title>Lady Liberty Defended: April 2007
From the Los Angeles Times (in the Chicago Tribune)
ATTACKED BY A GRIZZLY (and totally sensationalized by the writer...)
A hike into horror and an act of courage
A California man visiting Glacier National Park with his daughter instinctively puts himself between her and the rampaging bear's claws and teeth.
By Thomas CurwenTimes Staff WriterPublished April 29, 2007 Glacier National Park, Mont. —
JOHAN looked up. Jenna was running toward him. She had yelled something, he wasn't sure what. Then he saw it. The open mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the flattened ears. Jenna ran right past him, and it struck him — a flash of fur, two jumps, 400 pounds of lightning.It was a grizzly, and it had him by his left thigh. His mind started racing — to Jenna, to the trip, to fighting, to escaping. The bear jerked him back and forth like a rag doll, but he remembered no pain, just disbelief. It bit into him again and again, its jaw like a sharp vise stopping at nothing until teeth hit bone. Then came the claws, rising like shiny knife blades, long and stark...
I will not be food. Don't ask. Don't tell. And for G_d's sake at LEAST carry a K-Bar or equivelent "human claw".
(From the Editor of The Libertarian Enterprise)
"My feelings are hurt! Nobody likes me because I'm unlikable! I have no friends because I'm unfriendly! I hate everybody! Poor Me! Boo hoo! It's not my fault!" But of course, it IS your fault, you stupid git. Yes, you failed to learn to be friendly, to become likable, but IT IS YOUR fault, you stupid git! Why didn't you read "How to Win Friends and Influence People"? Eh? Eh? I've got a copy I picked up for 25-cents at a thrift store.
I'm hearby kicking off the campaign to always and forever more refer to that stupid git at Virginia Tech as "Stupid Git"—never speak his name, whatever it was; let it be lost to history. Just call him "That Stupid Git." Steal his tombstone and replace it with one that says "Here lies That Supid Git."
Okay, that would violate the Z.A.P., so don't do that. ...
The disarming of America Wednesday, April 25, 2007 Dan SimpsonThis is why our state department can't work to defeat our enemies. The diplomatic corps believes, not in the values expressed in the Constitution, but in dictatorships, in totalitarianism, in oppression, in absolute control of the individual and it was well expressed here by a career diplomat. Be afraid, be very afraid, Mr. Simpson's ideas were incubated in the US State Department.
LAST week's tragedy at Virginia Tech in which a mentally disturbed person gunned down 32 of America's finest - intelligent young people with futures ahead of them - once again puts the phenomenon of an armed society into focus for Americans.
The likely underestimate of how many guns are wandering around America runs at 240 million in a population of about 300 million. What was clear last week is that at least two of those guns were in the wrong hands.
When people talk about doing something about guns in America, it often comes down to this: "How could America disarm even if it wanted to? There are so many guns out there."
Because I have little or no power to influence the "if" part of the issue, I will stick with the "how." And before anyone starts to hyperventilate and think I'm a crazed liberal zealot wanting to take his gun from his cold, dead hands, let me share my experience of guns.
As a child I played cowboys and Indians with cap guns. I had a Daisy Red Ryder B-B gun. My father had in his bedside table drawer an old pistol which I examined surreptitiously from time to time. When assigned to the American embassy in Beirut during the war in Lebanon, I sometimes carried a .357 Magnum, which I could fire accurately. I also learned to handle and fire a variety of weapons while I was there, including Uzis and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
I don't have any problem with hunting, although blowing away animals with high-powered weapons seems a pointless, no-contest affair to me. I suppose I would enjoy the fellowship of the experience with other friends who are hunters.
Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.
Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.
It would have to be the case that the term "hunting weapon" did not include anti-tank ordnance, assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, or other weapons of war.
All antique or interesting non-hunting weapons would be required to be delivered to a local or regional museum, also to be under strict 24-hour-a-day guard. There they would be on display, if the owner desired, as part of an interesting exhibit of antique American weapons, as family heirlooms from proud wars past or as part of collections.
Gun dealers could continue their work, selling hunting and antique firearms. They would be required to maintain very tight inventories. Any gun sold would be delivered immediately by the dealer to the nearest arsenal or the museum, not to the buyer.
The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.
Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."
The "gun lobby" would no doubt try to head off in the courts the new laws and the actions to implement them. They might succeed in doing so, although the new approach would undoubtedly prompt new, vigorous debate on the subject. In any case, some jurisdictions would undoubtedly take the opportunity of the chronic slowness of the courts to begin implementing the new approach.
America's long land and sea borders present another kind of problem. It is easy to imagine mega-gun dealerships installing themselves in Mexico, and perhaps in more remote parts of the Canadian border area, to funnel guns into the United States. That would constitute a problem for American immigration authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard, but not an insurmountable one over time.
There could conceivably also be a rash of score-settling during hunting season as people drew out their weapons, ostensibly to shoot squirrels and deer, and began eliminating various of their perceived two-footed enemies. Given the general nature of hunting weapons and the fact that such killings are frequently time-sensitive, that seems a lesser sort of issue.
That is my idea of how it could be done. The desire to do so on the part of the American people is another question altogether, but one clearly raised again by the Blacksburg tragedy.
Dan Simpson, a retired diplomat, is a member of the editorial boards of The Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
April 26, 2007
BY NEDRA PICKLER Associated Press
ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- Democratic presidential hopefuls flashed their anti-war credentials Thursday night, robustly criticizing President Bush's Iraq policy in an unusually early first debate of the 2008 campaign.
