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  1. #1
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    Default U.S. gun laws draw heat after massacre

    The Virginia Tech shootings sparked criticism of U.S. gun control laws around the world Tuesday. Editorials lashed out at the availability of weapons, and the leader of Australia one of America's closest allies declared that America's gun culture was costing lives.

    South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the government hoped Monday's shootings, allegedly carried out by a 23-year-old South Korean native, would not "stir up racial prejudice or confrontation."

    While some focused blame only on the gunman, world opinion over U.S. gun laws was almost unanimous: Access to weapons increases the probability of shootings. There was no sympathy for the view that more guns would have saved lives by enabling students to shoot the assailant.

    "We took action to limit the availability of guns and we showed a national resolve that the gun culture that is such a negative in the United States would never become a negative in our country," said Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who staked his political career on promoting tough gun laws after a gunman went on one of the world's deadliest killing sprees 11 years ago.

    The tragedy in a Tasmanian tourist resort left 35 people dead. Afterward, Australia's gun laws were changed to prohibit automatic weapons and handguns and toughen licensing and storage restrictions.

    Handguns are also banned in Britain a prohibition that forces even the country's Olympic pistol shooting team from practicing on its own soil. In Sweden, civilians can acquire firearm permits only if they have a hunting license or are members of a shooting club and have no criminal record. In Italy, people must have a valid reason for wanting one. Firearms are forbidden for private Chinese citizens.

    Still, leaders from Britain, Germany, Mexico, China, Afghanistan and France stopped short of criticizing President Bush or U.S. gun laws when they offered sympathies to the families of Monday's victims.

    Editorials were less diplomatic.

    "Only the names change And the numbers," read a headline in the Times of London. "Why, we ask, do Americans continue to tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year, when presumably, tougher restrictions, such as those in force in European countries, could at least reduce the number?"

    The French daily Le Monde said the regularity of mass shootings across the Atlantic was a blotch on America's image.

    "It would be unjust and especially false to reduce the United States to the image created, in a recurrent way, from the bursts of murderous fury that some isolated individuals succumb to. But acts like this are rare elsewhere, and tend to often disfigure the 'American dream.'"

    Police started identifying the victims Tuesday. One was a Peruvian student identified as Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, according to his mother Betty Cuevas, who said her son was studying international relations.

    Professors from India, Israel and Canada also were killed.

    Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics lecturer, tried to stop the gunman from entering his classroom by blocking the door before he was fatally shot, his son said Tuesday from Tel Aviv.

    "My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said. His father, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel from Romania, and was on sabbatical in Virginia.

    Indian-born G.V. Loganathan, 51, a lecturer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was also among the dead, his brother G.V. Palanivel told Indian media.

    "We all feel like we have had an electric shock. We do not know what to do," Palanivel said.

    Canadian Jocelyn Couture-Nowak, a French instructor, also died in the shootings, said her husband Jerzy Nowak, head of the university's horticulture department. "We're mourning," Nowak said.

    The killings also hit a nerve for Virginia Tech alumni abroad.

    "I think if this does prompt a serious and reflective debate on gun issues and gun law in the States, then some good may come from this woeful tragedy," said British Home Office Minister Tony McNulty, who graduated in 1982.

    Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms last year was the lowest since the late 1980s. New York City, with 8 million people compared to 53 million in England and Wales, recorded 590 homicides last year.

    "If the guns are harder to get a hold of, fewer people will do it," said Michael Dent, a 65-year-old construction worker in London. "You can't walk up to a supermarket or shop and buy a gun like in the States."

    But even in Germany, where gun-control laws are strict, a teenager in 2002 shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer at a high school. The shooter was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.

    "The instant I saw the pictures and heard the commentary, it immediately brought back our own experience," Gutenberg high school director Christiane Alt said of the Virginia Tech killings.

    The Swedish daily Goteborgs-Posten said without access to weapons, the killings at Virginia Tech may have been prevented.

    "What exactly triggered the massacre in Virginia is unclear, but the fundamental reason is often the perpetrator's psychological problems in combination with access to weapons," it wrote.

