Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gods, Guns and Gays

A shooting has just occurred at Virginia Tech yesterday morning, with a final body count of 33, including the gun man, plus an equal number wounded. It had all the symptoms of a spree killer, the the type of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) with no discernible pattern for a random act of violence that usually ends in suicide.

After the usual period of morning at this senseless tragedy, the focus will eventually turn to one of the three elements of the trifecta that has allowed the former Republican majority to dominate politics from 1994 to 2006, while engaging in a form of class warfare that has screwed the middle class.

My Republican friends are absolutely ruthless when exploiting the fear of Gay marriage terrorist threatening American Values, but this is nothing compared to using gun ownership as a wedge issue. Aided by the NRA, and its legal arm the ILA, this once proud hunting and firearms organization has been so radicalized in the last two decades that President Bush Senior resigned his life time membership (in a 1995 fundraising letter NRA President LaPierre referred to the Secret Service agents who protected President Bush as 'jack booted thugs').

The alliance of the Movement Conservatives and the NRA has been so successful that in 2007, any firearms legislation no matter how reasonable is deemed a threat to liberty; and no politician, D, I or R will bring it up. The Bush administration and the Republican Congress have allowed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that defined and banned "large capacity ammunition feeding devices" (magazines with capacities of greater than ten rounds) to lapse.
...Because he killed and injured so many victims in a short span of time, some people speculated that Cho used high-capacity magazines containing as many as 33 rounds in each clip.

Under the federal assault-weapons ban enacted in 1994, magazines were limited to 10 rounds. But that ban was allowed to expire in 2004..."The key thing that we have seen in all of these school shootings is easy access to high firepower weapons," said Daniel Vice, an attorney with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "These killings can't be done with baseball bats and knives."
And what of polls and the people? Who do the majority favor, the Brady center or the NRA. According to Harris and Gallup 2004, the majority have said that while they reject the idea of gun ownership being illegal, they would have liked the AWB renewed and stricter laws on the sale of Firearms. (It would not be the first time that a small but well funded group of individuals could affect policy for the rest of us, even if they do so opposite what people actually believe. The lapdog beltway pundits excel at this sort of thing).

If you read this far, you may ask where am I going with this. Well, just one final thought no matter where you stand on guns ownership. According to DOJ, since 1976 Bureau of Justice Statistics show gun homicides have varied between 11,000 to 15,000 per year. Locking up people in large numbers does not affect gun murders:
Between 1974 and 2001, the prevalence of imprisonment increased by nearly 3.8 million. This included a 1.1 million increase in the number of adults in prison (up from 216,000) and a nearly 2.7 million increase in the number of living former prisoners (up from 1,603,000).
My question for those who believe that gun ownership laws should be less restrictive is; can you live with this murder rate? Because under our present rules, it the hidden price you have to pay for your guns.

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