back to article 'Cops help kill 32 Students', claims furious blogger

Blogs written by students at Virginia Tech University have expressed fury at how police and university authorities dealt with the shooting there yesterday. Yesterday morning a man shot 32 students at the Virginia campus before killing himself. A male and female student were shot at a hall of residence early in the morning. Two …

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  1. David Donnachie

    How are the Police to blame ?

    I have only limited information on this,so something else may come out to explain why people are blaming the police.

    I don't understand how the Police should be expected to look a double murder and state with any certainty that the guy will go on a rampage against other students. After all if they had announced it at the time and had been incorrect they catch just as much crap for 'emotional distress' or some other claim.

    Undeniably this is a tragedy, which sadly America is unlikley to learn from, but blame the muderer and whoever allowed him to get the gun not the Police

  2. Nick Palmer

    Re: How are the police to blame?

    So...someone rocks up and casually shoots a couple of college kids then walks off. He is not apprehended, and no-one knows who he is. It is not known whether he has left the campus, and no-one knows whether the incident is over (the decision that it's an "isolated incident" sounds more like wishful thinking than analysis). The police and the university authorities meet nearly two hours later and only after 2hrs and 11 minutes have elapsed do they finally get around to sending out a vague warning BY EMAIL. Email, I ask you. Hardly the best choice for a potentially time critical warning. http://www.tannoy.com/ anyone? The gunman is to blame for pulling the trigger, certainly; but to suggest that the initial response of the authorities was appropriate is farcical. There's sufficient prior examples of spree killings that start off with an individual homicide and then go on to be mass killings (Whitman killed his mother with a knife before he went up the clock tower with a rifle) that to not have immediately treated the situation as an ongoing emergency and WARNED PEOPLE loudly is unconscionable.

  3. Remy Redert

    Gun free

    As far as I can see, the police could have acted in several ways, which might have stopped this tragedy from happening. However just like us, the police can't look into the future.

    Instead of looking at the police, look at the university, a gun free zone, where a single person with a gun can apparently kill 32 people without being stopped. If even a single one of those had a firearm and had known how to use it, there is a good chance that this tragedy had been limited to the 2 killed in the dormitory.

  4. Chris Haynes

    Americans won't learn

    No matter how many people die in these tragedies, Americans will only ever respond with the usual line, "this proves we need guns to protect ourselves". It's in the Constitution - that unchangeable, set in stone document written many, many years ago - so it has to be relevant, right? Wrong.

    Take the guns out of the hands of these people and the shootings cannot happen.

    The gunman went to the campus with a gun because he thought his girlfriend was cheating on him. He had the intention of using the gun. If he didn't have the gun, the most that would've happened is the other guy would've got beaten up. But the gunman certainly wouldn't have been able to beat up 30 other people two hours later.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Gun free

    "If even a single one of those had a firearm and had known how to use it, there is a good chance that this tragedy had been limited to the 2 killed in the dormitory."

    Or, alternatively, you'd have several armed students shooting each other, assuming they were taking out the "bad guy".

  6. Matt Thornton

    Oooh boy

    "If even a single one of those had a firearm..." - I don't know about you, but when I think about going to the library, or the gym, or for lunch, I don't think "Must remember to pack a weapon in case some looney gets jilted". No denying this is a tragedy involving a lot of innocent people who didn't deserve to die, but please let's not let the pro-gun wacko's use it as another excuse for all and sundry to wander about with oozy's hanging out of their pockets...

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    How precious

    The NRA extends its condolences. Big fat deal !

    I just wonder how many more massacres will have to take place before the NRA is officially told to take a hike, and a measure of gun control is imposed on all those high-strung hotshots with a death wish.

    Unfortunately, the American love affair with guns will probably go on forever. Too bad for the untold thousands that die every year.

  8. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Eh ?

    Chris writes that "Take the guns out of the hands of these people and the shootings cannot happen."

    WHAT ?

    or more correctly, please explain how it can be achieved ?

    In the UK here we have gun control laws that seem to have stopped legitimate sporting use - ie stopped (previously) legal use by law abiding people. What they have spectacularly failed to do is stop illegal use by criminals.

    I have every sympathy for those affected, but those calling for gun control laws are seriously misguided if they think that is the way to prevent similar events in the future. The UK statute book is now littered with laws and restrictions that do nothing to prevent a criminal from ignoring them, whilst being a right nuisance to law abiding people.

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  10. Matthew Weekes

    NRA

    Good of the NRA to express concern. Hopefully they'll step their efforts up next semester and start a "Sidearm for Every Student" charity drive so that this kind of tragedy can be nipped in the bud next time.

  11. Paul Findsen

    NRA

    I find it horribly insensitive that the NRA even opened their cursed mouths regarding the incident. They hold some measure of responsibility for all their lobbying and ensuring that guns are easy to get. The gunman himself holds all the responsibility for his actions, of course, but you have to take down the drug dealer as well as the junkie.

  12. Neil Roberts

    I don't get this either..

    How are the cop the blame? The guy who pulled the trigger is dead and he is culpable.

    Hindsight is a very comfortable place from which to point fingers and blame. Too easy. And from behind a keyboard it is even easier. Pathetic how people get pissed about this..and yet how many die each day in Iraq/Darfur or from drunk driving in the 'States and those deaths are ok. Or it seems to be - none of those deaths rate the media coverage this incident is getting. No one seems to be recalling the Kent State shootings.. We all see what we want to see.

    Don't get me wrong. This is a horrible incident. I have been on that campus many times in the early '90s. Great place !

    But nothing can be done about blaming and doing pointless what if's - especially by us in the peanut gallery. Mourn, yet. Worry yes. But you have a better chance to be killed tomorrow by a drunk driver than this kinda of thing occuring again anytime soon. Let it go.

  13. Adrian

    Who's to Blame

    After reading the WTF blog it saddened me to see the police being entirely blamed for this awful tragedy. Hindsight is always 20-20 vision and when you read the timeline of the events on virginia tech's website, I'm not sure what more the police could have done.

    The campus is 2600 acres in size, has over 100 buildings and 25000 students. You'd need an army to quickly lock an area of this size down.

    The killer was not identified after the first killing, and if he was carrying a concealed weapon how do you identify him from the other thousands of students going to classes in the morning?

    It's terrible to see what one nutter with a gun can do, but I don't see a practical way to stop someone who is hell bent on doing this.

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  15. Nellie The Elephant

    "Eh?"

    SImon Hobson, we're not talking about criminals though are we. Criminals will always find weapons regardless - that argument is irrelevant.

    What we're talking about here is the act of a formerly law abiding student seemingly going mental as his girlfriend was cheating on him. Take the gun away (reports seem to agree it was a legally owned weapon) and there's no deaths. This tragedy was entirely avoidable.

  16. Peter W

    what nonsense some people talk

    "In the UK here we have gun control laws that seem to have stopped legitimate sporting use - ie stopped (previously) legal use by law abiding people. What they have spectacularly failed to do is stop illegal use by criminals."

    Not true. Try resarching per capita deaths from shootings, where the US has something like 80 times the number of deaths of the UK.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Eh?

    Simon says "In the UK here we have gun control laws that seem to have stopped legitimate sporting use [...]. What they have spectacularly failed to do is stop illegal use by criminals."

    That's a pretty heavily loaded statement.

    Yes, career criminals will always get guns, whether from other criminals or from seemingly legitimate sources. However, there's nothing to suggest that this guy was a career criminal, rather than just some poor sod who got hurt and lashed out. Thousands of people do this every year, but most grab the nearest thing to hand -- a knife, a chair, a heavy pan -- and the incident rarely even goes to trial.

    In the UK, when a so-called "crime of passion" involves a firearm it's almost invariably a shotgun, legally held for hunting/pest-control purposes. People in a rage do not seek out criminal gangs in order to buy handguns.

    Gun control laws could easily reduce this sort of tragedy, but no, they wouldn't stop organised criminal groups. But then police action can stop organised crimes through undercover stings etc, but those would hardly be effective against individual "postal" cases.

  18. Eric

    Outlawing guns won't do anything

    Chris writes that "Take the guns out of the hands of these people and the shootings cannot happen."

    If you are intent on committing a murder, or a murder suicide, do you think you'd be worried about getting caught with an illegal gun or what you would have to do to get one (making them illegal will not make them go away).

    If someone is going to commit random mass murder, they will find a way. He could of just as easily made bombs from household chemicals, should we ban those too?

    I'd hate to say it, but you can almost make the comparison to how DRM has *stopped* music/movie piracy. Punishing the law abiding citizen never stops the determined criminal.

