In wake of VT killings, NYPost's Michael Daly paints all Virginians with arrogant, simplistic brush

Losanjealous.com's random Nietzche's Family Circus.
Thought before I got back to writing about gun control, I'd provide the above distraction of (via Andrew Sullivan today (blog entry,email). "Neitzche Family Circus" which randomly pairs one of Bil Keane's (bio,email) The Family Circus cartoons with a quote by Friedrich Nietzche. The caption which came up for this cartoon :
Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
Dang No distractions there. As for extreme positions, I'll send this quote to Michael Daly (email) and the Editor (email) at the New York Daily News.

In "Yes, Virginia, guns kill innocents," published the day after the Virginia Tech murders, Daly's harsh tones painted all of us in the Commonwealth with the same broad brush he'd use on the NRA or worse, Gun Owners of Virginia. I agree with Daley and Bloomberg's Mayor's that Virginia guns pose problems for New York, as well as other cities in the Northeast, yet found myself as disgusted with his words as those of the sponsor of H.B. 2653, which outlawed Mayor Bloomberg's sting operation of the same. And that's the correct bill number, not "Bill 2106," as listed by Daly.

And as for ridiculing our election of Jim Webb, did Daly notice Webb has had the spine to stand up to Bush on Iraq and Iran, to irritate the Cato Institute in talking about income disparity in the Wall Street Journal, to oppose General Pack's homophobic remarks, and to co-sponsor progressive legislation including the union card-check provisions deplored by the Chamber of Commece. He's only departing from what I'd support once, regarding, I'll admit, an anti-gun control measure for the District of Columbia.

Would Daly have preferred a vote for George Allen, who had an A+ NRA rating, as did, by the way some New Yorkers (Fosella, Kelly, Reynolds, et. al). Can Daly tell the difference between the general voting record of Allen and the equally A+ Rick Boucher (who represents Blacksburg down to Abingdon)? Does Daly know New York gun owners hope to organize to "take-out" pro-Bloomberg candidates in the Democratic primary? Did Daley notice Virginians re-elected Bobby Scott (NRA grade D-), James Moran (F) and Tom Davis (C), one of the few Republicans NRA grades low? Did Daly read Webb's dignified April 16 statement
I want to express my profound sympathies to the entire Virginia Tech community for the tragic shooting that occurred on the campus earlier this morning. My heart goes out to the parents and families of the victims of this senseless act.
Virginia Tech is a great institution. The young people who were lost today had demonstrated an enormous amount of promise. There is very little that I can add in terms of describing the depth of our feelings and our regret that this incident has occurred. It is an incredible human tragedy.
Hopefully once the grieving is done,we can find ways that will prevent these sorts of incidents from happening in the future.
Of the four current gun control measures, only one has originated in the Senate and has no co-sponsors to date, so it is hard to fault Webb. It will be interesting to see how things evolve.


