratification, black women very much included. Well, whitey just can’t do that under the curious, double standard law of the PC land; and what was most entertaining of all was Imus’ inability to fight back with barely more than a mention of this most obvious and ludicrous of truths. To have done otherwise would’ve been, well, politically incorrect!
Anyone doubting Imus’s political correctness surely missed the nadir of this tragic comedy, when in an apology tour TV interview, he offered that he had for some time been thinking about getting a black co-host for his show, and that that, by golly, is just what he now in fact would do. For that groveling condescension alone, the man deserved firing. I was sorry when the axe finally fell, only because of the fun that I was having until then.
Political correctness has become for Don Imus what the French Revolution became for Robespierre, the one deserving of about as much pity as the other.
— Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
How dare you!
Having the audacity to place an Imus caption adjacent to a picture of Graham Chapman, John Cleese and those other wonderful Monty Python troops; a nasty clown with little ratings, next to one of the all-time greatest comedy groups ever?
Balderdash. And fiddle-de-dum, too.
Ouch! A psychiatrist calling Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton “nappy-headed demagogue hos.” I didn’t know there was a Morton Downey school of psychiatric therapy. And all this time, I thought you guys were emotionless sphinx-like oracles. What have I been missing for $300 an hour? I suspect this type of treatment could have a significant financial impact on the local dominatrix’s stream of income. What, I wonder, would you possibly say
to a Tony Soprano like patient, or, do you do this type of therapy over the phone, long distance?
— A. DiPentima
I find it interesting that there is a common link between two of today’s top stories: Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. They demanded Imus be fired over a racial insult. Meanwhile they called for the incarceration of the lacrosse players. Oops, the boys were being falsely accused, can they expect an apology?
— Caleb Harris
HAS THE SUN SET?
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s I’m All Right, Jack:
I very much doubt that the surrender and cowardice of the British in Iran is a one-off snafu that will quickly be forgotten, especially by those who want to profit from the weakness of the democracies. Plenty of them around. Small things like the pathetic, gutless display by the Royal Navy can have very big consequences. A prize example is that Hitler remarked that he decided that the British wouldn’t fight after the Oxford University Union debated in the affirmative that under no circumstances would this house fight for King and country. After that, Hitler thought that the whole leadership of Britain was morally soft and rotten and he only had to put the pressure on them to get what he wanted. They would always back down if the alternative was war so he constantly threatened war. A world war came right out of that one.
What is more, it will take years to restore the reputation of the British now that it has been carelessly thrown away. Fleet Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham was probably the greatest British fighting admiral of World War 2 and he commanded the Mediterranean Fleet during the German invasion of Crete in May 1941. The Luftwaffe had command of the air and during daylight it could attack ships for 100 miles around Crete at will. Going into those waters could only be done at great risk but Admiral Cunningham ignored that and took the fleet in to evacuate British troops. Casualties were very heavy but Admiral Cunningham said that the Royal Navy had never abandoned the British army and while a new ship could be built in two years, it took two centuries to build a tradition.
I doubt if there are any Admiral Cunninghams left in Britain and the jihadists know this for sure now. They are much better at this game than we are — they are determined and ruthless and smart enough to exploit our weaknesses and we are happy about that. The fact that the ultimate moral disgrace is the refusal to defend yourself from aggression means nothing to us today because social behavior is based pretty much on moral failure rather than on moral strength and courage.
— Christopher Holland
I am fully agreed with this article and the questions that it raises. Word has it that the two American soldiers, who were captured last summer and found dead soon after, were tortured and then executed. One of the Americans was executed quickly, because he insulted his captors and their religion. The man simply refused to “kowtow.” The other American suffered longer.
— Name withheld
Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-06
WOW, something the Democrat Party can work toward, seems they would love to see America’s fighting men and women in the same fix. But then we have been trying to fight a PC war since 9/11 and not doing such a hot job.
— Elaine Kyle
I found the behavior of the British soldiers/ prisoners-of-war in Iran alarming, to say the least. “Name, rank, and serial number” was always what you were supposed to tell. Didn’t any of them ever watch war movies? Does anyone in the UK?
— Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
STAY OUT OF TROUBLE
Re: Manon McKinnon’s Those Duke Boys:
Immediately after the Duke case blew up, my wife (yes, a grandmother) had much the same reaction as Manon McKinnon. “What were they thinking to begin with?” By my own hard experience, I can only add a few observations. Young men and women in their late adolescence/early adulthood love to walk up to the very “edge of the cliff,” dangle their toes over the abyss, and then walk away feeling the rush of excitement that they got away with it The trouble with college is that with the intense concentration of young contemporaries the campus turns into a proving ground for such activity. This is all fine and good until it all blows up in your face. Even though you were “merely” at the wrong place and the wrong time, trouble has a way of dragging you in. Suddenly you are falling off that cliff and you have gotten yourself into something you can’t just walk away from. Much of the time, you hit the ground, pick yourself up and learn from it. Sometimes you are crippled for life. If you haven’t wised up afterward, you will cry in your beer that it was all somehow unfair.