  19. Sean Healey

    Availability of guns

    "But if someone gets jilted, he won't have a gun on hand"

    You've overlooked that fact that in the UK - where handguns are banned - it is still possible to 'go around the corner' in parts of South London (according to a local resident interviewed on the news the other night) and buy a gun.

    We all go on and on about 'bannning' guns (ie stopping individuals from legitimately owning them)...

    ... but NO-ONE ever talks about stopping companies from making them, or stopping the arms dealers from selling them. The politicians will never go there because these companies have so much influence over them, and innocent people will continue to die on the streets.

    I once went on an anti-arms protest outside the 'international arms fair' in the docklands, and no matter how peaceful the event was the metropolitan police 'special group' thugs were still sent in to kick the sh*t out of us.

  20. Thomas Huxley

    Guns don't kill people ...

    I heard an American academic 'talking head' on this morning's BBC News banging on about gun control and pointing out that, in the US, gun control means an entirely different thing to what we in the UK understand. However, tellingly, when confronted with the idea that no amount of gun control would prevent the 'lone nutter' scenario (I paraphrase, obviously) she fell back on her argument and admitted that these sorts of massacres should be "viewed like societal bad weather" i.e. they were unpreventable and Americans should just learn to live with them. So, she's quite willing to advocate gun control, even though it would have no discernable impact (she feels) on the problem under discussion, and as far as school shooting massacres are concerned - well, sh*t happens!

    If the hunt is now on to find the police guilty of not anticipating that a 'routine' double homicide on a US campus would turn into a killing spree that would kill a further 30 innocent people, are those involved not then tacitly agreeing with her assertion? That is, any shooting in the US has the potential to turn into this sort of massacre and by failing to automatically make that assumption, they are somehow derelict in their duties. Cripes!

    In 'Bowling for Columbine', Michael Moore asserts that in Canada there is a similar access to guns amongst the population, but they don't spend a fraction of the effort or time killing each other as people do in the US. If this is true (and believe me, I take a lot of what Mr. Moore claims with a hefty pinch of salt), then there must be something else at play here besides the availability of the weaponry.

    So, until all the various camps (both pro-gun and anti-gun) get off the megaphones and start thinking rather than shouting, I can't see the problem going away soon - even if you remove all the Marilyn Manson/Judas Priest/<insert Rock Satanist du jour here> music from all the shelves in America.

    In evolutionary terms, something in the US environment has changed (this is the 19th such episode in the last 10 years, according to one news report I heard) and Americans need to understand what it is before they start kicking off those knee jerk responses.

    Alternatively, if you are the sort of American who denies science and believes in 'intelligent' design, it's a message from God. In which case, what is he trying to tell you?

  21. Steven Cuthbertson

    Weapons of mass destruction?

    How long before guns (especially automatics) are sensibly classified as WMD?

    "Weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a term used to describe a massive weapon with the capacity to indiscriminately kill large numbers of people."

    We've seen that even little bombs have been classified as WMDs now, so what next?

    At the risk of pushing the 'fat American' stereotype, should the definition read :

    "Weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a term used to describe a large(ish) (or not) person holding a weapon with the capacity to indiscriminately kill large numbers of people."

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something is Wrong

    Some of the very first reports on the news cited the possibility of a second shooter. "As a matter of policy we are continuing to search for another shooter, however we are confident the only proven shooter has been apprehended and is in our custody".

    They knew that there was another shooter, they just couldn't find him. Now they are trying to cover it up. Look up news on Google from yesterday morning and see for yourself. Not cool.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crime of Passion

    First, this was not a crime of passion. The student called in 2 bomb threats last week to gage the response time of the campus police.

    He bought chains and padlocks so he could padlock the doors from the inside so people couldn't escape.

    Second, he was not a "law abiding student" as one of the previous posters suggests. He was not a citizen of this country, he was a foriegn national here on a student visa. Only citizens can buy or own guns legally in this country. So he had already broken the law by buying guns.

    So, how does more guns laws help? He broke the laws already on the books. He couldn't legally buy a gun, own a gun, or posses a gun. So explain to me exactly how more gun laws help.

    And yes, we Americans have "a love affair with guns". And hopefully we always will. Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check.

    Maybe if we closed our borders and kicked everyone the hell out that wasn't born here, we could get back to the "You leave us alone, We'll leave you alone" attitude from our early history. We could pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and worry about protecting our own soil. Let the rest of the world deal with their own mess for a change and let them live with the consequences.

  24. Daniel Silver badge

    My $0,02

    This debate seems to be polarizing around "Guns created this tragedy" and "More guns would have prevented it". Most situations can't be looked at purely in black-and-white terms, it is or it isn't, etc, but I'm going to weigh in with my 2 cents anyway on the side of the Anti-Gun lobby.

    Take the guns out of society, firearm deaths will *drop* on average, not go up. Consider example of America vs. Rest of World as a practical demonstration.

    To paraphrase from the book "The Trigger", by Arthur C Clarke;

    "Having a gun myself, does not give me back what his gun takes away."

    Meaning: even though the force equation would appear to be neatly balanced (gun = gun), the status quo is not nearly as stable as it was when neither party had a gun.

    Get the guns out of society.

    Ok slightly more than $0,02 but you get my drift.

    Regards,

  25. DaveT

    Re: Crime of Passion

    "And yes, we Americans have "a love affair with guns". And hopefully we always will. Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."

    Isn't that what the US Army is there for? Or are you suggesting that the gun owning members of the US public are itching to go charging around the world to take care of "tyrants".

    I'm no expert on constitutional law but this appears to stretch the definition of a well regulated militia to breaking point.

  26. prathlev

    Re: Crime of passion

    I'll take you up on that last paragraph's suggestion. The world would probably be a little more peaceful then.

    Why don't you spend some time reading e.g. your own Fukuyama. I can't say I agree with him, but he does have a point in saying that the US people make a mistake when they think the world just doesn't understand them. A large part of the world does. And it still doesn't like you. ;-)

    /Prathlev

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Premeditated Homicidal lunatic or jilted lover?

    “Not true. Try researching per capita deaths from shootings, where the US has something like 80 times the number of deaths of the UK.”

    Actually, Simon is perfectly correct in his assertion that what UK Gun control has “spectacularly failed to do is stop illegal use by criminals”. He was talking about the increase in serious gun crime in the UK, not comparing UK Serious Gun Crime with the apparently trigger happy nature of the Americans (I’m not disputing that per capita figure – sounds scarily right).

    This whole affair is a huge tragedy but this was a premeditated homicidal rampage. Not a “spur of the moment” crime of passion. This guy picked up a handgun and went looking for two people, clearly with an intent to kill them. He then sat and thought about what he’d done for a couple of hours and was so remorseful he decided to continue. This is not someone who sounds like a) he was a sorrowful jilted lover and b) he would not have not gone out of his way to obtain a gun no matter what the Law said. He wanted to kill people… lots of people.

    Blaming the police? Oh, right, that’s useful. What were they supposed to do? Lock down a huge campus and conduct Room to Room searches? That would have gone down well. Although granted, campus notifying people 2hrs later by email, probably not the best idea in the world (quite how they should have notified people, I am not sure).

  28. Karl Lattimer

    Re: Crime of Passion

    "Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."

    You're an idiot

    "Maybe if we closed our borders and kicked everyone the hell out that wasn't born here, we could get back to the "You leave us alone, We'll leave you alone" attitude from our early history"

    You're a fascist, WASP American KKK, NRA Supporting nut case, you are the reason you attack the rest of the world, psycho christian pro-gun nut jobs that put Bush in power.

    In the words of Jake Burns in the song, "Roots, Radics, Rockers and Reggae"

    "Throw away the guns and the war is all gone."

    Restrict access to weapons, shut down the arms trade, and people will stop killing each other. Its not difficult to understand, but your bloody constitution and right to bare arms which is a throw back to when the english kept kicking your arse is now irrelevant. Update your constitution, that is what amendments are for.

    FYI, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE US ISN'T SET IN STONE!!! IT CAN BE CHANGED!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."?!?!?!

    Are you serious? - are you freaking SERIOUS?!

    It is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check... - what PRECISELY keeping in check of the tyrant known as Bush have your guns acheived??

    The man who has killed more Iraq's than the dictator he deposed - and so is a "worse" dictator by the ONLY credible measure is still in power DESPITE all of your guns.

    Get real; criminals will ALWAYS get guns; it is EXACTLY this type of massacre that disarming normal people will avoid.

