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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Virginia Tech & Circular Reasoning

● Gun rights advocates believe that had a student or faculty member possessed a weapon on the Virginia Tech campus the day of the mass-murder spree, a tragedy of horrendous proportions might have been averted.

● In order for someone to have possessed a firearm legally, he or she would need to have acquired a concealed carry permit (never mind, for the moment, that there was a university ban on weapons possession in place as well).

● An investigation reveals that none of the 51 people who were shot that day had a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

● Therefore the right to have a gun on campus would have made no difference.

From "Activists debate campus gun laws," in this morning's Roanoke Times:

The argument, often made since April 16, is simple: Fight gunfire with gunfire.

Had Virginia Tech allowed its students and staff to have guns on campus, the argument goes, maybe an armed hero would have stopped Seung-Hui Cho's shooting rampage before more than 50 people were killed or injured three weeks ago.

But under most theories, the hero would have needed a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

None of the 51 people identified to date as being killed or injured in the shooting rampage had such a permit in Virginia, according to a search by The Roanoke Times of online court records.

"Even had the Virginia Tech policy been different, no one would have been there to save the day," said Brian Siebel, a senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Virginia Tech has a complete ban on guns. A state permit would have been useless. But because nobody had a permit, the absense of the ban would have made no difference. Hello?

Genius: They couldn't so they didn't. The fact that they couldn't and therefore didn't doesn't argue that they shouldn't. Or now wouldn't.

It simply speaks to the fact that 51 people obeyed the law and were completely defenseless. One deranged sociopath disobeyed the law, in fact a myriad of laws, and shot those same 51 people. Any inferences made that stray beyond those facts are worthless.

Why Not a Good Old Statue?

Of all the ideas I've read having to do with the creation of a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, this one has to be the most ill-conceived:

Build a Memorial Greenway
Bern Ewert, writing in the Roanoke Times

I have been thinking about the kind of memorial our lost students and professors would have wanted. A fitting memorial would be vibrant and meaningful decade after decade, for succeeding classes of students, their parents and their grandparents.

I imagine there will be several memorials dedicated to them. My thoughts turn to a memorial that could be used for research, improve the environment, be peaceful and a place for active recreation or peaceful contemplation enjoyed by one person, or as a part of a group or with family members. This would be a place and a project that would be as vibrant in 2050 or at the beginning of the 22nd century as it would be today. This is a project that would be used by new students, their friends, parents and alumni, year after year after year.

My thought is that we should build a greenway from Virginia Tech to the Roanoke Valley and on to Smith Mountain Lake. This "Memorial Greenway" and bike path (no cars) would go from the campus to the Roanoke River headway, run parallel to ... (link)
We Southwest Virginians have bike-path-itis of the brain. We cut a trail (our 200th) through the forest and give it a name. How unique. How transcendent. How awe-inspring. How reflective.

How misdirected.

See below. This is a statue (nearly 900 feet tall) that was erected near present-day Volgograd to honor those killed at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43. It is a breathtaking memorial that will endure for all time:

This could be our memorial dedicated to the memory of those killed at Virginia Tech:

Tell me which one of these conveys a message of dedication and devotion to those whose lives were cut lamentably and tragically short, and which one speaks, not of those lives lost, but only of - and to - those who enjoy a bike ride on a summer's day.

Photos courtesy of Virtual Blue Ridge and Mutter Heimat.

Where The NRA Really Counts

Yeah, we're 4,000,000 heavily armed white boys who vote. And yes, we have the most powerful lobbying organization in the nation's capital (although AARP might argue with that). And, you bet, we have a turn-out-the-vote organization in place the likes of which leftists only dream of.

But where the NRA counts the most and has been most effective is in the arena of ideas. The ability to make constitutional law - particularly the Bill of Rights - understandable to all. To bring the thoughts, aspirations, concerns, and original intent of the 18th century founding fathers into the debate revolving around how we as Americans are going to interact in the 21st century.

In doing so, we have, so far, though perhaps only temporarily, stemmed the tide. And, in our attempt to win over the broad voting populace, we have, at the same time, been able to influence the best minds in the land.

From the New York Times:

A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Helps Sway Judiciary
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times

In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Only a few decades ago, the decision would have been unimaginable.

There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.

In those two decades, breakneck speed by the standards of constitutional law, they have helped to reshape the debate over gun rights in the United States. Their work culminated in the March decision, Parker v. District of Columbia, and it will doubtless play a major role should the case reach the United States Supreme Court.

The earlier consensus, the law professors said in interviews, reflected received wisdom and political preferences rather than a serious consideration of the amendment’s text, history and place in the structure of the Constitution. “The standard liberal position,” Professor Levinson said, “is that the Second Amendment is basically just read out of the Constitution.” (link)

The NRA in recent years has done a masterful job of influencing the debate when it comes to politics and legislation - at the national, state, and local level. Now we are starting to gain traction in the judiciary as well.

It's a good day a long time coming. James Madison would be proud.

'The Great & Powerful Oz Has Spoken'

Pull the curtain back ... and it's just a wrinkled, powerless old man:

With New Clout, Antiwar Groups Push Democrats
By Michael Luo, The New York Times

Over the last four months, the Iraq deliberations in Congress have lurched from a purely symbolic resolution rebuking the president’s strategy to timetables for the withdrawal of American troops. Behind the scenes, an elaborate political operation, organized by a coalition of antiwar groups and fine-tuned to wrestle members of Congress into place one by one, has helped nudge the debate forward.

But there are tensions in the relationship between the groups, which banded together earlier this year under the umbrella of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and the Democratic leadership. The fissures could be magnified in coming weeks as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, struggle to cobble together a strategy after President Bush’s veto of the $124 billion Iraq spending bill that tied the money to a timetable for withdrawal.

On Thursday, leaders of the liberal group MoveOn.org, including Tom Matzzie, the group’s Washington director who also serves as the campaign manager for the coalition, sent a harshly worded warning to the Democratic leadership.

“In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position,” the letter read. “On this, we want to be perfectly clear: if Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush — passing a bill without measures to end the war — the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.”

The letter went on to say that if Democrats passed a bill “without a timeline and with all five months of funding,” they would essentially be endorsing a “war without end.” MoveOn, it said, “will move to a position of opposition.” (link)
They'll move to a position of opposition. That's what's known as bluster. An empty threat.

Where are these leftists going to go? The American Communist Party? Dennis Kucinich? In the case of MoveOn, George Soros requires that money be spent, lavishly. Who are they going to spend it on when they break from the Democratic Party? Ralph Nader?

Please. Don't make us laugh. You brung 'em to the dance. Now dance.