Why America Must Address Gun Control

by Dalitso Njolinjo

As an avid hip hop fan, I never took the lyrics and violent messages of America as a corrupting influence which played a part in the increase of violence in urban areas. I never subscribed to the notion the 2-Pac made young black men in South-Central Los Angeles kill their peers. When my favorite rappers veered into subjects of violence and gun play, my thought always seem to lead me to one question, how do they get these guns so easily?

I also found that you could hear the pain of poverty and frustration in the voices of American urban culture makers which led me to reassess my view on America. While it was the Bush Administration that did this for many other Europeans (and some Americans), my disappointment during the (Clinton) Bush years was the inability for America to adequately focus on the bigger picture behind the political issues and news stories.

I remember the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and how the American press dealt with the news story. Instead of having a serious conversation about gun crime and gun control, the majority of the news stories based on sensationalism. ‘The Trench Coat Mafia’, ‘they played violent video games’, ‘they were fans of Marilyn Manson’ and ‘they were fans of Natural Born Killers’. No real deconstruction of how they were able to obtain the murder weapons — and as soon as the conversation did veer towards gun control, the NRA would call foul play and blame someone in pop culture.

Fast forward to the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, what did Fox News ‘journalist’ Bill O’Reilly want to talk about? At the time of the Virginia Tech massacre, the now president of the DNC, Governor Tim Kaine said, “To those who want to make this into some sort of crusade, I say take this elsewhere.”

I fundamentally disagree with that statement. When children or students can not be guaranteed of their safety when they are in a place of learning, somewhere, someone is failing them. When anyone can purchase a fire arm with such ease and with impunity and thereafter go and take somebody’s life, someone somewhere has failed the victims.

I know for gun owners and gun rights activists it is a matter of individual freedom (even though I think that American courts have misinterpreted the framers original intent for the second amendment), but when innocent citizens are murdered, don’t you have to reassess priorities?

Political 101 says never waste a tragedy and I hope Mr Obama takes the opportunity of the New York killings to lead the country in a respectful conversation on gun control.

I don’t know why this story has affected me as much as it has. I could never imagine such a thing happening here in the UK and on the rare occasions when they do, it seems the country pulls together more to strengthen our gun laws. That is one thing this European is proud of.

Dalitso Njolinjo lives in Northamptonshire, England. He is an aspiring writer and communications consultant. He writes that he “enjoys all things politics, sports and French. The ungodly trinity.” He also writes on his own blog.

EDITOR’S NOTE UPDATE: For more background on the history of mass shootings in the United States GO HERE.

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Leave a replyComments (806)
  1. DarleneL April 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Eric Harris was taking an SSRI antidepressant called Luvox at the time of the Columbine massacre. It is not known if Dyland Kelbold was taking an antidepressant because he was only tested for illegal drugs and alcohol. Also, his records were sealed for many years. The majority of the school shooters were on antidepressants which carry a Black Box warning from the FDA for suicidality in youth and also a general warning by the FDA on March 22, 2004 that they can cause anxiety, panic attacks, hostility, mania & hypomania.

    Here is the case of Eric Harris as recorded through media articles by www.SSRIStories.com


    Paragraph 3 reads: “Taylor slowly is recovering from his wounds and, in an effort to bring attention to what he believes was the cause of Harris’ deadly rage, has filed a lawsuit against Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., the manufacturer of Luvox (Fluvoxamine), the antidepressant that Harris had been prescribed and was taking at the time of the shooting spree.”
    Following this article is a different article which states that Eric Harris was taking Zoloft before he switched to Luvox and that he reported ‘feeling better’ when discontinuing the Zoloft before starting the Luvox. Three experts testify that this was a sign Eric Harris was ‘bipolar’. The Physicians’ Desk Reference states that antidepressants can induce mania & psychosis, especially in people who are ‘bipolar’.
    Since the introduction of Prozac in 1988, almost one in seven people have taken either Prozac or another SSRI or SNRI. This massive drugging of the population of the U.S. with antidepressants is producing an increase in bipolar disorder. Go to www.SSRIstories.com/index.php and scroll down past the 49 school shootings and the 17 “won” cases. There you will find 54 Journal Articles. The second and third Journal articles from the top explain how more than 200,000 Americans are being hospitalized because of mania & psychosis induced by SSRI antidepressants and how the number of people diagnosed as bipolar has increased by 4.8 million people in the eleven years between 1994 and 2005.
    The problem seems to be that these people who go insane on the antidepressant are then being diagnosed as “latent” bipolars. But if they had never taken the antidepressant, their illness of bipolar disorder would never have manifested itself. Such a tragedy. Is this true bipolar disorder or is this chemically induced insanity?
    Here is an example of a case out of Lousiana where a mother killed her eleven year old daughter and why she was given probation. Go to:

    Paragraph 14 reads: “Higgins said Pinckard’s doctors believe the Prozac she was taking before the shooting caused her behavior; it acted as a catalyst for a hidden bipolar condition”.
    Last paragraph reads: “Higgins said Pinckard’s psychiatrists testified that if she had not taken Prozac, her condition may never have manifested itself.
    Woman who killed daughter released on probation
    Julia Robb
    Posted on July 11, 2003
    File Photo
    Paula Pinckard: had been “the all-American housewife,” attorney says.
    COLFAX — In March 2000, Paula Pinckard shot her 11-year-old daughter Aubrey to death before shooting herself in their Rock Hill home.

