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An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Sad News

Lord have mercy for the people suffering this horror.

However, I'm perplexed by this bit:

Investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began marking and recovering the large number of shell casings and will trace the weapon used, according to an ATF official who spoke on condition of anonymity because local authorities are leading the investigation.

A White House spokesman said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia.

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said

After the shootings, all entrances to the campus were closed, and classes were canceled through Tuesday. The university set up a meeting place for families to reunite with their children at the Inn at Virginia Tech. It also made counselors available and planned a convocation for Tuesday at the basketball arena.


So, ummm, how exactly did the gun control issue come up? Besides having very little context in this specific story itself (who the heck wrote this thing...hello?), I have to assume that a reporter asked a question about Bush's feelings on gun control. I assume, like most colleges, that firearms are not allowed on campus...but astonishingly enough this criminal broke that law!

Okay, if they wish to immediately - even before the blood has been cleaned up - make this a "bullet" point for their gun control agenda, then let me offer this: a trained, legal, gun carrying student or professor could have ended this massacre long before the police arrived. I mean a GREAT place to massacre people is to go some place where you can reasonably expect no one is allowed to shoot back.

Anyway...let us pray for the victims and their families and let the politics come later if they must.

...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 10:56 AM [+]
+++
28 comments


28 Comments:

Just returned from the big machinegun shoot at Knob Creek. Funny how people never try to commit murder at such an event, despite the amazing availablity of automatic weapons. I guess it's true: killers prefer unarmed victims.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:28 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Ironically, the following editorial was published last summer by a Virginia Tech grad student. :-/

http://www.lpva.com/Archives/Editorial/McGlumphy/20060823.shtml

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 PM  

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Wow...that is sadly ironic. Good article...I guess I don't know as much about libertarians as I thought.

By Blogger fdj, at 1:47 PM  

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Seems to me that *you're* the one getting worked up over "gun rights". I don't suppose I'll ever understand why the party that stands for small government and pro-life also chooses to stand with a bunch of "pry it out of my cold dead hands" zealots.

Oh, I'm sure things would've gone better if one of those people had had a gun. I'm certain the guy with a gun wouldn't have missed and hit someone else. Undoubtedly he wouldn't have been killed and had his gun taken by the original shooter. He definitely wouldn't have killed the shooter, then been killed himself (as a second shooter) in the confusion, no sir.

Though not as tragic as this event itself, it's quite tragic indeed that a gun zealot's apparent first impulse is not to pray for the victims but to get up in arms about his gun rights. Doubtless the martyrs of our Church went willingly to their deaths only because guns hadn't been invented yet.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 PM  

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Seems to me that *you're* the one getting worked up over "gun rights".

Dead wrong Kyralessa...dead wrong and I knew someone would accuse me of this. WHO BROUGHT THE ISSUE UP? WHO BROUGHT IT UP? Read my post...read the press conference and the article. I am RESPONDING...RESPONDING to the implication that gun restrictions could have stopped what happened. RESPONDING.

it's quite tragic indeed that a gun zealot's apparent first impulse is not to pray for the victims but to get up in arms about his gun rights.

Are you seriously judging what MY first impulse was? Again...are you seriously judging what my first impulse was? Think about it...reread what I wrote? And question how you are judging me off the cuff because you think I am a gun zealot.

Doubtless the martyrs of our Church went willingly to their deaths only because guns hadn't been invented yet.

There is a big difference between being martyred for the faith and having a wack job wander into your house or school to kill your family or friends. Big difference and you deminish the martyrs sacrifice by saying otherwise.

There is no comparison to be found here for martyrdom for the faith. People killed by this man had no chance to reject Christ and live.

Oh, I'm sure things would've gone better if one of those people had had a gun...

I dispute your claim that a trained CWP holder would have complicated the situation. It happens quite frequently because you realize that most Law Enforcement Officers are REQUIRED to carry AND intervene...how do you suppose THEY avoid being mistaken? No...a trained and experienced armed citizen would have saved lives because I am willing to bet they would have been better trained than this wackjob...saving inncoent lives used to be something we would consider a noble thing.

