February 15, 2008

Gun Control

A former student dressed in black walked onto the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire on a packed science class Thursday, killing five students, wounding 16 and setting off a panicked stampede before committing suicide. Another student died overnight, bringing the death toll to seven. The campus gunman has been identified as 27 year-old student Steven Kazmierczak

The shooting was the fourth at a U.S. school within a week.

On Feb. 8, a woman shot two fellow students to death before committing suicide at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge. In Memphis, Tenn., a 17-year-old is accused of shooting and critically wounding a fellow student Monday during a high school gym class, and the 15-year-old victim of a shooting at an Oxnard, Calif., junior high school has been declared brain dead. A student at Virginia Tech killed 32people last year. Columbine, which at the time seemed like such an anomoly, has become a faint memory tainted by a slew of copycat killers.

The graduate student who massacred students in Northern Illinois University lecture hall bought three of his four guns on Saturday - indicating that he had been planning his assault for at least six days. But how long did it take for him to get his guns, and is it is time to look at gun control again?

The Brady Bill Act initially required purchasers to wait up to five days for a background check to occur before being allowed to purchase a handgun. The waiting period provision of the Act expired in 1998 when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) came online. NICS is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The system runs database checks on criminal records. A handgun purchaser may still have to wait for up to three business days if the NICS system fails to positively approve or deny his or her application to purchase a firearm; if the denial is not issued within those three days, the transfer may be completed at that time.

Many will claim that the Second Amendment protects their right to bear arms, but the Supreme Court has said differently. Since the Second Amendment right "to keep and bear arms" applies only to the right of the state to maintain a militia, and not to the individual's right to bear arms, there can be no serious claim to any constitutional right of an individual to possess a firearm." (Stevens v. U.S., United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1971).

Obviously, the system in place is not working. Our country is the most violent country in the industrialized world. While we are spending billions policing the rest of the world, we are unable to stop the violence on our own streets. I'm not sure what the answer is, and I'm not sure how many dead children we'll have to see carried out of their classrooms, their supposed sanctuaries, before our government take effective steps to end these slaughters.


Anonymous said...

The billions we are spending 'policing the rest of the world' might be better seen as keeping people who have no problem acting like this shooter did off of our streets....seems like you'd actually be in favor of spending to stop them...???

I'm sorry, but its not the system that is broken, its the people in the system. Why would you turn to the government to 'fix' these problems, when the government can't seem to fix anything. Every time the government 'fixes' problems, they end up taking more rights away from the people who abide by them. People who want to murder others will find a way (like using meat cleavers to kill a psycologist) and punishing people who can control themselves for society's and our culture's problems won't fix anything.

The change needs to come from the people themselves. People need to start by not voting for a woman who stayed with her cheating husband/President. This is the type of problem that exists in the US, not the fact that a person can buy a gun. Perhaps we should put into place meat cleaver controls...? People need to change on their own and need to stop looking for the government to solve their problems because all that leads to is more government control over your life. Actually, Illinois has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation...maybe they should pass some more and then it will for sure stop kids with major anger from acting out on their issues... Begin at your church by getting people to see what is good in life and helping to spread it. Visit your kids' schools to educate kids about what's really important in life. Social change is needed, not punishing those who obey the laws

And what is your basis for the comment: our country is the most violent country in the industrialized world. Frankly, I'd say a nation where suicide bombers blow up civilians on a daily basis is a little bit worse.

Ryan said...

This is another example of how gun free zones just don't work. Illinois has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation with the requirement of an FOID card, mandatory background checks, and waiting periods. So would more law have prevented this?
The fact is that when you strip an individual of their right of self defense, these killing zones are established. These psychos target unarmed victims massed together. Allowing law abiding citizens to carry concealed in Illinois would go a long way in ensuring one's safety. Allowing students to carry concealed weapons would help to prevent these killings.
Look at the examples, a off duty police officer carrying a handgun in the Utah mall last year stopped a shooter (the mall prohibited weapons). a volunteer security guard in a Colorado church stopped a gun man a few months ago by shooting him.
One must rely on their own means to protect themselves. The university's don't want guns on campus to spoil the ultra-liberal environment. They bear no liability. The police will respond but only set up a perimeter. They are to concerned about their own safety. They are under no duty to intervene and protect us civilians The psychopaths know this and until we allow people to defend themselves these killings will continue. We must due away with these "killing zones" and in the case of Illinois, actually allow citizens to carry firearms. The truth of the matter can be no more apparent that when your life in danger and seconds counts, help is only minutes away. More laws aren't the answer. Allow students and the people of Illinois to protect themselves.

Ryan said...

I calling bs on your facts.

"there can be no serious claim to any constitutional right of an individual to possess a firearm." (Stevens v. U.S., United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1971)"

I can see you aren't intellectually honest. While there is currently a split option on the individual vs collective argument. It's only a matter of weeks before the supreme court hears Heller and affirms the individual's right to bear arms.

Also the notion that the US is the most violent industrial country is crap as well. It would do to cite yourself when you pull these facts out of your ass. America doesn't lead the world in homicides by capita or the gross totals. Take a look http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/

johnny walker said...

Right wing propoganda, ryan. Your solution of simply arming everyone to stop these massacres is ludicrous. The answer is to get ALL of the guns off of the streets, except for law enforcement. Even in England, where even police don't carry guns, the violent crime rate is significantly lower than the U.S. It's very simple-you carry a gun, you go to prison for a set number of years. No pleas, no deals, just jail. We spend massive amounts of money to fight crime when that same money should be used to build more prisons.