"If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, one of eight contenders on the debate stage.
Sen. Barack Obama shares a laugh with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton prior to the start of the Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2008 election hosted by the South Carolina State University.
But Clinton found herself on the receiving end of criticism moments later when former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said she or anyone else who voted to authorize the war should "search their conscience."
Edwards, in the Senate at the time, also cast his vote for the invasion, but he since has apologized for it.
Of eight rivals participating in the debate at South Carolina State University, four voted earlier in the day to support legislation that cleared Congress and requires the beginning of a troop withdrawal by Oct. 1. The legislation sets a goal of a complete withdrawal by April 1, 2008.
"We are one signature away from ending this war," said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. He said if Bush won't change his mind about vetoing the bill, Democrats need to work on rounding up enough Republican votes to override him.
In addition to Clinton and Obama, Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut also cast votes earlier in the day in favor of the legislation.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio also took part in the debate.
Bush is barred by the Constitution from running for re-election next fall, and the result is an extraordinarily early start to the campaign to succeed him.
The debate was 90 minutes long without opening or closing statements from the candidates. Instead, each of the eight fielded questions in turn.
While Iraq dominated the debate's early moments, Edwards was asked about having paid for a $400 haircut from campaign donations rather than from his own wallet.
"That was a mistake, which we remedied," he said. A wealthy former trial lawyer, he recalled once having gone to dinner at a restaurant as a young child and having to leave because his father could not afford the prices.
"I've not forgotten where I came from," he said.
Five of the eight -- Gravel, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich and Richardson -- raised their hands when moderator Brian Williams of NBC News asked whether they had ever had a gun in their home.
Asked about a recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on so-called partial birth abortions, several of the contenders replied they would not impose a litmus test on their own nominees to the high court.
At the same time, they stressed their support for abortion rights, and said their nominees would reflect their own values. "Any of my appointments to the high court would necessarily reflect my thinking," said Kucinich, who did not mention that he opposed abortion rights until he ran for the White House in 2004.
There were moments of levity, as when Williams referred to Biden's reputation for "verbosity" and asked whether he had the discipline to be a player on the world stage.
"Yes," the Delaware lawmaker replied with uncharacteristic brevity.
Asked why he was not supporting an NAACP ban on travel to South Carolina while the Confederate flag flies on the grounds of the State Capitol in Columbia, Biden noted that Rep. James Clyburn, a black member of Congress from another part of the state, had invited them to the debate.
The flag "should be put in a museum," added Obama, running the most competitive race in history for a black man.
The debate was about 40 minutes old when Clinton made the first mention of her husband, the former president. Responding to a question about the recent shooting spree at Virginia Tech, she began by saying, "I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine" -- the Colorado high school that was the scene of another shooting spree a decade ago.
Not surprisingly, Bush's Iraq war policy found no supporters on the debate stage.
"I am proud that I opposed this war from the start," said Obama -- a jab at those on the stage who voted to authorize the invasion.
"I would withdraw all of our troops by the end of our calendar year," and invite Iran and Syria to a regional security conference, said Richardson.
"The president has a fundamentally flawed policy," said Biden. "The president should start off by not vetoing the legislation he says he will veto."
Dodd said Bush was pursuing a "failed policy."
Kucinich jabbed at the senators on stage, saying it made no sense to oppose the war and then turn around and vote for more money as they did. The Ohio lawmaker voted against the legislation that cleared Congress earlier in the day.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
I notice that you say that you're proud to represent the citizens of Virginia. You must not be proud of representing me or any of the sservice people who live in the Commonwealth. Your vote today, trying to usurp the command and control of the US armed forces while giving aid and comfort to our enemies is reprehensible. Are you familiar with the term "quisling"? I suggest you bone up on your history. You might see a bit of what you're doing AND you might actually learn that it always harms the nation that tries it.Please note that I notice that while Speaker Pelosi can travel half way 'round the world to treat with the Syrian dictator but can't spare 15 minutes to get briefed by the US commander in Iraq. I noticed that Senator Reid has decided, unilaterally, that we are defeated.
LOS ANGELES --Students wrested a gun away from a University of Southern California student who had been asked to leave an off-campus party after threatening a young woman, police said Tuesday.Of course there will be comparisons to the Virginia Tech students. I feel I have to point out some likely (emphasis) differences.
Zao Xing Yang, 19, was arrested early Sunday and is being held without bail, Chief William Bratton said at a news conference.
Some students at the party, held at a student's home, overheard Yang making intimidating statements to the woman and threatening her with violence about 3 a.m. Sunday, Bratton said.
Yang began arguing with the host, who noticed Yang was holding a gun, he said.
"Several students wrestled the gun away from Yang and held him until campus security and then LAPD officers arrived," Bratton said.
Detectives searched Yang's off-campus room Monday and found a safe containing methamphetamine packaged for sale, a .44-caliber Magnum revolver and several hundred dollars in cash, Bratton said.
Yang is charged with making criminal threats, assault with a firearm and personal use of a handgun. If convicted, he faces up to 18 years in prison.
Defense attorney Nina Marino declined to comment.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007And Classically Liberal is such. He complains of George Bush as being a facist but hides his face and name on his (?) blog. Still, the obvious logic doesn't get by this blogger. Firearms are freedom from fear just as much as unfettered access to vanilla extract.
When mass killers meet armed resistance.