  2. HeavyD April 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    My heart goes out to the families effected. There are never any words of appropriate conciliation. That being said, I can’t stand it when people take a tragedy and try to promote bs agendas like this. Gun Control is a total joke and the framers of our constitution would be turning in there graves at misguided articles like this. I know the author is from England, so for the sake of his readers, let me recite the entirety of the 2nd amendment.

    “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    There is no discussion about “Control”. You may not like it, or think guns should be regulated, but it should never be up for discussion. There is no need for a serious “conversation” about it, because it is a right!

    I will also say, I think your heart is in the right place, but your ideology is baseless and not based in facts or reality. Criminals and people who intend harm will not let laws or “control” stop them. Cars are used in drive by shootings, why aren’t people shouting out for car control? Arsonists use gasoline and matches, why isn’t there an outcry to limit the sale of fuel, matches, and lighters? People comitting identity theft almost always use computer, should we restrict the sale of electronics? Sounds kind of silly doesn’t it?

    As far as Mr Njolinjo’s comments about the courts misinterpreting the framers original intent of the second amendment, let me help out by posting this link: http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndpur.html

    If we should have a “conversation” about gun control, should we also have a conversation about the freedom of speech? I’m sorry Mr Njolinjo, if we had a conversation about gun control, you’d quickly realize there is only one side.

  3. JMANDO April 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    This is not a moderate view it is a hard left view. Stop trading freedom for fake security…the gov’t will end up killing more people then any one crazy nut. History has proven this time and again.

  4. EEllis April 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Michael Ryan- For those that don’t know look it up. 1987. In England not the US. Thomas Hamilton 1996 Scotland. What happened to safe UK? All of witch begs the point is who this moron to say we are getting it wrong? Yes there is a price for freedom. So? Adults can decide what they are willing to pay and act accordingly. Vote with your feet or vote to change it, it’s all good. If I’m not apart of a system I would try not to decide for everyone else that it is wrong. And while you could be a US constitutional scholar and be from and live in a different county this idiot is obviously not one so his “interpretation” of our frames original intent. That listening to rap music made him qualified to have an opinion shows how intellectually crippled this guy is. That with his own ignorance about his own countries history with gun violence is so vast just shows that he should worry about his own country not mine. And what, like the moron can’t google?

  5. Jazz April 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Dear Dalitso, (if I may call you that)
    If I understand your essay correctly, you live in the U.K. yes? And if I recall correctly, you already have essentially zero access to firearms over there. So, it sounds to me like a fairly ideal situation for you and I want you to know that I wish you the absolute best with that and hope it’s working out for you. Now, as to one of your other comments…

    Political 101 says never waste a tragedy and I hope Mr Obama takes the opportunity of the New York killings to lead the country in a respectful conversation on gun control.

    Speaking as one of the people here in the Binghamton area (which, by the way is in the United States, not the U.K.) and still dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy, allow me to suggest that you enjoy your lack of gun access in the U.K, leave it to us to deal with our fundamental 2nd amendment rights, and pour yourself a nice steaming cup of …

    Sorry about that to everyone else, but we don’t really need anybody trying to capitalize and score political points in the wake of what we just went through here, and we most certainly do not need to hear it from somebody who doesn’t get to vote on our gun control issues at home.

  6. flyfisherdave April 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Mr. Njolinjo,

    I assume that you are a British subject, living in the U.K. Therefore what America “must address” is really none of your business. Nor is your interpretation of what the framers of the constitution meant to protect by the 2nd Amendment.

    In fact, the Supreme Court got the recent Heller ruling absolutely correct when they said the 2nd Amendment affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms.

    The recent killings are a terrible thing, and questions about how these people got their firearms is a legitimate one, but not one that non-citizens of the U.S. are entitle to ask. Our laws are our business, and we will keep out of your laws.

    By the way, how has your firearms ban and craven prohibition of self defense in the home working out? Oh yes, shootings are up and the debate rages on what to do about the scourge of “knife crime”. It sounds to me that you have enough to occupy you that minding your own business would be a full time job.


  7. Jim Bell April 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    First, let me state that I live in the Denver Area, which is where the Columbine massacre occured. Columbine is a high school in the South Denver metro community of Littleton.

    Second, I feel I should inform this Brit that removing access to guns will not remove the reasons why people like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold go off on rants like the one that happened here in Colorado. In the Columbine case, the underlying cause of the tragedy was bullying by the jocks in the school. The bullying occurs in every American high school and has been a part of life for every school kid for decades. Granted, guns are too easily purchased by underaged teens here and that fact needs to be addressed–but that will not remove the underlying cause of these incidents. Removing guns from the picture without removing the causes that make kids like Harris and Klebold go off will only result in some home made bomb, a knifing rampage or some other tragic occurance.

