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As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Let's be realistic about reality

April 22, 2007

BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist

Within hours of the Virginia Tech massacre, the New York Times had identified the problem: ''What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.''

According to the Canadian blogger Kate MacMillan, a caller to her local radio station went further and said she was teaching her children to ''fear guns.''

Overseas, meanwhile, the German network NTV was first to identify the perpetrator: To accompany their report on the shootings, they flashed up a picture of Charlton Heston touting his rifle at an NRA confab.

And at Yale, the dean of student affairs, Betty Trachtenberg, reacted to the Virginia Tech murders by taking decisive action: She banned all stage weapons from plays performed on campus. After protests from the drama department, she modified her decisive action to "permit the use of obviously fake weapons" such as plastic swords.

But it's not just the danger of overly realistic plastic swords in college plays that we face today. In yet another of his not-ready-for-prime-time speeches, Barack Obama started out deploring the violence of Virginia Tech as yet another example of the pervasive violence of our society: the violence of Iraq, the violence of Darfur, the violence of . . . er, hang on, give him a minute. Ah, yes, outsourcing: ''the violence of men and women who . . . suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job has moved to another country." And let's not forget the violence of radio hosts: ''There's also another kind of violence, though, that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily physical violence, but violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways. Last week the big news, obviously, had to do with Imus and the verbal violence that was directed at young women who were role models for all of us, role models for my daughters.''

I've had some mail in recent days from people who claimed I'd insulted the dead of Virginia Tech. Obviously, I regret I didn't show the exquisite taste and sensitivity of Sen. Obama and compare getting shot in the head to an Imus one-liner. Does he mean it? I doubt whether even he knows. When something savage and unexpected happens, it's easiest to retreat to our tropes and bugbears or, in the senator's case, a speech on the previous week's "big news." Perhaps I'm guilty of the same. But then Yale University, one of the most prestigious institutes of learning on the planet, announces that it's no longer safe to expose twentysomething men and women to ''Henry V'' unless you cry God for Harry, England and St. George while brandishing a bright pink and purple plastic sword from the local kindergarten. Except, of course, that the local kindergarten long since banned plastic swords under its own "zero tolerance" policy.

I think we have a problem in our culture not with "realistic weapons" but with being realistic about reality. After all, we already "fear guns," at least in the hands of NRA members. Otherwise, why would we ban them from so many areas of life? Virginia Tech, remember, was a "gun-free zone," formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a "gun-free zone" except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.

But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world.

I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with "the erosion of intellectual self-defense," and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and "safe spaces" that's the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we "fear guns," and "verbal violence," and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ''The Three Musketeers.'' What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?

The article can be found at; http://www.suntimes.com/news/steyn/351710,CST-EDT-STEYN22.article

- Janq
 

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so janq -

what happened - it appears you need to get something off your chest




i understand we have a growing problem with bat shit crazies, not doubting that at all.

however - building mental health programs and facilities are never on the ballot - building new bigger prisons are.

other than writing the local politicians what course do we have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nothing on my chest but curly little hairs. :p

The reason that there are very rarely on our ballots and on local initiatives to do more toward mental health and folks are focused on incarceration is a major problem.
It's aking to how people look at the simpleast of effects and say okay criminals scare, hurt, and kill people with guns...soooooo lets get rid of guns. Guns are bad and they're scary and they make people do bad things. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
Guns are not bad and they do not have will, intent, nor a soul.
Guns are scary like snakes...people have developed an their own innate fear of them even as most genus of snake are completely harmless and non-venomous. This doesn't matter though. Place a snake in front of a human and 7 out of 10 or more will freak out for no rational reason, just like it was an OMG 'gun'.
Guns are not an elixir of evil thought and exercise. Men have evil thoughts on their own and they exercise these self developed & embraced thoughts using guns, knives, poisons, cars, the media, politic, hammers, rope, their own hands, and most anyt other thing one can think of or imagine. You name it and some man has thought to harm or kill another with it. That is not the fault or intent or drive of the thing or the gun, an inanimate object. That is is the fault, intent, and drive of a human being.