It took place at a university in Virginia. A student with a grudge, an immigrant, pulled a gun and went on a shooting spree. It wasn’t Virginia Tech at all. It was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, not far away. You can easily drive from the one school to the other, just take a trip down Route 460 through Tazewell.
It was January 16, 2002 when Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.
Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.
Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down. A third student, unarmed, Ted Besen, approached the killer and was physically attacked.
But Odighizuwa was now disarmed. The three students were able to restrain him and held him for the police. Odighizuwa is now in prison for the murders he committed. His killing spree ended when he faced two students with weapons. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.
You wouldn’t know much about that though. Do you wonder why? The media, though it widely reported the attack left out the fact that Bridges and Gross were armed. Most simply reported that the gunman was jumped and subdued by other students. That two of those students were now armed didn’t get a mention.
James Eaves-Johnson wrote about this fact one week later in The Daily Iowan. He wrote: “A Lexus-Nexis search revealed 88 stories on the topic, of which only two mentioned that either Bridges or Gross was armed.” This 2002 article noted “This was a very public shooting with a lot of media coverage.” But the media left out information showing how two students with firearms ended the killing spree.
He also mentioned a second incident. And while I had read many articles on this shooting for an article I wrote about school bullying not a single one mentioned the role that a firearm played in stopping it. Until today I didn’t know the full story.
Luke Woodham was a troubled teen. He felt no one really liked him. In 1997 he murdered his mother and put on a trench coat. He filled the pockets with ammunition and took a handgun to the Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. In rapid succession killed two students and wounded seven others.
He had the incident planned out. He would start shooting students and continue until he heard police sirens in the distance. That would allow him time to get in his car and leave campus. From there he intended to go to the nearby Pearl Junior High School and start shooting again. How it would end was not clear. Perhaps he would kill himself or perhaps the police would finally catch up with him and kill him. Either way a lot more people were going to get shot and die.
What Woodham hadn’t planned for was the actions of Assistant Principal Joel Myrick. Myrick heard the gun shots. He couldn’t have a handgun in the school. But he did keep one locked in his vehicle in the parking lot. He ran outside and retrieved the gun.
As Myrick headed back toward the school Woodham was in his vehicle headed for his next intended target. Myrick aimed his gun at the shooter. The teen crashed his car when he saw the gun. Myrick approached the car and held a gun to the killer who surrendered immediately. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.
So you didn’t know about that. Neither did I until today. Eaves-Johnson wrote that there were “687 articles on the school shooting in Pearl, Miss. Of those, only 19 mentioned that” Myrick had used a gun to stop Woodham “four-and-a-half minutes before police arrived.”
Many people probably forgot about the shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. It was a school graduation dance that Andrew Wurst entered to take out his anger on the school. First he shot teacher John Gillette outside. He started shooting randomly inside the restaurant where the 240 students had gathered.
It was restaurant owner James Strand, armed with a shot gun, who captured the shooter and held him for police. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.
It was February 12th of this year that a young man entered the Trolley Square Shopping Mall, in Salt Lake City. The mall was a self-declared “gun free zone” forbidding patrons from carrying weapons. He wasn’t worried. In fact he appreciated knowing that his victims couldn’t defend themselves.
He opened fire even before he got inside killing his first victims immediately outside the front door. As he walked down the mall hallway he fired in all directions. Several more people were shot inside a card store immediately inside the mall. The shooter moved on to the Pottery Barns Kids store.
What he didn’t know is that one patron of the mall, Kenneth Hammond, had ignored the signs informing patrons they must be unarmed to enter. He was a police officer but he was not on duty and he was not a police officer for Salt Lake City. By all standards he was a civilian that day and probably should have left his firearm in his vehicle.
It’s a good thing he didn’t. He was sitting in the mall with his wife having dinner when he heard the shots. He told her to hide and to call 911 emergency services. He went to confront the gunman. The killer found himself under gun fire much sooner than he anticipated. From this point on all his effort was to protect himself from Hammond, he had no time to kill anyone else. Hammond was able to pin down the shooter until police finally arrived and one of them shot the man to death. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.
In each of these cases a killer is stopped the moment he faces armed resistance. It is clear that in three of these cases the shooter intended to continue his killing spree. In the fourth case, Andrew Wurst, it is not immediately apparent whether he intended to keep shooting or not since he was apprehended by the restaurant owner leaving the scene.
Three of these cases involved armed resistance by students, faculty or civilians. In one case the armed resistance was from an off-duty police officer in a city where he had no legal authority and where he was carrying his weapon in violation of the mall’s gun free policy.
What would have happened if these people waited for the police? In three cases the shooters were apprehended before the police arrived because of armed civilians. At Trolley Square the shooter was kept busy by Hammond until the police arrived. In all four cases the local police were the Johnny-come-latelys.
Consider the horrific events at Virginia Tech. Again an armed man enters a “gun free zone”. He kills two victims and walks away long before the police arrive. He spends two hours on campus, doing what is unknown. He then enters another building on campus and begins shooting. He never encounters a police officer during this. And all the students and faculty present had apparently complied with the “no gun” policy of the university. So no one stopped him. NO ONE STOPPED HIM! And when he finished his shooting spree 32 people were dead. It was the killer who ended the spree. He took his own life and when the police arrived all they dealt with were the dead.
There were many further victims that day. The shooter never met with armed resistance.