    You can’t fix a bullet hole with a bandaid. And I’ve yet to read a proper or practical and applyable solution for American problems that was written by a brit (no offense intended, Mr. Njolinjo). And as to your comment, “even though I think that American courts have misinterpreted the framers original intent for the second amendment,” I can tell you that at the time, the framers’ actual intent was to insure that no European power could arbitrarily decide to come over here simply take over our citizenry by placing an army in our midst. The intent was to create an environment such that any foreign army would amount to nothing more than an armed addition to our already armed population.

    You are right about one thing, though. Situations have changed and we as a nation have a different set of problems than we had when we were just a fledgling nation in the wilderness. Many of those problems are way more complicated than anything Great Britian has ever faced.

    My condolences to those in the Binghamton area. Here in the Denver area, we were forever changed by Columbine. It never gets easier. It only gets different–and that takes a while.

  8. dn86 April 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    no offence taken JLBell. I respect all the points made, and I concede that I am not a constitutionally expert. i in no way intended disrespect to the families or the victims but i think that the political discussions are important.

    i understand the question of gun control for most is very much about individual freedoms. i accept that. and i do take a hard left position.

    but when it came to the war on terror, most people on the right accept the use of torture and rendition as a necessary means to the security of the country. it was a republican white house that introduced a bill to impeed the privacy of American citizens by allowing them to listen to any electronic communications because of national security concerns (a measure which i agree with). both these issues infringe on freedom and privacy, yet no one points that out.

    so on a political level i wanted to find out what is the difference between those particular political situations.

    again i in no way understand because i am not from the united states, but it doesnt mean i cant have an opinion.

    • shanzook April 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

      Them listening or “spying” on me does not kepp me from defending myself or my family. I have nothing to hide. I am law abiding in every way. Why would that bother me unless I had something to hide?
      Listen away, just DO NOT TAKE MY GUNS!

  9. DarleneL April 5, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Well, there were eight replies to this column and nobody caught on to my comment about antidepressants causing mania [the Physicians Desk Reference even states this] and that millions of Americans have taken antidepressants.

    Here is www.SSRIstories.com with almost 3,000 cases with the full media article avaialable which mentions which antidepressant the perpetrator was taking [i.e. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, etc] and no one even thinks this is apropos even though there are 49 cases of school shootings listed on SSRI Stories. Makes me wonder where common sense has gone.

    Thre was a case last week in England of a million in financial trouble who killed his wife & daughter, burned down his mansion and then killed himself. The media article stated that he was on antidepressants.

    Here is the article from England:


    Paragraph 57 reads: “And he spoke to his GP on three different occasions about his suicidal thoughts. He was on anti-depressants from March of last year.”


    Revealed: Why millionaire Christopher Foster slaughtered his family
    By Roger Graef
    Last updated at 12:17 AM on 04th April 2009

    Millionaire Christopher Foster murdered his wife Jill and daughter Kirstie, 15, before committing suicide, a coroner ruled yesterday.

    Mr Foster shot his family and their pet dogs and horses before setting his £1.2million mansion ablaze in August last year.

  10. EEllis April 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    “republican white house that introduced a bill to impede the privacy of American citizens by allowing them to listen to any electronic communications because of national security concerns (a measure which i agree with). both these issues infringe on freedom and privacy, yet no one points that out.”

    They were pointed out again and again it was just to bad that they were factually incorrect. Start there first. Second many of us in the US believe we have a right to own guns. We for the most part agree to give up part of that right for good cause. To effectively exploit the tragedies what changes in existing laws would of made a difference? Columbine had illegal weapons so what you would make them illegal twice? Real changes for real improvement not just fear mongering to try and take away a right would be a good idea.

  11. DarleneL April 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Nobody seems to have caught on yet that it is not the guns that are killing Americans but the antidepressants.

    The real question: is it possible to have both guns and Prozac type SSRI antidepressants at the same time? One of these has got to go.

    www.SSRIstories.com/index.php where over 2,900 cases with full media article available [in a sortable database] are available. If you read even ten of these cases, you will understand why we are having all of these shootings. Some of the cases are from England and, if they are on SSRI antidepressants, they can usually find a way to get a gun.

    See “Britian’s Most Wanted Man: http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=562

    Paragraph 36 reads: “Hobson was prescribed anti-depressants by his GP in the period just before the murders”.


    Mark Hobson: Britain’s most wanted man?

    Strensall (UK), July 25. (Observer News Service): It should have been a beautiful sunny afternoon in the picturesque village of Strensall, in north Yorkshire.

    Instead on Saturday it resembled a ghost town.

    The local post office was eerily empty; the common with its rolling fields was deathly silent.

    “The school holidays have just started, but people won’t be letting the children out of their sight,” said mother-of-two Sarah Hutchinson. “It just isn’t safe.’

