Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Of course everyone has the right to own guns!

Amendment II

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.

Shooting at South Florida Restaurant Kills 2

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A gunman dressed in a coat and tie walked into a Wendy’s fast food restaurant here at lunchtime on Monday and opened fire, killing one customer and wounding four others before killing himself, the police said.

Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, said the gunman did not appear to have had specific victims in mind when he entered the restaurant, which had about 15 customers. But Ms. Barbera said the man’s motives had not been determined.

Nine Shot in a Memphis Home, and Six Are Dead

MEMPHIS — Six people were found dead Monday, and three more were critically injured in Memphis in what news reports said was the worst mass killing there in at least 15 years.

Two men and two women in their late 20s or early 30s and two girls under the age of 5 were found dead in a single-family home in Binghamton, a neighborhood east of downtown, said Melanie Young, a spokeswoman for the fire department. Three more children, a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old and an infant were taken to a hospital in “extremely critical” condition, Ms. Young said. All nine victims had gunshot wounds.


Inspector Joe Scott of the Memphis Police Department said the shootings took place Sunday night. Neighbors reported hearing shots Sunday night but said that was not uncommon in the area.

Texas: Plot Reported in Shooting of Family

A high school couple forced to break up spent a month plotting to kill the girl’s parents before her mother and two younger brothers were fatally shot and stabbed in a weekend ambush, according to records. The boy, Charlie J. Wilkinson, who had been dating Penny and Terry Caffey’s 16-year-old daughter, told the police that his girlfriend wanted her parents dead because they forbade their relationship, according to Rains County Sheriff’s Department investigators. The daughter, Mr. Wilkinson and two others are charged with three counts of capital murder each in the Saturday massacre at the Caffeys’ secluded home in Emory. The girl has not been identified because of her age. Mr. Caffey was badly wounded.

Man Charged in LA Street Shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who police say is a gang member was charged Monday with premeditated attempted murder and other felonies in a shooting that left eight people wounded at a South Los Angeles bus stop.

Billy Ray Hines, 24, was ordered jailed on $2 million bail pending his arraignment, which was postponed to March 18. The charges filed by prosecutors carry special gang and gun allegations. Police said Hines is a member of the Crips gang.

Boy’s Killing, Labeled a Hate Crime, Stuns a Town

OXNARD, Calif. — Hundreds of mourners gathered at a church here on Friday to remember an eighth-grade boy who was shot to death inside a junior high school computer lab by a fellow student in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime.

In recent weeks, the victim, Lawrence King, 15, had said publicly that he was gay, classmates said, enduring harassment from a group of schoolmates, including the 14-year-old boy charged in his death.

Relatives Say Victims of Illinois Shooting Were First Bound

TINLEY PARK, Ill. — Relatives of the only survivor of a weekend shooting here that left five women dead inside a clothing store told a Kentucky newspaper that all of the women inside the shop had been bound and then shot in the back of their heads.

The survivor, whose family said she was a 33-year-old part-time employee at the Lane Bryant store, was shot along with the rest. But the bullet went into her neck, missing vital organs, her mother told The Messenger, a newspaper in Madisonville, Ky., near where the mother lives.

The authorities in Tinley Park, a suburb southwest of Chicago, would not comment on the description given by the family members and offered few details of the Saturday morning shooting, which they say was a robbery that turned deadly in a strip shopping center. No arrests have been made in the case.

Students Return to an Altered Campus After Shootings

DeKALB, Ill. — Under a hard, gray sleet, students at Northern Illinois University trudged back to class on Monday for the first time since a gunman burst into a lecture hall on Feb. 14 and killed five students and himself.

43 Days Without a Homicide, and Then a Newark Man Is Shot

Yuzette Neal of nearby Irvington, the mother of Mr. Thomas’s girlfriend, said investigators told her that a man in a ski mask had come up to Mr. Thomas and fired a gun. The police said that they had not established a motive or identified a suspect. The shooting occurred shortly before 9 p.m. at 833 South 14th Street.

3 Are Shot, 1 Fatally, in Brooklyn

One man was killed and two others were injured in a shooting at a popular Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn on Friday night, the police said.

The shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. at Tacos 2004, a taqueria that features dancing waitresses and sits in the heart of Sunset Park, a bustling neighborhood with a large Latino population. The police said the shooting happened after a confrontation in the restaurant, which was packed with patrons.

Deliveryman Shot Dead in Argument on the East Side

A Brooklyn man was fatally shot on a Midtown street Sunday morning, the police said. The killing occurred just two blocks from his workplace, a company that copies and prints legal documents.