  30. Martin Owens

    You leave us alone

    It's the social view of guns, not the laws that help reduce gun use. it's not ok to own a gun and show it to your mates in the UK; even some of the more dubious and stupid members of my extended family would freak out if someone started showing off a simple firearm. It's true that you can't take the guns away from criminals with laws, but at least they don't have the bare arsed cheek to wield them in public like toys.

    >> Maybe if we closed our borders and kicked everyone the hell out

    >> that wasn't born here, we could get back to the "You leave us alone,

    >> We'll leave you alone" attitude from our early history. We could pull

    >> out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and worry about protecting our own

    >> soil. Let the rest of the world deal with their own mess for a change

    >> and let them live with the consequences.

    This is a bit off topic, but it needs to be said: America is a coward, they will only stand up when they have superior fire power and can sit nice and cozzy in their bunker while they attempt to kill the enemy with WMD. Even their films show off all those heros and principles that they all know they don't have. I dare say there are still a few good men in the USA but you must hide them away in the hills. After every illegal and immoral war the country as a whole crawls away to lick it's hurt feelings and looks inwards, at it's own ego for comfort and support because it's the only place you ever find it.

    What a sad culture you have created for yourselves, I pity your country and hope you all don't follow the above attitude.

    Oh and hating the rest of the world and the people in it will not win you friends.

  31. Adam Netterville

    You got a bit of crazy on your face.

    Virginia has a concealed carry law. It was disallowed on school grounds last year by a new law. Had the students been armed this wouldn't have happened.

    This person wasn't legally carrying a gun so any idiotic liberal sheepish retarded banter is moot. Britian has proved that less guns don't lead to a utopia the way every hippy thinks it does. Criminals don't abide by any anti gun laws we make, cause (gasp) there criminals. The UK is working on banning samurai swords now cause with a lack of guns people are using them to rob people.

    Bloody libs love there statistics so lookup the rate of violent crime in Britian and compare it to every other civilized country looks pretty high don't it. Must just be a mistake though, after all the guns are out of the hands of potential criminals (citizens).

    If you feel guns are scary and loud, stay quiet and bleat with the rest of the sheep. Leave the rest of us wolves alone.

  32. J. Rice

    Why we Yanks need guns

    Forgetting the fact that getting rid of all the guns in America would be about as easy as getting rid of all the tea in China, and the fact that "lone nutters" and other criminal types will always have guns and not be penalized by gun laws, the reason we Yanks need guns is simple: our government.

    Do any of you in the UK, EU etc disagree that America has become a scary imperialist force in the world? How do you think the citizens of America feel? We're scared of our government too. And that's wrong. Our country was founded on the principle that our government should fear us. They're never going to fear us when all a law abiding citizen has to defend himself is a butter knife. Sad but true.

    FWIW the news is now reporting that the serial numbers on both the shooters guns were removed....so they were likely stolen, like they are in most violent crimes.

  33. Tim

    Guns don't deter guns!

    Guns don't have invisible force fields.

    Posted Tuesday 17th April 2007 15:32 GMT

    The thing that, surprisingly, hasn't been pointed out yet is that even the best marksman in the world cannot deflect a flying bullet!

    My point is that guns are not a gun deterrent, for that matter knives are not a knife deterrent and wmd's are not deterrents to wmd's!

    Gun control prevents murders springing from flared tempers, but I think this unfortunate incident could only be prevented by super paranoid monitoring, such as airport style security checks at every entrance to the campus.

    Arming the students as a defence will only make the campus a dangerous place to be because we are only human, most of us can't control our thoughts or emotions. We are frequently given to emotional outbursts of anger, pride, jealousy, affection, sadness and happiness.

    There will always be criminals and if you want to deter them from having or using guns you need to make it harder for them to get them.

    Guns are not required for sport, not in this day and age of electronic games and paintball.

    As for cutting America off from immigrants, wouldn't the natives have been better off if they had been able to do that before all us white folks came along to trash their paradise!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In reply to prathlev

    "I'll take you up on that last paragraph's suggestion. The world would probably be a little more peaceful then."

    Right, we are the cause of all the worlds problems. We started World War 1, World War II, we caused Stalin to slaughter his own people and Hitler to kill half of Europe. Yeah, without the U.S. the world does just fine on it's own.

    But I do agree with you on one point, we should stay in the U.S., keep our military here, and leave the rest of the world to it's own design.

    "the US people make a mistake when they think the world just doesn't understand them. A large part of the world does. And it still doesn't like you."

    Good for them. To be honest, I really don't care if the rest of the world understands us or not. Like I said ealrier, we should get back to a 'we leave you alone, you leave us alone' attitude, from a government perspective.

    And I also don't care if anyone in the entire world, past or present likes me. All I want is to be left alone. But don't expect me to come help you when your butt's in the fire later on.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In reply to DaveT

    "Isn't that what the US Army is there for? Or are you suggesting that the gun owning members of the US public are itching to go charging around the world to take care of "tyrants".

    I'm no expert on constitutional law but this appears to stretch the definition of a well regulated militia to breaking point."

    The 2nd Amendment is not to protect the people of the U.S. against foreign powers. It is to there to establish our rights to bear arms, to regulate our own government. It is a part of the checks and balances. Who is to regulate the militia, if not the citizens?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Campus size not an excuse

    I'm sorry but the campus size is NOT an excuse for what happened. I work at U of M ( A much larger University than this one. We have around 40,000 students compared with 25,000 and we DO NOT have a PA system like Virginia Tech does).

    In the past when there has been emergencies we have never had this problem. Of course they don't just send out emails here. It is very simple, post notes to classroom doors. Make sure the teacher in each room is informed. Make announcements in public gathering areas like cafeterias and study areas. Let the RA's know to inform their floor. A small group of people can easily get the information out to a majority of the campus quickly.

    You can't warn everyone, but you can reduce the number of people exposed. Informing the population may not have made a difference, but at least they may have had a chance.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: My $0,02

    And that approach has worked so well for drugs, hasn't it? Nobody can score a dime bag of weed on any street corner in the U.S. Heroin just can not be found in America, can it. Crack cocaine is a figment of the media's imagination.

    If criminals want guns, they will get them in to this country. It can't be stopped. By outlawing all guns, all you do is take guns from law abiding citizens.

  38. Henry

    Sense of security

    'And yes, we Americans have "a love affair with guns". And hopefully we always will. Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check.'

    And which 'tyrants' have the American citizens kept in check, exactly?

    Seems to me they're all running around killing you with guns. Face it - buying a gun gives you about the same false sense of security as buying a car alarm where everyone just walks right by anyway.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Why we Yanks need guns"

    I disagree that guns are needed to defend oneself against the government. You defend yourself against the governement at elections. If you miss that, it's game over, whether you have gun or not. I have not noticed a lot of uprisings by free citizens in hot anger against the PATRIOT act. Actually, the reverse is true: a good, fat old-fashioned fascist groundswell. Hmmm. Tasty.

    Yeah, it fits:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040301fabook83239/robert-o-paxton/the-anatomy-of-fascism.html

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: Crime of Passion

    "You're a fascist, WASP American KKK, NRA Supporting nut case, you are the reason you attack the rest of the world, psycho christian pro-gun nut jobs that put Bush in power.

    In the words of Jake Burns in the song, "Roots, Radics, Rockers and Reggae"

    "Throw away the guns and the war is all gone."

    Restrict access to weapons, shut down the arms trade, and people will stop killing each other. Its not difficult to understand, but your bloody constitution and right to bare arms which is a throw back to when the english kept kicking your arse is now irrelevant. Update your constitution, that is what amendments are for.

    FYI, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE US ISN'T SET IN STONE!!! IT CAN BE CHANGED!"

    I am not racist. I didn't say throw out any race. I said people not born here. Not naturalized, not citizens. And for the record, it's hard to be a WASP and get into the KKK when you are of Native American and African decent.

    And if throwing out all the guns does away with violence, why isn't England a utopian paradise? I guess there isn't a drug problem in America either. Hell we outlawed all of that over a century ago.

    As for our constitution, it's ours, not yours. Yes, it can be changed, by getting the change throught the House, the Senate, signed by the President, the approved by quorem of 2/3's of the States. Not by the U.N., The European Union, The Eastern Bloc, or any other foreign power or national. Why should you make our laws?