Labels: gun control
posted by CLS at 4/18/2007 01:14:00 AM
My heart continues to ache for the victims, their families, and the Virginia Tech community. After my husband was shot by a deranged man, our lives were never the same. But at some point, Jim and I decided to stop hurting and take action.Well, I'll tell you what I'm going to do Sarah. I'm going to contact 32 friends and ask them to each contribute $3.20 or $32 or $320 or $3200 as they can afford to a pro-gun organization of their choice and to contact 32 of their friends to do the same. You see Sarah, it might just have been that if a student had not been denied his/her CHP use on campus or the magistrate had not made Cho's committment voluntary or if... well it goes on and on but the upshot is that a gun didn't do the deed, Seung-hui Cho killed those people. He was insane. Hinckley was insane. Do you see a pattern? Maybe you ought to go round up 32 crazy people. Might be more efficient. And since doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is insane perhaps you can check in to a facility yourself. IF you need references, just point to the gun-"free" zones in Washington, D.C., Virginia Tech, New York City where criminals still committ the criminal act of murder against the defenseless due to misguided attempts to disarm the lawabiding while criminals obey no laws.
Eight years ago today was the horrific tragedy at Columbine High School. And in that eight years, no significant action has been taken in our country to prevent gun violence.
Elected officials continue to ignore our gun violence problem. It’s time for them to answer one question: "What are YOU going to do about it?"
We’re waging a campaign to ask our nation's leaders . . . the President, the Congress, the presidential candidates, state officials and local governments . . . asking them, "What are YOU going to do about it?"
32 people were murdered on Monday at Virginia Tech
32 people are murdered every day by gun violence in America
As a nation we must do better
A clever donor has started her own email campaign asking her contacts to contribute $32 or more today to help sustain our campaign to ask our nation’s leaders, "What are YOU going to do about it?"
What a great idea. Will you join her by making a gift today and asking your contacts to join you?
Right now, we are focusing on the Presidential candidates all of whom have been disturbingly silent on the issue.
Call those who want to be President, and ask them "What are YOU going to do about it? What we're doing now is not working. Doing nothing is not an option. Please take action now."
Your support is the life of our campaign. This is an unbudgeted project that can only be sustained with your generous support today.
We can no longer wait and we must take action . . . too many lives are being lost. So today, I respectfully ask, "What are YOU going to do about it?"
Warm regards and growing optimism,
Sarah Brady, Chair
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927, which killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in second to sixth grades attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history. The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe, who was upset by a property tax that had been levied to fund the construction of the school building. He blamed the additional tax for financial hardships which led to foreclosure proceedings against his farm. These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack.
On the morning of May 18, Kehoe first killed his wife and then set his farm buildings on fire. As fire fighters arrived at the farm, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many of the people inside. Kehoe used a detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of pyrotol which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers started gathering at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and detonated a bomb inside his shrapnel-filled vehicle, killing himself and the school superintendent, and killing and injuring several others. During the rescue efforts, searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol planted throughout the basement of the school's south wing.
Once again the deep pocket pays for the crime: at the end of last year the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va. agreed to pay $1 million "to settle four lawsuits over a deadly shooting rampage by a struggling student. ... The lawsuits accused the [school] of ignoring repeated warnings that Peter Odighizuwa was a threat before he opened fire in 2002, killing the dean, a professor and a student and wounding three other students. Odighizuwa pleaded guilty earlier this year and is serving six life sentences. ... The plaintiffs had argued that the school should have foreseen the violence because the 46-year-old Odighizuwa -- who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia -- had a history of outbursts, threats and other disruptive behavior." On the other hand, the Nigerian-born Odighizuwa "told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year that the students should not get any money from the school. 'The law school isn't a psychiatrist. It doesn't know what's in my head,' he said."So, I suppose we can look for Virginia Tech to be sued by one or more families as Cho was indeed identified as a threat and allowed to continue at the school and to live in the dorms. (Please note that he kept his guns in the dorm in violation of the school policy. Again, the criminal ignored prohibitions.) However, I think the school should end the policy of prohibiting carry by CHP holders on campus as part of any settlement. Fat chance of that though...
Wiles, of New Castle, is a graduate student at Virginia Tech.
On Aug. 21 at about 9:20 a.m., my graduate-level class was evacuated from the Squires Student Center. We were interrupted in class and not informed of anything other than the following words: "You need to get out of the building."
Upon exiting the classroom, we were met at the doors leading outside by two armor-clad policemen with fully automatic weapons, plus their side arms. Once outside, there were several more officers with either fully automatic rifles and pump shotguns, and policemen running down the street, pistols drawn.
It was at this time that I realized that I had no viable means of protecting myself.
Please realize that I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in the commonwealth of Virginia, and do so on a regular basis. However, because I am a Virginia Tech student, I am prohibited from carrying at school because of Virginia Tech's student policy, which makes possession of a handgun an expellable offense, but not a prosecutable crime.
I had entrusted my safety, and the safety of others to the police. In light of this, there are a few things I wish to point out.
First, I never want to have my safety fully in the hands of anyone else, including the police.
Second, I considered bringing my gun with me to campus, but did not due to the obvious risk of losing my graduate career, which is ridiculous because had I been shot and killed, there would have been no graduate career for me anyway.
Third, and most important, I am trained and able to carry a concealed handgun almost anywhere in Virginia and other states that have reciprocity with Virginia, but cannot carry where I spend more time than anywhere else because, somehow, I become a threat to others when I cross from the town of Blacksburg onto Virginia Tech's campus.
Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness.
That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.