Those young “men” at Duke were courting trouble. Anyone could have told them that boys, girls and booze can be an explosive mixture to begin with. Lots of fun — but a whole lot can go wrong. Taking out girls and putting in strippers only heightens the chances for something to go seriously wrong.
As any grandmother will tell you: “If you don’t want to be in trouble — stay away from trouble.”
— Michael Wm. Dooley
I am as happy as anybody that these boys won’t be going to jail because some bimbo got some fool to accept her obvious lies as facts. I will also be glad not to hear about how these boys from “good” homes with good Catholic educations were just being “boys” when they got into this mess. These boys had less maturity than some high schoolers I know. Let’s hope that is behind them. Last but not least, they should have been way, way past when they used those slurs because the women displeased them. Shame on them.
— Annette Cwik
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III’s Groping for God and School and Country:
As a VMI graduate (1970) with a ringside seat to its evisceration as an all-male institution, I applaud Mehan’s tiptoeing, implied, all-too-civil criticism of today’s enlightened, genderless military. I suppose such oblique finger-wagging is to be expected — after all unvarnished candor might make someone cry — but it is yet another dramatic example of the utter absence of the self-respecting male from polite society. Ah, there was a time, not too long ago….But, I digress.
What is missing is an explication of the absurdities of women in a combat zone, circa 2007. They are presumed to be — at the exact same time — capable of fierce fighting capabilities and yet so delicate that they cannot function in an environment where, heaven forbid, someone (i.e., a person of the male persuasion) might make a sexist remark or, gasp, grope them. So, while “eager” to take on barbarian, head-hacking, rapist jihadis, our poor, dear, hot house orchids must be protected from Playboy centerfolds, ribald jokes and, generally, young heterosexual comrades being, well, young heterosexual men. Sad. Pathetic. Ridiculous.
Upon much less have great empires turned to dust.
— Laurence Dempsey
EASY COME, EASY GO
Re: Judy Beumler’s letter (“Knowing Whom to Thank”) in Reader Mail’s Public Choices:
To those who blame Republicans (Judy Beumler, etc.) for not making the Bush tax cuts permanent understand there is no such thing as a permanent tax cut. Any newly elected President or Congress can reverse a previous administration or Congress’ actions if they have the votes. Sometimes they even reverse themselves. Ronald Reagan cut taxes and then, working with Democrat Congressional majorities, raised them 7 times. Bill Clinton gutted Ronald Reagan’s Cold War winning military buildup and left us vulnerable to Islamic terrorism. Republicans are not perfect, but when it comes to taxes they’re always better than Democrats — wait and see.
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
I would like to extol the sentiments of Ms. Beumler and to add my own to them. Republicans were blessed with an opportunity to make changes in the tax code, educational establishment, foreign policy direction, intelligence gathering methodology, and to many other systems and processes when they were empowered by the electorate beginning in 1994. What did they do? They abdicated their responsibilities, ignored the pleas of the electorate that put them in power, and cowered in the Congress, and later in the Presidency. “New tone” my Aunt Fanny’s corset!
Given the opportunity that they had, they should have been confronting the lame stream media, attacking people like Kennedy, Chafee, Biden, Pelosi, and the others of their ilk. Instead, they tried to make nice, avoid confrontations, and keep a low profile by electing innocuous leaders (Frist and Hastert), refusing to fight back when attacked, and refusing to use the might and power of the government that they controlled to advance their agenda. As much as I dislike and distrust the Democratic Party, and as slimily dishonest many of them are, I have to respect their aggressive pursuit of their agenda. Though it is an agenda that will get us all killed if they are allowed to implement it to its full extent, either in ignorance or in an inordinate thirst for power, they continue to enact it with all of their strength and will. If the electorate continues to empower them in this quest for self-destruction, the country is doomed. I don’t think a total victory by them is possible in my lifetime as I am getting up there in years, but what they are doing will certainly impact my family. Frankly, I don’t see much chance beyond this next cycle of elections to stop our inexorable slide into oblivion.
— Joseph Baum
SPEAKING OF WHOM…
Re: Lawrence A. Hunter’s Mitch McConnell’s Big Test:
This will be a tough one. The mainstream media and AARP will demagogue this bill to the hilt. “Republicans hate poor, old people who cannot afford their drugs.” The truth is that “poor, old people” are not that poor, many just want free stuff and they want it now.
In this debate we will disregard the old people (and not so old people) who have carefully invested their money in drug companies in order to live on the dividends. With price controls, and essentially that is what this is, drug companies will not have the money to invest in research and development; and those companies and their profits will dry up.
Does anyone remember Hillary and the companies that produce vaccines? If this bill is not slapped down, we will watch it history repeat itself.
— Judy Beumler
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