    The only people to be seen are lines of grim-faced police officers in white forensic suits conducting fingertip searches of the hedgerows and gardens along the main village road.

    They are part of a team of more than 300 officers involved in the hunt to track down Britain’s most wanted man, Mark Hobson.

  12. bill_k April 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I see the gun nuts have jumped all over you, as usual. They all want to keep their toys so much they overlook how stupid they sound.

    Fact: The 2nd amendment has not been followed in 100 years.
    Fact: Modern technology has made the 2nd Amendment obsolete.
    Fact: You can blame these massacres on antidepressants, bullying or cosmic rays. The simple truth is none of these massacres would have been as bad without the easy access to handguns and other weapons.

    I hold no hope that we will restrict handguns anytime soon. Even if we banned every weapon at once, it would still take decades to clear out the glut of weapons that are here now. The U.S. still likes to engage in a fantasy of Dirty Harry, and if that requires an occasional massacre of innocent children, then so be it.

    • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 12:16 am

      Bill k.

      Please don’t call the above “facts”. It may be your desire to re-write history, but the Second Amendment is the same 27 words it has always been. Not obsolete at all. You may not like handguns, or any guns for that matter, but don’t try and give away my rights.

      You are correct in your assumption that if every weapon was banned, that we’d still have problems. Mainly, because the CRIMINALS would not comply…that’s what makes them CRIMINALS.

      Can one person from the anti-gun side give me any example of gun control actually having a successful long-term outcome? The problem is that all you Utopians forget that we live in Reality.

      Finally, I like Dirty Harry…and if you want me to give up my rights, why don’t you do everyone a favor and give up your freedom of speech?

      • bill_k April 7, 2009 at 7:29 am


        I call ’em like I see ’em.

        The 2nd Amendment was written when ‘arms’ consisted of swords, small grenades and single-shot, smooth-bore muskets and pistols. The muskets were heavy, expensive and had a rate of fire of about 5 a minute, depending on your skill with the powder and ramrod. The writers of the amendment had no idea that today assembly lines can churn out thousands of accurate, cheap, rapid-fire weapons that any 4th grader can use to kill someone. Also, the writers of the 2nd Amendment were hoping the protection of weapon ownership would allow citizens to resist overbearing governments. At that time the musket was the standard weapon of armies. If the government decides to come for you today, how much use will your Glock be? I hear 9mm doesn’t do too well against an APC.

        So…it is a fact that the 2nd amendment is obsolete.

        The 2nd amendment protects a person’s right to bear ARMS. An ‘arm’ is any weapon you can carry. Are you allowed grenades? Are you allowed a Stinger missile? How about a LAW rocket?

        So…it is a fact that the 2nd amendment has not been followed for 100 years.

        As an example of effective gun control, I give you every western nation except ours. You may try to point to individual shootings, such as the recent violence in Germany, but the fact is that gun deaths in all the other western nations are many times lower than ours. In fact, to our embarrassment, many shootings in foreign countries are done with American weapons.

        I like Dirty Harry myself. He gives a nice visceral thrill and a satisfying end to bad guys. I just don’t confuse him with reality. There is a reason society always moves to prevent vigilante justice.

        • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

          Bill K.

          Using your own logic, one could make the same argument as to the 1st amendment being obsolete. When the 1st amendment was written, literally written, people used a quill and ink. Now that words can be transferred around the world with the click of a button…whether those words are based in fact or not, then using your logic, it must mean that the framers of our great country would really want the government to control who really has a voice since they could not have foreseen the harm that could be done from this reckless use of freedom of speech. ??! Wow, when you re-frame your argument, in your own words, it sounds a little ridiculous.

          If the 2nd amendment has become obsolete the way you propose it has, then I guarantee our 1st amendment will be the next freedom that will be limited much more than today.

          You can call me a radical, but I still believe PART of the reason for this great freedom is absolutely to protect ourselves from enemies, both foreign and domestic. I pray that day will never come.

          Next, be careful where you… and how you interpret your facts on Europe. It was just 50 short years ago that we had to come together with our allies to stop a horrible regime from destroying anything that stood in his way of world domination and genocide. Another little fact you may find interesting since we are now comparing ourselves to Europe…one of Hitler’s acts was to demand gun control, leaving millions of Jews unable to organize any meaningful resistance.

          As a correction, I assume you meant that my 9mm Glock wouldn’t do too well against the the government’s ACP’s? The ACP is simply a type of auto-loading firearm. I own several legally. I’m not worried about the government coming for me because I have done nothing wrong. However if there were thugs rioting for weeks on end, with the government doing nothing to stop them…the way they were in your beloved France last year, I would have no problem defending my family, my neighborhood, and property with not only handguns, but (insert gasp), assault weapons! And yes, if you lived in my neighborhood, I’d defend your family as well. You don’t need to own guns if you don’t like them or see a need, but, just like I’m not advocating limiting your freedom of speech, don’t advocate giving away my freedom to exercise the 2nd amendment.

