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Eight dead. Five of the dead were second-grade girls. The ages of the other victims were not known.
June 8, 2001 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Eight dead. Five of the dead were second-grade girls. The ages of the other victims were not known. I don't really have anything to add to that.
posted by Ezrael (89 comments total)

 
Actually, yes I do. Does anyone understand this? I could try and pretend I had any sort of idea as to what was going on in the world right now, but I don't. I have this cold sick dread wrapped around my chest, it's 2:22 in the AM as I type this and my perspective has been skewed again. When people are wandering around killing people while wearing panda suits and storming into classrooms with butcher knives, it makes me nostalgic for the Y2K panic.
posted by Ezrael at 2:24 AM on June 8, 2001


The media has trained me well. Before clicking the link, my immediate reaction was to assume this was another US school shooting.

The age of the victims combined with the level of violence needed to commit an act like this makes it harder for me accept that someone actually did this than if it had been another shooting. It is easy to shoot a gun. I can at least understand how it would be easy for a slightly disturbed person to just squeeze the trigger until no bullets remained. But I can not fathom the level of mental disturbance necessary for someone to commit an act like this.
posted by bargle at 2:28 AM on June 8, 2001


We will have to require immediate licensing of all Knife owners now. Not to mention waiting periods for buying knives. Knife locks on all knives.

Guy is mentally disturbed? More like he is a complete asshole. People like this should turn their weapons on themselves and do the rest of us a favor and check out.

I hope some distraught parent shows up at this guys arraignment with a samurai sword and takes care of him.
posted by a3matrix at 2:42 AM on June 8, 2001


The media has trained me well. Before clicking the link, my immediate reaction was to assume this was another US school shooting.

Mine too. Messed up, isn't it?
posted by DyRE at 4:07 AM on June 8, 2001


I cried when I heard this story on the radio. It was just too sad to believe.
posted by kramer_101 at 4:41 AM on June 8, 2001


I'm starting to burn out, mentally. I see a whole series of events leading humanity down the primrose path, as it were, but nothing connects up enough so that I can point to a cause or any action that could be taken to fix things. I guess I'm starting to feel like George Carlin, waiting impatiently for the comet to come and cleanse this planet of human beings because we've so totally fucked up and I don't see a way out.

The theft of the election started these thoughts in me, I think. I was always a pessimist and a misanthrope, I admit, but after the son of the former secret police chief and president was elected (a man whose name is actually on CIA offices) with the aid of his brother, governor of a local province, I began to wonder if I'd somehow become a citizen of Haiti. But no, the name is Bush, not Duvalier, even though the connection to voodoo rolls softly through the memory.

From that moment, I began to see things differently. I used to be patriotic, and now I am not. Everything that has happened since, and even those things that happened before, are being seen through a dark lens. It reminds me of the Augustinian age in Roman History, where everybody jumped up and down proclaiming that the Republic still lived...when it was dead. Dead, and worse than dead, kept from its grave and dressed up in gaudy jingoism, colored like a temple prostitute and tramped about for the reassurance of the ruled.

But Matt, you might say, this stabbing took place in Japan. And you'd be right, of course, there's no direct link between the two events. But both are symptomatic of a kind of rampant hyperaccellerated end of everything sensation shot through everything, and which I think I really always sensed but never saw before. The culture shift is massive, and it builds up speed like a runaway jagannth cart to mow us all down for the glory of a way of life no longer adapted to the people who it was supposedly made for.

Economic necessity (at least we're told it is) rules over any and all other considerations. Companies pull out of towns and leave them rotten and collapsing, take welfare money from the government in the form of kickbacks and tax breaks while bitching about women and children who are just trying to get ahead...it becomes necessary for many people to take high doses of a stimulant just to function in their jobs, and then to counteract the tension caused by that stimulant with a depressant of some kind, be it inhaled or in a glass bottle.

Children who have never wanted for anything plan to blow up or shoot their classmates. Men climb in windows or dress like pandas to stab people. Nobody trusts anyone, and the arms race between encryption and penetration of data continues unabated. Insurance companies want to run DNA tests on their clients so as to determine if they have a genetic predisposition to anything, in order to cut them from their rolls, and police propose making neighborhood sweeps of anyone who might be a suspect, taking their blood and matching it against forensic evidence, whether or not they have any probable cause to suspect those people. Echelon sweeps our phone calls, and probably all of our email as well. In a single day, a human being walking down the street may be videotaped tens of thousands of times.

Faster and faster we spin down the drain. We have learned what we can do, but not what we should, and no matter how tight we wrap ourselves in surveilliance and suspicion, no one can predict when someone will take it upon himself to murder children. We cannot predict the future, no matter what we do, but we can make the present unbearable.

It all seems connected to me, just outside of my perceptive range. I feel like I'm going mad, but I'm not, and that's the worst part. I'm not hallucinating, not deluded...these things are really happening. Yugoslavia has more honest elections than America does. The crown prince of Nepal murdered his entire family with a machine gun...or did it accidentally explode?

Time dilates, and the news is an assault. We have been lied to, and we will be lied to again. We are used, told what drugs are approved by the state (the ones that force us into the mold or accelerate our productivity or render us unable to control our thoughts) for our use, while the news is selectively spun and then re-spun and battle lines are drawn over whether you have an ugly equine or a pachyderm on your flag. Each party is a mirror to the other, differing in such small ways I see little difference at all.

We are like the rats in the cage that gets strapped onto the faces of the recalcitrant. We are the needles that write the sentence onto the backs of the prisoner. We are the means of our own purgatory. I have no idea what this latest outrage was about, but it seems to me that if we slaughter each other, we don't need a tyrant at all; we become self-regulating slaves.

I'm not Ambrose Bierce yet. Nor am I Mencken. But I'm getting there. It wouldn't take too much more for me to give up on the human race entirely.
posted by Ezrael at 5:24 AM on June 8, 2001


I hope some distraught parent shows up at this guys arraignment with a samurai sword and takes care of him.