    The shootings drew intense media coverage in China, in part because the school has a large Chinese student body.

    "This incident reflects the problem of gun control in America," Yuan Peng, an American studies expert in China, was quoted as saying by state-run China Daily.

    Only 7 percent of the more than 26,000 students at Virginia Tech are foreign, according to the school Web site. But Chinese make up nearly a third of that.

    In Italy, there are three types of licenses for gun ownership: for personal safety, target practice and skeet shooting, and hunting. Authorization is granted by the police. To obtain a gun for personal safety, the owner must be an adult and have a "valid" reason.

    Italy's leading daily Corriere della Sera's main story on the shootings was an opinion piece entitled "Guns at the Supermarket" a critical view of the U.S. gun lobby and the ease with which guns can be purchased. State-run RAI radio also discussed at length what it said were lax standards for gun ownership in the United States.

    "The latest attack on a U.S. campus will shake up America, maybe it will provoke more vigorous reactions than in the past, but it won't change the culture of a country that has the notion of self-defense imprinted on its DNA and which considers the right of having guns inalienable," Corriere wrote in its front-page story.

    Several Italian graduate students at Virginia Tech recounted how they barricaded themselves inside a geology department building not far from the scene of the shooting.

    In Mexico, radio commentators criticized the availability of firearms in the U.S. Others renewed Mexico's complaint that most guns in Mexico are smuggled in from the United States.

    The killings led newspapers' front pages, with Mexico City's Dario Monitor reporting: "Terror returns to the U.S.: 32 assassinated on university campus." The tabloid Metro compared Mexico's death toll Monday from drug violence to the number of people killed at Virginia Tech, in a front-page headline that read: "U.S. 33, Mexico 20."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    Reid warns against rush on gun control

    After the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) cautioned Tuesday against a "rush to judgment" on stricter gun control. A leading House supporter of restrictions on firearms conceded passage of legislation would be difficult.


    "I think we ought to be thinking about the families and the victims and not speculate about future legislative battles that might lie ahead," said Reid, a view expressed by other Democratic leaders the day after the shootings that left 33 dead on the campus of Virginia Tech.

    Democrats traditionally have been in the forefront of efforts to pass gun control legislation, but there is a widespread perception among political strategists that the issue has been a loser in recent campaigns. It was notably absent from the agenda Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) unveiled earlier this year when the party took control of the House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade.

    In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, a few Democrats renewed the call for gun control legislation, and more are expected to join them.

    "I believe this will reignite the dormant effort to pass commonsense gun regulations in this nation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), a California Democrat who was a leader in the failed drive to renew a ban on certain types of assault weapons that expired in 2004.

    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was one of very few lawmakers to defer pushing for gun control in the early hours after the shootings. "There will be time to debate the steps needed to avert such tragedies," he said on Monday, "but today, our thoughts and prayers go to their families."

    By coincidence, Kennedy and Rep. Xavier Becerra (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., are scheduled to attend a demonstration Friday at a firing range used by U.S. Capitol Police to draw attention to microstamping, a procedure by which serial numbers are placed on ammunition casings. The goal is to allow police and other investigators to quickly track ammunition to the gun that fired it.

    The two lawmakers support legislation to require microstamping for all guns manufactured after 2009, and aides to both said they planned to go ahead with the demonstration.

    Overall, though, said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., "It is a tough sell" to pass gun control legislation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held a brief meeting on the subject to discuss possible legislation, including a proposal for an instant background check for gun purchasers. But there was no apparent eagerness by Reid, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., or her to predict Democrats would lead a drive to toughen existing laws.

    One senior Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record) of New York, said gun rights advocates are simply too influential to allow a tightening of gun control laws. "It's a regional thing, it's a cultural thing," Rangel said, arguing that even in areas where 85 percent of the people support more restrictions, the 15 percent minority is far more active and outspoken.

    Less than a month ago, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders abruptly pulled legislation to give the District of Columbia voting representation in the House. Republicans were using the issue to try to force a vote on repeal of the capital's handgun ban, and Democrats feared it would pass.

