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> 'America's' Worst Campus Shooting'
wakingdream
post Apr 17 2007, 08:27 AM
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The Virginia Tech shooting must be international news by now. It is by far the worst school shooting to date.

Tragedy struck Virginia Tech when a gunmen shot and killed 32 students at the school yesterday. The names of the victims have not yet been released and the details are still being investigated.

So, what makes people snap?

Why are school shootings becoming the preferred method with disgruntled students? (or the increasingly more common method to rephrase)

And, on a more sensitive note, should gun laws be amended?


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Jessica_CDN
post Apr 17 2007, 11:29 AM
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Let's be fair - shootings are clearly not the "prefered" way for most people to deal with their issues!

However, I certainly agree with your leading question about the gun laws....here in Canada we have stickter gun laws....and we have less shootings. Certainly we have some, but the inaccessibility of guns makes it less likely to happen.

Unfortunately, changing gun laws doesn't address the root causes of what makes people so desperately unbalanced that they do such terrible things, and how the mental health care system has failed them.


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wakingdream
post Apr 17 2007, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE
Let's be fair - shootings are clearly not the "prefered" way for most people to deal with their issues!


Well, maybe I should rephrase; I don't mean 'most' people (obviously the average person does not go and shoot people when they have issues). The average person does also not have severe emotional and mental issues either. I mean people who have major issues and go out on the attack. I would not equate 'most people' with a murderer.

Schools shootings are happening more often, as compared to the past. Would the idea have occurred to this fellow previous to Columbine or to the other school shootings that have happened such as in Montreal?

I'm asking does the idea of creating such major tragedy and horror appeal to troubled people who perhaps are looking for a way to get revenge? The media coverage is pretty monumental for one. Going down in flames and all that....

QUOTE
Unfortunately, changing gun laws doesn't address the root causes of what makes people so desperately unbalanced that they do such terrible things, and how the mental health care system has failed them


You're right, it does not address the root of the problem, but it certainly does bring the subject of accessibility to light. I do not believe anyone should be able to get a gun so easily and as citizens we should be concerned. I do believe that is one reason as to why there is so much gun violence in the U.S.

Did the shooter have a previous history of mental health issues that anyone knew of? I have not read anything about that. If he did, that's one thing, but if not, then the mental health system couldn't have helped him, or failed him either. There are people who simply 'lose it', and have no previous history of such issues.

Details are still emerging slowly...


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peacefrog
post Apr 17 2007, 12:55 PM
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Say you have a gun.

Say you have a stressful situation coming up (start of a street fight, someone trying to get into your house, someone trying to rob someone else, etc...)

You know that the others have a gun too.

So if you take yours out, you have to use it quickly and effectively, otherwise you're going to get shot.

Given that the person in front of you makes the exact same thinking...

A stressful situation, although normally not frequent, will most probably end up in a gunfight

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The US do as if they were in a particular situation with that firearms issue. They are not: every other countries had the same problem of everybody being armed, at one point or another in their history, and weapon restrictions have taken centuries to be enforced (partly)

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Btw did you know that every swiss male citizen has an assault riffle and 40 shots, that he HAS to keep (separately) in his house?


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wakingdream
post Apr 17 2007, 01:12 PM
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QUOTE
Btw did you know that every swiss male citizen has an assault riffle and 40 shots, that he HAS to keep (separately) in his house?


I've heard that. Are gun licenses fairly readily available to the rest of the public?


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peacefrog
post Apr 17 2007, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Apr 17 2007, 08:12 PM) *

Are gun licenses fairly readily available to the rest of the public?


I don't know for Switzerland.

In France, only hunting weapons are allowed, with due registration to the police (of course).

Some people are allowed to carry guns other than of hunting class, but they need a special authorisation.


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peacefrog
post Apr 17 2007, 01:58 PM
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I had posted in another thread (what do other countries think about americans), an answer that nobody commented on. Please let me know if you think it is relevant to this thread:

---------------------------------------------------
[...]
I found that generally, americans are less used to "confrontational discution", don't know how to formulate it exactly.

That is, Europeans for example, have no problem being told that their opinion is crap (provided there is an explanation), and the debates can heat up (especially with latins), but that is a cultural thing.
On the opposite, Americans seem to be overpolite and would rather state their opinion, without trying to question the opinion of others.