I don't think that's the right solution, a3.
posted by Hjorth at 5:26 AM on June 8, 2001


could it be that the world has always been this fucked up but, because of the speed and ease that information travels, we just know more about it now?
posted by Mick at 5:38 AM on June 8, 2001


Ezrael: your post immediately brought to mind the following tidbit:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

From "The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats.
posted by trox at 5:38 AM on June 8, 2001


Can't wait to read the report about how to prevent terrible events like this from happening again. Proof crime will be committed by whatever means necessary.
posted by brent at 5:43 AM on June 8, 2001


Like a person who cuts themselves to prove they can still feel, this person cut others to prove he could still affect. That's my hypothesis anyway. People look out at this world and see what you see matt, and they wonder if they can be anything of consequence, if there is anything of consequence left to be. Some deal with it with self delusion, some deal with it with denial. The minority are the people who actually come to a balance, and those who forsake all balance and do something like this article describes.
posted by Nothing at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2001


Forgot to finish:

The sad part is, that by taking that course of action, they become part of what caused their own downfall.
posted by Nothing at 5:47 AM on June 8, 2001


"Could it be that the world has always been this fucked up but, because of the speed and ease that information travels, we just know more about it now?"
Bingo.
posted by dong_resin at 6:24 AM on June 8, 2001


"I see a whole series of events leading humanity down the primrose path"

I have to agree with Mark on this one. This has been happening for thousands of years.

You have lots of good points, but as a race we've had good and bad governments since governments existed. We've had crazy people since people existed.

It may be true that in the past such nut cases would be pushed to the edge of the herd a bit sooner, but on the flip side, we're much more tolerant of different ideas these days.

So....... Some good. Some bad. Same as always.

This is horrific, but it's not a sign that we're reaching a critical mass which will lead to our doom.

It's just a crazy guy with a knife. It's not the four horsemen.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:41 AM on June 8, 2001


"Could it be that the world has always been this fucked up but, because of the speed and ease that information travels, we just know more about it now?"

As dong_resin said above, Bingo, but let's not sell short the positive feedback caused by the speed and ease with which information travels plus innate human monkey-see monkey-slaughter. ("Hey! I also hate my classmates, and I also have guns, too! Why didn't I think of that?!?")
posted by whuppy at 6:45 AM on June 8, 2001


I'm with dongresin, this has all happened before. Perhaps you'll recall a shooting at an elementary school in Scotland a few years ago.

The thing to remember about this event and the ability of the Net to broadcast news a zillion times faster than TV and radio is that the paradigm still applies -- if it bleeds, it leads. No one reports about the millions of children around the world who go to school safely every single day, or the thousands of airplanes that don't crash, or the bridges that don't collapse. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.
posted by briank at 6:56 AM on June 8, 2001


"could it be that the world has always been this fucked up but, because of the speed and ease that information travels, we just know more about it now?"

I've been saying this for years, I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Not to downplay what happened, it is horrible, but I don't think it's a death knell for humanity.

The reason the world seems sick is because communications technology has finally let the entire race compare notes and see the sickness. That's the first step toward fixing it.

We should mourn the dead, but not let the tragedy keep us from living.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:03 AM on June 8, 2001


Dammit, a3matrix, you beat me to the same wiseass remark I was going to make. But I'll take you one further:

I propose a ban on assault knives. These hideous looking knives, recognizable by their mean looking black plastic housings and nasty saw-tooth design, look scary! They therefore must be more deadly, and should be removed from everyone's hands as soon as possible!

How much longer will we let any random nut walk into a kitchen store and buy a knife without having to show so much as an ID? We need waiting periods! We need federal licensing! We need to make the ATF responsible for removing private knife caches!

The second ammendment? Oh, that only refers to the ownership of knives by a state-organized militia. The founders never intended that private citizens should be able to own a knife; the danger is simply too high. This is made clear by the third comma in the text of the ammendment, which, no matter how many times it fails to appear in earlier versions, is *not* just a transcription error.

Do not listen to what the pro-knife nuts will tell you. Knives are made to cut things, and therefore, are evil. I'm determined that not even one more child will ever die because of knife violence! Chop sticks for all!
posted by jammer at 7:08 AM on June 8, 2001


Gun nuts using the murder of children to further their twisted agenda make me sick.
posted by owillis at 7:21 AM on June 8, 2001


The BBC had the best description of this..:

"Japanese officials claimed that 5 of the children's hearts had stopped beating."

What a nicer way to put it.
posted by wackybrit at 7:29 AM on June 8, 2001


What's funny about the above post is that the anti-gun nuts used the exact same thing for their agenda, the killing of innocent children in Columbine.
posted by the_0ne at 7:36 AM on June 8, 2001


It wouldn't take too much more for me to give up on the human race entirely.

I already did. That's why I am now a Christian.

Once you realize it is pointless to place your faith in the lie that is the "goodness" of humanity, the next step is natural.
posted by internal at 7:41 AM on June 8, 2001


the_One: and I reject that too.
internal: yeah, the big man in the sky sure gave a crap about those kids...
posted by owillis at 7:44 AM on June 8, 2001


so i guess it's His fault and not the murderer's? what a way to lay off responsibility... "yeah, it's not my fault. God let me do it."
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:52 AM on June 8, 2001


Once you realize it is pointless to place your faith in the lie that is the "goodness" of humanity, the next step is natural.

The next natural step is to place your faith in a two-thousand year old book of lies, half-truths, misinformation, and speculation? Sorry, but I'll pass.
posted by dogmatic at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2001


dogmatic: I'd put faith in that book anyday, but we aren't really on here to mock are we?
posted by prototype_octavius at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2001


Gun nuts using the murder of children to further their twisted agenda make me sick.