I would also like to point out that when I mentioned to a professor that I would feel safer with my gun, this is what she said to me, "I would feel safer if you had your gun."
The policy that forbids students who are legally licensed to carry in Virginia needs to be changed.
I am qualified and capable of carrying a concealed handgun and urge you to work with me to allow my most basic right of self-defense, and eliminate my entrusting my safety and the safety of my classmates to the government.
This incident makes it clear that it is time that Virginia Tech and the commonwealth of Virginia let me take responsibility for my safety.
Yesterday, we witnessed America's worst mass shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech. Thirty-three students and faculty were killed, including the gunman. At least fifteen more were wounded.The truth is that screened, legal and licensed owners of handguns might have been between Seung-Hui Cho and at least some of the 32 killed IF the school had permitted them to be on campus. Unfortunately, CHP holders being the law abiding citizens they are, there were none. Killers, by definition being the law breakers they are, Cho had no problem sliding past police officers and security locks on dorms to kill.
How many deaths and injuries must we endure before our nation's elected officials act to end gun violence? We must ask our leaders: "What are you going to do about it?" What are you going to do to make our schools, workplaces, and communities safe from gun violence?
President George W. Bush said yesterday that schools should be a place of "safety and sanctuary for every student," but he and other national leaders do nothing to ensure that safety. They provide condolences, and then do nothing to stop future tragedies.
Eight years ago this week, we watched in horror as students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado fled a mass shooting. Twelve students and one teacher were killed. Just seven months ago, five girls were gunned down in a school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
These aren’t isolated incidents. February 12, 2007, Salt Lake City: A teen opens fire in a mall killing five and wounding four. On the same day in Philadelphia: Three men fatally shot and a fourth wounded at a board meeting. January 11, 2007, Indianapolis: A man shoots four fellow employees. The list goes on and on.
There are common threads in all of these tragedies — it is much too easy for the wrong people to get high-powered, deadly weapons and our leaders fail to do anything about the problem.
It is urgent that you email or call your elected officials today.
They must hear that you want action to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
By Greg Esposito
A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.
House Bill 1572 didn't get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.
The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill's defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
Del. Dave Nutter, R-Christiansburg, would not comment Monday because he was not part of the subcommittee that discussed the bill.
Most universities in Virginia require students and employees, other than police, to check their guns with police or campus security upon entering campus. The legislation was designed to prohibit public universities from making "rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit ... from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun."
The legislation allowed for exceptions for participants in athletic events, storage of guns in residence halls and military training programs.
Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university's authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus.
In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities.
"Private Beharry carried out two individual acts of great heroism by which he saved the lives of his comrades. Both were in direct face of the enemy, under intense fire, at great personal risk to himself (one leading to him sustaining very serious injuries). His valour is worthy of the highest recognition.
"In the early hours of the 1st May 2004 Beharry’s company was ordered to replenish an isolated Coalition Forces outpost located in the centre of the troubled city of Al Amarah. He was the driver of a platoon commander’s Warrior armoured fighting vehicle. His platoon was the company’s reserve force and was placed on immediate notice to move. As the main elements of his company were moving into the city to carry out the replenishment, they were re-tasked to fight through a series of enemy ambushes in order to extract a foot patrol that had become pinned down under sustained small arms and heavy machine gun fire and improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade attack.
"Beharry’s platoon was tasked over the radio to come to the assistance of the remainder of the company, who were attempting to extract the isolated foot patrol. As his platoon passed a roundabout, en route to the pinned-down patrol, they became aware that the road to the front was empty of all civilians and traffic – an indicator of a potential ambush ahead. The platoon commander ordered the vehicle to halt, so that he could assess the situation. The vehicle was then immediately hit by multiple rocket-propelled grenades. Eyewitnesses report that the vehicle was engulfed in a number of violent explosions, which physically rocked the 30-tonne Warrior.
"As a result of this ferocious initial volley of fire, both the platoon commander and the vehicle’s gunner were incapacitated by concussion and other wounds, and a number of the soldiers in the rear of the vehicle were also wounded. Due to damage sustained in the blast to the vehicle’s radio systems, Beharry had no means of communication with either his turret crew or any of the other Warrior vehicles deployed around him. He did not know if his commander or crewmen were still alive, or how serious their injuries may be. In this confusing and dangerous situation, on his own initiative, he closed his driver’s hatch and moved forward through the ambush position to try to establish some form of communications, halting just short of a barricade placed across the road.
"The vehicle was hit again by sustained rocket-propelled grenade attack from insurgent fighters in the alleyways and on rooftops around his vehicle. Further damage to the Warrior from these explosions caused it to catch fire and fill rapidly with thick, noxious smoke. Beharry opened up his armoured hatch cover to clear his view and orientate himself to the situation. He still had no radio communications and was now acting on his own initiative, as the lead vehicle of a six Warrior convoy in an enemy-controlled area of the city at night. He assessed that his best course of action to save the lives of his crew was to push through, out of the ambush. He drove his Warrior directly through the barricade, not knowing if there were mines or improvised explosive devices placed there to destroy his vehicle. By doing this he was able to lead the remaining five Warriors behind him towards safety.