The point I am trying to make is not that one way is better than another, it is just that we all think we have the same western culture, whereas we don't, and we should also be able to adapt between ourselves (westerners) to the cultural diferences.

As a frenchman, I am very comfortable with an englishman or a german or a spaniard, but I know I have to be careful not to be too blunt when I meet americans, for example, cause I have seen americans getting out of a "european" conversation just because it was too direct.

[...]

------------------------------------------------

The comparison between countries was there to make that (supposed) trait clearer, not to say who was right or wrong.

Could it be that there is in the US a lack of catharsis (as in "an emotional release associated with talking about the underlying causes of a problem ")

(Knowing that every culture faces this issue to a certain extent, still not trying to judge)


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fourloves
post Apr 18 2007, 01:55 AM
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Not to diminish how horrible this kind if incident is, but what would the world be like without consequences? Say that all knives instantly turn to rubber the moment you try to stab someone with them? Restrictive gun laws in Canada have resulted in little discernible change of murders and robberies. If illegal guns exist in a country, no criminal is going to 'register' the guns. They exist even if the government does not want them to. So Canada, one of the most gun-crazy countries per capita, has an extremely low shooting rate (besides edmonton gangs). It seems like an attitude difference, rather than an availability thing. Maybe the problem is education/culture/awareness of guns and their consequences re: the gun availability issue. Crash is a really great movie to understand this.

As for the rampage issue - this is the ignored and overlooked one. It is too hard for society to come up with solution to the psychological/socialogical symptoms of our western world, so we instead focus on more 'useless' and less effective scapegoats like the availability of guns. I've grown up and been around tons of people who are/have been seriously and dangerously depressed at some point in their life. It is one of the biggest taboo and untouchable issues of our age. It is too difficult, too complicated, too hurtful to try to understand, so we sweep people away from us, blunt them with drugs, mask their problems, give them all-too-simple systems of thought. Maybe we have to start becoming aware of this problem, and try to start loving these people in a meaningful way. This is all they need, but our culture is diametrically opposed to this kind of solution, to this kind of person. We produced them, we need to fix them. My wish is that someday we can start thinking outside of the box.

As for the poor, criminalized Korean fellow who did this, I feel pain for him both because he will never be understood, but merely lumped into another stereotype so that people can easily get over this event, get over the uncomfortable but damning thoughts that critical analysis of his life might present us with. He is a murderer, wrong and evil by any account, but he is not the only guilty one. Sometimes (read: always) the answers are far more complex and multi-sided than we wish them to be.

I mourn for everyone who has lost their life here, and elsewhere, and even more for the millions of Cho Seung-huis that walk the halls of their schools and workplaces every day, living with an unaccountable weltschmertz that their peers may never help them with, may never understand.


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peacefrog
post Apr 18 2007, 02:11 PM
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Totally agree with you Fourloves,

but as there is not a single cause, nor simple causes, there is no single simple answer.

That everyone has got a weapon and is ready to use it,
and that everyone knows that everyone has a weapon and is ready to use it,
definitely makes the place more dangerous. It is easier toi survive a beat-up than a short distance shot.

But I agree that is in no way the only thing to solve.

It is a patricularity of the US though, while social and personal problems are just as acute in other countries.

We should keep taking into account every aspect, but it is not because some see it as a "minor" issue that the gun issue should be occulted.
It is not a root cause, but definitely an aggravating factor.


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whereshegoes
post Apr 18 2007, 06:13 PM
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Firstly, I must convey my condolences to all involved in this tragedy. It saddens me that this is becoming more and more prevalent in our society...and I must admit, whether I like it or not, it affects my decision on whether to bring children into this world.

Now. Recently, my 10 year old nephew was suspended from school. I was shocked to hear why. Apparently, he had uttered a threat to another child in his class using words like "revolver" and "a whole lot of blood". He claims that he was only joking...and that he thought it would be funny. I believe him because the sentence structure and wording was not from a kid but obviously from a movie or video game. In any case, the whole thing sure did make me think.

Some time ago I remember being alarmed at the level of violence in the video games my nephews were playing. I also questioned the movies they were watching. But what do I know, I am not a parent. I am just an overprotective Auntie. The world is changing and I am just "old" not understanding kids nowadays. Another warning sign was when I asked what my nephews dream jobs would be. They answered that they would make war games. What about astronaut, I asked in disbelief. They still thought it would be more fun to make war games. Near bottom of entry...