What course do we have?
We in our small daily lives need to pass the word. We need to keepan ey out and be vigilant toward our own and our friends and our neighbors and our coworkers. We need to encourage our local community leaders to think twice about mental health and to consider that outright jailing of people without treatment of their root cause mental instability cures nothing and adds to the root cause of their being jailed...they are allowed to continue being crazy with no support or aid toward correction.
We can do alot individually and we can move mountains as a group.

Firearms and the second ammendment via our Bill of Rights are seen by enough people to be worrisome as the root cause of our societys ills. Firearms are the snakes in the grass of our communal landscape.
Wrong. The evil and enemy of man is not an inanimate soulless tool.
Man is the enemy with his evil and sick thoughts, intent, and will to do us all wrong. We need to address the root cause in mental illness toward what motivates and drives people like Seung Cho, Dylan Klebold, and criminals in general to become predators and prey upon you, me, and our children.

- Janq
 

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Janq said:
Nothing on my chest but curly little hairs. :p


- Janq



well i am glad we got to the root of the problem! :)
 

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you know there is a flip side to all of this



with the current status of health care - regular MD's are quick to medicate folks instead of the referring them to a specialist

and thats just for the folks that have health care


for most of the folks in question here - something in their lives has taken even that away prior to becoming part of the system
 

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I'm going to be honest but I feel like there's been an upsurge of rational thought about "gun-free-zones" and I'm the tiniest bit hopeful that some good will come out of this.

That's a fine article Janq and I couldn't be more dissapointed with academia especially Yale supposedly a collection of very intelligent individuals... :rollseyes:
 

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Very well said by both parties. (original author and Janq). I remember standing on campus here in Richmond last week not but a few days afterward. I had just finished reading an online article talk about gun laws and the new revived furvor. And it mentioned the record of "temporary detainment" that this kid had as a result of a friend stating he was suicidal. I work in an ER that deals with people like this. We get patients in custody to be evaluated by local mental health tech then gives their recommendations to the local magistrate to go ahead and TDO or Temporary Dentention Order the person for further evaluation at an "accepting" mental health facility or hospital that has psych on call.

Now let me tell ya... the shit we have to go through sometimes to get the "accepting facility" to take the patient is absolutely deplorable. You would not believe the run-around we get! Sometimes its that the nurse won't take report, or the doctor won't call back because HE is the one that wants to say if its ok to transfer the patient... I feel so sad sometimes when we have someone who is genuinely ill. AND DAMN IT NOBODY SEEMS TO GIVE A SHIT!!!

Not even the people I work with, half of which need counsiling themselves.

When I was standing there on campus, I felt acutely aware of the nature of our populace, the true problem behind this tragedy as I looked across the street and saw the Moms Against Violence band packing up their materials.( I shit you not) they were touting their mantra of "ak47s and tect 9s don't belong in our neighborhoods"... neither of these weapons was used in the rampage last Monday.

All this furvor is a smoke screen to cover the real issue, as stated above. The people needing help for mental illness are not getting any... and I know because I have seen my adopted brother, who is mentally retarded and 39 y/o, fall through crack after crack in the system. My blood cousin has had bipolar disorder for as long as I can remember. and he has never recieved adequate care.

I remember just wanting to sit down in the middle of the quad and cry. I felt so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. In the days since, I have hugged my son tighter, kissed my wife harder and resolved to help where I can. At work, my brother, cousin, others on the street. I can only hope that maybe just one person I run into may be teetering and be helped back to this side. I most likely won't even know it. It seemed that others didn't know the severety of this boy's troubles.

I hope we can all spread the word and influence others to the true cause of the tragedy. Indifference and neglect. (as are some other things, I'm sure)

I hope...

Christian
 

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I worked in the mental health system for quite a while too, with the elderly and the long-term mentally ill. (When was the last time you saw a social worker gun nut?) It's scary how mental health care is usually in the hands of a caseworker or other champion of the cause, be it family member or friend, who "knows the system". If there is no interested or skilled helper, a mentally ill person is left up to their own, and it usually ends up in jail or homelessness.

Damn, that's a pretty lefty sounding post for a gun board. But it's true.
 
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