"As the smoke in his driver’s tunnel cleared, he was just able to make out the shape of another rocket- propelled grenade in flight heading directly towards him. He pulled the heavy armoured hatch down with one hand, whilst still controlling his vehicle with the other. However, the overpressure from the explosion of the rocket wrenched the hatch out of his grip, and the flames and force of the blast passed directly over him, down the driver’s tunnel, further wounding the semi-conscious gunner in the turret. The impact of this rocket destroyed Beharry’s armoured periscope, so he was forced to drive the vehicle through the remainder of the ambushed route, some 1500 metres long, with his hatch opened up and his head exposed to enemy fire, all the time with no communications with any other vehicle. During this long surge through the ambushes the vehicle was again struck by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. While his head remained out of the hatch, to enable him to see the route ahead, he was directly exposed to much of this fire, and was himself hit by a 7.62mm bullet, which penetrated his helmet and remained lodged on its inner surface.
"Despite this harrowing weight of incoming fire Beharry continued to push through the extended ambush, still leading his platoon until he broke clean. He then visually identified another Warrior from his company and followed it through the streets of Al Amarah to the outside of the Cimic House outpost, which was receiving small arms fire from the surrounding area. Once he had brought his vehicle to a halt outside, without thought for his own personal safety, he climbed onto the turret of the still-burning vehicle and, seemingly oblivious to the incoming enemy small arms fire, manhandled his wounded platoon commander out of the turret, off the vehicle and to the safety of a nearby Warrior. He then returned once again to his vehicle and again mounted the exposed turret to lift out the vehicle’s gunner and move him to a position of safety. Exposing himself yet again to enemy fire he returned to the rear of the burning vehicle to lead the disorientated and shocked dismounts and casualties to safety. Remounting his burning vehicle for the third time, he drove it through a complex chicane and into the security of the defended perimeter of the outpost, thus denying it to the enemy. Only at this stage did Beharry pull the fire extinguisher handles, immobilising the engine of the vehicle, dismounted and then moved himself into the relative safety of the back of another Warrior. Once inside Beharry collapsed from the sheer physical and mental exhaustion of his efforts and was subsequently himself evacuated.
"Having returned to duty following medical treatment, on the 11th June 2004 Beharry’s Warrior was part of a quick reaction force tasked to attempt to cut off a mortar team that had attacked a Coalition Force base in Al Amarah. As the lead vehicle of the platoon he was moving rapidly through the dark city streets towards the suspected firing point, when his vehicle was ambushed by the enemy from a series of rooftop positions. During this initial heavy weight of enemy fire, a rocket-propelled grenade detonated on the vehicle’s frontal armour, just six inches from Beharry’s head, resulting in a serious head injury. Other rockets struck the turret and sides of the vehicle, incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew.
"With the blood from his head injury obscuring his vision, Beharry managed to continue to control his vehicle, and forcefully reversed the Warrior out of the ambush area. The vehicle continued to move until it struck the wall of a nearby building and came to rest. Beharry then lost consciousness as a result of his wounds. By moving the vehicle out of the enemy’s chosen killing area he enabled other Warrior crews to be able to extract his crew from his vehicle, with a greatly reduced risk from incoming fire. Despite receiving a serious head injury, which later saw him being listed as very seriously injured and in a coma for some time, his level-headed actions in the face of heavy and accurate enemy fire at short range again almost certainly saved the lives of his crew and provided the conditions for their safe evacuation to medical treatment.
"Beharry displayed repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour, despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless enemy action."
In February, an 18-year-old was convicted of a murder near Staunton, Virginia, after he made obscene gestures in court while being questioned by a prosecutor about a rap he composed in jail that made reference to the killing.I had no idea that this had happened.
Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture.I love this, Tony Blair manages to make three (3) mistakes in one go. First, crime is crime and murder is murder. Changing the implement from knife to gun to spear to hammer to hands to foot to auto to odd-heavy-object matters not one bit. Second, Mr. Blair wraps all blacks (and I don't like that term either) together regardless of nation of origin. Apparently, so do the others quoted. hmmmmm... Even among their friends, the black community (sad that they aren't a part of the community at large) is lumped into one cultural group even when they come from at least a dozen different nations and tribes. Third, poverty is not necessarily a precursor to criminal behavior especially murder but it is a reason for Communists/Socialists to promote the redistribution of wealth from the performers to the non-performers (theft by the state).
Navy SEAL from Colorado dies in Afghanistan
LITTLETON, Colo. — One of two commandos found dead in Afghanistan after disappearing last month grew up in Littleton and probably would not have wanted to die in any other way than trying to protect his country, his wife said.
The body of Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, a SEAL who joined the Navy three months after graduating from Heritage High School in 1999, was recovered Monday, the military said Wednesday.
The body of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., also was recovered Monday in Kunar province, where the men were conducting counterterrorism operations, the Navy said.
Dietz, 25, was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two, based at Virginia Beach, Va. Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
They were part of a four-member team that disappeared on June 28. A transport helicopter sent to rescue the four was shot down the day the team disappeared, killing all 16 U.S. servicemen aboard. It was the deadliest attack against the U.S. in Afghanistan and the largest loss of life ever for the elite force.
One member of the team was rescued but the fourth was still missing Thursday.
Dietz’s wife, Maria L. Dietz, said in a statement that he “was not just my husband, but he was my other half, my friend, my role model and my hero.”
Recalling when her husband deployed in April, she wrote, “The same day he left for Afghanistan, as tears rolled down my cheeks, he told me with sparkles in his eyes, ‘All the training I have (undergone) for years is going to pay off with this trip, and I am going to do something special for this country and for my team.”’