    Hoyer told reporters he thought and hoped the shootings at Virginia Tech would make it harder for Republicans to prevail when the voting rights bill returns to the House floor later this week.

    He refused to be drawn into a discussion of the longer-term political consequences of the shooting, saying, "All I am saying is there will be a debate. I am not going to enter into the debate today."

    Not all lawmakers were as reticent.

    Sen. Larry Craig (news, bio, voting record), R-Idaho, one of Congress' most persistent advocates of gun rights, noted that the student who police say was the shooter at Virginia Tech had brought a weapon onto campus in violation of restrictions. He said he doubted a law could be passed that would protect "any of us when somebody who is mentally deranged decides to do this."

    President Bush said in an interview with ABC News that he expects a debate on gun policy, but now is not the time.

    "I think when a guy walks in and shoots 32 people it's going to cause there to be a lot of policy debate," he said. "Now is not the time to do the debate until we're actually certain about what happened. And after we help people get over their grieving. But yeah I think there's going to be a lot of discussion."

    One law enforcement official has said that the gunman's backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. The gunman held a green card, meaning he was a legal, permanent resident, federal officials said. That meant he was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of a felony.

    Democrats have grown less supportive of gun control legislation as a party in the past decade.

    After the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, then-Vice President Al Gore cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate on legislation to reduce the availability of certain firearms. He and other gun control advocates claimed victory, but many strategists believe the vote hurt him in the 2000 presidential election.

    Gun control tends to win favor among suburban voters, but it often stirs opposition in less heavily populated areas

    So far this year, there has been little evidence that Democrats feel otherwise after winning control of the House by picking up seats last fall in parts of Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere where hunting is popular.

    ____
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    A Disarmed Campus
    By John Tabin


    In January 2006, Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert introduced House Bill 1572, which was meant to guarantee, with a few exceptions, that students with concealed handgun permits would be allowed to carry guns on college campuses. The bill died in subcommittee later that month. Like many schools, Virginia Tech had a policy prohibiting guns on campus, and Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker expressed pleasure at the bill's defeat. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions," said Hincker, "because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

    As we all know by now, the gun ban didn't insure safety. Virginia Tech was the site of the worst shooting spree in American history yesterday. Thirty-two people are dead -- not including the shooter, who committed suicide -- and at least fifteen are injured. Mightn't a law-abiding armed student have stopped the spree in its tracks? We'll never know.

    Perhaps some school administrators still think that declaring a "gun-free zone" makes a campus safer; that was what legislators thought when they started passing gun bans at high schools in response to the late-'80s youth-crime spike. But it's likely that at the college level, fear of litigation plays a large role in shaping such policies. No school or business has been successfully sued following an on-site incident involving a gun, but according to David Kopel, director of the Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute, "that doesn't stop administrators from being scared." Kopel notes that big business is afflicted by the same lawsuit-paranoia. "If you look in these corporate counsel manuals...you'll find these things all over the place, saying that you should adopt a no-guns policy so you don't get sued -- when there's really never been a case of a successful suit," says Kopel.

    The irony, Kopel points out, is that Virginia Tech may have opened itself up to a lawsuit anyway. Two people were killed several hours before the rest of the victims, and many have complained that the school didn't warn people of the situation before the killing started again. "This interval and failure to warn, after having affirmatively disarmed them...I'm not a Virginia tort expert," says Kopel, "but that strikes me as a good start" for an enterprising litigator. Perhaps the reluctance to release the news flowed from the same central-command instincts that led administrators to disarm their students.

    To gun control advocates, the failure of an anti-gun regulation just proves the need for more anti-gun regulations. The Brady Campaign's website had a newly designed "Donate Now" button referencing Virginia Tech almost immediately. It's worth asking, though, if guns aren't that different from information, and if it wouldn't be better to loosen control over both.


    John Tabin is a frequent online contributor to The American Spectator and AmSpecBlog.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    I can't wait for pro-self-defence automatic-weapons owners to reply.