  13. HemmD April 6, 2009 at 11:48 am

    HeavyD et al

    You say there is no “Control” to be put upon the 2nd Amendment. What country do YOU live in? All our rights are controlled to some extent.

    1st Free speech: You can’t yell “Fire” in a theater. You can’t speak or print slander or libel. – there goes freedom of the press.

    You have the right to vote, but you have to be registered, and you can’t be a felon.

    Incarceration. You have to be charged, but you can be held for 24 hrs without charges.

    You have a right to own a gun, but you never demonstrate the common sense to advocate responsibilities to go with that right.

    Dick Nixon ferociously attacked Red China for years; yet he was the one who opened relations with that country. Hence, we get the adage, “Only Nixon could go to China.”

    Why don’t you who hold the 2nd Amendment above all others realize that only gun owners can solve the very real problem we face with 29,573 gun deaths (2001).

    Just like free speech, to protect your rights under the 2nd, a reasoned “Control” is required.

    • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 12:43 am


      You are correct, you can’t yell “fire” in a theater…..slander…so I guess you feel that your freedom of speech and press are “controlled”. However, I already can’t own several types of weapons, I must register to purchase handguns, have to deal with appropriate transportation requirements, etc. On the other hand, there is no registration process impeding your 1st amendment right to sound silly.

      Please don’t tell me “I don’t demonstrate the common sense to advocate responsibilities to go with that right.” You don’t know me. I’ve never committed a crime, hurt anyone, etc. I am very responsible with my right and teach my family that same responsibility.

      Thanks for the factoid on gun deaths. Those are indeed tragedies. Every one of them has a brother, sister, father, mother, or child who has lost part of their lives as well. What’s not in your fact is how many of those crimes were committed by criminals that were released from the justice system because some left wing, liberal arts major believed a little too much in reform instead of incarceration. How many of those gun deaths were committed by illegal immigrants, yet people support sanctuary cities? Is it really guns, or a total lack of respect for authority and lack of personal responsibility and us as citizens getting way too soft on expectations and holding people accountable?

      By the way…in 2001 there were also 42,196 automobile deaths. That’s about 33% more than gun fatalities. Were is the cry and outrage for “car control”?

      • HemmD April 7, 2009 at 7:50 am

        Car deaths have steadily been lowered the past few years but stricter enforcement of drunk driving through sobriety checks. Another control, or do you see this as “illegal search and seizure?”

        I stated before, as part of the solution to the gun problem, I propose a 25 year non-consecutive prison sentence for anyone carrying an unlicensed gun. If you wish to consider that part of my silly speech, fine.

        What do you propose to curb these deaths? Or is this part of your rhetoric where you say “Freedom isn’t free?” Stand and Deliver.

        • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 10:03 am


          I don’t consider any part of serious prison sentences silly. I’m sorry I missed that part. Let’s take it a step further. The increases in prison sentences shouldn’t just relate to carrying unlicensed guns, it should relate to crime in general. If you mug somebody with a knife. Put them in jail for a long time. Run from the cops….jail with serious time, not a slap on the wrist. Use credit cards that aren’t yours…I have some sand that needs to be moved from one pile to another in the hot sun…and then you can put it back were it was.

          My point is that the breakdown in the system is way, way, before someone dies in a drive by or shooting. The breakdown is the the total lack of serious consequences. A North Dakota college student was murdered 4 years ago. Her killer was released from “the system” for a second chance as a convicted (with violence) sex offender with minimal time. Why? Keep these people locked up the first time and we wouldn’t be discussing much of this. Ease conceal and carry and the criminals and freaks wouldn’t get to 13 dead bodies. And finally learn a little something from your history (real history, not fabricated left wing pansy history), peace through strength works and saves lives.

          • HemmD April 7, 2009 at 10:48 am


            We agree on much, and this was my whole point to begin with. Along with your stricter sentencing, just how much punishment are police officers that actually break the law? I believe one of the problems we have comes from those cases where officials have withheld evidence, beat someone already restrained, and generally circumvented the rule of law. If gangbangers see the disparity in the justice system, they tend to shoot first in what they see as self-defense.

            Before you think that I’m blowing left-wing hot air, understand that a personal friend of mine is a cop, and I would never want his life endangered protecting me and mine. Cops suffer under incredible strain with every stop they make. Is this the one where all hell breaks loose? I can’t give them enough respect. That being said, the rule of law has been tarnished on both sides. What I’m actually proposing is truly equal protection under the law for everyone. Dirty cops and crooks have a lot in common and both deserve their just rewards. The same holds true for DAs etc.

          • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 11:41 am


            I have no problem with stricter sentencing and equal protection under the law. I believe if cops knew the thug that just ran from them, endangering lives of civilians and the police, were actually going to be spending serious and severe time involving manual labor, that you’d probably see police brutality be reduced. Prosecute everyone who violates the law, but don’t give away my personal rights and capitalize off of a tragedy.

          • HemmD April 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm


            You currently compromise your freedoms of speech, voting, the press, and rules of incarceration. What makes your 2nd Amendment right beyond reasonable control?

