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||Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM
On February 1, less than a year after the Virginia Tech shootings, survivors and their families converged on the Capitol in Richmond for a "die in" to urge Virginia lawmakers to close the no background check gun show loophole.
Little did they expect a counter demonstration of 400 armed gun enthusiasts actually taunting them with phrases like, "Y'all must be the ones who weren't armed,"--especially hurtful to Yvette Griffin of Hampton whose only son was killed by gun violence.
P.S. The background check bill failed in the Virginia legislature.
In a Valentine's Day speech to a group of Republican women in Florida, Glen Caroline, director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, embraced the holiday metaphor, warning that "an anti-gun president in the White House can do a lot to drive a stake through the heart of the Second Amendment."
Between the two events, there were four mass shootings in the nation and 20 left dead.
The gun lobby contends that existing gun laws are adequate and criminals don't procure guns legally, anyway. Why should we make it harder for law abiding gun owners, also known as the "good guys", to defend themselves?
Unfortunately Dekalb shooter Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak and Baton Rouge shooter Latina Williams were legal gun owners.
Just like the Trolley Square shooter and Philadelphia Navy Yard shooter in last year's Valentine's Day massacres. And of course Seung-Hui Cho.
Kazmierczak may have been institutionalized for a year and given a psychological discharge from the Army but he passed the background check just fine when he bought two of his four weapons at a Champaign, IL gun store!
And Williams? She might have been living in her car, paranoid and delusional and giving her possessions away in suicidal gestures but she walked right into a New Orleans pawn shop and bought a .357 revolver and a box of ammunition the day before the shootings.
Even Sulejman Talovic, a Bossnian immigrant, was able to walk into Sportsman's Fastcash, a pawn shop chain in Utah, and buy his Trolley Square weapon probably without even showing second identification as required of legal aliens say investigators. Buying guns is the American way!
It's a good guess that Charles "Cookie" Lee Thornton, a well known member of the Kirkwood, MO community, was a legal gun owner too when he killed two police officers, two council members and the city's public works director on February 7 and shot the mayor, Mike Swoboda, twice in the head.
When someone goes ballistic at a mall, warehouse or office the gun lobby likes to use it as recruitment.
We don't need less guns we need more, they bellow.
Do you really want to be unarmed when a human volcano like this explodes because he lost his job, went off his meds or his girlfriend dumped him?
Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns!
But the reductionistic equation--1) bad guys get guns illegally 2) the rest of us need them because of 1)--that has defeated so many politicians and gun laws is breaking down in the age of "previously law abiding gun owners."
What about "good guys" who turn into "bad guys" even though they bought their weapons when they were "good guys"?
Of course if the whole Northern Illinois University classroom had been armed things would have been different says the gun lobby! But to outperform the police, who took only 120 seconds to arrive, the voluntary college militia would have had to be locked and loaded and anticipating a shooter--not taking notes on their laptops like college kids.
Still that didn't stop the NRA's Glen Caroline from espousing 100 percent citizen armament.
"The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he thundered to Republican women before news of the Dekalb massacre surfaced.
Right. It's called law enforcement.
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