And for the other extreme position, consider Dale City Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Dale City) who penned  House Bill 2653 which " prohibits anyone other than a law enforcement officer or someone under an officer’s supervision from attempting to persuade a firearms dealer to make an illegal sale."  Am I allowed, as an independent, to say I hope they field a strong candidate against him? After all, in Kansas, Tiahrdt has whole blog about him.  Governor Tim Kaine has announced he's signing the bill.  Below is the letter I'll email tomorrow to Governor  Kaine, so I can mail a similar one to Potomac News (email), Lingamfelter's hometown paper, with a copy to the Democratic Party chair for the District 31, Pete Frisbie (email).
Governor Kaine,
You said in a March 23 news release that you were signing H.B. 2653 because it "will ensure that trained, authorized officers, not individual citizens, media, or interest groups, are enforcing the law."
Can your office please provide me with statistics on how many such stings have been conducted by officers and which Virginia dealers were found to be allowing "straw purchases?"
How did you react when you learned that the four businesses in Madison Heights, Danville, South Boston and Richmond, among the 15 sued by New York City in May, 2006, were alleged to have sold 500 crime guns which the city's police department recovered between 1994 and 2001 and that NYC-hired private investigators from the James Mintz Group caught the dealers allowing one individual to provide the money, select the gun, and direct the purchase, while the other filled out the required paperwork? That three dealers in Midlothian, Rocky Mount and Roanoke (where I live) were among another dozen sued in December 2006 for selling 300 crime guns recovered between 1994 and 2002 and for allowing "straw purchases" by the Mintz Group investigators?
Do "straw purchases" allow friends with no criminal records to stand in a felon's place for background checks?
The Tiahrt amendments to federal spending bills now prohibit the ATF from publishing gun tracking reports. The last such report revealed in 2000 that "49 percent of traceable guns recovered in New York City were first purchased at FFLs [Federal Firearm Licencees] in Southern States: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina." Additionally, "[n]early 75 percent of crime guns recovered in New York City were first purchased at FFLs located 250 miles or more from New York City.
Potomac News reported on April 10, 2007, less than a week before the tragedy at Virginia Tech that the NRA had awarded Dale City Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter (R) as a "Defender of Freedom" for penning the H.B. 2653 "inspired" by NYC Mayor Bloomberg. Lingamfelter said the Mayor "has, I think, wrongly pointed to Virginia for the sources of his troubles. His problems are on the streets of his city not in the towns and cities of Virginia....If you want to clean up New York City we suggest you hire more police as opposed to coming south of the Potomac River to trifle with rights of Virginians."
Would you agree with Lingamfelter that such gun dealers play no part in crime in NYC? Please explain.
H.B. 2654 was heavily supported by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, who sponsored the "Bloomberg Gun GiveAway." The group issued a news release on April 16, "Gun Control Claims Lives at Virginia Tech." It also said in in another news release on April 16 about the failure of H.B. 1572, which would have prevented prohibiting handguns on campus, "Well, Mr. Hincker [Tech's Associate Vice President University Relations and chief spokesman] - are you still happy? Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee - still think you did the right thing?"
How would you respond to this group?
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
  • Email from Sabrina that she'll take a gun control essay for LLRX.
  • Phone conversation with Kim ditto for the NRFP.
  • Called Yvonne about Clean Water Protection Act lobbying. She invited me to stay with her while I'm in the DC area.
  • Called Cindy Rank, who tells me Frank Pallone (D-NJ) will soon submit the Act with 61 co-sponsors. Rank is sending a copy of an email, so I can get started on the blog entry for Congresspedia.


The Second Amendment was talking about muskets...

Mike Lane's (email) cartoon of April 17 on the Virginia Tech shootings. Lane left the Baltimore Sun in a buyout in 2004, after 32 years. He tells his story at Cagle's blog for July 14, 2004.

At our writing practice group at the library tonight, Natalie, a nurse and pro-Bush Republican said this about gun control:

The second amendment was talking about muskets. It didn't give folks the right to have nuclear weapons...or for that matter, cannons.

Would that the NRA took so mild a position. According to Virginians Against Handgun Violence, the NRA keeps a "hit list" of gun control advocates. Here's a listing of Virginia weapons legislation and how the bills fared during 2007.

The Coalition Against Gun Violence takes a look at how the NRA has worked against restrictions on:

The Jurist maintains links to gun control court cases here and to its news coverage and links to sites here.

According to data from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, during the period 1972 to 2006 the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home has dropped nearly 20 percentage points: from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006. In its report on the weapons used in the Virginia Tech shooting, The Violence Policy Center notes

Since the mid-1980s, the gun industry has embraced increased firepower and capacity to resell the shrinking base of gun buyers in America...Formerly, the most popular handgun design was the revolver, most often containing six shots. In 1980, semiautomatic pistols accounted for only 32 percent of the 2.3 million handguns produced in America. The majority were revolvers. By 1991...semiautomatic pistols accounting for 74 percent of the 1.8 million handguns produced that year.

The Center has a report on trends in gun ownership here.

The Brady Campaign to to Stop Gun Violence, which worked to gain passage of the 1994 Brady Gun Law says

The Brady Campaign is working nonstop to get the message out that there are solutions to gun violence. We can ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips that make it so easy to kill quickly . . . we can require Brady background checks for all gun sales, including at gun shows . . . we can stop large-volume gun sales that supply illegal gun traffickers. These are just some of the steps we can take to make it harder for the wrong people to get guns.

It proposes the following actions:

According to the campaign, the current Federal legislation includes:

  • H.R.96 (Michael Castle, R-DE) that would require background checks for all firearm sales at gun shows. Although federally-licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) are required to conduct Brady criminal background checks when they sell guns at these gun shows, flea markets and swap meets, unlicensed individuals who set up tables right next to FFLs are not required to conduct background checks in most states. Terrorists, criminals and other people prohibited from buying or possessing guns seek out unlicensed sellers, because they know that they can simply put down their money and walk away with deadly weapons. Additionally, because unlicensed sellers are not well-regulated and do not keep records, criminals exploit gun shows to sell firearms and law enforcement has difficulty tracing gun-show firearms that turn up at crime scenes.
  • H.R. 297 (Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY) would provide grants and other incentives to help states forward all relevant records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS contains records on criminals, drug addicts, domestic abusers and others prohibited from buying guns. However, because many states do not forward all relevant records, there are many gaps in the federal NICS - gaps exploited by people who are prohibited from buying guns.