The man, Charles Ross, 29, was walking east on 39th Street between Madison and Park Avenues about 7:30 a.m. when he was approached by a second man in front of the Williams Club, at 24 East 39th Street.

The police said that the two men got into an argument and that the second man fired a single gunshot, which passed through Mr. Ross’s neck. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center and pronounced dead at 8:10. The gunman fled.

Police: Man Gets Shot to Avoid Work

PASCO, Wash. (AP) — What happened to faking a cough? Sheriff’s detectives in Franklin County said a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn’t have to go to work.

When he first spoke with deputies, Daniel Kuch, of Pasco, told them he’d been the victim of a drive-by shooting while he was out jogging Thursday. But detectives told KONA radio that Kuch later acknowledged that he asked his friend to shoot him so he could get some time off work and avoid an upcoming drug test.

Amendment II

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.


Ray said...

Not being a citizen, well, not of the Benighted States anyway, so I probably don't "get it", it occurs to me that there's a lot of cherry-picking that goes on with regard to that beloved second amendment. Whilst the right of the people... shall not be infringed tends to get a lot of attention, there's also that first phrase, A well-regulated militia, which seems to go largely ignored. Indeed, any attempt at regulation is seen as infringement, at least by the NRA and its friends.

And they always, *always* ignore or discount significant statistics from other countries, for example my own UK, where guns are mostly illegal, and where shooting deaths are measured in the tens per year as opposed to the thousands here.

Julietta said...

Why is it that the first four words of Amendment II are always forgotten when folks are defending their right to bear arms? "A well-regulated militia...." Hello?? Dumbasses! Not so sure I even support a militia (being a draft dodger in the 70's and all, even if I was undraftable because of my "bintness" <--dig at Barry and MPFC aka The Bible), but that would be so very un-Malthusian of me. Hard to believe that war is "natural" the way famine and disease are. But I think that Malthus would applaud all us planetary citizens right now for doing a damn good job of population control.

Barry Leiba said...

Well, it's those pesky commas, innit? People have been debating the commas endlessly, particularly because it makes no sense at all with the way we currently use commas. Some say that commas were used differently then, and that the amendment means that the right to arm bears... uh... is tightly tied to the maintenance of militias. Others say that the commas make the militia bit non-normative, and it could be removed without changing the meaning. And there are opinions in between.

I go with the first interpretation. But, interestingly, that seems to say that the guns are actually there so that people can keep the government in line. In order to keep the country free, we need to be able to take up arms against an abusive government. I'll draw no parallels to our current situation other than to say that such an interpretation would not sit as well these days as it did when we'd just finished overthrowing a monarch.

Julietta said...

Darn right it wouldn't sit so well. And I ain't mentioning sedition here either, because that would be, well, seditious. Anyway, I'm not so sure that, to quote Willy (if indeed it was Willy and not a group of writers, but that's another discussion), even if that is what Amendment II guarantees us, we ought to "take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them." Guns scare me, period.

lidija said...

Wasn't it (isn't it stil?) illegal to be a member of the Communist Party (USA) because it advocates the overthrow of the government?

If no one here will object, let's say, for an argument sake (or for real) that I would like to be able to own a gun. I would just like my fellow citizens' consensus that I should register it, be an adult, buy it in person, with an ID, not allowed to do so if I am insane or a convicted criminal or even have had violent violations... if there are such. And that, if I felt like reselling it outside the approved channels, to be put to jail. I am not a crazed libertarian, just simply a victim of a violent crime. And would like to (irrationally) think that maybe next time a gun may help. Therein lies the devil - the lack of confidence in people around us, not to mention the government (though I have no additional beef with it and don't think they'll come after me with guns any time soon).

In any case, my guess is lots of you have seen "Bowling for Columbine." What, say you, to a comparison between Canada and the rate of gun ownership, and USA? I think back on the time when plenty of people I knew in some parts of the world used to own guns but did not want to use them on their neighbors. Then they used them only on their neighbors. But it was not the guns' fault. Nor would had a lack of the guns among the general populus stopped it.

lidija said...

Oh, and how could I forget... Here is a true story. Some years ago I walked into one of those large chain drug-stores in upstate New York to buy some mace or pepper-spray, as I was told that's where I could find it. The guy behind the counter at the back of the store tells me I cannot, it is illegal to own it in NYS. The backdrop of the back counter - a row of rifles of many different kinds (yes, sold there). I cannot even get pepper spray shipped to NYS. I guess I better go back to that drugstore and buy me a rifle.

Julietta said...

Lidija, I think you make Malthus' point. Warfare in any/all its forms--e.g.taking arms against neighbors/countries/schoolchildren/in self-defense against violent criminals/overthrowing despots--is apparently something we humans are naturally inclined to do.

lidija said...