    And for the record, the English didn't kick our asses, we kicked theirs out of our country, then did it again in 1812.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Already broke the law"

    As mentioned earlier being a foreign national he should not have been able to buy guns. However I believe that in Virginia at least you can but guns 'off the shelf': no background check, no cooling off period. Also the semi-automatic weapons rule was allowed to lapse . So although it may not have prevent this tragedy, If they used the limited gun controls they had the lone gunman would have found it a lot more difficult to kill 32 people.

    He may have had a limited choice of black market weapons, He would have been exposed to a much higher chance of detection before he got to pull the trigger, He would be unlikely to get a semi-automatic with unlimited ammunition.

    And another thing, How old do you have to be to carry a side arm? Is the NRA suggesting all students should be armed. There have been similar shootings at high schools. It could make frat parties a bit eventful when everybody thinks they are Billy the Kid after a pull on the beer bong!.

  42. Paul

    Oh sure, isolationism is *always* the answer.

    @: "Maybe if we closed our borders and kicked everyone the hell out that wasn't born here, we could get back to the "You leave us alone, We'll leave you alone" attitude from our early history."

    Two of those foreign-born people you would "kick the hell out" were professors at VT, both fatalities in this massacre. One was a Romanian-born Holocaust survivor, who reportedly died trying to hold the classroom door closed as the shooter fired through it, certainly knowing that he would get hit in the process; a heroic action, in an attempt to save his no-doubt mainly US-born students.

    In light of that, don't you DARE paint all foreign nationals with the same brush because the shooter was from outside the US.

    Just about every other "nutcase goes postal with a gun and kills a bunch of people" incident in this country was carried out by someone born here. What do you propose to do with all those millions of US born who are obviously terrible people, because of people like Whitman or the Columbine killers?

    Shut your ignorant mouth, check your facts, and go learn the history of this nation of immigrants before you even think about opening it again, because unless you're pure-blooded Native American (doubtful...does such a person even exist, now?), then some of your own not-so-distant ancestors were born elsewhere, too. Would you have thrown them out, I wonder?

    I also wonder how fast this nation would collapse if all the legal resident aliens in academia, business and entertainment left, and took foreign-based companies and investment with them?

    The shooter being a resident alien does beg the question "where in God's name did he get a pair of handguns and enough ammunition to hold off a small army?" If he obtained them illegally, then sure, no amount of gun control law would have prevented this.

    What are the chances, however, that he was able to "legally" obtain the guns because the checking and control of them *is* so utterly lax in this part of the world? If that's what happened, I look forward to the NRA trying to 'splain that one away...

    And yes, the shooter probably would have been stopped sooner if several students in the vicinity had been carrying weapons, but I wonder how many innocent people would have died in the crossfire or been hit by a badly aimed stray bullet, as poorly trained, overly stressed college kids engaged in a gunfight?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sense of security

    "Face it - buying a gun gives you about the same false sense of security as buying a car alarm where everyone just walks right by anyway."

    I disagree. Almost 20 years ago, 2 escaped convicts broke into my home. Rapists. They attacked my wife and mother-in-law. Thanks to the gun I had I was able to keep my wife an mother-in-law from getting raped.

    Did I want it to happen? No. But without a gun, I could not have fought off to hardened criminals by myself. I chose to defend my family, and I do not regret what I had to do to this day.

    A previous post said I was racist. I am not, but I will say this: Racists want to keep guns out the hands of minorities. Makes them easier to control. All races should have access to firearms. Everyone has the right to protect themselves and the ones they love.

  44. John A Blackley

    Comment?

    Reading the comments on this story, I wonder about the audience that shares The Register with me. On this - as on many other sites - this tragic event has been used as an excuse for anti-American rants using the United States' weapons laws.

    I live in the United States and have a little understanding of why weapons laws here exist as they do. Arguing for the 'banning' of guns in the United States is irrelevant. Much, I suppose, as is argung for a little restraint on such a tragic occasion.

  45. Pat

    Re: How are the police to blame?

    To the second poster, Nick,

    I live in Chicago and work on the UIC campus near downtown. If for every double homicide in a 10 mile radius around the campus we "treated the situation as an ongoing emergency" we'd live in a constant state of emergency.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans stay home?

    "But I do agree with you on one point, we should stay in the U.S., keep our military here, and leave the rest of the world to it's own design.

    "the US people make a mistake when they think the world just doesn't understand them. A large part of the world does. And it still doesn't like you."

    Good for them. To be honest, I really don't care if the rest of the world understands us or not. Like I said ealrier, we should get back to a 'we leave you alone, you leave us alone' attitude, from a government perspective.

    And I also don't care if anyone in the entire world, past or present likes me. All I want is to be left alone. But don't expect me to come help you when your butt's in the fire later on."

    Well, I think the rest of the world would like you to do that too, but you won't because you are just about to run out of oil, and will need to invade other countries (i.e. Iraq, Iran etc) to steal theirs. Perhaps you should use all your guns to get control of your government as others are saying, and stop them invading and interfering in other countries, or do you like driving around too much?

    Sorry, a bit off topic.

  47. Andrew Bright

    err what?

    Good ol' Nazi Radio and The Wingnuts (right wing nutters) have already begun their assault on the left, suggesting that

    1/If every student had a gun, no one would ever get killed in a school or university - after all the sort of people that do this are obviously rational and would never shoot anyone if they knew their victims were armed.

    2/We arm all the teachers, and force them to pledge to protecting their students with their lives. Apparently this is more important than knowing stuff, after all this is America and we're suspicious of anyone that knows how to read. If the teacher was armed this would never happen because his gun would protect him from being shot first, without warning - and help matters by allowing students to scrabble around in a panic looking for it.

    3/Protect the Constitution at all costs - except for freedom of speech, protection from illegal search and seizures, cruel and unreasonable punishment... ok, cross through line one and tear off after line 2, keep the rest.

    4/Make sure everyone knows that only criminals shoot people. Law abiding gun owners don't kill anyone except by accident on hunting trips.

    5/Blame Hilary Clinton.

    6/Blame Bill Clinton.

    7/Blame the University and the victims for not voting correctly last November. If Republicans had control of Congress this would never happen, after all Republican controlled government spends all its time trying to resolve the problems plaguing America, and none of its time trying to divvy up tax collections between themselves, their friends and their family.

    Still trying to see how these ideas are helping, no doubt someone can explain it all to me.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All pro gun control are hypocrits

    Do you realize that some of your family members are in Iraq spreading 'freedom' and 'democracy'? For the record this country is a Representative REPUBLIC, but do they even teach that anymore? And guess what they use: bombs, weapons, the works. Meanwhile some idiot comes in and shoots people on a 'weapons free' campus because you couldn't defend your rights like the soldiers are doing overseas.

    And you think guns are bad? Look at the UK, they have a full gun ban...guess what, people are violent because of the society thrust upon them. In the UK they now have to ban kitchen knives, because people are killing each other with them. To top it off, in London you have 6 times the chance of getting robbed compared to NYC (and we know how good NYC has it, but its a gun free place too). And London back in the early 1900s when guns were allowed and it was the biggest city in the world, had 4 armed robberies in 1904...with 30 million people.

    Are you already so spoonfed not to be able to take care of yourself? Do you know what common law is? Do you know what self defense is? A creator given right? Yes what happened IS sad, but with 26000 students (yes I went to VT - alumnus now) you would think that this guy would have been stopped earlier. This guy had to reload you know...A pencil can be a weapon, a fire extinguisher, tables, chairs...this is VT! The inventors of tomorrow, and they just cowered? No common sense of self preservation? There are bigger issues here than 'guns'.

    Our 'leaders' of tomorrow are unable to defend themselves worth squat, so we are supposed to depend on them in the future to defend us?

    Do you know that the Supreme Court ruled twice that the police is not liable to defend the individual? They are only liable to protect society as a whole? So if you die tough luck, you are a statistic. You can't sue the cops or anything. And here you are wanting them to defend you? You are alive...an individual, to defend yourself DUH. Wake up and drop the spoonfed attitude.

    If you believe in self defense they can ban whatever they want. You will still find ways to defend yourself and criminals will find ways to do you harm, as long as the mindset and need are there (and history seems to back this theory). Be it a bat, a hammer, a plate, a trash can, a broken bottle. In China they banned fighting sticks, and those little Chinese people can tear you apart with their bare hands. Those should be banned too right? Actually lets just ban Chinese people if that logic is true (or maybe just their hands and feet). What about cars? So many accidents. Do you know that the number three death reason in the US is doctors? There are 400% more fatalities from doctors a year compared to guns. Ahh but accidents are 'accidental', but does the excuse matter? IS a life not a life? Should a death from a gunshot wound be more important than the people that die from doctor malpractice? Or car accidents? Don't families suffer from those situations just as much (since they were preventable)? Gun bans are already in affect, do they stop the 'bad' guys? Hell no, all it is when you really think about it is just another form of wealth confiscation. But that's another topic.