            If you don’t compromise on the four listed above, no one dies; if you won’t consider responsible controls to the 2nd, people do. That’s where we stand, and where we will remain as a country until responsible people work together to stop the wholesale murder that takes place daily.

  14. Anna April 6, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Now it’s really not very polite to jump on someone from a foreign country for daring to have an opinion about something in the U.S. How many Americans have opinions about how other countries do things?

    Anyway, while I am personally not a fan of guns as the costs of a country full of guns seems to far outweigh the benefits (just mho, I now expect to be jumped on for it), my question to the devout gun advocates is this: What IS acceptable to you to keep the guns out of the hands of people who clearly shouldn’t own one? How can those of you who advocate zero gun control live with yourselves when tragedies like these occur? Is it “collateral damage”?! I just know that as a parent, I find it more than a bit tragic that when it’s time for my 3 year old to go to school, there’s a halfway decent chance she’ll have to pass through a metal detector because some yahoo could try to bring a gun into her school and go on a rampage.

    • HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 12:51 am


      I can live with my self very easily. I didn’t do it! I’d submit to you an opposing challenge. If anyone who wanted was cheered on to carry arms with appropriate training, and let’s say it became so popular that 1 out of 2 people on average were responsibly armed. Could you imagine that that person out to do harm might think twice? Or if a tragedy like this one actually did occur, maybe only 3 or 4 people would have lost there lives instead of 13? Maybe some of the “collateral damage” (your words, not mine) belongs to you!

      As far as you 3 year old going to school, I’d feel better if the teachers had the choice to be armed. That simple act would have made Columbine, Virginia Tech, Upper Red Lake, and this one a lot less lethal, or possibly stopped them all together.

    • shanzook April 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

      We are never going to be able to keep the guns out of all the criminal and mentally ill peoples hands. This is why I ask why would you wnat to take them from the very person who may be saving you or your daughter one day. There is a price to pay for freedom. I have a 2 1/2 year old, and I could not imagine not being able to defind him if needed. If you were in a situation where my gun coudl save you would you want me to?
      Criminals do not obtain guns legally, why is it that people that are not fans of guns think that laws are going to stop these criminals. Gun control will only disarm the victims!

  15. TedHoward April 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    The ease with which people in the USA can get guns is shocking.
    Is everyone aware of the violence of the drug trade in Mexico in recent months/years? It’s big news in the USA. Drug smugglers control society through fear and death. It has recently been disclosed that most of the guns used by the Mexican drug mafia come from the USA (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-03-31-mexicoguns_N.htm?csp=34). The gun policies of the USA are directly causing gun violence in other countries. To be fair, the articles do say that grenades don’t come from the USA but from Central America. That’s little consolation.
    I’m from Texas. I have hunted and killed animals as sport and for food, though not food out of necessity as my father did as a child. In much of the USA, hunting is not only sport and food but also necessary for ecology. If you don’t kill some deer each year on your ranch, they will eat all vegetation which leads to soil erosion which leads to much worse. I state this only to explain that there are arguments, besides appeals to the Second Amendment or fear of invasion/government, for gun ownership. I feel that this sport, food, and population control argument is often not discussed even within the USA. There’s no way to justify handguns and assault weapons using my arguments, which explains why those who want to own handguns don’t use such an argument.
    As people discuss whether guns or video games are the cause of violence, do we consider the family life? Or the access to mental health care? Or the responsibility of the community to help its members when they are in distress? There is no one cause, imo.

    • HemmD April 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm


      I support you use of firearms completely. It’s absolutely your right and I will help defend that right. To my mind, that has never been the issue.

      Because this issue is so divided along the black/white issues of the 2nd Amendment, we as a country continue to fail to solve the problem of gun deaths. For you and those like you who understand that guns are tools like any other are the people who could help alleviate the log jamb.

      You have a right to own a gun; now, how do we protect kids, cops, and parishioners from being shot? This is the question that never gets asked or answered.

      • TedHoward April 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm

        The question of prevention gets asked all the time but never answered. I don’t have the answers either. I only have bits of factual input to the conversation. Many people have grown up in areas where guns serve no utilitarian purpose and are unaware of any arguments for gun ownership except for those rooted in Second Amendment and its source.
        [Parishioners? What? That was an odd word to see in the list.]

        • HemmD April 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

          Unfortunately, here is only one example of why I said Parishioners:


          The problem so far is that both sides can’t even sit down to discuss the problem without the Constitutional side show that keeps progress from happening.


  16. Anna April 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Ted, I think HemmD was referring to the mass shooting at that Unitarian Church in Tenn. awhile back.

    I also have no issue with responsible gun owners who’ve followed the proper legal procedures to get their firearm. I mainly have a problem with those who shouldn’t have a gun getting their hands on them far too easily. I grew up in a large city where the main use of guns was crime and gang violence. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, what might be fine for people in a rural town isn’t the same for those in a large city. Unfortunately, the most vocal gun advocates (almost willfully) don’t see it that way. They shout that having gun control in a city in an effort to fight crime means the government is going to take everyone’s guns away. This is disingenuous at best and patently false at worst.