Additionally, the site mentions 2005's S. 683, the Child Proof Handgun Act (Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) and H.R. 1423 (Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), which never made it out of Committee. The bills would have required a handgun that can only be fired by an authorized user. Modeled on a 2002 NJ law that required dynamic grip technology developed by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the , once it becomes commercially available, such a gun, in addition to protecting children, requiring handguns that can only be fired by an authorized user would also be a major blow to gun traffickers, because they necessarily need guns that can be used by anyone -- most importantly the many criminals who are barred by law from buying firearms directly.


Here's an archive of coverage by the Richmond Times Dispatch and Channel 10, the local NBC affiliate, as well as one for the Roanoke Times.


Fingers Don't Kill People, Bullets Do

4/17/2007 cartoon by Steve Sack, of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (email) is one of the many featured by Daryl Cagle on the topic of the Virginia Tech shootings. I found an earlier Sack cartoon on gun control at the webpage of communitarian R. Owen Barnes (email) . See also Sack's take on art masters viewing today's world over at Cagle.

Back on January 2, 2003, Canadian Randy Sutherland (email, if you replace "AT" with "@"), in response to the NRA rhetoric, "Guns Don't Kill People, People Do" posted his song "A Country & Wesson Supermarket Tragedy" (audio clip), introduced by the comment "Fingers Don't Kill People, Bullets Do."

I was in the supermarket today
a really awful thing happened
I tripped and fell, my hand gun went off
I killed a man by the napkins

ya it's bad, but it only gets worse
when he fell his gun shot a lady with a purse
when that hit the floor it filled the store clerk with lead
before the whole thing was over - seventeen of us dead

I burn in hell, the fuel is the sorrow
my story is your lesson
when you go out shopping tomorrow
put the safety on your smith & wesson

George W. Bush, who couldn't find his way to New Orleans the day after Katrina, was on hand this afternoon in Blacksburg for the memorial service after yesterday's Virginia Tech massacre.

One his kindred anti-gun contol advocates, State Del. Mark Cole (R) , tried this past session of the General Assembly to push through a measure that would have let students with concealed-carry permits bring firearms on campus, trumping the school’s policy prohibiting them. The prior year, Delegate Todd Gilbert sponsored the measure. Both Cole and Gilbert are the heroes of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

No I will not link to the group's website and legitimate it in the view of Technorati and Google, et. al. Suffice it to say, said site touts on its homepage, an article in the Daily Press that the organization is

on a mission to root out every nugget of gun control it can detect in Virginia. It has been behind campaigns to make sure concealed weapons are allowed in local government buildings, even civic centers, and fought to open up state and local parks to concealed weapons.

These are the guys who outdo the NRA, showing up at the General Assembly with orange buttons sporting the slogan, "Guns Save Lives." These are the guys who ghoulishly published a news release yesterday headlined "Gun-control claims lives at Virginia Tech."

the university and college lobbyists swore that crime was not an
issue and that the schools did not want students and visitors to be
able to defend themselves with a gun or other weapon. They argued
that the schools had little boxes with lights that had a button
someone could press if they needed the police.

These are the guys who list as their (expletive deleted) accomplishments:

  • getting Virginia's Concealed Carry Law Changed From "May Issue" to "Shall Issue" in 1995, Swelling The Number of Permit Holders From a Few Thousand in 1994 to Over 110,000 as of Mid 2002
  • working with the Henrico Board of Supervisors to get ban on permit holders in parks removed
  • grandfathering permit holders so they are totally "protected" ;while while carrying or possessing a firearm.
  • distributing literature at The Stand For Children Rally in Washington, DC
  • engineering Fairfax County's "Hunting Laws" to exempt gun carriers from County hunting restrictions
  • derailing "Operation Scarlet Letter" in Bath County
  • stopping a proposed gun ban in Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • pressuring Lowe's Stores to allow concealed carry on premises

More tomorrow. The library's closing.