By Blogger fdj, at 7:44 AM  

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* Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. (Children's Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)
* In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children's Defense Fund)
* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
* Every day, more than 80 Americans die from gun violence. (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence)
* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
* American kids are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control)

By Blogger Unknown, at 8:02 AM  

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The devil is int he details Seraphim...lacking further comment I assume you mean all these stats mean we ought to ban guns. Of course we needn't note that banning guns mean you take guns out of law abiding citizens hands and into criminals hands and the UK and Australia can show you the stats that this causes a HUGE jump in violent crime.

http://www.gunsandcrime.org/

That aside...Let us look at some detailed stats...because yours certainly LOOK dramatic and scary.

In 1995, 200 children under 15 died from accidental shootings in the United States. 2,900 children died in motor vehicle crashes, 950 children drowned, and more than 1,000 children died from fire and burns.

I mean really we could trade stats all day long, like this cop does:

http://www.2ampd.net/Articles/Asker/Vulnerability%20of%20a%20Disarmed%20Citizenry.htm

Dramatic as stats are, they really need to be looked at closely. As I see it...looking at murder rates in the US with guns and trying to make guns illegal is like looking at a decline of spelling skills and making pencils illegal. There's far more at play here.

Being careful with stats...especially the dramatic ones:

http://www.gunsandcrime.org/stats.html

I also note that this stat is funny:

In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children's Defense Fund)

Very dramatic, but also it means that car accidents, drownings, and bike accidents beat all of these too. Why? Because ACCIDENTS/MURDER ALWAYS take more young peoples' lives than diseases. Modern medicine and youth has assured us of this and it will always be the case.

Anyway...

By Blogger fdj, at 8:47 AM  

________________________________________________________________

Another interesting stat I stumbled across, by a margin of 3 to 1, Police officers support citizen's "right to carry", a far wider margin than the public...this tends to tell me that cops are not afraid of an armed citizen complicating matters.

LEO tell me (both in person and online) that 99.9999% of the time they arrive at a crime scene and NOT at a crime in progress.

By Blogger fdj, at 8:52 AM  

________________________________________________________________

You can't possibly think that those statistics are based solely on increased gun use in our country??
You canNOT just look at those statistics alone. You must take a peak at what else is happening in our country that may be causing these statistics. In the day of old guns were the norm and there was not the curiosity of it all. Children were taught to respect!! a gun because of it's dangers. Today...it's hidden...it's dreaded...it's a huge no-no. SO...what's the saying? "Curiosity killed the cat." A child who is left alone after school is curious! He tries to be cool and show his friend and has NO IDEA how to use it let alone respect it!!

Speaking of statistics...let's look a minute at statistics that tell us that more children then ever are put in daycare to be raised by strangers as early as EIGHT WEEKS OLD!!! More kids then ever come home to an empty house to spend hours in front of the TV until mom and dad get home. More kids then ever are full of anger and rage and mental health illness most likely due to the above. I honestly don't know how to find the numbers like you did but I would bet anything they are there to be found.

Don't just look at ONE THING...look at the big picture!!! Yes, more children are dying from gun fire but also more children are committing suicide from more than just guns!!! but because they hate their lives!!!
It is VERY sad!

* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined.
What you left out were the next couple sentences from this study you quoted which say:
In 1994, homicide was the third-leading cause of death for U.S. children aged 5 to 14 and fourth-leading cause for children 1 to 4. The CDC compared childhood death statistics with figures from 25 other countries that had similar economies and a population of at least 1 million. Even if firearms-related homicides were excluded, the United States had a homicide rate for children almost four times the other countries' rate, the CDC said. Guns were the primary cause of homicide among children in Finland, Israel, Australia, Italy, Germany and England. No children died from guns in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan and Kuwait, the CDC said.

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 9:45 AM  

________________________________________________________________

More stats...hat tip to fellow logger and apparent "gun zealot" Steve D. :

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html

What does this imply to me? Guns in the US has NOT in any way shape or form led us to be a nation ridden with violence. See where we sit in the chart and compare it to gun ownership. Also note we lead in suicide by guns, BUT, are a far cry from the highest suicide rates: meaning people don't need guns to kill themselves.