  17. brennan998 April 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    While I enjoy being chided by an Englishmen as much as the next Yank, I think it might be time to point out a the fact that, despite which side of the gun control debate you are on, there is a myriad of factors that make this a much thornier problem to regulate in the USA then in the UK. The UK is largely culturally and racially homogeneous, the USA is anything but. Geographically, the UK is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon; the USA is slightly smaller then the continent of Europe. The UK has roughly 8 times less people than the USA. The UK has had a history of gun control going back to 1824; the US didn’t start tackling the issue until the middle of the 20th century.

    If Mr. Njolinjo would like to propose some ideas on how we would get the whole USA to buy in on wide-sweeping gun legislation and police up the undoubtedly enormous black-market for guns after the legislation is enacted, by all means I would love to hear it. However, his comments were about as helpful as telling a man on fire: “By God man, you’re on fire”; that is to say, not one bit.

  18. Anna April 7, 2009 at 10:25 am


    Interesting that instead of answering my perfectly legitimate question, you change the subject.

    Instead of evading your question, I will answer it. If every person in this country was armed, no I do not believe it would make many of these people think twice before opening fire. In the case of the New York, Pittsburgh and Tenn. church shootings were that the perpetrators were suicidal and wanted to take as many people with them as possible, it wouldn’t have mattered to them if everyone was armed to the teeth, they’d have done what they did anyway. Part of the problem here also is the “gun culture” in which guns are glorified to the point of being ultra-macho. I also enjoy Dirty Harry but it is fiction. However, the stereotypical gun owner wants to be just like Dirty Harry in real life. Note my use of “stereotypical” to mean that not everyone is but even you have to agree that many are.

    You also seem to be forgetting something about everyone being armed to the teeth & shooting each other when they feel like it and that is cross-fire. Do you know how many innocents are killed in drive-by shootings simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Could you imagine that on an expanded scale when everyone in your example would be “packing heat”? That’s precisely the reason I’d not want my daughter’s teacher to be armed in school. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to have the same fears of my daughter getting caught in a cross-fire in school similar to how a military spouse feels when they’re loved one is in a war zone. I guess related to that would be another question…what age would you want children to start carrying guns? If that’s the only way people can protect themselves, I’d imagine you’d want them to start young, huh?

    Anyway, I answered your question….your turn to answer mine which I’ll even repeat for you…”What IS acceptable to you to keep the guns out of the hands of people who clearly shouldn’t own one?”

  19. HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 11:34 am


    I’m not changing the subject on anything. I have no problem defending my beliefs with fact. First, if the church killing perpetrators were suicidal, then they would have found other means to conduct their acts (bombings, etc..). You are also correct that Dirty Harry is fiction, but unfortunately you solidified your “stereotyping” of gun owners as trigger happy vigilantes. I own and enjoy guns, I enjoy hunting, time with friends and family in the field, etc… Not the Dirty Harry type, but enjoy the shows. I do appreciate your caveat of “not everyone”, but your bias is obvious.

    Here are some facts that support my stance. Since my state has instituted liberalized conceal in carry, violent crime has went down significantly. Yet your fears of shootouts in the street have simply not happened. The training and responsibility is significant and serious. The fact is that repeat felons account for 90% plus of violent crimes. If I can find the stat, I’ll post it. Those drive-by shootings you fear are not coming from legally armed citizens, they are occurring in districts with a soft stance on both petty serious crimes, and have no real accountability. Many of these perps should have been in jail instead of gang bangin’.

    As far as what age I want my children handling guns, not carrying, but educated…my 13 year old daughter is in a hunter’s safety class for the next 4 weeks. So yes, I want her to understand the seriousness of the nature of guns early. Whatever she learns in class, I will be responsible for and confirm her knowledge with twice the gravity. I can’t wait for our first pheasant hunt this fall. It will be a special time. She can make the decision for herself if she wants to go forward with conceal and carry. My wife however, is trying to coordinate dates to take the class and will be the proud owner of a HK 9mm in a week.

    Now for a few additional facts. Several states in the upper mid-west have more guns than people. Most allow conceal and carry and in fact conceal and carry has been expanded. Why is violent crime lower in these areas than most of the remainder of the country? Is it really guns, or could it be…a higher focus on personal responsibility and consequences?

    As for your final question….Defining an acceptable loss is a trap. Based on that ideology, there is never anything worth fighting for because it may involve loss, if confronted, lay down and take it…out of fear. If challenged, submit…out of fear. If robbed, let them take it…out of fear. If a loved one is being beat or raped, let it be… because the alternative may involve loss which in your words seams unacceptable at any level. If you don’t like guns, don’t buy them, but don’t try and validate giving away or limiting the rights of others. I enjoy being a sportsman and sleep quite well with a backup plan that doesn’t involve being needy of others.

