Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]


[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
        Lets just say we are sorry and not bring up gun control or any other thing before appropriate services are conducted (some time nest week, I presume).
H. Daryl Richardson
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: SHOOTINGS

On 4/17/07, Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)> wrote:

On Apr 17, 2007, at 3:43 AM, ASC wrote:

> The rest of civilized world never ceases to be amazed
> with America's love affair with guns.
I need to say this for a couple of reasons. First as a counterpoint
to responses about constitutional rights and sophistry about how
people kill people and guns don't kill people; second, to point out
that America has no such love affair.

Ssome Americans are indeed gun freaks, but don't lump the rest of us
with the wackos. Historically, firearms have played an important,
often ugly, part in life along our frontier. Most people (like my
family, who were farmers) had them for hunting, and to a small degree
for self-defense. As people moved west there wasn't any law,
especially in the territories which had no government. There were
plenty of criminals, ex-soldiers out of a job or just plain losers,
westbound maybe just ahead of the law and who didn't mind taking
whatever they wanted at gunpoint and who frequently took a shot at
someone while nerved up on whiskey. And for better or worse there
came Vigilance Committees formed to deal with the worst of them. As a
result we built up a thriving firearms industry and a huge mythology
which helps the firearms industry sell guns.

Actually, some of the mythology is partly true, Northfield, Minnesota
was hit in the 1880's by members of the Cole-Younger gang looking to
knock over the bank. That was before the FDIC and if the bank were
cleaned out, the town was done for. The townspeople fought back, not
with personal firearms, but rifles borrowed from local stores, and
shot up the gang pretty thoroughly. Two townspeople were killed, the
head teller of the bank and a farmer who didn't speak english and
couldn't understand the warnings to take cover. Except for two who
were killed, the gang took off but were rounded up a few days later
except for the James brothers who evaded capture.  Real wild west
stuff, but not typical. Northfield was home to a number of Civil War
veterans who probably had no more of a love affair with guns than
anyone else who'd seen the elephant.

That said most Americans don't buy into the myths--there's no love
affair. A great many Americans, probably a majority, feel horrified
about loose gun laws. What we do have is too-easy access to guns,
because some of the philosopher-kings in Congress have been rented by
the gun lobby and because some people still truly believe their guns
will hold off the US Army if they are beset by tyrants. The fact is
that even easy access to guns alone doesn't make us all murderers. To
its shame, Minnesota allows people to carry concealed hand guns,
provided they have a permit which must be issued by local law
enforcement after a background check and some (meaningless) safety
training. But gun crimes haven't increased noticeably, because most
people don't want to carry weapons. We still have plenty of
accidental shootings and an unenviable murder rate, of course, but
the cause isn't a love affair, it's accessibility.

Which excuses nothing, of course, but it does help explain what
actually goes into all this. Accessibility, not love affairs, lets
losers and wackos, for whom guns imply power over their enemies, arm
themselves. Whenever they feel slighted, such crazies think of the
myths, and imagine themselves going out in a blaze of glory, as a
winner, finally respected by everyone. That's not a love affair with
guns, that's lunacy, probably not much different than the lunacy
which drives suicide bombers.

I went to school at VPI (that's the real name), and took plenty of
classes in Holden, since it was the Engineering Mechanics building.
Things have changed a lot, but I'm sure there were losers and gun
freaks around then, too. There were plenty of things wrong back
around 1960, but just as now, an excess of self-righteousness won't
fix it. So cut us some slack.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania

Gregory from Oz........

Your stats are off, your timing poor and  your use of this technical forum as a political  soapbox inappropriate.


I'm disappointed by your diatribe & demonizing /  name calling .................. but not at all surprised.