And this:
http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvacci.html

This quote seems pertinent:
"Fatal gun accidents often receive national attention. Subsequently politicians demand mandatory firearms safety classes for all gun owners, yet many more lives could be saved by randomly selecting and educating a group of drivers rather than gun owners, not to mention the populace at large regarding, administering first-aid, how to eat, and basic common sense safety habits."

By Blogger fdj, at 10:06 AM  

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"Curiosity killed the cat."

Sue, that sounds nice and all, but it just is not true. My cousin who lived on a farm, who was surrounded by and used guns at least weekly, had at least two incidents with guns that almost killed him. I say all of this in love, for I worry that you think your adage will be a cure all for your boys not to mess about with guns. Just exposing kids to guns and teaching them safe handling practices is NOT enough. Further, my own experiences with guns, having owned guns and had them in our home from a very young age, there were MANY incidents and accidents that could or should have killed me or worse one of my friends or family members. The simple fact is, much wisdom can be imparted, the gun can be related as a tool, a dangerous tool to be respected, but when it is all said and done, kids CANNOT be trusted with access to guns while adults are not around. If you were here I could tell you stories for nearly an hour that would make your straight hair curl.

I hope you receive this as coming from the best of intentions and not some politic...I am after all a gun owner.

By Blogger Munkee, at 10:26 AM  

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Aaron...I think it is only untrue if you assume she means to imply it is the only factor in the issue. I don't know about your stories, but in every near accident I have hard of or been apart of, there was a profound breech of common sense that observance of good training would have prevented. If a kid ends up handling a gun alone it is decidedly the parents fault.

Training the adult is JUST AS IMPORTANT. Locks locks locks. Sue knows this well so you needn't worry for the boys. I expect she is right in her main point, the majority of gun accidents with kids happen when they are left home alone. Furthermore she is right in saying that violence is NOT caused by guns' existing but something far worse in our society.

I suspect if you look at children accidentally shooting themselves you will see a house that was very likely not practicing sound safety measures. Did the parents and children receive training? Were they active in local sportsman clubs where safety was emphasized, enforced, and pounded into you etc etc?
The stats at http://www.guncite.com/
tend to support this. More guns doesn't equal more violent crime...curiously this website challenges what I'd purported in the past, which is the opposite.

Our kids are far far far more likely to be killed by car, drowning, poisoning, or burning than by our guns.

Which reminds me Sue we need to buy an escape ladder for upstairs.

By Blogger fdj, at 11:20 AM  

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One other point about safety training...which makes Aaron's point (albeit - I think - misdirected) pertinent.

One of the primary things you learn in gun safety is that the first step toward having a gun related accident is to start thinking you are immune from such accidents because of your training.

For instance, I have a pretty darn dangerous job. Here in the lab...safety can easily fall into disuse, for the stupid sake of laziness or erroneous sense of safety...we can never stop being diligent in realizing that we are merely a needlstick away from getting HIV or worse (e.g. Ebola).

We live in an age which more and more rejects notions of personal responsability and it is sad really. Already in Virginia blame is flying about and lawsuits will no doubt follow. Hopefully VT has some insurance coverage. But in the end, most things that happen to us or our children are our own fault. I am mostly responsible for my safety here. And, fact is, same in the REAL World.

Guns can be totally safe...but as we know we MUST be diligent. People are the unsafe variable. Now...back to the tubes of blood that could very well kill me.

Treat every gun as if it were loaded and treat every tube of blood as if it were loaded with HIV.

By Blogger fdj, at 11:39 AM  

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James,

If you keep the guns locked up while the kids are home alone that's very good. However, both of my cousin's accidents happened while the entire family was home. The guns were never locked up, and seldom if ever was he home alone. Though it is your business entirely, if you are not doing so already, i would suggest locking them in a safe 24/7.