Jules, I totally disagree. I think we have to create conditions where our instinct tells us we will lose more than gain by using a gun. It is hard but it's a process by which a society matures, and advances. Sort of like having a gut feeling that tells me I do not want to hurt those I love (if that makes sense). Only interdependency and the prospect of decent livelihood does it, I think.

Along those lines, I do not own a gun though I have, at times, wanted to. But we cannot wait to raise everyone's conscience and must, in fact, regulate gun ownership in the meantime.

Julietta said...

Well I didn't say I LIKED Malthus' theory. But it is he who says our instincts are violent. It's not MY natural instinct, I don't believe, but I have to work hard every day to be kind and compassionate, even towards those who wish me ill or who I REALLY dislike (I'm thinking of King George here).

Given that we both have been victims of attacks, I think we should keep looking for pepper spray, my Buddha nature notwithstanding! :-)

D said...

I was considering making a witty little comment about things being safer if all of us were packing heat, and then I ran across this, which sadly, isn't tongue-in-cheek about it:

I still remember my shock many years ago, when on my first trip to Arizona, I saw stores where anyone with a state driver's license could buy Pampers, Jack Daniels, and a handgun, all at the same drive-thru window!

Paul said...

Lidija, I'm not sure I understand your comment above, re: Canada, and gun ownership. What, exactly were you trying to say there?

Julietta said...

D, that is one SCARY article.

And Lidija: a) The Communist Party is still around in the US and it is legal to belong. They advocate a socialist revolution via peaceful transition, and their party's constitution makes "advocacy of… force and violence or terrorism" a reason for expulsion from the party, and b)I found pepper spray. So we apparently WILL be packing some heat.

Barry Leiba said...

Paul, I can't speak for Lidija, but perhaps she's making the usual comment about the U.S. vs Canada on guns: that Canadians also own plenty of guns, but gun violence up your way doesn't compare with what we have here. Maybe that's another myth that the U.S. has about Canada, or maybe not. Please comment, if you have details.

And maybe that's not what Lidija meant at all. She'll correct me, in that case, I'm sure.

Paul said...

I will comment, but I'd like to let Lidija clarify first, if she will. I don't want to go off at half-cock (sorry, couldn't resist).

scouter573 said...

I approach it a bit differently. The word "arms" means, well, weaponry. Clearly this cannot mean atomic bombs, so restricting ownership of nukes can't be "infringement" under the original intent. And it can't really mean 500-lb bombs or various other really big weapons, so restricting cannons and other big stuff can't be "infringement" under the original intent. And surface-to-air missiles are a threat to society, so we must restrict ownership of them, not an "infringement" under the original intent.

Thus we've agreed that *some* sort of restrictions or regulation of weaponry or arms is OK and it's merely a matter of the type or degree or regulation. Obviously, it is simply false to argue that gun control is some violation of the second amendment.

By the way, you beat me to the blog entry. Where's the NRA when you need them? Oh, yeah, they go into hiding when the consequences of their advocacy become clear.

And about that Arizonan proposal to arm students. That's great. When the cops arrive to take out the mad shooter, everybody's got guns! Does the officer start shooting them all? Or does the bad guy sneak away with the explanation that he only drew his weapon to protect the innocent against the madman? What part of "more guns" is supposed to make the situation safer?

lidija said...

The movie I mentioned (Bowling for Columbine) cites that the rate of gun ownership in Canada is almost as high as in the US but the rate of gun violence is very low. I never checked those numbers with other sources. I take it there are Canadians here?

Paul said...

Yes, Lidija, I am Canadian. I have not seen Bowling for Columbine, so I am unfamiliar with the language in which Moore may have couched that claim. I'm sure he believes he can justify it.

I was very doubtful, so did a quick Google search for "per capita gun ownership in Canada and the United States." The numbers I quote here are from the the very first, and the third result on the first page of Google results.

The Wikipedia article on the topic claims that per capita gun ownership in the USA (2007 numbers) is nearly triple that in Canada. A significant difference. Sure, Wikipedia isn't considered to be all that authoritative a source, but I can think of no reason to doubt the numbers it presents.

The other article I found used stats a decade older, but very similar - per capita gun ownership in Canada a third that in the US - and also examined murder and crime rates, which showed similar trends.

The conclusion, to me, seems obvious. Lower rates of gun ownership lead to lower murder and violent crime rates. The numbers are borne out over other countries with strong gun control legislation, such as the UK and Australia.

The NRA is fond of saying, "guns don't kill people, people kill people." My response is simple: "people with guns kill more people than people without guns," and the available data strongly supports that statement.