Heritage teachers remembered Dietz visiting in full uniform after becoming a SEAL, said Diane Leiker, a school spokeswoman. He played football his senior year and spent time lifting weights and swimming because he realized strength and swimming would be important in realizing his goal of joining the Navy and becoming a SEAL, she said.
Outside Dietz’s parents’ home in Littleton - where a yellow ribbon was wrapped around a tree — neighbors signed a card of condolence.
“God bless you and help you in this difficult time,” one person wrote on the white card. “We are sorry. Words can’t express,” read another.
Fallen SEALs receive Navy Cross
Navy Secretary Donald Winter presented the widows of Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Danny Dietz with their husbands’ Navy Crosses on Wednesday evening at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The ceremony, held next to the “Lone Sailor” statue, honored the sacrifice Axelson and Dietz made June 28, 2005, when they died in the mountains of Afghanistan during a mission to “capture or kill” a high-level militia leader. Despite being mortally wounded during a firefight after the group of four SEALs was spotted, the two continued to fight, killing numerous enemy fighters and allowing one of the their teammates on the ground to escape the swarming, numerically superior force.
During his speech, Winter invoked the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the importance of special operations troops like Dietz and Axelson in the current war.
“They were precision weapons that are defeating a ruthless enemy,” Winter said.
The outdoor ceremony was attended by the SEALs’ families, friends and fellow sailors, including a contingent from Dietz’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2, and Rear Adm. Joseph Maguire, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.
Chief of Naval Operations Mike Mullen and members of Congress also attended.
Former teammates of each SEAL spoke of their lives and stressed their character.
Gunner’s Mate 1st Dave Albritton emotionally remembered Axelson, a member of SEAL Vehicle Delivery Team 1, as a quiet man who led by example, loved to play golf and showed quickly at SEAL training that he was a cut above.
“No matter how hard I worked at something, he was better,” Albritton said, adding that Axelson was a person who could handle adversity with a typical coolness. “Very rarely would you see him upset.”
Lt. Brad Geary gave Dietz’s tribute, describing the petty officer as a doting husband to wife Patsy and a man as selfless in life as he was in death. After qualifying for a coveted spot in sniper school, Dietz chose instead to go to the less glamorous communications school because of a greater need.
“Danny was a man of integrity. He was a loyal guy,” Geary said. “He treated all as equals. He was humble; he did not have an ego.”
Dietz and Axelson are the fourth and fifth SEALs to be awarded the Navy Cross since 2001. The SEAL saved by their actions, who is still on active duty and has not been identified by the Navy, received the award in July in a private ceremony, according to the Navy.
The awards are the first publicized from the deadly incident in the mountains, in which a helicopter carrying eight SEALs and eight Army special operations troops shot down while attempting to come to the aid of the group on the ground. It was the deadliest day in the history of the SEALs, and the worst loss of life in one day for Navy special operations fighters since World War II.
Lt. Michael Murphy of Delivery Vehicle Team 1, the fourth member of the ill-fated team, was also killed in action.
“These were my men,” said Maguire. “These were our men.”
The two other unnamed SEALs have been awarded the Navy Cross for actions earlier in the conflict in Afghanistan.
Hospitalman Luis Fonseca Jr. is the only other sailor to receive a Navy Cross since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, earning the honor during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.
By Philip Creed, Times Staff Writer
The Two Gene TakahashisSadly, Mr. Takahashi died May 15, 2007. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Forbes, by David Halberstam 03.22.07, 6:00 AM ET
Some two years ago I went out to Westport, Conn., to interview Gene Takahashi for a book I was writing about the Korean War. There were, it soon struck me, two Gene Takahashis, the first the former IBM executive, quiet and exceptionally modest, the model citizen of a prosperous Connecticut suburb; and then another Gene Takahashi, someone whom almost none of his neighbors knew anything about, who on the night of Nov. 25, 1950, was the commander of a platoon of American troops in Love Company of the Ninth Infantry Regiment of the Second Infantry Division.
Love Company had the dubious distinction of being one of the units on the furthest eastern flank of the Eighth Army, almost uniquely vulnerable as the United Nations troops raced for the Yalu River in freezing temperatures in North Korea, their commander confident that the Chinese troops would not enter the war.
As such, the second Gene Takahashi happened to be there the night when some 200,000 Chinese soldiers struck the Eighth Army. If the first Gene Takahashi seems in many ways a very ordinary man, the prototype of the good American citizen, and core of the community, then the second one, the Gene Takahashi who is a genuine war hero, is among his Westport neighbors a kind of invisible man, whose existence few of them know about. I happened to know about him because of my book, but he is a man who rarely, unbidden, tells his story to others, because it is an extremely painful story to tell, and not many people were interested in hearing it when he was younger.
The Gene Takahashi that I know joined the Army in 1945 at the age of 17. His parents were Nisei Japanese, and they had spent a considerable amount of time interred in the World War ll camps. At the end of the war, greatly admiring the courage and patriotism of the famed Nisei 442 Regimental (Go for Broke) Combat Team--famously brave, and famously decorated--Takahashi had asked his parents for permission to join the American Army. Permission had been granted, but with only one two provisos, one explicit, one implicit. The explicit one was that he was to do nothing to disgrace the Takahashi name; the implicit one was that nothing in the long run was to interfere with his college education
From the start of my book, I had been intrigued by Takahashi's story because it is so American, at once good American and bad American. Tak, as his men called him, had not had an easy time in the Army. As a young lieutenant, he had served under a racist superior, a captain who was a West Point graduate and who seemed to think that the final victory of World War ll would be his ability to drive Gene Takahashi out of the United States Army.