    Tell me how many people of your type prevented this from happening? Or people in Virginia don't keep guns for self-defence?

    Quote Originally Posted by article or whatever View Post
    As we all know by now, the gun ban didn't insure safety.

    That freak surely made his guns in his dorm room
    Last edited by WinterlessIceness; 04.17.07 at 07:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WinterlessIceness View Post

    Tell me how many people of your type prevented this from happening? Or people in Virginia don't keep guns for self-defence?
    keeping guns for self defense is one thing. Carrying concealed weapons to class is another. Guns are not legally allowed on campus, I assume.
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    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wickett View Post
    keeping guns for self defense is one thing. Carrying concealed weapons to class is another. Guns are not legally allowed on campus, I assume.
    Then the best thing is to keep shotgun/rifle type of weapons for home and ban handguns. You don't need to carry the gun for self-defence if you don't expect to run into someone carrying one. We don't have school massacres in Britain, we have handguns banned. Coincidence much?

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    Police: Crime chief kills Japanese mayor

    Killer is a senior member of Japan's largest organized crime syndicate
    Shiroo was denied compensation for damaged car, protested money scandals
    Ito was campaigning for his fourth term in office before Sunday's elections
    Second attack in the last 20 years against a mayor of Nagasaki

    TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- The mayor of Nagasaki was fatally shot in a brazen attack by an organized crime chief apparently enraged that his car was damaged at a public works construction site in the Japanese city, police said Wednesday.

    A Nagasaki city official said no funeral arrangements were yet in place. The vice mayor was set to brief city staff on the assassination early Wednesday morning.

    The shooting was rare in a country where handguns are strictly banned and only four politicians are known to have been killed since World War II.

    Mayor Iccho Ito, 61, was shot twice in the back at point-blank range outside a train station Tuesday evening, Nagasaki police official Rumi Tsujimoto said.

    One of the bullets struck the mayor's heart and he went into cardiac arrest, according to Nagasaki University Hospital spokesman Kenzo Kusano. Kyodo News agency and national broadcaster NHK said Ito died of his wounds early Wednesday.

    Tetsuya Shiroo, a senior member of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organized crime syndicate, was wrestled to the ground by officers after the attack and arrested for attempted murder, police said.

    He later admitted to shooting Ito with a handgun with the intent to kill, Nagasaki chief investigator Kazuki Umebayashi said at a news conference.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a "rigorous investigation."

    "If we tolerate someone to suppress other people by force because he can't have his own way, that would turn the clock back to the prewar dark age when Japan took a wrong course as a result of the suppression of freedom of speech," the national daily Asahi said in its editorial Wednesday.

    It was the second attack in the last 20 years against a mayor of Nagasaki, which was destroyed by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945 and whose leaders have actively campaigned against militarism.

    In 1990, Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima was shot and seriously wounded after saying that Japan's emperor, beloved by rightists, bore some responsibility for World War II.

    Trivial matter
    Tuesday's attack appeared to involve a more trivial matter, however.

    Shiroo reportedly clashed with Nagasaki city officials in 2003 after his car was damaged when he drove into a hole at a public works site. He tried unsuccessfully to get compensation from the city after his insurance company refused to pay up, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

    Shiroo also sent a letter to broadcaster TV Asahi to protest recent money scandals linked to Ito, including hidden accounts and public works contracts, Kyodo reported.

    Backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Ito was campaigning for his fourth term in office before Sunday's elections. He was an active figure in the movement against nuclear proliferation, heading a coalition of Japanese cities calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

    "Mayor Ito had a strong and boundless passion for peace," said Sunao Tsuboi, leader of a survivors' group based in Hiroshima, a city also flattened by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945. "We all pray for his recovery."

    Commonly known as yakuza, Japan's organized crime groups are typically involved in real estate and construction kickback schemes, extortion, gambling, the sex industry, gunrunning and drug trafficking.

    The yakuza also have had a long-standing political alliance with right-wing nationalists in Japan, although authorities did not indicate that Tuesday's attack was politically motivated.