By Blogger Munkee, at 11:40 AM  

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They are always locked. Except when on my person.
:)

By Blogger fdj, at 12:36 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Thanks Aaron.
I know of plenty of stories as well. My uncle owned a dairy farm and my cousin nearly lost his eye just from a BB gun. But none-the-less, the guns are in a safe!

My main point though was that we really need to look at the grand picture...period!

But speaking of being alone and guns...I found this along with gads of other information, regarding latchkey kids.
Youth are at greatest risk of violence after the regular school day. Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 are most at-risk of committing violent acts or being victims between 2 pm and 6 pm—a time when they are not in school.

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 4:58 PM  

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WHO BROUGHT THE ISSUE UP? WHO BROUGHT IT UP?

Some anonymous person; and the President nipped it in the bud right away. Yet you're still worked up about it. "People have the right to bear arms, but laws must be followed"; you can't get any closer to the pro-gun lobby's line than that.


And question how you are judging me off the cuff because you think I am a gun zealot.

The fact that, in the face of such a tragedy, *this* is what you'd choose to notice says enough.


There is a big difference between being martyred for the faith and having a wack job wander into your house or school to kill your family or friends. Big difference and you deminish the martyrs sacrifice by saying otherwise. There is no comparison to be found here for martyrdom for the faith. People killed by this man had no chance to reject Christ and live.

You might want to read up on Ss Boris and Gleb.


I dispute your claim that a trained CWP holder would have complicated the situation. It happens quite frequently because you realize that most Law Enforcement Officers are REQUIRED to carry AND intervene...how do you suppose THEY avoid being mistaken?

Here's a wild guess: Because they're wearing uniforms? And we've heard enough about police shootings of unarmed men to know that the police don't always respond correctly. How much worse when average citizens with guns take it upon themselves to pull out their concealed weapons and join the fray?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:34 PM  

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The fact that, in the face of such a tragedy, *this* is what you'd choose to notice says enough.

Well if you wish to judge me, perhaps you ought to listen to what I continue to say as opposed to "says enough." In the article I cited, the mention of gun rights stands out like an awful sore thumb...you cannot help but notice how it sticks out. So blame the author of the story, not me. Can you really see into my heart?

You might want to read up on Ss Boris and Gleb.

They were not martyrs.

As examples for letting bad guys kill you? Fine...but I'm not a saint and I'd never fault a person for taking the VT shooter out before he killed more innocent people. As a side, at the old UT shooting with the guy in the Bell Tower...I learned that he would have killed many more people if some local ranchers had not kept him pinned down with their rifles until police arrived.

Here's a wild guess: Because they're wearing uniforms?

Nope...I should have been more clear, sorry. OFF DUTY LEO's. Plain clothes. In fact I have a very good friend who as an officer was involved in a shooting while off duty...joining cops already involved.

I'll bet you cannot cite a single incident of a LEO shooting an armed and legally carrying citizen defending himself or others....why? Because as I noted and as 3 out of 4 cops know: Armed citizens are FAR more effective at protecting themselves and others than the police are. As I said, Police arrive at crime scenes...and very rarely at crimes in progress.

Police shoot the wrong guy more than twice as often as Armed Citizens. Again because the Armed Citizen is always in a better position to judge who the bad guy is.

Stats show that YOU stand the best chance of defending yourself or your loved ones. We certainly saw that yesterday.

And to reiterate what *I* said to begin with:

Lord have mercy for the people suffering this horror...let us pray for the victims and their families and let the politics come later if they must.

By Blogger fdj, at 9:55 PM  

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For the record, yes, Ss Boris and Gleb are considered martyrs by the Orthodox Church. (You didn't read up, I take it.)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

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In this discussion, the only thing I'd like to add (or wonder aloud) is whether you're truly suggesting that college students should carry guns? On campus? At sporting events? Keg parties?

--joel

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 PM  

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Sigh...no mam...they are Passion Bearers, not martyrs. Read up to note the difference.

Joel...guns and alcohol are NEVER to be mixed. Might as well drive oneself to and from a kegger...without absolute abstinence. Same exact idea.

College students carrying? Yes...be trained and carry. Absolutely.