I was going to point out that I'm not doing (in sarcastic jest, no less) anything that the Million Nanny March and all the anti-gun-nuts have done straight-faced on the occasion of every school shooting in recent memory. But that's been served and returned already.

Perhaps, if you reject both sides, owillis, you could tell us what you are in favor of. I'm assuming it's "I'm opposed to guns, but I don't like exploiting these tragedies to get the work done". In which case you're better than alot of the other nuts out there, and I really have no beef with you, other than your simple opposition to what I consider to be a fundamental human right. ;)
posted by jammer at 8:04 AM on June 8, 2001


One of the most moving depictions of the growing impact of senseless acts of violence in modern Japanese society is this film - Eureka. A 4-hour epic, it tells the story of the survivors of a bus hi-jacking, and how they (and those around them) cope with the tragedy.

A fascinating, disturbing, powerful film that goes a long way, I think, towards revealing how Japanese society is facing this new tide of violence, something all-too familiar to Westerners.
posted by mapalm at 8:12 AM on June 8, 2001


Once you realize it is pointless to place your faith in the lie that is the "goodness" of humanity, the next step is natural.

With an attitude like that, you are not helping the world. Of course humanity is good. A few bad incidents amongst millions of good incidents do not a bad race make. Where is your faith?
posted by wackybrit at 8:15 AM on June 8, 2001


"I already did. That's why I am now a Christian."

I'm glad this gives you some comfort and meaning, but to me it seems like a load of simple minded crap.

Next you're going to tell me that they went to a better place, and that you think Jesus would forgive the murderer.

Well they aren't in a better place, they're dead. Their friends and family are enduring trauma we probably can't imagine. And if Jesus would ever forgive the murderer then that's seriously F'd up.

If this is God's will then He's one cruel bastard.

No, this is man. At his worst. And we all know Christians have done this and worse when God "called them" to.

Like I said, I'm glad you find such comfort in it. But it's not for me.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:15 AM on June 8, 2001


I'm opposed to guns, but I don't like exploiting these tragedies to get the work done

That's exactly my position. I hate the fact that gun legislation only comes into play post-murder, with little done in the "down time" inbetween.

My argument is that at this point, the only practical usage for a gun is to kill another person (offensive or defensive) and human beings in general should not be trusted with such power (hunting, etc. are frivolous uses and not vital to modern life, if you want to hunt so bad get a crossbow and make a real sport out of it). Sort of like how nukes are the most powerful weapon, but nobody uses them because it would be insane to use it - know what I mean?

I understand what pro-gun advocates are saying, and some have their hearts in the right place - I just disagree, but it is in the constitution (well regulated militia or not). I also don't think the framers could have ever conceived of a weapon that could kill hundreds in an instant with the simple push of a button, back in the 1700s.

But the constitution is a living document that is amended from time to time. We realized slavery and denying women's rights to votes were wrong, and those things were fixed in due time - maybe this will too.
posted by owillis at 8:18 AM on June 8, 2001


dogmatic: I'd put faith in that book anyday, but we aren't really on here to mock are we?

Sure we are.

The point is this. Christianity is a creation. Christ is a creation. The creation of a bunch of well meaning Jews a bunch of years ago that couldn't have their "messiah" in life so they claimed him in death. Jesus was not the first messiah on the block, nor was he the most popular. Which is why you can't find anything written about him until forty years after his death.

Forty years and a bunch of oral tradition later, somebody decided to write some stuff about this guy's life. But ya know what? By that point, since it was forty years and a couple dozen sources later, the myth was certainly lot different than the life. The author of that story was named Mark. A few other guys wrote a few more stories in the next hundred years, adding stories, deleting stories, and embellishing stories, all based on each author's curious political agenda. They were Matthew, Luke and John.

But none of it would have gotten off the ground if it weren't for Paul, a man so convinced by his own agenda that he completely ignored Jesus altogether. The few snippets we do get from Paul that acknowledge a Jesus figure at all don't seem to correlate with the gospels or understand Jesus' own message or life in the least. And it's interesting to note that most of the message of modern Christianity is Paul's message, not Jesus'.

So where does this leave most modern-day Christians? Following a make-believe messiah whose message has been almost completely obscured and misunderstood by his followers. If this isn't a dogma to place one's faith in, I don't know what is.

internal can proselytize all he wants, talking about the 'lie that is the goodness of humanity.' I just want to point out the 'lie that is christianity' that he has so much faith in.
posted by dogmatic at 8:28 AM on June 8, 2001


But the constitution is a living document that is amended from time to time. We realized slavery and denying women's rights to votes were wrong, and those things were fixed in due time - maybe this will too.

I wouldn't bet the farm on it. At least not in your or my lifetime.
posted by dogmatic at 8:29 AM on June 8, 2001


" But the constitution is a living document that is amended from time to time. We realized slavery and denying women's rights to votes were wrong, and those things were fixed in due time - maybe this will too."

While you're at it, please remove those pesky 1st and 4th amendments, would you? They also get in the way of tyranny.

I, as much as anyone, am against "guns for nuts who like to kill people". However, the problem isn't guns. The problem isn't access to guns. If that were the case we would have had massive killings in the 50's when access was basicly unrestricted.

The problem is people and the apparent willingness to kill - by whatever means. If you are truly concerned about saving lives then this is what you should be working on.

The government that fears your guns probably has a reason to.
posted by hadashi at 8:33 AM on June 8, 2001


I'm surprised at some of the reactions to this story. Don't people get desensitized to these stories? I certainly do, and I am the compassionate type. Millions die every day in some way, and we read about it. I think it's important not to dwell on it too much.

Yes, this is a sad story, but life goes on. I think the concern should be for the survivors here (and, yes, the parents).

I wonder what the other kids at the school will be told. The Japanese seem to have a reputation for repressing or 'holding back' information and events for the 'benefit' of others (i.e. the Nanjing Massacre).