    Very soon if you follow the UK, you won't be able to work because your hands can kill people. If you wish to say how many people can be killed by a gun compared to a knife....or hammer or bare hands. More people die from nail guns and drills. Should we ban those? Get real, your fear of what you don't know is the result, ie. gun control. If you don't have a gun, if you haven't shot, you have no right to speak on the topic because you don't have the self awareness to be self reliant or responsible for your own being or your own safety.

    Simple concepts, wake up or cower in a corner and wait for the cops that don't have any reason to save you, come and save you.

    And as a final notice, if society is disarmed, why is there an army, or police force that still has guns. Shouldn't we all be happy dovey and kissy kiss kiss? But history shows when a group holds the right of life and death over everyone else, they use that right malliciously to keep themselves where they are . This power be it, guns, swords, spears, bows, take your pick on the historic timeline, are ALWAYS turned against the masses, and great massacres occur. Usually the only ones to have weapons end up to be our trusty governments. Look at China, USSR, Germany, Feudal Japan (Shogun), Rome, Certain Greek city States, Egypt, Babylon, Sumer. Disarmed citizens are nothing more than volunteers. There are no victims.

    Everyone in the whole country says politicians are crooks and liars (except for politicians). But while they can have armed body guards they can sell the gun control to the masses and everyone believes them. Michael Moore is anti gun but his guards are armed. Bloomberg is anti-gun in an anti-gun place (NYC) and he conceal carries. Are we not all equal or all of a sudden liars are more equal than all?

    It is your creator given right to defend yourself under common law, the law of the land. Get that through your head or play the victim role.

  49. Paul

    Well that makes no sense!

    "I said people not born here. Not naturalized, not citizens."

    Yet again you lack any understanding of what you speak, and end up contradicting yourself.

    FYI, it's *impossible* to become "naturalized" without first being born somewhere else. Hence, the INS: "Immigration & *Naturalization* Service".

    On the other hand, it's entirely possible to be a US citizen but born elsewhere.

    "And for the record, it's hard to be a WASP and get into the KKK when you are of Native American and African decent."

    There goes at least part of your ancestry, back on the boat and off from whence it came, according to your rules. Though as someone else mentioned, the Native American part of your ancestry would have been a hell of a lot better off had they had the opportunity to close the borders back in the day.

  50. adam

    Re: "it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."?!?!?!

    "what PRECISELY keeping in check of the tyrant known as Bush have your guns acheived??"

    Damnit! You stole my line! :-P

    As an American, I can testify to the fact that the 2nd amendment rights crowd are the most fervent supporters of Tyrant Bush. Generally (and semi-stereotypically) speaking, 2nd amendment supporters are some of the most hypocritical people on the planet. In addition to being the most fervent supporters of Tyrant Bush, they are also fervent supporters of the most invasive, rights-abusing policies that are discussed in the US. For example:

    1) Restriction of gay rights.

    2) Restriction of minority rights

    3) Capital punishment

    4) Torturing suspected terrorists and criminals is acceptable, if not encouraged. (Our government would never wrongly accuse an innocent person of participating in crimes or terrorism, so lock 'em up in Guantanamo, without charges or access to courts, and torture them for 5+ years. They deserve it.)

    5) Government spying on American people without oversight or court approval. (Once again, the people who are spied upon are guilty so they deserve it.)

    6) Draconian immigration laws. (Keep those dirty foreigners out of my country.)

    7) Erosion of the separation of church and state. (If people aren't christian, they don't count.)

    8) Elimination of abortion rights. (Because they believe in the sanctity of life.....)

    9) Stop stem cell research. (Because they believe in the sanctity of life?)

    10) And of course, the war in Iraq. (Because we need to convert the world into America, at gun point.)

    All of these things they don't have a problem with. But, heaven forbid you should take their guns away. Then, they get mad.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Oh sure, isolationism is *always* the answer.

    "Shut your ignorant mouth, check your facts, and go learn the history of this nation of immigrants before you even think about opening it again, because unless you're pure-blooded Native American (doubtful...does such a person even exist, now?), then some of your own not-so-distant ancestors were born elsewhere, too. Would you have thrown them out, I wonder?"

    Listen up cracker. My ancestors were already here when you whack jobs' ancestors were still fighting the Romans. And my other ancestors were kidnapped by your damn ancestors and forcibly brought here against their will, and subjected to over 400 years of slavery and oppression. And to be real honest, I bet you would love to take my gun. Keep me in my place, huh. You wouldn't be realted to Don Imus would you?

    Before you call someone ignorant, why don't you check your facts first.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Crime of Passion?

    "And for the record, the English didn't kick our asses, we kicked theirs out of our country, then did it again in 1812."

    As an American ...

    Really? We kicked their butts in 1812, huh?

    So do you have an idea of when the present White House was built, by chance? (hint - it was right around the time the British forces did a little "renovation" to the

    place).

    The US sued for peace in that "war" because, well, the wars with Napoleon were winding down, and the US knew it was about to get its butt handed to it on a platter by battle-hardened British Forces from that conflict - with a Navy more than capable of destroying the US fleet in short order.

    The only way the US can declare "victory" in that conflict is because we didn't lose anything - but historically, it wasn't as peachy as you make it seem.

    Here's an irony for you - the US only became "brave" because it knew the British were occupied with France. Yes! That country that everyone here holds in such low regard - the US bet on that horse, figuring it would be a nice distraction and allow them to get what they wanted.

    If you are going to quote "for the record" - might want to know what the record actually is, first.

  53. Gavin Henderson

    Guns and Britain

    A complete ban of guns in the US would make a difference, but I am unconvinced that it could ever be enforced.

    The gun ban in britain does not reduce the number of violent crimes, it does however reduce the number of fatalities as a result of violent crime. People are more likely to survive being stabbed/physically assaulted than being shot. (the chances of dying from shock from being shot is much higher than being stabbed/hit due to the energies involved in being hit by a bullet)

    People have mentioned that despite the ban, a serious criminal is able to obtain a gun in the UK, it is worth noting however that this is usually a handgun. While in the US serious criminals are able to get a hold of automatic rifles/weapons.

    I dont see how the idea put forward by pro gun people that if the students had been allowed to carry guns this could be avoided. Carrying guns does not deflect bullets, and I think most people in this situation would be too scared to seriously considering firing back - and there would be a significant risk to other people should someone decide to start firing back.

    Guns dont kill people do. But people can kill a lot more people with a gun in a shorter amount of time than they can with a knife or some other weapon.

  54. Paul

    An appropriate time to bear a firearm

    "Almost 20 years ago, 2 escaped convicts broke into my home. Rapists. They attacked my wife and mother-in-law. Thanks to the gun I had I was able to keep my wife an mother-in-law from getting raped."

    See, this is the sort of situation where the right to bear arms becomes a Godsend, where there are few people around, law enforcement is too far away to help in a timely manner, and it's immediately apparent who are the bad guys and where the bullets should go.

    I live in a rural part of Southwestern Virginia, as it happens maybe 45 minutes drive from yesterday's tragic scene, and although I'm on a main highway, I wouldn't expect a rapid response to a 911 call unless an officer happened to be in the vicinity by chance. In that situation, it's pretty much you vs the perps. Having a gun to hand in that case would be a good thing.

    But, having a handful of people at various stages of panic and fear pull pistols and start firing across a crowded room might not turn out quite so well.

    I agree throughly with the poster who points out that people are using this as an excuse to go American-bashing. Shame on ALL of you who did that, it's no better than suggesting that all foreign nationals be cast out and the border closed. This isn't the time or place for either suggestion.

  55. Fred Fnord

    Just to keep the stupid comments in perspective

    I'm not going to call for a ban on private gun ownership (for the purposes of a WELL-REGULATED militia), not because I don't think it would be a good idea but because I think that there really is an element of US society that would prefer to kill everyone in shooting distance than give up their guns. They clearly don't care about any other part of the constitution, because Bush has been carelessly violating it since the day he took office (with his signing statements and his illegal wiretapping — still going on! — and his 'extraordinary rendition' and his torture of random people and his holding people without habeas corpus... and these are only the ones we know about).