Pete M said...

Hey anon, if the gov't isn't going to fix the problem, and at least you acknowledge there is a problem, who is supposed to do it?

Ryan said...

How to you propose to get all the guns off the street? We've been waging a war on drugs for the last twenty years and I'm fairly certain it's not very hard to get a quick fix. A total firearm ban will only disarm the innocent and law abiding.

Anonymous said...

Well obviously killing of innocent people is a problem...but the gov't taking the weapon away or continuing to restrict the legal posession of the weapon will only change the method to acheieve the crime...again, the solution is from within...the people need to change. As the society goes down the tubes, more of these acts will happen...regardless of whether guns, cleavers, bats, etc.
When a president can hoe around the white house, and his wife stays with him, then runs herself, it pretty much shows where our nation's priorities. We have to clean up our lives and get our priotities straight as a group, or people will continue to think that killing others is fine.

The sad reality, is that it will never fully stop...so the fight against having our rights taken away from the government will never end and as the gov't continues to widdle our rights away, we won't see any change because of it in the # of murders.

Frank DeGeorge said...

We now live in a violent culture where a 24-hour news cycle and regular sex and violence on tv has desensitized an entire generation on respect for life...and I'm not leading into an abortion post.

These video games today are so real and so violent that half these nuts don't see the difference between the game and real life.

No, the solution starts with restoring some measure of respect in society and turning down the violence that all of our children are exposed to.

Anonymous said...

Frank, I tend to agree,..but it's not the government's job to start controlling that...those are decisions for people to make on their own. Government is here to guarentee our freedom, not to force what they see as the best decisions on us. We (our schools, parents, churches) need to be the ones to get people's minds right.

Anonymous said...

Use to be one time a little puke bastard acted up he got a whooping from an adult. Today that adult is the one who's in trouble. Stop trying to be so politically correct. It's time we start taking care of own country.

Anonymous said...

right...cause the gov't won't...they are the ones sayin you cant touch a kid to discipline em

Rhonda Joy Mangus said...

Hobbes - thank you for bringing the problem of violence in schools to the attention of your readers. It is my opinion however that exposing the truth of the educational system in this country is the answer, not getting guns off of the streets. While school violence is on the rise "school officials" and "state education departments" continue to escape unscathed as the nation looks to blame lack of gun control, parents, and students themselves for the rising violence on school grounds when the nation should in fact be looking instead to blaming (and investigating) corruption and conspiracy within the educational system itself. The truths are that our children are spending upwards of 30 hours per week in schools that are not safe and in settings where "school officials" are hiding, or simply ignoring violence until it erupts full force, and then these same school districts are further protected by state education departments who refuse to accept blame for the rising violence. Our children are also further surrounded by "school officials" "faculty", and "state education departments" who either lack the knowledge and skills necessary to promote atmospheres of tolerance and acceptance, or who work aggressively to undermine current legislation and law that requires school environments to be safe, or who work aggressively to prevent necessary legislation to protect our children from violence in schools. Therefore, it is also my opinion that until these root causes of violence in schools are addressed and these same school districts and state education departments are held accountable for their failure to provide safe environments as required by law, students, staff, and visitors will continue to be massacred on school grounds at alarming rates.

Larry Castellani said...

I wrote a few essays on my blog regarding violence in the schools: www.niagarajournal.blogspot.com. They aren't for the faint at heart.

Anonymous said...

Come on Rhonda, get off the saddle horn and stop blaming the world for everything that happens. It come a time in life when people need to start standing up for what’s wrong instead of spending their entire time writing letters. You seem very intelligent and well versed, so do something. It’s time that people like you, which have all the answers of the world, start running for office and correct the evils that others have created. It’s this type of person who doesn’t want change; otherwise they’d have nothing to write about. Let's get back to the post, why don't other countries attack America? Because not only would they have to fight the military, but the citizens of every town they invaded. Take away the gun and we become more vulnerable.

Larry Castellani said...

Dear Anonymous,
This post is not about why other countries won’t attack America. It’s about the reason for violence in our schools and culture. One answer as to why we are killing one another at the rate of about 12,000 per year is the quantity of fear, anger and paranoia that pervades our culture. Leaders like Bush exploit that fear as does the media, TV and Hollywood. Personally I’m against gun control primarily because that’s in no way the solution. It’s not the source of the problem.

One source of the problem is the schools which, as Rhonda claims, are unsafe. But the overt, blatant violence is just the tip of the ice berg. As I write in my own blog essays, there are innumerable, subtle modes of violence in school culture that nurture fear, anger, paranoia and thereby preclude the culture of learning in which other ways of being might be developed.

When kids carry weapons, gather in cliques for identity, support and protection, and practice cruelty as a way of surviving, to mention a few, how is it possible to foster the openness, vulnerability and suspension of judgement that is necessary for critical inquiry and questioning.

School should not be about controlling or sublimating behavior that’s ready to explode into violence but it should be about creating the freedom capable of releasing an intelligence hungry to express and create.

Even the best of our schools are not on the right track.

Rhonda Joy Mangus said...

Larry- Thank you for shining light on another aspect of the violence in our schools and in our culture. As always, I find your perspectives enlightening and refreshing.

Rhonda Joy Mangus said...

Anonymous: Thank you for your comments. Please feel free to visit my personal blogspot at www.theeleventhdistrict.blogspot.com.