My true thoughts are with the kids who are still alive and will, potentially, be traumatised by this. They're too young to have the faith needed to get through this easily.
posted by wackybrit at 8:34 AM on June 8, 2001


Dogmatic: Well I am deeply moved by your original and unique perspective. BTW: Internal was not proselytizing, merely giving his own opinion on the posted article.
posted by prototype_octavius at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2001


Was afraid to read these comments as I was sure there'd be a number of posts from gun nuts suggesting things like "knife locks" and a ban on "assault knives".

How sad to see my fears confirmed.

As my feelings gave been more or less those already expressed by owillis, I'll not add any excoriating comments of my own.
posted by aladfar at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2001


Everyone uses every event to their own ends -- such is the way of agenda'ed people.

The sad truth is one that I have returned to repeatedly in the wake of many forms of mass violence, be it a school shooting, serin in a subway, a truck bomb at a government building or tanks brought out against unarmed, peaceful protestors: people who commit themselves to acting violently against others will do so by whatever means are available to them.

Once someone has purposed in their heart to bring harm to another, the battle has already been lost. It is no longer a matter of "how" merely a matter of "when."

In order to eradicate anything, you must go to the source. You don't fight a fire by aiming at the top of the flames, but their base. The source, the basis, of these acts is not to be found in looking at the tools, but the people who wield them. Are we so disconnected from humanity at its core to realise that, or is it that we're simply so attracted to the easy answers that we cannot go further?
posted by Dreama at 9:00 AM on June 8, 2001


wackybrit: Of course humanity is good. A few bad incidents amongst millions of good incidents do not a bad race make.

as I read this, I immediately recalled on of my favorite passages:

"if you let people follow their original nature, they will be able to do good. this is what is meant by saying that human nature is good. if man does evil, it is not the fault of the nautral endowment. the feeling of commiseration is found in all men; the feeling of shame and dislike is found in all men;the feeling of respect and reverence is found in all men; and the feeling of right and wrong is found in all men. the feeling of commiseration is what we call humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is what we call righteousness; the feeling of respect and reverence is what we call propriety;and the feeling of right and wrong is what we call wisdom. humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom are not drilled in us from outside. we originally have them with us. only we do not think [ to find them ]. therefore it is said, 'seek and you will find it, negelect and you will lose it'". -- mencius.
posted by modularette at 9:18 AM on June 8, 2001


I just love how God gets blamed for every crappy thing in the world, and humans take the credit for the good....God is merciful or he would have blasted us all to kingdom come long before now........

besides the only reason Jesus had to die on the cross is because we all have crappy hearts and most of us won't even admit it.

The evil in the world is there because HUMANS put it there, not God....and since He is just He can't just immediately toast blatantly evil people without toasting all of us who conveniently forget that just one evil thought is anathema to Him.......
posted by bunnyfire at 9:41 AM on June 8, 2001


God is merciful or he would have blasted us all to kingdom come long before now...

You seem to be arguing that God must exist and is good because otherwise he would have killed us all horribly by now, but logically it's also possible that we haven't been struck dead from above because there is no God there to do it.

While I'm here, the sarcastic "ban assault knives" crowd should keep in mind that the number of deaths by gun far, far outnumber stabbing deaths. Also, while knives have practical, non-lethal uses (slicing bread, if nothing else), guns are made purposely to kill or seriously injure living creatures. There really isn't much basis for comparison.
posted by jess at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2001


Was afraid to read these comments as I was sure there'd be a number of posts from gun nuts suggesting things like "knife locks" and a ban on "assault knives".
How sad to see my fears confirmed.


What's the matter, aladfar? Hit a bit close to home? Seems rather miserable to capitalize on the death of innocent children to push forward your own agenda? Don't like the directing of blame from the crazy individual who comitted a crime to the tool used to do it?

I've got news for you. This is what the gun control forces have been doing for years. The medecine doesn't taste so sweet when you're on the receiving end, does it?

As I side note, I simply love who anyone who is opposed to police-state style gun control is a automatically termed a "gun nut", whilst those on the other side are "advocates". Bit of an ad hominem there, eh?

owillis, you say that the only intended purpose of a gun is to kill. You then go on to trivialize hunting, and you don't even mention activities like target shooting. I go to the nearby gun range once every week or two to fire a couple hundred rounds at paper. Does that make me a killer? Does my enjoyment of the simple act of firing a gun at a non-living target have to be curtailed because you are incapable of trusting people with lethal power?

Guns have other legitimate uses. I am proof of it. And other devices we use much more often are just as lethal. Why do you trust people with cars, but not guns?

Of course the fact that, when put to that use, a gun is so very efficient at killing is what makes it great for self-defense. Or I suppose you're going to disregard the 2.5 million defensive gun usages that happen per year in this country, only a small percentage of which actually include firing the weapon, and turn all those people into victims, because you don't trust me to go plinking every now and then without going on a murderous rampage?

Gah. This argument never gets anywhere. Those who beat their swords into plowshares will be enslaved by those who don't.
posted by jammer at 10:19 AM on June 8, 2001


Sorry, I have a living to make, and the plowshare does a better job than the sword.
posted by prototype_octavius at 10:22 AM on June 8, 2001


If you are going to use statistics in your argument, jammer, it might be a good idea to tell us where they came from.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:34 AM on June 8, 2001


" Sorry, I have a living to make, and the plowshare does a better job than the sword."

That's a very practical statement until that guy with a sword comes along and takes everything you've worked for - and, possibly, your life and the life of your loved ones.

