Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mark Steyn comments on the Virginia massacre


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 Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they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?

More here

Arizona House OKs bill to make self-defense law retroactive in some cases: "The House on Monday reversed itself and approved the latest attempt to make a 2006 self-defense law favorable to defendants apply retroactively in some cases. The House approved the bill on a 32-23 vote, six days after rejecting the bill 31-27. Four Republicans and one Democrat who voted against the bill on April 17 cast votes for it on Monday. The bill would make the 2006 law apply to cases pending in trial court when the law took effect on April 24, 2006. That time limit and a requirement that defendants had not pleaded guilty or no-contest would have limited the law's reach to about a dozen cases, supporters said. Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a broader retroactivity bill earlier this year, agreeing with prosecutors who argued it would have applied to numerous cases. The 2006 law made it easier for defendants to claim self-defense, and many supporters expected it would help Harold Arthur Fish, a hiker convicted in a trailside shooting in Coconino County. Fish wasn't mentioned by name during either House floor debate, but Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa on April 17 said the bill would have provided an appropriate right to claim self defense to "good people defending their lives." ... Fish supporters hoped the 2006 law would be included in instructions given to jurors in his trial on charges he fatally shot Grant Kuenzli during a 2004 confrontation on a trail near Payson. Fish had claimed self-defense, saying that Kuenzli charged him in a threatening manner after Fish shot a dog that he considered a threat." For more on the Fish case see a post here on June 14, 2006

California boatie strikes back at burglar: "A 19-year-old San Francisco man and a 69-year old Willows man were hospitalized with gunshot and knife wounds, respectively, following what Sheriff's investigators believe was a burglary gone wrong. According to Sheriff's Office reports, Jessie Hawley, of San Francisco, was arrested at Mendocino Coast District Hospital for attempted murder and taken to county jail after being cleared from the hospital with gunshot wounds to his legs. At around 9 p.m., Saturday, April 14, a caller to 911 reported that he had been stabbed at a boat, temporarily moored in the harbor near the Wharf Restaurant. Deputies arrived to find that a 69-year-old male subject had been stabbed in the chest. The victim, whose name was withheld by authorities, told deputies that he returned to his boat and found someone burglarizing it. Sheriff's Office reports said the victim was then stabbed by the burglar. The victim told investigators that he was able to get his gun and shoot the suspect three times in the legs while both were still on the boat. Sheriff's Captain Kevin Broin said while the victim fled the boat, Hawley found another gun on board and shot at the victim out one of the boat's window as he ran away... According to Broin, it is believed that Hawley is a transient. He was arrested about a month ago in Laytonville for allegedly providing false information to a peace officer."

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