    But I will say that many of the people here are sorely ill-informed if they think that 'he shouldn't have been able to get a gun anyway, so the law isn't the problem' is in any way a sensible statement. If you can walk into a gun show and purchase a gun from a 'collector' (not a dealer) without showing a permit, without ID, without anything other than money — and you can, and it's perfectly legal — then what is supposed to stop anyone who is 'not permitted a firearm' from buying one? And the NRA has been dead set against changing the least part of this loophole. It appears that in their opinion, it is very important for anyone, including psychopaths, to be able to get a gun. They couldn't care less if ex-cons can't vote, but it's terribly important that they be able to shoot someone.

    Mind you, this all doesn't happen because we have a huge number of guns. Canadians have more per capita than Americans do. It's because we're a nation who, collectively, isn't mature enough to own firearms.

    -fred

  56. Scott Kirwin

    Leave us alone

    Note to World:

    Leave us alone. When we want your opinion about the tragedy in Virginia, we'll ask for it.

    In the meantime, before you get to feeling all superior about this tragedy, you might want to reflect on those that happened in your own little countries. The Brits seem particularly smug here, which I find rather odd considering that some of the most heinous crimes ever committed on the planet happened on that Sceptred Isle. The slaughtering of James Bulger comes quickest to mind. And to think his killers are walking your streets.

    Yeah, you have a lot to be smug about.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find you people rather funny...

    I find it disapointing to find out that the less than 20 IQ crowd is posting here.

    I Sure like to know what the heck gun control laws have to do with this?

    As if a single law was on the mind of this individual when he commited to murdering 30+ people.

    And what the wth does complaining about President Bush and the americans have to do with the single act of an indivdual do to with this?

    Seems to me you people are focusing on your agenda's and axe grinding more so than the issue at present.

    This said indivual is to blame.... obviously he was brought up in such a way that its ok to blame everyone else for your issues if you don't get what you want.

    The police nor the university couldn't have done a single thing to stop that... people where going to die wether you liked it or not.... perhaps fewer if the university had acted a little quicker... but how will you know whats being said with all the media-ism's... and the people whose tempers flare with political thoughts being at the foremost of their minds...

    You really think the kid was thinking about the President and Gun Control laws when he did his little act of slaughter?

    You people make me laugh...not to mention really make me worry about the futrue.

    Lets try something along the lines of making sure your kids don't go around doing c### like that ok? Gun control laws won't change it.... certainly impossible to remove every single gun in the country... thats just stupid beyond all reason.... the single most importaint reason that law was put in place was to protect us from a possible government tryany... laugh it up.. .but if you study the founding fathers's writeings and paperwork.. that is why.

    Not to mention the fact that any one country could overrun america and wipe us off the face of the earth if we had no weapons to defend ourselves.

    Oops.... didn't think of that one.

    Either that or you would rather like that to happen....

    What a funny world we live in... or should i say... a rather sad one.

    And for crying out loud.... when are people going to start blaming the acts of a country on the government and not a single man? If anyone would take the time to study how the american govenrment actually functions they wouldn't be so dang stupid about it.

    But my words fall on deaf ears.... oh well.... life goes on.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it is EXACTLY this type of massacre that disarming normal people will avoid."

    Yeah. That about sums it up for me.

  59. Jason Togneri

    "oozy's hanging out of their pockets"

    Re: "please let's not let the pro-gun wacko's use it as another excuse for all and sundry to wander about with oozy's hanging out of their pockets"

    What I'm wondering is, oozy whats? Oozy sores? Oozy noses? Oozy orifices? What are they oozing? Blood? Pus? Something else? Or did you possibly mean Uzis? Why can't most (99%) of the people pos(t)ing on these types of stories learn some sort of basic spelling and grammar (YOU PEOPLE WITH THE BAD APOSTROPHES) first? Aargh!

    On topic: I agree, what could the police have done? Don't be idiots. The best way to control gun crime is to disallow guns. Sheesh.

  60. Phil

    The old criminals still have guns excuse

    What a lot of people don't seem to grasp is this.

    While it's true banning guns will never stop the criminal element of society getting hold and using guns, and yes you will still get the criminals doing arm robberies etc,

    I think I'm 100% correct when I say that every single recorded instance of nutters going wild and killing loads of innocent people such as in villages, schools etc, all have been committed by people with a license to have such weapons.

    If people weren't legally allowed to own weapons then these people that snap and kill loads of innocent people simply wouldn't happen.

  61. Greg Nelson

    Tragedy, Crime, Statistics

    There is no loss equal to the loss of a child. No parent should outlive their child. Loving someone unconditionally and selflessly is a new way of seeing life that comes with parenthood. The tragedy of students being killed is the suffering of the parents. The horror of so many children being slaughtered can't be overshadowed.

    The crime is being meta bracketed in terms of gun control. Take one more step back and meta bracket the crime in terms of gender. For all the discussion of mass murders and weapons there seems to be little attention paid to the recurring male gender of perpetrators. In Canada the killings at the Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal were committed by a man with a hatred for women. Before we talk of remedies by way of gun control maybe we should man up and address violence against women in a male dominated world.

    As much as we've struggled to move beyond Hammurabi's law code of an eye for an eye we still seem to weigh justice in terms of property loss, whether it be and eye or a wife. The crime under discussion is more grievous because we lost, in world terms, some of the best and the brightest. Personally if criminals want to kill each other I'm all for it. The death of advanced students in a democracy is unacceptable.

    Statistically the death of 33 people is negligible. The population of the U.S. is IIRC near 300 million. World population is around 6 billion. An interesting question arises as to why we do more than just glance and the headlines and sigh gratefully for that much less competition for scarce resources.

    The ubiquitous AK47 and firearms generally make discussions about gun control superfluous. It's akin to speaking of locks as a way to keep honest people out. Coming down the pike we will face nuclear terrorism, chemical mass murder and biological weapons of mass destruction. As sad as it may seem we ain't seen noth'n yet.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I find you people rather funny...

    "Not to mention the fact that any one country could overrun america and wipe us off the face of the earth if we had no weapons to defend ourselves."

    Oh, and your rant was going so well, too. Made sense on a few levels - and then you had to go and throw something like the above in and completely destroy any credibility it had.

    (because disarming the military wasn't part of this discussion)

  63. Clay Garland

    Unpopular Belief

    Apparently it is quite unpopular to support the second ammendment to the US constitution, but I have, on a single occasion, used my firearm to disable an armed gunman in defense of a friend of mine who works the counter at a gas station. And I agree 100% that if someone like me had been there with a gun of any kind, even a deer rifle, this could have been stopped before so many lives were lost. It is a tragedy, and without placing blame, the laws governing such situations need to be evaluated.

  64. J

    Information?

    To all the monkey-minded people who seem to want to live in a Wild West style world and think it a good idea to hand over a gun to every half wit with a "clean record": it seems a lot of you guys where saying the VT guy was already breaking the law anyway. According to information available on the web for long, you're WRONG.

    1) he was a LEGAL RESIDENT, having had a Green Card for many years (was last renewed in 2003, and background check was clean, whatever that means);

    2) he LEGALLY purchased at least one of the guns (a Glock 9mm), they even have the footage from surveillance cameras at the store (Roanoke Firearms) showing the transaction -- and he still had the receipt too;

    And the federal US law apparently says that you have to be a resident (NOT necessarily a citizen) to have the right to buy guns. Even that has an exception, where a non-resident (which is anybody who's not downright illegal) who's been in the US for more than 90 days CAN get a gun for hunting.

    Anyway, I don't know why I'm even giving you information, since it can't possibly penetrate your thick skulls...

  65. Geoff Gale

    So Much Printed; So Little Said

    I've gone to the bother of reading all 61 (it was 61 at the time, anyway) responses to this tragedy.

    Sadly, there were only a couple of comments that cut through the BS and the clutter. Most of the respondents want to focus on hyperbole, posturing and personal agenda-ism. Two lonely persons who discerned that this isn't about gun control, Bush, Cheney, Iraq, left, right, up, down, right, wrong - it's about a nutter who did something horribly, horribly wrong.

    Sigh, I agree with the comment that some of you folks make me worry for our collective future.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In another world

    you people are insane.

    Claims if other students were armed this would have been avoided?.

    and

    Police should have blasted messages over intercoms at 7:10 am.

    Picture this

    7:10am Police blare warning message

    7:11am large wadds of students scared easily cower in their bedrooms distressed

    While dozens grab a semi automatic pistol from thier own rooms.

    7:20am one the the armed students spots another student with a defensive concealed weapons. The student takes measures to defend himself and fires.

    Panic erupts other students hear a pistol and shoot the kid who the see shooting another person.

    more and more students shooting at random people with guns drawn.

