Re: Euros Blame Charlton Heston For VT Shooting
- From: "David J. Hughes" <davidjhughes.tx@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 04:27:12 -0500
Ed Stasiak wrote:
As to be expected, the article is full of hysteria, misinformation
and out right lies.
You have respectable newspapers from England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany presenting reasoned arguments for why America experiences these periodic school bloodbaths and you call it "hysteria"?
Please point out the "misinformation and outright lies".
April 17, 2007
Blaming Charlton Heston
With a view to Monday's deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech,
European newspapers are blaming the lack of gun control measures
in the United States and implying that Charlton Heston is indirectly
responsible for the scope of the killings.
In America, "buying a machine gun is often easier than getting a driver's
Buying a machine gun in the US requires a full federal background check, approval of the local and federal authorities, purchasing a weapons transfer tax stamp, documenting the weapon was properly registered with the federal government before some arbitrary date,.....
Typical costs, not including the cost of the firearm, $1000 and six months.
Getting a driver's license involves present proper identification, passing a written test, passing a practical skills tests, and, in some states, presenting proof of financial liability.
Average costs, $200, get a temporary license that day, permenent license mailed to you in 6 weeks.
Across the continent on Tuesday, European media rubber-neck
at Monday's massacre in the United States. Most seem to agree about
one thing: The shooting at Virginia Tech is the result of America's woeful
lack of serious gun control laws. In the strongest editorialized image of
the day, German cable news broadcaster NTV flashed an image of the
former head of the National Rifle Association, the US gun lobby: In other
words, blame rifle-wielding Charlton Heston for the 33 dead.
Papers reserve their sharpest criticism for the 2004 expiration of a 10-year
ban on semi-automatic weapons under the then Republican-controlled
Congress. Others comment on the pro-gun lobbying activities of Heston's
NRA. Some papers also draw analogies between school shootings and
Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers.
British daily The Independent writes:
"The passionate feelings of the gun lobby may be traced to the Second
Amendment of the US Constitution, enshrining 'the right of the people to
keep and bear arms'. Although the provision stems from the times when
'well regulated militias' were deemed necessary to protect against a British
attempt to regain the lost colonies, it is the default position of any argument
against greater gun control here."
"As such, it has trumped every other consideration, not least the fact that
on any given day about 80 people are killed by firearms, the vast majority
by murder or suicide. Gun violence may cost $2.3 billion each year in
medical expenses, but it is a price, gun supporters believe, that is worth
paying to protect a fundamental freedom ..."
"There is no sign of attitudes hardening. Despite the opposition of every
police force in the land, Congress in 2004 allowed to lapse a 10-year
federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, a particular favorite of
There is no such thing as a semi-automatic assault weapon.
By definition, all modern assault weapons are either fully automatic or selective fire. Modern, in this case, applies to any assault weapon issued by the US military after 1950.
Legal assault weapons are rarely used by criminals.
The reaction was not exactly deafening. Even amid
yesterday's shock, the initial calls were for stricter security measures on
campuses -- not serious moves to reduce gun ownership."
The Times of London writes:
"The trauma of the death of the students at Virginia Tech that will spread
across the university and the whole country will be magnified by the feelings
of so many people who feel that they should have been able to prevent it."
"Doubtless there will be a call to review the availability of firearms. The
National Rifle Association's (NRA) response is predictable too. They will
point out that events such as this are not carried out by a rifle-wielding
member of a weekend militia. There is no doubt that access to rapid-action
shotguns makes these events even more destructive
Opinion, unsupported. Local bias against autoloading and pump action shotguns.
but as we have seen
with suicide bombers, who are closer to spree killers than is often realized,
if a person really wants to take their own life and kill others in doing so it is
exceptionally difficult to prevent it."
French daily Le Monde writes:
"The shooting at Virginia Tech ... is a dramatic episode of school violence
that fits into a long series of such episodes, a series topped by the drama
at Columbine, the school attacked by two adolescents in 1999 ..."
"If Columbine left such a strong impression, that was because it was one
of the first dramas of school violence that received broad coverage in the
media. Americans were informed of what was happening in real time, via
TV and the radio. The students called their families or CNN even as the
killers were still roaming the corridors of the schools. ..."