The captain gave Takahashi and his platoon every miserable assignment the company had. But if anything, Tak later decided, there was nothing like the uses of adversity to strengthen you, and the abuse--or hazing, whichever you wanted to call it--had only served to make him a much better, much tougher officer. It was as if he came to enjoy the challenge and see it as a kind of mano-a-mano struggle with a darker force in America.
In addition, even though orders had come down earlier from President Truman to integrate the Army, Takahashi commanded a unit that was a relic of the past, an all-black platoon in an all-black company. That too, he decided, had made him a better officer--he had to be more subtle in the way he issued orders, because there was often an innate wariness in the minds of his men. Too many of them had been ordered around for too long, and in this new Army life they wanted to understand why they were being asked to do certain things. He became good not merely at giving orders but at explaining them as well.
When the Chinese struck that night, with perhaps a full regiment or about 3,000 men, Love Company had about 170 men, including Tak's platoon of 45. The Chinese quickly overran the company, but Takahashi had tried to hold together first his own platoon, and in time the entire company, if for no other reason than to buy time for other units just south of them. A young officer named Dick Raybould, a forward artillery observer assigned to Love Company, had met Tak that day and became a lifelong friend; he remembered his friend's bravery in those desperate minutes, this slim figure telling his men, as everything else collapsed around them, "Fall back on me! Fall back on me!"
Takahashi held out until he was completely surrounded by the Chinese and was finally captured. (That made him, he decided, one of the rare men who had been taken prisoner by two formidable nations, the United States and China.) But that night, in the chaos of the battle, he managed to escape. A few days later, he managed a second escape when much of the Second Division was mauled heading south from a place called Kunuri. When he was able to regroup with other members of Love Company near Seoul a few days later, there were about 10 of his men left there.
I sat with Takahashi that day in Westport, and it was easy to envision him as Dick Raybould had seen him that fateful night, brave and quietly fierce, absolutely certain of what his duty was, sure he was going to die that night but determined to do the right thing right up to his last breath, and do it as honorably as he could. There would be no disgracing of a family name. At the same time, in stark contrast to that image of Tak fighting the Chinese, I could see him as his neighbors saw him, a pillar of a pleasant genteel community, always to be depended on during local fund-raisers; an exceptional family man; and a successful executive at a major company. In short, all the good things you're supposed to be.
As we sat and talked, it struck me that Tak was as good an exemplar of the American Dream as anyone I know--he was in the best sense of this country a self-made man who had been able, often against often-difficult odds, to control his own destiny as he might not have in many other countries.
It was a long way from the Nisei internment camps of the '40s to his lovely home in Westport. He had during his journey triumphed over some of the crueler prejudices of our culture, harsh experiences that might have embittered other men, and he had survived the worst of a very tough war and a battlefield experience that might have broken other men. He had managed to educate himself well, first at Western Reserve and then later at the University of Illinois. His marriage to a fellow Nisei, Violet, has been strong and enduring, and their four children had all been educated well and done well professionally and personally.
Most important of all, he had, as his parents intended, succeeded well beyond their possibilities--and done it as so many other Americans have, in just one generation. His parents had been farmers in the Imperial Valley and then had run a small grocery store there; to them, a house in a wealthy suburb like Westport was more a dream than a possibility.
To me--we know something about this in my own family--that remains at the core of the American Dream, the social fluidity of this country and the ability to rise in one generation above the level and the possibilities of those who went before you. If there is anything that is important in America, it is that your life can be richer than that of those who went before you, and that you are not a prisoner of the past.
In the old country, it struck me when I was younger (and I'm sure it's changing to some degree now), it was very different, and there was dramatically less social fluidity. A young man tended to be what his father was: If your father had worked for the railroads, you worked for the railroads at roughly the same level. If he had been lucky enough to go to an engineering school, then you could go to the engineering school too. If he had been a tailor, you were supposed to be a tailor.
Not surprisingly, it was those who came to this country first--in my case, the generation of my grandparents, coming in the late 19th century--who did the real dreaming and matched their dreams with a willingness to take a chance on the unknown, and if need be, to fall momentarily in their own economic status, even as they bet on their children and grandchildren to surpass them.
The greatest generation, you might call them. They were willing to come here and if necessary sacrifice themselves in order to break a cycle in their native countries that seemed without possibility of change. They sensed that in the new world the generations that came after them would be able to break out and reinvent themselves--that they were giving the subsequent generations a world with no ceilings.
Like so many other immigrants, Tak's parents had understood the opportunities this country offered from the start. As such, the dream was as much--or more--theirs as it was his. As they had valued education, he had valued education. As they had been disciplined and purposeful--always purposeful, for nothing was to be wasted--he had been disciplined and purposeful and wasted nothing, least of all a chance for a better life. And in the end he had done well and not disgraced the Takahashi name.
David Halberstam is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian, the author of books including The Best and the Brightest , The Powers That Be , Summer of '49 , The Reckoning and The Fifties. His next book, The Coldest Winter (fall 2007), is an account of a key early battle in the Korean War.
This coverage is surprisingly even but they get some things wrong. First, while the CHP/CWP is widely considered as a privelege it really is a right.
Quisling: 'kwiz-li[ng], noun, Etymology: Vidkun Quisling died 1945 Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis; traitor; 1 : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or dutySome of the quislings...
2 : one who commits treason or collaborator; to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one's country and especially an occupying force.