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“You Are a Very Premium Person”

everythingisilluminated.jpgFiction wunderkind and author of Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer, has added his voice to the growing chorus of others who want stricter gun control laws following the VT massacre. Foer asserted, in yesterday’s op-ed page of the Washington Post, that the only argument against gun control laws is the Second Amendment, but that there is no real justification for that particular amendment. He writes:

Does anyone any longer believe that a well-regulated militia is necessary for a free state? Why do those who fall back on the constitutional defense so often avoid the terms “militia” and “state”? And why, after the massacre at Virginia Tech — hours after — did Sen. John McCain proclaim, “I do believe in the constitutional right that everyone has, in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to carry a weapon”? Just what is it, precisely, that he believes in? Is it the Constitution itself? (But surely he thinks it was wise to change the Constitution to abolish slavery, give women the vote, end Prohibition and so on?) Or is it the guns themselves that he believes in? It would be refreshing to have a politician try to defend guns without any reference to the Second Amendment, but on the merits of guns. What if, hours after the killings, McCain had stood at the podium and said instead, “Guns are good because … ” But what would have followed?

Foer continues in that line of thought, arguing that neither self-defense nor the right to hunt are proper justifications for the right to bear arms, given the counterbalancing fact that:

In 2004, more preschoolers than law enforcement officers were killed by firearms, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. The number of children killed by guns in the United States each year is about three times greater than the number of servicemen and women killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, more children — children— have been killed by guns in the past 25 years than the total number of American fatalities in all wars of the past five decades.

But hey, some jackass in an orange vest has the right to sit up in a tree for hours on end and snuff out the life of a wild animal. So, it all evens out, right? An eye for an eye? A child for a deer? I think that’s even in the Bible.

| Comments (9)


I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH HUNTERS. Seung-Hui Cho was not a hunter. The guns he used were not for hunting or militia purposes. They were made to kill people at close range. They worked well.

The problem is that the NRA is without reason. They interpret every reasonable effort to keep guns out of the hands of human killers as a threat. This threat is to their mis-interpretation of the second Amendment so correctly defined above.

The creep gun dealer who violated federal and Virginia State law and sold the murderous guns to VT student, and certified mental defective, Seung-Hui Cho should be tried for co-conspiracy to commit murder.

That he used poorly maintained registries is no excuse. If a gun dealer is not able to know if the buyer is crazy, or a murderer; he should hold that gun until he knows. I hope he enjoys his $100. profit from these 32 murders.

The funny thing about all these calls for increased gun control is that gun control only limits those who abide by the law. I know you've heard that argument a million times over. Regardless of the validity of the 2nd amendment, it would be an easier task to invade China and Iran simultaneously than it would be to remove the guns from private citizens, legally or illegally owned.

Many citizens find their right to own weapons a 'deal breaker' issues, again, regardless of the validity of the 2nd amendment. The legal owners know that the illegal owners will retain their weapons or source new ones on the black market. Also, most legal owners are of the 'if they take my guns it's time for civil war part 2' mindset.

Remember, a .22 caliber pistol is designed to shoot squirrels, not humans. The bullet is quite small and has poor 'stopping power' with regards to humans. The VT shooter would've been just as effective wielding a chainsaw. If a crazy guy misuses a tool, it's not the tool's fault.

All these calls for limiting access to guns is just covering up the real issue that treatment for mental health issues in this country is sorely lacking. If this kid couldn't have gotten a gun, he'd make a bomb or something.

The first poster is in error. The gun store owner didn't violate the law when he sold the gun to the kid. In fact, no laws were broken. The kid was mentally unstable, but the dealer, after preforming his routine and mandatory background check, saw no mention of the fact that he was mentally ill.

That fauly lies with the state and with hospitals for not updating or reporting cases like these.

The system failed, yes, but the law didn't. The law was observed. It's not a gun store owners fault if the national background information is not up to date.

I've always thought the argument in favor of the 2nd Amendment is self-reliance. If you take guns away from citizens, then they're effectively at the mercy of criminals unless someone from the state comes to save them. And not everyone trusts the state to come save them. Nor should they be forced to do so.

I'm sure many folks in New York City, Boston, or Chicago think that's fine, where police officers are nearby and in abundance (as is, it seems, the impression that everyone's lives are exactly like their's). But what about someone who doesn't live in a big city? What about someone who lives in a smaller town or on a farm, where it takes cops more than 15 minutes to arrive, if they arrive at all? And what about in areas of the city where it takes more than 15 minutes for cops to arrive, like the bad parts of LA during the riots? Are those people just out of luck?

Any number of crimes have been prevented by armed citizens, as opposed to waiting for law enforcement to arrive, investigate, and try to piece together what happened after the crime has been committed. And that's what you want in a free market and democracy: citizens taking care of themselves and each other. The default should be in favor of freedom, and not nanny-state regulation. And I don't think the argument "They can be misused to hurt and kill people" is a good enough argument.

Jonathan Safran Foer is a beautiful writer, but I don't think I'd like him as much as a policy-maker.

i really think Chris Rock hit on a great idea in a stand-up routine of his- forget about gun control, but make bullets cost $5000/ea. people might think twice about using them.

I never thought Foer was all that great of a writer. He's pretentious, but he's also young, a pairing on full display in his op-ed piece.

I'm not big on guns, but given the way Bush is circumventing the Constitution with every chance he gets, having a well-regulated militia may not be a bad option in the coming years, especially when the puppet Guiliani becomes president because people won't accept a woman or black man on the democratic ticket.

The fact is, there is some value in the fact that Cho did everything legally, because it might shed some light on the real problems in this country such as mental health and its lack of oversight.

Foer is, I think, twelve years old, and grew up a privileged, spoiled brat. Maybe if he came out of his protective world, he might learn to shut up.

This is a brilliant idea. Because we all know how effective the government is in enforcing prohibition laws. Why, you can't buy cocaine or crystal meth anymore thanks to the government winning the War on Drugs. You want to smoke a joint? Better move to Canada or Amsterdam because you sure as hell ain't getting any pot in America.

As long as the government goes after guns with the same zeal and effectiveness as it did drugs, there won't be a gun left in America by the end of the year. Go government!!!!

It's too bad no one near Cho at the time of his rampage was carrying a gun and could have stopped him.

Of course with a gun ban like in the UK, criminals will never be able to get guns...