    It is no longer the largest mass murder in US history it is now the largest needless blood bath

  67. Sean Glazier

    Food for thought

    What is not Mentioned by the press ever is that about 2.5 million times a year in the US a gun is used with out firing to stop a crime by an armed citizen. Those are FBI stats. While this gets attention and the Gun banners say you got to ban guns, Banning guns has never reduced crime. Look across the pond and it is clear Great Britian has more crime than it ever did and more guns than they had previously.

    Criminals will always have guns.

    I practice shooting and even though I work from home I am always armed. I have my .45 on my hip as I write this. Here in AZ there have been criminals going around invading homes busting down the doors and catching people off guard. In some cases they rape then kill the occupants in some cases the owner lives.

    Like with other crimes they get thwarted when they run into an arm citizen. Most times the crime is stopped with out having to fire. in that statistic there are 750,000 rapes that are prevented every year. Society no matter where you are is not safe and the government sure can make it that way.

    the 2nd Admendment is about protecting the right of self defense as well. You have the natural given right to defend yourself if attacked. Creating "gun Free Zones" simply ensures the criminals will have a free pass at killing people. Kinda like what is going on in Great Britain right now

  68. Sean Glazier

    Pro Gun People Do NOT all Support Bush!!

    It has been asserted here that Pro Gunners support the tyranny of Bush. That is not true and there is a growing tide against that man. you can read lots of progun web sites and blogs and get some quite colorful langauge descibing how tyranical Bush is. IN 2000 he had pro Gun support since Gore certainly would have tried to Ban guns. Bush was not thier first choice and the same is true in 2004. There were 3rd party canidates that took a percentage of the votes. Right now there are a lot of conservatives who are very very unhappy with the president. heck his approval ratings are some where in the 20% range.

    A lot of progunners myself included support ALL of the constitution and have actively worked against the Bush tyranny. As far as I am concerned we no longer live in a free country we live in a fascist dictatorship. Our presidents for a long time have been working for some one other than "We The People". More and More americans are realizing it and there will be a day soon we'll do something about it.

    When that day comes the guns will come in handy.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check

    "Because it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check"

    ... Yes - that obviously worked in Iraq...

    My GOD! When will these people learn? Perhaps it's better that The entirety of the US is armed better. Then maybe one day, they'll just all shoot each other, and then we can get on with our lives....

  70. Paul

    Sad.

    "Listen up cracker."

    Oh, really...you claim not to be a racist, accuse me of being one, and then you roll out a good old fashioned anti-white racial jibe. And you don't even know *what* color my skin is...

    I want to address one other thing you said. Other than that, we're done here; I have no respect for the words or opinions of a hypocrite, especially when 32 innocent people are lying in the medical examiners office not 20 miles from here.

    "And to be real honest, I bet you would love to take my gun. Keep me in my place, huh."

    If not having a firearm to hand makes you feel so downtrodden and insecure, then I have only pity for you.

    The local news here in Roanoke is talking about acts of heroism. *Unarmed* people putting themselves in the path of this madman to save others from his bullets, laying their lives down to buy others enough time to jump out of a second story window to safety.

    They didn't think "oh, I'd love to help out, but I had to leave my guns at home". No, they did what was right anyway, even though it meant certain death.

    That's what I call true American spirit, the sort of guts to stand up for what's right in the face of a much better armed opponent.

    As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to keep your guns, it's your second amendment right after all, they've proved a lifesaver for you in the past, and anyway I really don't believe that gun control actually controls guns.

    But you've proven yourself to be a rage-filled individual with a tendency to lash out furiously, without thinking or paying much attention to context, at anyone or anything who disagrees with you.

    It seems to me that massacres like this one, or the one before it, or the one that will inevitably follow, are caused by people with exactly those characteristics, plus access to guns, plus whatever it is about this particular society that makes people here more prone to "going postal".

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Americans won't learn

    Riiiiight, outlawing them will help because people don't break the law...

    Just look the examples!

    1. Prohibition of Alcohol worked!

    2. Drug laws work!

    3. Guns outlawed on campus law worked!

  72. russell muscarella

    We are all to blame!

    Time has come to pressure politicians to allow officials of institutions (colleges and high schools) to do as the airline pilots have option to do since 9/11, carry a concealed weapon. Further, I believe it would be good for some students to do the same. We have to face the reality of this world today, and that is the terrorists are not going to go away, and horrible things like copy cat school shootings will happen again, it is all a matter of time before it does.

  73. Leif

    Gun Laws

    Wow

    I do not own a weapon, but one day I would like to own one and support that freedom.

    It doesn't take a gun to kill 30 or 40 people. The human mind can think of several ways to kill in quantity. Those of you searching for an answer to violence such as this college massacre are quick to point a finger at the handgun.

    It's only because of your ignorance you would want to begin something as tragic as disarming America.

    It's probably because you, as a citizen of America, have not been put to the sword. Therefore it remains an impossibility for you. You've likely never been robbed, raped, stabbed, or beaten either. Things like that can change your perspective.

    While your limited "focus" aided by the media places your gaze on this event there are many, many, more events of much larger magnitude going on about you.

    Why don't you complain about how your Country's most powerful are behind our foreign policy, simultaneously competing for the world market at the cost of members of your military arm, building a near Orwellian structure of Intelligence that is "designed to fight the terrorist" but inclusively may be used to monitor competitors on every side and within America, and how gluttonous big oil is wrapped up within our government as a whole?

    But why should you complain? You don't directly see these people or those responsible and it is not televised. How could you be aware or formulate an answer? These actions put food on the table of America. These actions while at the cost of millions of lives in 3rd World countries like Africa and S. America put food on the table of Americans. It boosts the buying power of the dollar. Yet your concern is for a mere 32 lives.

    The bottom line is we can only be good people ourselves and be good examples. Out of 450 million Americans, there's going to be some bad apples and so there's a need for good education and law. I moved to a new city last year, the same day a man was stabbed in the chest at an ATM. Is there an answer for that?

  74. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    the other Great American Perversion

    Ignoring all the pro/anti gun control posts as being off-topic, the first thing that occured to me when I read the article title was that some one was pre-positioning themselves for a lawsuit. Since there was likely to be little return in sueing a dead exchange student, they try to leech into the police and University administration.

    With all due respect to El Reg, that kind of behaviour gives carrion feeders a bad name.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guns in context

    The Second Amendment says:

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    The American Revolution was fought by a citizen militia, who found it necessary to take up arms against the Crown to secure liberty for themselves and their descendants.

    The Americans knew that it might be necessary to fight an oppressive government again. As Jefferson wrote:

    "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

    Hence the right to keep and bear arms, that a citizen militia can abolish oppressive governments when necessary.

    ==========

    Guns are here to stay. We can't legislate them out of existence. If this fool didn't have a gun, maybe he would have plowed his car into a crowd instead--same effect. The focus should not be on the means used--it should be on MENTAL HEALTH. It is MENTAL ILLNESS that brings these situations about, whether the perpetrator uses a gun, sarin gas, a bomb, a car, an airplane, or a knife.

  76. David

    Who has the biggest guns rules

    How ironic that people would trust "governments", the very ones with the biggest and baddest weapons, and a history of recklessly, and often in the name of "democracy", using them on the weak and unarmed, with somehow restraining themselves and focusing exclusively on those who are construed as "the bad men". Thats a hoot!

    As if looking around the world day today should tell us something about this. Why only 32 dead might be considered a "good day" in Baghdad. And never mind all those civilians who "accidentally" get gunned down by the "good-uns" but whose lives are shrugged off with a wink and a nod. Who cares about them... since they're just ignorant "rag-heads" or "foreigners" to self absorbed Tee-Vee indoctrinated Brits and Yanks. Better not to trouble ones head with that but instead focus on the latest music or fashionable crap to spend money on.

    And who exactly minds the "minders"? Hmmm? The fact that this Orwellian gun control mindset has infiltrated peoples' thick craniums to such a degree must bring tears of joy to Statist hive-minders. Pity the poor Russian or German who in the past was similarly disarmed, silenced, and effectively murdered later by his "caring" government. All in the name of "peace and security" no doubt.

  77. Matt Bradley

    a citizen militia can abolish oppressive governments when necessary

    "a citizen militia can abolish oppressive governments when necessary"

    This ties in nicely with the previous comment about needing guns to keep tyrants in check.

    One has to wonder whether these "tyrants" include such individuals and John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King, or those unfortunate 32 young people.

