Cartoonish Ideas

Cynthia Tucker tries to convince me that she isn’t an idiot. Guess how that turned out?

But it’s more than a little disconcerting to hear that so many adults also believe in superheroes. They must. Why else would they insist that the best way to prevent carnage of the sort that occurred last week at Virginia Tech is to put guns into every available hand? They’re indulging their childhood fantasies, remembering the movies in which the Caped Crusader or John Wayne instantly dispatched the bad guy.

Yeah, because we are all so familiar with how Superman runs into a phone booth, grabs a Glock, and goes and busts a cap in Lex Luthor’s ass. Has she actually ever read a comic book? Can anyone that reads this name a superhero besides The Punisher who even uses guns (setting aside that Francis isn’t even a superhero)?

In real life, police officers —- trained to fire in the heat of battle —- hit their intended targets only about 40 percent of the time, according to University of South Carolina criminologist Geoffrey Alpert, an expert in police shootings.

So… everyone needs at least three bullets?

“You can train all day in simulated situations … and you think you can hit a target. But it comes right down to it and someone is pointing a gun at you, and it just doesn’t happen,” he said.

Funny, Cho didn’t seem to have that problem. In fact, the evidence seems to suggest that he actually could hit people with the firearms that he had.

And we all know about war-time “friendly fire” tragedies, when well-trained soldiers accidentally kill their own. The death of former professional football player Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan by members of his own unit, highlighted the unfortunate reality of chaos in battle.

What is the scene that she imagines? “My god, our son was killed by another student who was trying to shoot the psychopath who was roaming the halls murdering people! If only the murdering psychopath had shot him, this wouldn’t be a tragedy. Friendly fire is wrong!

Yet, ultraconservative commentators have been in high dudgeon for days, suggesting that students with guns could have guaranteed a Hollywood ending in which an unflappable sharp-shooter would have felled Cho Seung-Hui with a quick head shot. Michelle Malkin was among those who denounced a Virginia law that excludes college campuses from areas where concealed weapons are permitted.

I’m pretty sure that if a bunch of really bad shots had needed to hit him fifty, maybe a hundred or a couple of hundred times in the gut and the arms and legs before they stopped him… most of the “ultraconservative commenters” would have been hunkey-dorey with that.

“What if just one student in one of those classrooms had been in lawful possession of a concealed weapon? … It darned well isn’t too early for me to raise questions about how the unrepentant anti-gun lobbying of college officials may have put students at risk.”

That utterly irrational argument comes straight from the National Rifle Association, which long ago abandoned any pretense of representing the reasonable aims of hunters and sports shooters. The gun lobby now peddles an insane policy of making firearms as ubiquitous as cellphones.

It might help if you mention exactly what is irrational about it, rather than just spouting off some sort of lame ass declaration that it just is. And no one is going to try to lock you into a two-year committment to a firearm.

The NRA has supported measures that would prevent employers from banning firearms in vehicles in workplace parking lots. Despite police opposition, it has pushed policies that would allow motorists to tuck firearms under the seat of the car. It has lobbied against closing the gun show loophole, which allows private gun sales without a background check. No responsible gun owner should accept the NRA’s preposterous positions.

The police oppose giving police officers tickets for getting caught by red light cameras in Dallas, too. Does that make them right? And you act like these are bad things. What is wrong with tucking a firearm under the seat of a car? What it is going to do, jump out and shout THAT BE FIVE-FIFTY-NINE?!?

My father certainly would not have. An avid hunter and veteran of combat in Korea, my father owned shotguns, rifles and a handgun. (He hid the handgun from his four children so well we never came across it, though we enjoyed poking around where we didn’t belong.) Yet, he was fanatical about gun safety.

Obviously, your father was a psychotic rampage waiting to happen, and men with machine guns and ski masks should have broken your door down at 3am so that they could confiscate these weapons.

When I moved to Atlanta just out of college, I told him I was going to buy a handgun. He strongly disapproved, believing I’d be more likely to get injured with my own gun than fend off an attacker with it. “You don’t need a gun,” he said. “You need to stay out of dangerous places.” I took his advice.

OK, I take that back. Your father was brilliant.

His concerns are borne out by the FBI’s statistics about gun crimes. In 2005, 8,890 people were murdered with firearms. Guns were also used in 142,471 cases of robbery and 151,118 cases of aggravated assault. By contrast, there were only 143 cases of justifiable homicide by civilians using a firearm.

Either that, or he was concerned that you are an idiot who couldn’t be trusted with a firearm. I know idiots that can’t be trusted with firearms. I tell them the same thing.

If dozens of Virginia Tech students had been armed, “Lord knows what a disaster we would have had,” Alpert said. “I think it’s inappropriate to have firearms in a classroom …

“There’s been a shooting at Virginia Tech! Dozens of people have been killed!”

“Oh no… do they let students who have passed an extensive federal background check, taken a comprehensive class on the legalities of deadly force and alternative dispute resolution and qualified as proficient with a handgun roam the campus armed?”


GREAT! Another disaster averted!”

“If they had had a Jack Bauer, maybe so. But the world isn’t composed of Jack Bauers,” he noted.

So all those armchair heroes —- all those firearm fanatics who claim everything would be different if they’d been in one of those classrooms with a gun —- should don their red capes and take a leap.

They don’t need to be superheros. Regular, garden variety heros will do just fine, thank you.

(Via Q&O, who handle their own righteous fisking quite well)


  1. R says:

    Cynthia Tucker is kind of a looney. One-sided articles are her specialty.

    I have to say, though, that this “extensive federal background check” isn’t as extensive as it should be, IMO. Cho was deemed to be a danger to society and himself, but VA doesn’t include people into psychological checks unless they’re put into an institution against their will.

    Personally I don’t think an individual with a gun and have taken the required gun safety course could have done anything in that situation. Maybe someone who goes out to the range every week and fires off several hundred rounds, yes.

    We shouldn’t HAVE to argue whether guns should be allowed in school. Shit like this simply shouldn’t happen. I think we can go a bit further and tighten up gun control laws before we start arguing whether or not to arm teachers.

    (By the way, I was hearing a report on NPR the other morning where the gun lobby wanted to DISCOURAGE the use of psychological histories when performing a background check on a potential gun buyer. Their argument was that it would make people more hesitant to seek psychological help. That’s such bullshit. If you’re a mental case, I don’t think even legal gun owners want to give your ass a firearm…)

  2. Phelps says:

    The background check that you get for a CHL is different than the instant NICS check you go under for buying a gun. The NICS check has to happen within 24 hours. (That’s the law.) The CHL background check can take up to 10 weeks. It took them eight weeks here in Texas (don’t know how much of that was background check) to issue my CHL to me.

    I don’t know if someone would have been able to do anything. (See “One”.) I do think that they should have had the chance do something. And really, given the history of these nutballs, they probably wouldn’t have had to fire a shot. These pussies usually give up or kill themselves as soon as someone else has a gun.

    Tightening up the gun laws more? Are you fucking shitting me?

    1) He bought them illegally.
    2) It was illegal to have them on campus.
    3) It was illegal for him to kill people with them.

    You think that adding a #4 would have gotten him to change his mind?

    (And I’ll believe the “gun lobby” shit when I actually hear it from the gun lobby. NPR likes to get astroturf gun-grabbing groups with gun-rights groups sounding names and use them as an example of “the gun lobby” when there is nothing further from the truth. Hell, sometimes they just flat lie about the NRA position, too.)

  3. Lukosrage says:

    I liked this article, in fact right now I am going to stop compiling amarok and hop into quartz composer to make a flashey RSS screen saver for your blog.

    ….. then look into getting a gun.