A sensible person wants both - the ability to make a living (with a plowshare) and a sword to defend against those who find it easier to prey upon others.
posted by hadashi at 10:39 AM on June 8, 2001


MegoSteve, guncite has a good info page, with some other informative links. The generally accepted number is somewhere between 1 and 2.5 million GDUs per year, as compared to about 400,000 uses of a gun in a crime per year.
posted by jammer at 10:40 AM on June 8, 2001


Gah... that was DGUs, as in Defensive Gun Usages, the "standard" acronym for such things. Also, it should be noted that even the low-end figures come from some of the more anti-gun groups, and are still generally about twice the number of gun crimes scene per annum in the US.
posted by jammer at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2001


Why do you trust people with cars, but not guns?

Because I can't hide a car under my coat and rob liquor stores with it.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2001


I already did. That's why I am now a Christian.

That's exactly the kind of thinking that makes me hope Christianity will die out soon. If you're too concerned with the afterlife, you kinda let the present life slide. Murder? No problem, he'll be dealt with in the afterlife. Nuclear weapons? Hey, if Armageddon comes, just accept Christ and you'll be OK in the afterlife. Well, a lot of us with the moral courage to live a good life without a cosmic father figure to spank us in the next world would really prefer that we work things out in this life.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:46 AM on June 8, 2001


Hadashi: I rather like not being sensible thank you very much. Keep your sword.
posted by prototype_octavius at 10:49 AM on June 8, 2001


RylandDotNet: You've obviously missed the point of a personal relationship with God.
posted by prototype_octavius at 10:50 AM on June 8, 2001


I just love how God gets blamed for every crappy thing in the world, and humans take the credit for the good....God is merciful or he would have blasted us all to kingdom come long before now........

This has a flip side. In the Christian psyche, all that is good is the work of God and all that is evil is the work of Man. At least, that seems to be what you're saying.

besides the only reason Jesus had to die on the cross is because we all have crappy hearts and most of us won't even admit it.

Did Jesus die on a cross? Lessee. The only accounts we have of him dying at all, or even living, are Christian sources long after he was supposedly nailed to a cross. Or heavy Christian interpolations into other ancient texts. (Josephus)
posted by dogmatic at 10:53 AM on June 8, 2001


I go to the nearby gun range once every week or two to fire a couple hundred rounds at paper.

I'm happy to see you are defending our borders from the
evil scourge of... paper.

Does my enjoyment of the simple act of firing a gun at a non-living target have to be curtailed because you are incapable of trusting people with lethal power?

When the chance of someone breaking into your home and using said gun to expire someone's life is one iota over 0%, yes.
posted by owillis at 10:56 AM on June 8, 2001


It's always nice in time of tragedy to see people gathering together to reaffirm our faith in guns and God.
posted by rcade at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2001


MegoSteve: You need a smaller car.


Or a bigger coat.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:00 AM on June 8, 2001


God ain't vengeful. God ain't merciful. Believing you have the slightest idea who or what God is, is yet another example of how fucking screwed up you all are. I doubt He's even a He. I call Him a He because it is convenient. It pleases me, and yet I know even to assume His gender is arrogant of me to do, and yet another example of how fucked up I am.

I just LOVE this cynicism you guys are spewing! Really! I'm just eating it up. You guys are starting to sound like me. In fact, as I was skimming Ezrael's big speech above, by the time he mentioned George Carlin I was like, "did I write this? Have I already been in this thread?" Imagine my relief when I found it wasn't me. But you guys are sounding like my internal monologue when I look at this planet. I concur with George: The world's not goin' anywhere -- WE ARE.

Let me give y'all a piece of advice. Stop sounding like me. And stop sounding like George Carlin. It's lonely. Go hug a tree. Right now. Git up off your God damned ass and go outside right now. Go hug a damn tree. Trust me. You'll feel better.

It's lonely here with a Carlinesque mindset. Seeing oneself set apart from humanity. Pretending to not be responsible for it. Pretending you're not related to them, while knowing deep down you can't help but be a part of it. Refusing to accept their lies and wishing you could vacation indefinitely on the moon with a telescope and just watch the little ants on the big blue marble killing themselves from a safe distance; away from stray bullets.

The inevitable result? You get to a point where you can no longer say "present company excepted of course" with a straight face. I mean I don't know any of you assholes do I? And you guys don't know me. Most of you know I'm an asshole. Hell. I don't deny it! So for all I know, one of you will be the next to pick up that knife or that gun, and go out and have a fun little killing spree. And maybe one of you will get to someone I DO care about, instead of kids in Japan or Colorado or somewhere I'm not.

Some time last year I heard there was a killing in Fort Worth at a church. Some lunatic just walked in and started shooting. THAT was way too close to home. It makes it more difficult to separate myself from the fear that someday, a random bullet from a gang fight down the street to my house may take me out. Blow up all the buildings in Oklahoma City. I don't know those people. I'm trying to be desensytized. But you start taking out a place that I can DRIVE to. A place I might have actually BEEN in. That's too damn close to home.

And SIMULTANEOUS to the desensytized feeling, just as I imagine Carlin feels, I got this tremendous deep-rooted feeling of complex emotions too fucked up to put words to. When Carlin talks about people as a whole, he's pretty damn harsh. When he talks about the individual, he changes his tune. And while humanity sickens him, he is simultaneously fascinated by them.

"I feel betrayed by the people I'm part of, these creatures, these magnificent creatures..."

Y'know whut, George? Me too. Shame if I ever met you we'd hate each other's guts. Cuz you'd be thinkin' I'm One A Dem and I'd be thinkin' the same thing about you. Damn shame.

Really. Go hug a tree. From now on, every time you hear about another Tim McVeigh on the news, or some lunatic cut up a bunch of kids for no damn reason, get up, turn off the TV , and go hug a fuckin' tree. I can't hug a tree anymore. Too late for me. I know they don't hug back.

Or better yet, go hug another human being. Go find a potential rapist or a potential murderer out there, and give them a big long hug. Maybe if someone had hugged these guys and insured they didn't feel lonely, maybe they wouldn't... NAH! They probably woulda done whut they did anyway. "I'm a believer that things happen. Fate is what happens."