  20. HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm


    You are still placing the blame on the wrong item. You promote the “guns kill” ideology. I chose to factually place the blame squarely on the chest of the person committing the crime. The people doing this are the responsible ones, not the guns. A gun can’t pull its own trigger, correct? That means we are right back to holding the ones committing these acts personally responsible, not eroding away freedoms of law abiding citizens.

    I can guarantee I have way more requirements and limits on my firearms and their legal use than your limits on freedom of speech, voting, the press, and rules of incarceration. Sorry, I’m not willing to consider any more control based on hype vs fact.

    If you want to stop wholesale murder (your phrase), here’s the five step plan. 1) Equal treatment under the law means your first felony has mandatory,significant time behind bars performing hard labor. Swinging a sledge hammer is not cruel and unusual. If these punks worked harder during the day, you’d also see prison violence go down. 2) Harsher treatment of petty crimes. You steal a candy bar from a store, you wear a sign and scrub their floors. Again, not cruel or unusual as I have scrubbed floors regularly. 3) Deport anyone who is in the justice system and living in the U.S. illegally…after serving their sentence with complementary hard labor. 4) No welfare for previous felons, it’s called a job, not a support system. and 5) Quit coddling losers who won’t step up.

    Every time there is a tragedy, people go off on …we need gun control. No, we need to get back to calling a spade a spade. Kill political correctness once and for all, and make it known that you either step up and live well with others, or get put away. I don’t care about your upbringing or your daddy’s alcohol problem. At some point every human being needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and take responsibility for themselves. No excuses. You are making guns the excuse! It is people that commit these acts, let’s start there.

  21. HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    By the way. Part of crime control involves a deterrent so that people choose not to commit that crime in the first place. In our justice system, this is lacking entirely. A thug could be caught selling crack this morning and know he’ll be back on the street by evening. This can be fixed without changing a single law, or selling away anybody’s rights. Let’s start there.

  22. Anna April 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm


    So, you’re answer to all of this is more jails. If I’m not mistaken, as a country the USA has the highest incarceration rate per capita than any other nation in the world followed by China (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisons_in_the_United_States) and that doesn’t seem to be helping. Besides, I tend to notice that the people who keep saying “More Jails!” are the ones that a) don’t want it anywhere near where they live (NIMBY) b) don’t want to pay the taxes that are needed to support jails (yes…taxes pay for jails) and c) the suicidal criminals (which appears to be becoming more common) aren’t around to serve jail time once they’ve done what they’ve set out to do, yet the innocent victims are no less dead.

    As I said before, there is no one-size-fits-all solution of rural vs. large city. If you want to keep what you’ve got in your rural area & it works for you…fine. But the gun advocates have to quit interfering with large cities that are trying to control crime and shouting “The sky is falling!!! They’re going to take away all your guns!!!” which is patently false.

  23. HeavyD April 7, 2009 at 5:47 pm


    I’ve literally felt I.Q. hemorrhage from my brain today listening to all these excuses as to why giving away rights for the greater good makes sense as a first option. Let me solve your problems one more time. 1) If you are worried about incarceration per capita rates, start supporting the death penalty, and the rates will fall. 2) There are more alternatives than just jails. Sheriff Joe has it right with tent cities and work camps. I’d put that plan on steroids. Cheap and effective. 3) Not one person in 3 days has been able to refute the fact that trained and responsible armed citizens via conceal and carry either eliminates or reduces the damage done from a nut like this. 4) Why do you assume I’m rural? I live in a metro area of over 2 million. 5) I could give two sh!t$ about how we compare to other countries in anything. You want to live in Europe, go ahead. Meanwhile…God Bless America!

    You complain about gun advocates interfering with large cities that are -trying- to control crime… Are you -trying- to control crime the way cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are -trying- to deal with illegal immigrants? These cities are broke, yet won’t enforce laws, federal laws, even if the illegal immigrant is a felon. Yeah, big cities have problems. Mostly because the leaders create diversions and excuses, instead of dealing with the reality of cause and effect (see working example below).

    Cause – real criminals getting slapped on the hand. Effect – cities with people surrendering to fear like yourself. Solution – real punishment on the front end, impose serious discomfort. Result – a reduction in crime and need for jail.

    Sorry, guns are not the problem.

  24. ptyinUK April 21, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Interesting article and some interesting comments. Not least is that of DarleneL who says:

    ‘Nobody seems to have caught on yet that it is not the guns that are killing Americans but the antidepressants.

    The real question: is it possible to have both guns and Prozac type SSRI antidepressants at the same time? One of these has got to go.

    http://www.ssristories.com/index.php where over 2,900 cases with full media article available [in a sortable database] are available.’

    It seems odd that so many kids (and adults) go on killing sprees when given pills (antidepressants) to fight depression, and equally odd that there is so much argument over the gun issues, and yet so little notice taken of what the drugs actually do that we are giving to our kids.

    I went to that site, its quite shocking, sad, tragic how antidepressants, supposed to be good for depression, are involved in so many murders and suicides, and I believe we need to wake up and do something about it.


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