"This new tragedy presents a new opportunity for American public opinion
to interrogate itself about a society which, as one of the students who
survived Columbine said at the time, is very much responsible for what has
French conservative daily Le Figaro writes:
"It was all too easy easy for the elected representatives of the United States,
from the White House to the Congress, to express their sadness yesterday;
America's problem with fire-arms represents a political issue for which they
share responsibility. Here is a country that represents the vanguard of
development and democracy while it is legal to carry a gun in 45 of 50 states,
as long as the gun is not loaded. ... At the end of 2004, the Republican-
controlled Congress allowed a law to expire that prohibited the sale of semi-
automatic and military weapons.
Some, a very limited number, of semi-automatic and military weapons, were restricted from being imported.
Any weapons not on the list could still be imported, and even weapons on the list could still be sold and resold, as long as they were imported before the start of the law.
Thereafter, legal changes were made to
protect the producers and vendors of fire-arms from being held responsible
for the actions of gun owners."
"Contrary to what one would imagine, this backward stance is not something
left over from the Wild West. It goes back to the creation of the United
States and the War of Independence against the English. ...
In fact, it predates that by several hundred years, being based on English Common law.
The English did not restrict firearms until the 1920's.
have issued laws designed to control the sale of arms, the NRA ensures they
remain inefficient or are not applied. Strongly linked to the conservative fringe
of the Republican Party, the NRA spent $400,000 a day to prevent the election
of the Democratic candidate John Kerry during the 2004 presidential elections ..."
"Yesterday's massacre will surely revive the debate in the United States, but
within the federal system, the question is ultimately settled by each individual
state. Going back on the lapsing of the law issued by Washington could provide
an opportunity for the Supreme Court to take a stance on the issue for the first
time since 1939."
The Supreme court has no power to rule on a law that has lapsed.
Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera writes:
"Shocked psychologists and sociologists ask themselves how gun violence
is to be explained. Some speak of the repressed violence of a country that
goes back to generations of pioneers habituated to achieve justice on their
own and which is forced to face the powerful tensions within a multiracial
society. Others criticize the spread of violent video games (which are,
however, a phenomenon that has only emerged in recent years). In any case,
gun violence is becoming a common phenomenon in the United States, one
that is no longer surprising. In major cities such as New York, the extension
of surveillance measures, a tough approach to crime and measures to rebuild
the urban fabric have led to a drop in crime and especially in the number of
homicides. But in suburban areas and smaller cities, episodes of 'ordinary
violence' are on the rise. In the poorest neighborhoods, people are getting
used to the use of fire-arms -- a phenomenon that is linked to the growing
tendency among many young people to resort to violence to settle even minor
disputes and to the ease with which weapons can be acquired."
Italian daily Il Messaggero writes:
"The bloodbath on the university campus is the work of a suicide killer --
an American suicide killer who, differently from Muslim killers, did not act
out of religious motives but was driven instead by the unrest affecting broad
layers of US society. America is a nation that has for some years been in
danger of becoming more and more unloved in the world, especially in the
poorest countries. During the period following World War II, America was
seen as the guardian of democracy and was equated with the defense of
liberty; today, America is a superpower that begins wars and lives with the
constant necessity of having to defend itself against the enemy -- whether
this enemy be called Islam or whether it bears the face of the neighbor who
has done you wrong."
Spanish daily El Pais writes:
"The president of Virginia Tech called it a tragedy of monumental proportions.
But similar comments could already be heard following previous tragedies of
this kind. The shooting spree at the Columbine high school in Colorado, for
instance, revived the debate on the necessity of better controlling access to
weapons. This led to some laws being toughened and security at schools being
improved. But the measures are decided by the individual states and are
constantly side-stepped by means of an exaggerated interpretation of the US
German daily Bild writes:
"Now we will probably begin discussing the overly lax gun laws in the United
States. There, buying a machine gun is often easier than getting a driver's license.
And a new ban on violent games and killer videos will also be put back on the
agenda. But in the end, nothing is likely to happen. And the next killer already
lives somewhere among us. But we have little reason to point an accusing finger
at the Americans. Despite strict gun legislation, we (in Germany) have
experienced the school shootings in Erfurt and Emsdetten. We have to consider
the problems in our society. And we have to take care of our fellow humans."
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