People like me and George? Don't worry about us. We don't need guns and knives when mere words keep the world away just as well. We'll leave you alone. From a safe distance.

It's easier to aim with words, and there's less of a mess to clean up. It's becoming just as dangerous though. They already lock you up for screaming FIRE in a movie theater. Someday they'll figure out how to lock people up for screaming RAPE when talking about politicians.

Honestly. Stop sounding like me, gang. Stop sounding like Carlin. Stop being like Danny Elfman singing, "on the outside looking in." It's Dark At The End Of The Tunnel. Turn back. Go hug a tree. Don't go where Men and Women of Useless Clarity go.

It's real fuckin' lonely here.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:06 AM on June 8, 2001


..here on the moon...
posted by ZachsMind at 11:06 AM on June 8, 2001


Just to cut the comment count on this short, I'm going to fill in the next couple rounds of gun-control tennis:


Me, to owillis: why not take away everything that is even potentially lethal, then?

Answer: Because they have other legitimate uses, guns dont.

Response: Target shooting (let alone self defense) isn't a legitimate use?

Answer: If someone can take your legitimately used gun and kill someone else with it, you shouldn't have it.

Response : Why not take away everything that is even potentially lethal then?

Repeat ad nauseum.

People refuse to see that the problem isn't the gun. There are any number of potentially lethal weapons laying around in your house, owillis. Do you use them to kill people? No, because you're a rational individual (more or less :) ). Will I blame you if someone steals your steak knives and goes on a killing spree in Japan? No, it was his doing, not yours. Will I ban you from owning steak knives? Certainly not. Don't be ridiculous.
posted by jammer at 11:11 AM on June 8, 2001


Actually to sum up the gun control thing, my first thought was geez, think of how much more carnage could have been had if there'd been easy access to guns thrown in...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2001


Look, I dont believe guns just jump up in the air and kill people. You have to have something wrong with you to do so in the first place. What I am saying is for those that would kill, guns make it too damn easy. For every incident like this of a knife attack, there are tons more of people just spraying rooms with bullets and racking up much more death. The gun is unique to this situation because it's sole purpose is to kill. You use it on a target range simulating killing someone/thing.

Steak knives and cars have legitimate every day uses (and in the case of a car you are licensed by the state to operate it). We're not in the wild west hunting for our food any more - that's why we have the supermarket.

I understand and respect your opinion, but I sure can't condone it.
posted by owillis at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2001


The gun is unique to this situation because it's sole purpose is to kill. You use it on a target range simulating killing someone/thing. Steak knives and cars have legitimate every day uses

The fact that it is so efficient at killing is what makes guns so useful and precious for self-defense. I maintain that the benefit done by having them in our culture far outweighs the harm done by their mis-use. I could dig out reams of statistics to back my point up, but you could do likewise, so I won't bother at this point, because neither of us is likely to change our minds.

I understand and respect your opinion, but I sure can't condone it.

Well, we at least agree on something, then. :)
posted by jammer at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2001


One more thing, and then I will have said my piece.


If you use even the most conservative figures, and count only about one million DGUs per year, that still works out to over 2700 uses of a gun in self defense *every single day* in the US. Whether or not you go to the supermarket for your dinner, I have a hard time believeing that this says anything other than that there are several thousand "legitimate every day uses" of a gun, well... every day.
posted by jammer at 12:15 PM on June 8, 2001


DGU need only be terribly necessary if one is being held up by another gun. Get rid of easy access to guns, and the chances of facing someone else with a bullet-shooting weapon highly diminish. Therefore, both the need to defend yourself against gunfire and the possibility of hundreds of thousands dying per year to gunfire significantly decrease. What is so difficult to understand about this?

If one need not defend against a gun, why would one possibly need a gun?
posted by dogmatic at 12:36 PM on June 8, 2001


Ya know, what's really funny about the gun control advocates is that I see them as really lazy asses. I mean, gun control isn't social reform. It's attempting to patch over a rotten society with rules and restrictions.

Since we're invoking mysical scripts here, I'll mention the main principle of taoism: Do Not Do. If you try to control things, things will avoid control. Chaos is a natural state. If you want to improve things, you have to make people at peace with themselves by teaching them, instead of trying to control them. Intelligent chaos is the order that we strive for.

If you really want to make a difference, Owillis and others, try teching people why guns are bad instead of trying to take away people's guns. Taking them away won't remove them, as we've seen so many times. Taking weapons away will only leave people who are truly innocent to the sick bastards who are going to kill them anyway, even if they have to do it with their bare hands. Let's try to get rid of the sick bastards in the world first, or educate people on how to spot them and stop them before they get within killing range.
posted by SpecialK at 12:52 PM on June 8, 2001


Addendum:

Tougher, yes. The thing is, it will work, where gun control absolutely will not.
posted by SpecialK at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2001


Why the hell are you people talking about guns?

Sorry, sorry. I'm tense, I apologize. But this case has squat to do with guns and everything to do with yet another human being who totally crossed over into someplace inside himself where the slaughter...yes, slaughter of other human beings was acceptable. And he chose weak targets, the way anyone looking to kill as many people as possible would.

I don't understand why people mention the shooting in Scotland, or any other incident we've had over the years, as proof that things are the same as they always were, we just hear about it more. It's the hearing about it more that disturbs me. Are people committing atrocities more now? I have no idea. In the past, to some extent, perhaps the atrocities were state sponsored more (Pogroms, Crusades, the taming of the Wild West, Slavery) and thus people didn't feel the need to take up arms and commit a bit of the ol' ultraviolence myself, I don't know.