So. When I hear about things like this...I have to wonder if there is some correlation. I personally have trouble watching gratuitous violence. I feel terrible in its presence. I am not ignorant of it. I know what exists in this world. I just choose not to contribute my energy to it in any way, if possible. I decided long ago that my cause would be against violence. Not poverty, not sickness, not starvation, not cancer. If I could do one thing in this world it would be to rid the world of violence.

I don't want to become desensitized to violence. I do not want to become numb to murder, rape, or torture. These things have been sensationalized by the media and entertainment industry. And I think its no surprise that such things as school mass murders are manifesting...as a result, I don't know, but certainly as a byproduct.

I am glad to hear that my sister has now become alot more conscious with what goes into my nephews sub-conscious. She is taking his hobbies and interests more seriously and keeping a closer eye on his type of play and entertainment. We cannot stop or shelter the younger generation from reality but is it not our responsibility to educate and guide them?


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kris
post Apr 18 2007, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE(whereshegoes @ Apr 19 2007, 12:13 AM) *
They answered that they would make war games. What about astronaut, I asked in disbelief. They still thought it would be more fun to make war games.


i was watching an advert the other day for the US Army, it was some teenagers playing war games, the animated soldier came to life asking them if they wanted to do it for real? along the lines of fulfilling a career of course, and the end of the advert it says something like apply today and get a free war game made by the us army..



the massacre made me real sad to see the photos of all these young bright kids with so much potential just wiped out in a morning, i know there is no quick fix suggestions


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whereshegoes
post Apr 18 2007, 07:11 PM
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QUOTE(kris @ Apr 18 2007, 05:59 PM) *


i was watching an advert the other day for the US Army, it was some teenagers playing war games, the animated soldier came to life asking them if they wanted to do it for real? along the lines of fulfilling a career of course, and the end of the advert it says something like apply today and get a free war game made by the us army..


unsure.gif no.gif

Two quotes that came to mind...

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved through understanding." - Einstein


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mizliz
post Apr 19 2007, 12:26 AM
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posted twice...
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mizliz
post Apr 19 2007, 12:28 AM
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For years now I've noticed young boys always want to play guns. Boys seem to have a propensity for playing with toy guns. They even know the right sounds to make even though they've never been allowed to watch TV or play violent video games. Parents who deny their boys toy guns always give in sooner or later because all the other little boys have them by the age of 5 or so. I've seen kids use a long stick for a rifle if they don't have a facsimile. This amazes me. Where do they pick this up before they're even old enough to have play dates? Before guns were invented did little boys long for a bow and arrow or a slingshot? Probably.

How about the male posters here...let us know if you longed for a toy gun when you were a little kid.
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wakingdream
post Apr 19 2007, 09:50 AM
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Interesting facts coming out.... Cho Seung-Hui mailed a package of videos, photos and writing to NBC News before he died. The story is he sent this package between the shootings after he killed the first two victims. The stamp mark indicates he sent this out in them middle of Monday morning. So it seems he had prepared...

"In a profane, sometimes incoherent videotaped rant, the gunman expressed rage and resentment. He showed off his guns, and in a lengthy written manifesto, railed against the world.He also recalled the school killings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999."

I also read that back in 2005, he was "harassing" two females with unwanted calls and e-mails and became suicidal when he was being investigated. Both females declined to press any charges.

So, definitiely exhibited odd behavior. Not that I would really want to get inside such disturbing thoughts, but all this does make me wonder...was there something specific that set him off and led him on this path, or was there always turmoil inside him. Questions w/out answers, I know....


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rbisset
post Apr 19 2007, 02:48 PM
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I still find the gun laws in USA insane. The fact that someone can pick up an MP-40 with their toothpaste is ridiculous (generalising here).

I only know 1 person with a gun here and he has to have a proper licence and keep it secured in a gun cabinet. He also has to register the fact he has a gun with the police and have the cabinet inspected at least once a year.

He uses it for work (shooting rabbits and stuff) and sport (Clay Pigeon shooting). It's not like he's gonna walk round town with a shotgun/rifle in his possession.

I'm not saying the UK is perfect, far from it, but the fact everyone has the "right" to bear arms is just plain stupid.


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