Mayor Bloomberg and Michael Daly Were Right About Virginia

Virginia doesn't give a rat's ass about its guns coming to New York City.

I know I don't like Michael Bloomberg. I will never forgive him for inviting the RNC to hold their convention here and allowing the NYPD to give over 1,000 young residents a taste of life in a wartime detention center. Yes, he wants the doctors of our city hospitals to know how to perform surgical abortions (bravo). And he banned smoking in bars and restarants (bravo, again). But he's still a Republican Putz. He'd rather fly a helicopter to work than ride the 6 Train, but he does it so he can show that he can tolerate low-lifes like me (gee, thanks, I guess).

But he has mentioned illegal guns coming from Virginia before. And here, Michael Daly of the NY Daily News provides an excellent summary of NYC's relationship to guns that originate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Yes, Virginia, Guns Kill Innocents


Posted Tuesday, April 17th 2007, 9:22 AM

Still love those guns, Virginia?

Ready to admit that it's madness for any psycho to be able to saunter into a gun shop and acquire firepower capable of killing 32 innocents?

Feel different now that the blood is the blood of so many of your most promising young people?

You've been shrugging for decades as illegal guns from your state plague our city, killing and maiming and terrorizing New Yorkers by the thousands, at one point comprising 47% of the guns our cops recovered.

You even yukked it up with a "Bloomberg Gun GiveAway" raffle at a gun shop that sold at least 22 guns used in crimes in New York.

You went into a tizzy when Mayor Bloomberg sued some of your gun shops after undercover agents made fraudulent "straw purchases."

Your idea of gun control has been to pass a law making it illegal for undercover agents like those Bloomberg sent South to make such buys.

You seemed to think it was no big deal when an aide to your junior U.S. senator got caught carrying an automatic pistol into the Capitol, you having voted Sen. James Webb into office as an avowed opponent of gun control.

You had a big debate this year about whether Virginia Tech was wrong to discipline a student who was caught carrying a licensed pistol to class.

Never mind that a Virginia gun license is not half as hard to get as a driving license.

Never mind that there are so many guns lying around that an escaped jailbird managed to get hold of one and kill a cop and a security guard at the edge of the Virginia Tech campus at the start of the school year.

Yesterday, the shooting was in the heart of the campus, which suddenly felt like the bleeding heart of the whole nation.

We certainly have enough parents in New York who know all too well what the families of Virginia Tech will be suffering.

We also have cause anew to give thanks for the bravery of Auxiliary Police Officers Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, who died stopping a crazed gunman in Greenwich Village in March.

We have reason to remember Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly saying that the two brave auxiliaries and the equally brave cops who then killed the gunman may well have prevented a massacre. Our psycho certainly had enough bullets.

When we listened to yesterday's gunshots as recorded by a cell phone video, we assumed the police we saw holding back had been ordered to watch the perimeter while other cops charged through the chained doors toward the gunfire. We hoped they had not hesitated as the cops did during the massacre at the Columbine High School in 1999.

We replayed yesterday's video and listened to those gunshots again, each the hyper-real sound of a gun doing exactly what it is engineered to do no matter who is holding it, no matter who it is pointed at, be they on a New York street or in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech.

Today, Virginia Tech will hold a public convocation in the wake of the carnage. President Bush has said he will attend, but his spokeswoman assures us he remains a firm believer in the right to bear arms.

Also expected to be there is Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is returning early from an overseas trip. He recently signed Bill 2106, the anti-Bloomberg legislation that forbids undercover agents from making straw purchases.

Not even the worst campus massacre in American history is about to stop Bob Moates Sports Shop of Midlothian, Va., from going ahead with its big Bloomberg Gun GiveAway. The winner will receive a Para-Ordinance Model 1911 .45 automatic, silver and no less deadly than the black pistol a witness says the Virginia Tech psycho used. The 1911 is part of the company's new line of "Gun Rights" pistols, which carry the guarantee the company will donate $25 to the National Rifle Association for every one sold.

"The drawing is April 19," a man at Moates said yesterday.

No wonder some of our cops up here in New York say the bumper stickers down there should really read, "Virginia Is for Gun Lovers."

What do you say now, Virginia?

Blacksburg: The World Reacts (and Seems to Offer Karaoke Advice)

The world gave a lot of attention and sympathy to the USA yesterday, which is always extraodinary. Look at the names of the countries below and think of how many young people in those countries died yesterday (take the Philippines, for example). American youth and American youth culture are still loved around the world. I'll write more about this soon.