    Organized crime groups are behind most shootings in Japan, with two-thirds of the country's 53 known shootings last year being gang-related, according to the National Police Agency. Police estimate there are about 84,500 gangsters across Japan.

    Attacks on politicians in post-war Japan are extremely rare.

    In 1960, Socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma was killed in an attack by a sword-wielding 17-year-old that riveted the nation.

    In 2002, a ruling party politician was fatally stabbed in a dispute over political funds. In the 1990s, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker was killed at his home by his daughter and an opposition lawmaker was stabbed to death by a mental patient.

    Last year, a right-wing extremist burned down the house of ruling party lawmaker Koichi Kato after the politician criticized then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's pilgrimage to a controversial Tokyo war shrine. No one was home at the time.

    Ito was born in Nagasaki on Aug. 23, 1945, just two weeks after a U.S. atomic bomb devastated the coastal city on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu.

    He is survived by his wife and two daughters, according to a Nagasaki city official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowLifeFlatHeadScum View Post
    LOL. Seriously. This one will end well.

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    It's interesting because gun laws are intended for all citizens but the only people who abide by them are law abiding citizens...

    Criminals aren't gonna care what laws are out there...

    Gun laws prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves...

    Yeah, gun laws may slow down a criminal from getting a gun but he/she will still find a way to get one...
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    The shooting was rare in a country where handguns are strictly banned and only four politicians are known to have been killed since World War II.
    And as it comes from the rest of this report, guns were used only in one of the incidents

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast98dodge View Post
    Gun laws prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves...

    Yeah, gun laws may slow down a criminal from getting a gun but he/she will still find a way to get one...
    Campus shooter wasn't a criminal. People robbing banks e t c usually tend or at least aim to get away without firing a shot, it's people who aim to blow their brains off who feel an urge to go outside and start wasting civilians in the daytime.

    According to this fight-guns-with-guns policy what's next, let's equip kindergarten/prime school teachers with semi-automatic weapons?

    Edited: seriously, does anyone believe that if any or leave alone most of the students of V.Tech university had firearms last days events would have been of a lesser horridity? You could just imagine a couple of dozen of young males running around with guns shooting each other thinking of one-another as the original shooter, while he'd be shooting the rest of them from their backs.
    Last edited by WinterlessIceness; 04.17.07 at 07:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WinterlessIceness View Post
    Campus shooter wasn't a criminal. People robbing banks e t c usually tend or at least aim to get away without firing a shot, it's people who aim to blow their brains off who feel an urge to go outside and start wasting civilians in the daytime.

    According to this fight-guns-with-guns policy what's next, let's equip kindergarten/prime school teachers with semi-automatic weapons?
    Oh fuck... Here we go... If you have such a bitch about the US, then you may want to rethink your plans of moving to the US...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    Oh fuck... Here we go... If you have such a bitch about the US, then you may want to rethink your plans of moving to the US...
    Well it's always easier to bitch back at someone from the outside instead of acknowledging the fact that there's indeed something wrong within your country?

    To be frankly honest - yes, maybe I'll sound crazy but I really wouldn't like to be shot by a totally random freek along with 3 dozens of others unless I was in a god damn war zone.

    Would my opinion sound different if I was in the US, vod?
    You, or anyone else, can surely reply that I am not and tell me to shut the fuck up. If that contributes to the discussion. But this thread is not about my plans of moving to the US. It's not up to me to decide the future of the gun law in America, but to you and the rest of the US citizens.
    Last edited by WinterlessIceness; 04.17.07 at 07:54 PM.

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    I have to admit, the first thing that came to my mind when I heard of this was how threatened I felt going to classes at night unarmed.

    Who am I kidding? I carried my 9 mm to my night classes. I'm not going to be a victim. Ever. My wife carries guns. My children, when mature enough, will carry guns.

    I will be the first to admit that guns scare the crap out of me. I did not grow up with them and I understand their power to destroy (as does everyone, good and bad). Evil people concern me more.
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    By smokinguitars in forum VH Songs/Albums/Videos
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05.13.02, 06:26 AM

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