The worst thing is, I'm not feeling disconnected from humanity right now, I'm just sickened by us. Apparently I am not sufficently callous. It isn't even because they were children, it isn't because they had no chance to fight back...it's because they were butchered. There was no chance to defend themselves, they could only endure it. I don't care what weapon he used.

The blood dimmed tide is loosed, indeed. Perhaps people aren't bloodthirsty monsters. Perhaps all we want to do is get along, but I find myself thinking about what Nothing said, about self-delusion and the minority who reach a balance. I think it's possible we should be teaching people that if you feel the urge to get a knife and stab a whole bunch of people, or take up a gun and kill them, that it is okay to begin with yourself.

In this case, suicide might have been the answer. I'm not advocating killing yourself because you had a bad day, but if someone is walking out the door with a weapon and a destination, perhaps its best if they take the only life that really belongs to them.

I'm not sure of anything. Maybe it is sad that I've gotten this far only to have this incident affect me, when there are daily ones just as bad or worse, but somehow this one came at the right place and the right time to shatter my self absorption. (However, it's knit itself together just fine, because this missive is full of me and my and I.) I'm sure that I'll manage to incorporate or efface this feeling from my mind.

But it isn't about guns, or knives. It's about man.
posted by Ezrael at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2001


If one need not defend against a gun, why would one possibly need a gun?

because I can't throw a punch as well as the person mugging me. A gun is an equalizer, the debate is who's upper-hand is taken away.
posted by Mick at 12:56 PM on June 8, 2001


First of all, just to control the hyperbole, "hundreds of thousands" do not die per year to gunfire; the figure can be measured, rather, in tens of thousands.


As for why have guns when easy access to guns is removed; that's a two-part issue.


The first answer is the old adage about only criminals having guns. Once you take guns away from law-abiding citizens, it makes it that much easier for the bad guys, who will have them *whatever* the law says, to take advantage of the innocent. Look at Britain, where in the past couple years it has become almost impossible to legally obtain a handgun, and where you're now more likely to be a victim of violent crime than in the US. The bad guys will always have guns.


The second answer is that, even in cases where your assailant doesn't have a gun, they are still the most certain method of self defence. Take, for example, an elderly lady, at home, alone, at night, when someone who is potentially a robber, or worse, breaks into her house. If you're a healthy, strong, but minimally- or un-armed robber, are you going to be terribly afraid of a frail old lady with a rolling pin trying to defend her home? No. One smack of your strong arm is all it takes to knock the pin out of her grasp.


Now put a .45 in the old lady's hand. Suddenly, the situation looks alot different: the old woman's lack of strength and agility don't matter any more, because assuming she can aim and pull the trigger, a .45ACP bullet is as deadly coming from her gun as it is coming from a police officer. The intruder would be significantly more motivated to leave.


Guns are the great equalizer -- everyone is just as frail when they're in your sights. This is both a blessing and a curse. But that is the nature of freedom.


"What is so difficult to understand about this?"
posted by jammer at 12:56 PM on June 8, 2001


" DGU need only be terribly necessary if one is being held up by another gun."

Hogwash. Then you've simply boiled it down to "the bigger guy wins." Or the group with the most people. Even in the martial arts there is a saying: "A big man with bad form can usually beat a smaller man with perfect form."

What surprises me about the hoplophobes that post is the evident lack of reason.

All you are doing is disarming the very people who are willing to obey such laws. Furthermore, you are now making them more likely to be a victim as the criminals KNOW they are disarmed. This is happening now in .au and .gb

What you do is doom thousands of women - who could defend themselves with a firearm - to rape and murder. You deprive innocent families of their lives, possessions and loved ones.

And you give a true license to kill to the worst members of our society.
posted by hadashi at 1:07 PM on June 8, 2001


Okay, on a less hysterical note: is it possible all this gun control debate is an attempt to somehow distance ourselves from the act of considering what happened, and if it is in fact something endemic to human nature?

Because I'm afraid I don't understand how the deaths of these people have anything to do with US Gun Control debate. We already have all the laws we need, if we would just enforce them (hate to agree with the Shrub on this one, but hey, it isn't really his opinion anyway, someone gave it to him for Christmas) and at any rate, the man used a knife. No one was shot. The weapon he used was one of opportunity: he could have done as much damage with any garden tool.

And people have. We don't need guns, or knives, to kill each other. We'd use rocks, sticks, antique vases. Weapons of opportunity, they are immune to control. The question is, why do some people seem unable to control themselves? Or are they in control, which I would find even more terrifying?
posted by Ezrael at 1:12 PM on June 8, 2001


How many of these potential victims do you actually know? Personally, I don't know any young women or elderly people that take advantage of their right to own guns in order to defend themselves. What I do know are a ton of able-bodied young and middle-aged men that are packing. These are the same people that could, if need be, defend themselves. So personally, my vantage point does not provide much clout to the "guns for self-defense" argument.
posted by dogmatic at 1:18 PM on June 8, 2001


Wow, some of us are really mean.
posted by daveadams at 1:21 PM on June 8, 2001


dogmatic, part of the problem is that guns are painted by the gun-control fanatics as evil tools of death. Of course they'll be avoided by some of the less powerufl members of our society -- the popular attitude is self-feeding.


However, defensiveuses by women do occur. A quick look at the Defensive Success Story page on packing.org shows that half of the stories on the first page are about femals using firearms to defend themself (granted, one is a duplicate).


There are also numerous mentions of women on the Keep and Bear Arms page for similar information. I personally know of several women who own guns for their self defense.


Furthermore, the number of women joining the NRA is rapidly increasing, much faster than men joining. Women are starting to realize that a gun means power over their lives and bodies that few other methods of defense provide.
posted by jammer at 1:29 PM on June 8, 2001


Ezrael, it's very relevant. Had someone at the school had a gun when the crime was taking place, I'm sure fewer people would have died. ;)


Ye gods my spelling went to hell on my last post. It's getting late on a Friday...
posted by jammer at 1:31 PM on June 8, 2001


Again, into the breach...