By Blogger fdj, at 10:10 PM  

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The one does not exclude the other.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 AM  

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Well we shall have to agree to disagree. Technically a martyr is one who could have lived if they but denied Christ.

That being said...what is your point about these Saints? That if we see someone shooting people that we should not do all that we can to stop it? That if someone breaks into my house and is raping my wife I should not kill that man in order to stop him? No, I abandoned that pacifist idealism years ago.

God forgive me if need be...but I will do everything within my power to defend innocent people from evil. I'm no hero, but I am a husband and a dad...an armed and being trained one too.

And of course, I like to eat meat.

By Blogger fdj, at 8:04 AM  

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Do you *know* the church's viewpoint on self-defense?

I'm curious, because I don't. I know the example of the martyrs, and of those like Ss Boris and Gleb who may not have been killed for their faith, per se, but certainly died due to following it.

What I don't know is whether the Church has spoken, in a council or in canons or in the writings of the Fathers, on the issue of self-defense and/or defense of one's family.

Do you? I'm genuinely curious, and would like to read up on it if you know where.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM  

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I've always heard this anecdote that is at least partly related:

The Church blesses the soldiers as they go off to war, and hears their confessions as they return.

Sounds simple enough.

By Blogger Munkee, at 8:09 PM  

________________________________________________________________

I think Aaron pretty much hit the nail on the head.

If I were to ever kill someone in defense of myself, family, or friends I would willingly and desirously confess it. If that makes sense.

One more thing for Joel: you realize of course that in most states, RIGHT NOW, it is legal for one to receive a license to carry. There are millions of them issued. Therefore as you go to the grocery store, theaters, sporting events, restaurants, ride the bus, ride the ferry, or use a public restroom you are already rubbing elbows with armed citizens. We have to ask ourselves what exactly is accomplished by having a "gun free" campus? Anything?

By Blogger fdj, at 7:48 AM  

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It sounds as if you're suggesting that training equals competence. There are far to many cases to refute that. What comes to mind with a capmus not gun free is not peace of mind. As a student, I've seen many a student get upset in an argument over and issue in class, with a teacher or fellow student that has -- a time or two -- taken the command of campus police to calm the situation. Had there been guns, what might have happened? In most cases nothing. But what of those who are able to receive licence to carry? Are these individuals void of irrational behavior? No. I'm sorry but the mere notion that students carrying on the VT campus could have avoided much harm is presumptuous. The officers I know and spoke to about this (I'm not sure how accurate your stat is on cops who want a gun carrying society--each that spoke to, seven in all, shuddered at the thought. And these guys work in LA, Long Beach, SD...they) mentioned that in close quarter scenerios, the average citizen is not tested to understand muzzle angles, they are not trained in a unit capacity in order to avoid friendly-fire (is there a more ridiculos term?), and are simply not going to approach the situation with the lucidity needed to handle emotions compelled by these situations. Ultimately, and every single officer I spoke to brought this up, friendly-fire would become the issue due to inexperience. I mean, officers hit the range nearly every week. And they mess-up in situations like this. I think I'd be just as freaked out if someone mentally ill brandishes a gun in class and 15 other students raise theirs'.

Now, I get your point that in a society such as this, an individual might be less inclined to enter into an environment with other weapons present, however, if the mission is suicide, it really doesn't matter.

And yes, booze should never be around firearms, but college students also should abstain, designate a driver, and study more than the night before a test...alas, each of these happen quite frequently.

--joel

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM  

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Alex, Knob Creek Machine Gun shoot? Where are you from?

I would like to offer a solution. It may sound stupid but, as one who is daily on a college campus I'm serious.

I was greatly saddened to hear that an ROTC student was shot, having attempted to take the shooter from behind. If campuses want to be secure, arm the ROTC students and give them extra training time. I know it sounds a tad militaristic, and even paranoid. I'm not a paranoid person. But, as a law abiding citizen, I do not even consider carrying my weapons onto campus. So, at the very least (if all the talk about safety is anything but talk) why not put a side arm on each of these who have decided to pursue service to their country?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

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