    Clearly bad people can and do get hold of firearms, but this is not the problem. The problem is that when you make firearms readily available to EVERYBODY, then situations that might otherwise have let to nasty beating or a stabbing become a shooting, or even a mass shooting.

    I life in a fairyl rough Northern English town, and on Friday / Saturday nights there are regular fights in the town centre caused by people getting too drunk and losing their sense of perspective. I dread to think what my home town would be like if these kinds of people could walk into a shop and buy an automatic pistol. This is the problem which the US is having the deal with, and until handguns are made less readily available, this will continue to be problem, of this I am certain. The statistisc alone speak for themselves.

    Sure, we have gun crime in the UK. Bad people do bad things. But we don't have anything like the number of day to day shootings per capita that occur in countries where weapons are available to one and all.

    Even though the shooter in this case was clearly not in a sound state of mind, it strikes me as unlikely that he would have been as capable of obtaining these kinds of automatic weapons if he first had to make to pretty heavy black market connections first, and then raise the necessary capital to buy serious weapons such as the ones used illegally. That would require a great deal more planning, and a much greater risk of being caught before he even fired a shot.

  78. Michael Motal

    live footage

    What does the mobile video have to do with the rest of the story?

    Unnecessary and bad journalism!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fear is the key

    Sure, Britain can be a violent place but I don't live in fear. While it's true that there have been a spate of shooting in some inner city areas. This is mainly due to the 'gang culture' and the recent availability of guns. It is not a way of life. I walk the streets of my neighbourhood without a gun and send my kids to walk to school. Coincidently these guns began to appear, in Nottingham at least, at the same time as the IRA began to disarm.

    The point is that a lot of Americans believe they have what everyone else wants and appear to live in a state of perpetual fear that someone is going to it take away from them. If you don't believe me check the guy who thought that if the US citizens were disarmed 'any other country' could wipe out the US.

    That is living in fear.

  80. Sean Healey

    Citizen Militia

    ...Such an absurdly outdated concept, which in many of the preceding comments is clearly still clung to fervently by pro-gun Americans as justification for personal gun ownership.

    Anyone who actually thought about that for even a minute would realise that over the last 50 years, all you dutiful employees of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Carlyle Group and many other huge companies have been working hard to provide the increasingly imperialist US government with all the tools it needs to crush a citizen uprising effortlessly.

    In reply to the post claiming that UK gun crime is now worse than it ever was before the handgun ban was introduced, I'd like that author to consider that point from another angle - Who is perpetrating the majority of high-profile gun crime in the UK these days? I'll tell you - mainly young black kids affiliated with the increasing numbers of gangs, who have bought the whole US style glamourised "guns are power" thing. These kids think that "packing heat" is the way to get "respect", and that "popping a cap in yaw ass" is the way to settle an issue thanks to the twisted values being sold to them by America through exported culture.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insecurity

    This report goes to prove what I have always mantained, that Americans are a very insecure young nation and understand little about gentility and tact. They have failed to understand that times have changed massively since their recent inception as a nation, they still seem to believe that if everyone bears arms it will make for equality. Since they are as a nation unstable they are totally unfit to carry out delicate negotiations, they do not understand that the "might is right" has no credence in modern society. They, like we, are a mongrel nation nation but in our case the mixing has taken place over a great length of time (at least 2000 years) and continues to this day. Since their first colonies were set up in the 1500s there has been too little time in which to absorb the multiplicity of races who have made their ways there. The mix of races and cultures could, given time, make for a template for the ultimate global society but that has not yet come to pass and until the nature of mankind, not merely American, changes we shall, I fear, witness more in the same vein.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Militia? Self Defense?

    Honestly if anyone still thinks citizens with handguns, rifles, and shotguns would be more then a nuisance to an actual military you are joking yourselves. How many private citizens have their own F16 squadrons, tank battalions, and Tomahawk missiles? The 2nd amendment was created in another time, a time that now has no context in everyday life.

    For the 2 people posting examples of how they used their gun to defend themselves there are hundreds of examples where private gun owners have killed themselves and/or others with their guns. Or how those same guns have been stolen and used to kill others - honestly where do you think many these black market guns come from?

    Yes enacting strong gun laws wont eliminate gun related deaths, but to think it would have no impact or that criminals would have a field day because of. . . thats extremely flawed logic. Check out the numbers in Australia just a few years after their strong gun laws took effect. The people perpetrating the crimes in question are not gang bangers or criminals - they would have no contacts to buy such weapons from (or ammo for that matter).

  83. Josh

    Re: A LOT

    RE: Any one who said the police are to blame:

    Besides all the common sense arguments already put forth against this, does anyone who has ever needed police in the past really believe they are likely to arrive in time? Based on my experiences ( and they are widely varying), I cannot both be at ease AND know I place nearly all of my personal safety in the hands of others, let alone the cops (who have been killing a steadily increasing number of unarmed people where I live).

    RE:NRA

    I can't say for sure, but I think American Media (in it's quest to 'generate' news) probably contacted the NRA for comment, and the NRA was dumb enough to give one.

    RE:What the "but banning gauns dosn't" lobby misses...

    "Is that there is every difference between a premediated crime andone of passion. Sure, a career criminal might get a gun in the UK. But if someone gets jilted, he won't have a gun on hand."

    No, he'll just get a knife, or run me over with a truck, or get a can of gas and set me on fire, or any of the other thousand ways to kill someone. EVERYTHING becomes a dangerous weapon when in the hands of someone commiting a 'crime of passion'.

    RE:Oooh boy

    "I don't know about you, but when I think about going to the library, or the gym, or for lunch, I don't think "Must remember to pack a weapon in case some looney gets jilted"."

    I don't think that either.

    Nor do I think about the possibility of getting mangled in a car wreck; I still carry full coverage auto insurance, and I would bet you have something similar as well.

    RE:what nonsense some people talk

    "Try resarching per capita deaths from shootings, where the US has something like 80 times the number of deaths of the UK."

    Do the same for Canada, where guns are not banned, and you will find similar results ( though there have been schools shootings in Canada). Again, this seems to indicate something deeper than the laws is wrong here. (See comment "Guns don't kill people ...

    By Thomas Huxley")

    Re: Crime of Passion

    "Isn't that what the US Army is there for?"

    Who will protect the American citizens from the US Army?

    RE:RE Crime of Passion:

    In the words of Jake Burns in the song, "Roots, Radics, Rockers and Reggae"

    "Throw away the guns and the war is all gone."

    You do realize that war was around for millenia before guns were, right? If you want to get rid of war, the biggest first step to take is to ban religion. Before guns were a part of war, untold millions died in the name of various gods...

    RE: "it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."?!?!?!

    "what PRECISELY keeping in check of the tyrant known as Bush have your guns achieved??"

    What makes you think hes not already 'in check'? Do you honestly believe he is not capable of committing much more evil than he has already?

    "Get real; criminals will ALWAYS get guns; it is EXACTLY this type of massacre that disarming normal people will avoid."

    What does this statement mean? You talk of disarming normal people, right after stating criminals will always get guns.

    RE:You leave us alone

    Love your first paragraph, however, please don't group all Americans with the nut bag you quoted. These people are a dying group in America. We are moving away from xenophobism, towards the ultimate discrimination: Me above all.

    RE:Guns don't deter guns!

    "The thing that, surprisingly, hasn't been pointed out yet is that even the best marksman in the world cannot deflect a flying bullet!"

    But we're talking about a chance to save a life here. The 1st shooter might miss, but not the marksman. Also, such an incredible marksman would also be likely to have incredible speed, maybe getting a shot off as soon as the other guy levels his weapon to aim.

    "There will always be criminals and if you want to deter them from having or using guns you need to make it harder for them to get them." Or you could try to deter them from being criminals.

    Re: My $0,02

    Posted Tuesday 17th April 2007 15:50 GMT

    THANK YOU

    RERe: "it is only through guns that tyrants are kept in check."?!?!?!

    By adam

    I support the 2nd amendment....but I don't agree with one single thing in your list. See how you are prejudicially assuming things about everyone who doesn't agree with you single viewpoint?

    RE:An appropriate time to bear a firearm

    I'm glad to hear that you were able to help yourself. Statistically speaking, you're lucky to have kept control of the gun, but then again, you were screwed without it to begin with...

    This was all a terrible mistake, and a tragedy on many levels. The silver lining I find is the amount of arrogance, ingorance, and hate people still hold for each other has been laid bare in a national spotlight. Still, I fear this will not matter to most people in a week, and everyone will be blamed but the shooter, because Americans no longer understand the phrase "Personal Responsibility".

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