Apr 172007

32 killed in America’s worst campus shooting
THIRTY-two people have been killed at a Virginia university in the bloodiest school shooting massacre in US history.

Up to this point in time, that is.

Putting aside the morning breakfast radio morbid obsession with this happening, there’s little to be surprised about when one realises that the State of Virginia statutes carry some of the most convoluted firearms regulations and definitions that one could ever hope to read. For example, a read through Title 18.2 of the Virginia statutes will reveal at least six different subsections dealing with concealed firearms, what constitutes a concealed firearm, when it’s lawful to carry a concealable firearm, what constitutes an automatic weapon, when it’s lawful to carry one, etcetera, etcetera. That’s just the general crimes and offences category. There is no separate section dealing with firearms per se. Of course, one does need to remember that this is but one state in a nation where the general cultural memory records that the United States was born from the crucible of conflict and law came about by the carriage of firearms.
As was stated on the radio in one of numerous repetitive interviews, the firearms question remains a highly contentious issue in the U.S. because of that nation’s culture. Enshrined in their Bill of Rights is the right to bear arms, deliberately put there by the founding fathers to ensure that neither the lawmakers, nor those with intent on becoming lawmakers through armed insurrection would be in an assured position to mount any action against the other without massive potential for societal breakdown. Consequently, there is a devout sector of that society which believes totally and completely in the need for the populace to bear arms. From a certain narrow perspective, there is validity in the original ethos, however the innate violence such beliefs breed becomes as deeply rooted and ingrained into a society such that it will never be diluted to any reasonable degree.
One wonders, if this nation were to ever adopt a uniform Bill of Rights, whether any consideration would be given to the firearms issue. We here in Australia don’t generally feel the need to bear arms. Very few of us have ever handled a firearm, let alone fired one. Our legislation, while somewhat draconian and blanket-like in it’s reach, is far more acceptable to the general populace not because of its restrictions, but because of its definition and application.
Quite frankly, Bannerman sees no logical, rational purpose for the average citizen to own firearms of any kind, other than for sporting and recreation. Those in agricultural pursuits have a need for removal of vermin and despatch of stock when needed, but no-one outside of the military has any requirement for automatic weaponary, ‘assault’ weaponary and the like. Yet in the US of A, some states still permit the sale of these weapons and some not even by registered, licenced dealers. According to what was aired this morning, in Virginia, firearms collectors hold trade shows where weapons are freely bought and sold by other than licenced dealers. Absolute insanity!
There’s the old adage which claims that if one lives by the sword, one will die by the sword. It’s always such a sad occassion when those who choose not to live by firearms, wind up dying by them.

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