Massacre sparks foreign criticism of U.S. gun culture
By Michael Perry
Tuesday April 17, 2007

Foreign politicians and media attacked America's "gun culture" on Tuesday after a gunman killed 32 people in the country's worst shooting rampage.

Prime Minister John Howard said tough Australian legislation introduced after a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996 had prevented the U.S. gun culture emerging in his country.

The Australians subsequently imposed laws banning almost all types of semi-automatic weapons.

"We showed a national resolve that the gun culture that is such a negative in the United States would never become a negative in our country," said Howard, extending sympathies to the families of the victims at Virginia Tech university.

The attacker killed himself in a classroom after opening fire on students and staff in an apparently premeditated massacre on Monday morning.

The gunman was an Asian male who was a student at the university and a dormitory resident, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told CNN. His name was not released.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed their sympathies. Iran, at loggerheads with the United States over its nuclear program, spoke out against the killings.

"Iran condemns the killing of Virginia university students and expresses its condolences to the families of victims and the American nation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement, which was faxed to Reuters.


European newspapers saw a grim inevitability about the shootings, given the right to bear arms which is enshrined in America's constitution. In Italy, the Leftist Il Manifesto newspaper said the shooting was "as American as apple pie."

More than 30,000 people die from gunshot wounds in the United States annually and there are more guns in private hands than in any other country. But a powerful gun lobby and support for gun ownership have largely thwarted attempts to tighten controls.

"It would be vain to hope that even so destructive a crime as this will cool the American ardor for guns," the Independent newspaper said in a commentary.

Gerard Baker, a columnist for The Times newspaper, feared worse was yet to come: "The truth is that only an optimist would imagine Virginia Tech will hold the new record for very long."

France's Le Monde newspaper said such episodes frequently disfigure the "American dream."

"The ... slaughter forces American society to once again examine itself, its violence, the obsession with guns of part of its population, the troubles of its youth, subjected to the double tyranny of abundance and competition," it wrote.

Campaigners in other countries where gun ownership is common expressed fears of a similar massacre.

Nandy Pacheco, head of the Philippines anti-gun lobby, Gunless Society, said he feared it could happen there.

"Not a day passes without a gun-related incident happening (in the Philippines). You hear it on radio, see it on TV and read it in newspapers," he said.

Gun ownership is commonplace in the Philippines, from housewives worried about burglary to politicians fearful of assassination. There are around 1.1 million guns, and police estimate that around 30 percent of them are unlicensed.

Shootings over trivial incidents are commonplace. A few years ago several fatal karaoke bar shootouts were sparked by poor renditions of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

(Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Paris, Phil Stewart in Rome and Kate Kelland and Parisa Hafezi in London)

America Has a Gun Crisis and a Masculinity Crisis

A glock .22 pistol, similar to one of the weapons used in the Virginia Tech massacre. Photo by Flickr user

Timothy N. Bass

used under a Creative Commons license

There are over 200 million handguns in the USA, owned by at least 60 million households and individuals, both law-abiding and not. And as one of my favorite teachers, Sut Jhally explained last decade, we have a serious masculinity crisis

. Those two facts together creates an explosive mix.

Another young male went on an armedrampage today. It has happened in high schools, universities, and workplaces. It has happened on trains, in shopping malls and restaurants. And it will happen again and again.

UPDATE, 14:40EDT: The death toll at Virginia Tech has been revised to 33, including the gunman. This means that today's massacre is the worst mass shooting in US history, easily surpassing U Texas Austin in 1966 and Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX in 1991.

VT is an ACC school, a major university, and this will change that campus forever. We have to go way back in US history to find the last time so many people were shot on US soil outside of the Civil or Revolutionary wars. And I think that event is the massacre at Wounded Knee. Remember Kent State? It saddens me to say that this is far, far worse in terms of the number of people directly affected.

Now this is slightly off-topic, but imagine an event like this occurring every day in the United States. That's what life is like in Iraq, a much smaller country, where more ordinary civilians know victims of events like these.

America, we have a problem. Now what are we going to do about it besides listen to politicians lecture us about it? We rank with Thailand, Slovakia, Colombia, and South Africa as having some of the highest rates of gun homicides. It is despicable. And massacres by citizens as opposed to gangs or police seems to be an American phenomenon. We're supposed to be better than that.