UPDATE: CD Mitchell (yahoo 360 blog with 99 page views as if 1/25/08 including two by me), the only total stranger to ever weigh in on my blog, posted this comment on 5/2/07:

I do not see everyone wanting to take away the public's driver's license because another drunk dirver killed an entire family. To remove the right to have a gun becuase some depraved fool pulls a stunt like this is another attempt to restrict freedoms in an effort to prevent something that cannot be stopped. If one student at VT had had a gun, maybe the attack could have been ended. But fools who espouse gun control will never debate that question.
You need to go find Utopia and live there.


Professor Librescu Survived the Holocaust to Die at Tech Saving His Students

Photo of Professor Librescu from his grandson's 2004 brit at Israel News.

Two shooting incidents on the Virginia Tech campus today have left 33 dead. Thirty-one, including the gunman, died at Norris Hall; two died at West Ambler Johnston Hall. Fifteen other victims from Norris are being treated at area hospitals.

The university will remain closed Tuesday. Essential personnel are to report for work. Classes are canceled.

A public gathering will be held Tuesday at Cassell Coliseum at 2 p.m.

Ironically, April 15 was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, set on the 27th of Nissan in honor of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. One of the engineering professors killed, Liviu Librescu, 76, had survived Hitler only to receive five bullets shot through the door, after he barricaded his classroom and blocked the shooter from entering, giving all but one of his students time to climb out of the window and escape. Said his son Joe, "This was typical of him. He did not fear death and at all times tried to do the right thing."


Bless you, Mr. Vonnegut...

Photo of Kurt Vonnegut by Fred R. Conrad of The New York Times

I learned at John Dufresne's blog that Vonnegut had died at 84 after a fall. So as to pass muster with the library cyberpatrol which sometimes blocks John, I 'll merely say, "Durn!" Katherine Graham died the same way and at the same age almost six years ago. In Vonnegut's memory, here's the saga of the faux 1997 commencement address from James S. Huggins (email--if you delete "FIXME"). And here's a poignant memorial from KurtVonnegut.com (2005, 2006), which is maintained by silkscreen artist Joe Petro III. (email)


John is thinking of travelling to a spa with fish in the bathtub to cure his psoriasis after reading this article in the Guardian. He may want to go grab some olive oil and/or vitamin E ampules to alternate with an aplication of Pretty Feet and Hands after he looks at this virtual tour of "Kangal psoriasis fishy treatment center" which Blue World Travel - Deren Koray Tourism--mentioned in the article--posted at its site. Or it could be a Short Story Waiting to Be Written. Here's its description of the accomodations:

A first class section having private bath, a minibar, ground based central heating system, spacious and well furnished rooms, internal telephone communication system is widely preferable for staying. A second class section rooms has also private bath however the rooms are more smaller, and having lack of features that A class offers. As a recommendation of our company, we encourage our patients to stay at A class section of the treatment center.

Unlike the other accommodation types, the center can be called as hotel however due to the strict rules of the treatment, patients must take healthy precautions like bringing their own belongings necessary for overnight stays such as towels, sleepers, soaps or shampoos. Those can also be obtained from mini market placed at the base level of the building....

Treatment center also boasts with the fresh and very clean weather all year round thanks to the isolated location from the main city. Also visitors and the patients gets the advantage of high altitude (1650 mt from the sea level), the sunny sky during the 280 days of the year. Due to the high level of altitude, the UV rays which is essentially good for the skin, gives a physical and side effect for the derm having psoriasis of the patients.


Speaking of sunny skies--it's cold and rainy as I write this--it was almost Spring on March 8 and House Commmittee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA)'s thoughts must have been turning to the growing season (of discontent with the Administration) in this statement at the “Foreign Assistance Reform” hearing (video). I think this qualifies as the Quote of the Day.

Mr. Ambassador – in Administration policies by individuals who come from the corporate world, where the top-down approach is the preferred modus operandi, and are thrust into a Congressional climate where persuading members of Congress, recognizing its function as a coequal branch of government, is a more accepted modus operandi.

I call this “tycoonitis” – people who come from the top of the corporate ladder who consider Congressional suggestions, requests for information, and participation in decision-making as intruding on their turf.

Ambassador Randall Tobias, as the first-ever Director of Foreign Assistance, you have been on the job for over a year. Your task was to reshape -- carefully, delicately -- and to bring order to our country’s tangled thicket of assistance efforts overseas. Instead, it appears to many members of this committee, you took to it with a weed-whacker. And the results are predictably unfortunate....

We are not a potted plant watching the Administration function. We are part of the decision-making process.

Wonder what Lantos thinks about the recess appointments?