I would like to disarm everyone. Criminals and citizens alike. Its much better for someone to be punched by a thug than get shot in the head by one. I don't want a world where at any given moment I can feel that someone may have a gun under their coat, to "protect" them.

The same people who are carrying guns to protect themselves from criminals, some of them are the ones who get upset at a neighbor, or are scared of a young person "following" them and react by shooting. Is that the world you want to live in? Where we're all armed and seconds away from a gun battle?

I sure don't. But we're damn close to it right now.

Is it worth having a gun in your home to protect yourself, when the same gun is found by your kids or his friends and they blow their heads off? Sure, kids screw around - and could stab each other, but a gunshot wound is so much more likely to be fatal.

I don't expect the attitude of the gun culture to change anytime soon, but I'll hold firm to my belief.
posted by owillis at 2:22 PM on June 8, 2001


The "for the children" meme is terribly played out. That's what lockboxes and gun safes are for, which are a part of responsible ownership. If having a gun in the home were as deadly to the people in the home as those who like to skew statistics would claim, it would seem to me that there'd be a lot more dead kids and spouses of cops than there are or ever will be.
posted by Dreama at 3:04 PM on June 8, 2001


owillis, the day you can destroy every gun in the world, and gaurantee that no one, anywhere, can ever make or own one again, I will agree with you. However, since you are neither omnipotent or omniscent, I don't see you permanently disarming the entire world any time soon. Until that date, if the bad guy has even the smallest chance of having a gun, I feel the good guys should have even odds.


And, regarding benefitting from having a gun for home defense when your kids blow their brains out: that's why they make gun safes. There are some very clever ones made to make it next to impossible for a kid to get your gun, while making it easy for you to get into it in a rapid manner in time of dire emergency.


Any parent dumb enough to leave guns in the easy reach of children not old enough or trained enough to respect them deserves the full punishment of the law for murder, imo. But if you're smart, the risk is ridiculously low that any harm will come.
posted by jammer at 3:06 PM on June 8, 2001


Jammer--

By your logic, increased gun ownership should be a deterrent to violent crime in America.

Why is it, then, that the US has experienced an increase in violent crime, homicides, and gun-related homicides at the same time that there has been a general rise in gun ownership?
posted by dogmatic at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2001


How do you know I'm not omniscient? Maybe I just let you think so. :)

Along with gun safes I'd like to see work done on trigger locks and id systems (gun will only work when the user has an id in a bracelet or key).


Also, would it be so bad for gun owners to be registered as the drivers of automobiles are?
posted by owillis at 3:28 PM on June 8, 2001


False correlation alert! False correlation alert!

A=True
B=True
A Is Related to/Is the Cause of B = Not Provable
B Is Related to/Is the Cause of A = Not Provable

Try again.
posted by Dreama at 3:28 PM on June 8, 2001


I'd like to know where you're getting your statistics, dogmatic. It's a documented fact that the violent crime rate in the US has been steadily decreasing recently.


This page plots the steady rise of the number of guns per 1000 population, and shows how violent crime rates distinctly do not rise, and have, in fact, gone down steadily since a peak in the early 90s.


That chart only goes to '97. The FBI's preliminary notes on the Uniform Crime Reports [PDF link] for 2000 show that, between 96 and 97, violent crime was down 5.0%, between 97 and 98 down 7.1%, and between 98 and 99 down 8.1%. Statistics for 2000 are incomplete.


That's quite a dramtic increase in violent crime, isn't it?
posted by jammer at 3:30 PM on June 8, 2001


owillis, I think you'll find on these issues that I'm alot more reasonable than alot of the more vocal gun rights supporters. While "smart guns" do make me a bit queasy (I sure would hate to have to defend myself while I'm without my ID ring because I'm doing dishes or washing the car), I am not vehemently opposed to trigger locks. Nor am I completely opposed to gun registration.


Both items make me uneasy, but if that's what it takes to secure the basic right to own and carry a gun, that's a compromise that seems fair to make. For the moment, we can erode it away at a later date. ;)


Extremists rarely get very much done in our society; compromise is the key, no matter how distasteful it can be at times.
posted by jammer at 3:38 PM on June 8, 2001


A weapons free society? What planet do you live on? This is still the year 2001 right? What utopia grand vision has no means of self defense? Thank God the framers of the constitution kept some defense for the common person in the Constitution. Otherwise what would prevent another Ruby Ridge, Waco, or government crackdown on a family? Maybe Montana residents aren't that crazy fearing the US government.

Take away the guns they say....and just like the Simpsons an invasion will occur and the townspeople will have no defense....except for the board with the nail in it. My point being you can't seriously hope to disarm everyone, that is such nonsense that only adds fuel to the fears of those who own the weapons.
posted by brent at 3:39 PM on June 8, 2001


And besides, I don't know a utopian society that doesn't have nails, or boards.
posted by SpecialK at 4:59 PM on June 8, 2001


dog: "hi tail, nice to see you again"
posted by owillis at 5:06 PM on June 8, 2001


(I sure would hate to have to defend myself while I'm without my ID ring because I'm doing dishes or washing the car)

Today's criminals are pretty damn rude if they can't wait for you to finish your dishes before they initiate gunplay.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:53 PM on June 8, 2001


I wonder why he chose the name "jammer".
posted by lagado at 2:45 AM on June 9, 2001


lagado, it's one of my old BBS handles. originally intended to be shortened from culture-jammer, but I decided I liked it on its own. Why do you ask?
posted by jammer at 9:31 AM on June 9, 2001


increased gun ownership should be a deterrent to violent crime in America.

Dogmatic, that is exactly what researcher John Lott discovered in his study, the largest and most comprehensive study to attempt correlating crime and gun ownership.
posted by mikewas at 5:32 PM on June 18, 2001


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