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  1. #1
    Andrewtx's Avatar
    Andrewtx is offline A little bit of soul
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    What's Wrong with America

    There's nothing this man can be called but a coward. How else can you describe someone who will blame everyone and everything for the evil acts of an evil man but the evil man himself, and whose instinct to survive, to fight, has been replaced with an instinct to surrender?

    Someone should tell Mr. Plate that it's actually not at all hard to feel proud to be an American, today or any day. But it must be hard to be proud to be him.


    Plate: Let's lay down our right to bear arms

    By Tom Plate
    Special to CNN
    Editor's note: Tom Plate, former editor of the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times, is a professor of communication and policy studies at UCLA. He is author of a new book, "Confessions of an American Media Man."

    Read an opposing take on gun control from Ted Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster

    LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Most days, it is not at all hard to feel proud to be an American. But on days such as this, it is very difficult.

    The pain that the parents of the slain students feel hits deep into everyone's hearts. At the University of California, Los Angeles, students are talking about little else. It is not that they feel especially vulnerable because they are students at a major university, as is Virginia Tech, but because they are (to be blunt) citizens of High Noon America.

    "High Noon" is a famous film. The 1952 Western told the story of a town marshal (played by the superstar actor Gary Cooper) who is forced to eliminate a gang of killers by himself. They are eventually gunned down.

    The use of guns is often the American technique of choice for all kinds of conflict resolution. Our famous Constitution, about which many of us are generally so proud, enshrines -- along with the right to freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly -- the right to own guns. That's an apples and oranges list if there ever was one.

    Not all of us are so proud and triumphant about the gun-guarantee clause. The right to free speech, press, religion and assembly and so on seem to be working well, but the gun part, not so much.

    Let me explain. Some misguided people will focus on the fact that the 23-year-old student who killed his classmates and others at Virginia Tech was ethnically Korean. This is one of those observations that's 99.99 percent irrelevant. What are we to make of the fact that he is Korean? Ban Ki-moon is also Korean! Our brilliant new United Nations secretary general has not only never fired a gun, it looks like he may have just put together a peace formula for civil war-wracked Sudan -- a formula that escaped his predecessor.

    So let's just disregard all the hoopla about the race of the student responsible for the slayings. These students were not killed by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun.

    In the nineties, the Los Angeles Times courageously endorsed an all-but-complete ban on privately owned guns, in an effort to greatly reduce their availability. By the time the series of editorials had concluded, the newspaper had received more angry letters and fiery faxes from the well-armed U.S. gun lobby than on any other issue during my privileged six-year tenure as the newspaper's editorial page editor.

    But the paper, by the way, also received more supportive letters than on any other issue about which it editorialized during that era. The common sense of ordinary citizens told them that whatever Americans were and are good for, carrying around guns like costume jewelry was not on our Mature List of Notable Cultural Accomplishments.

    "Guns don't kill people," goes the gun lobby's absurd mantra. Far fewer guns in America would logically result in far fewer deaths from people pulling the trigger. The probability of the Virginia Tech gun massacre happening would have been greatly reduced if guns weren't so easily available to ordinary citizens.

    Foreigners sometimes believe that celebrities in America are more often the targets of gun violence than the rest of us. Not true. Celebrity shootings just make better news stories, so perhaps they seem common. They're not. All of us are targets because with so many guns swishing around our culture, no one is immune -- not even us non-celebrities.

    When the great pop composer and legendary member of the Beatles John Lennon was shot in 1980 in New York, many in the foreign press tabbed it a war on celebrities. Now, some in the media will declare a war on students or some-such. This is all misplaced. The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible.

    Last month, I was robbed at 10 in the evening in the alley behind my home. As I was carrying groceries inside, a man with a gun approached me where my car was parked. The gun he carried featured one of those red-dot laser beams, which he pointed right at my head.

    Because I'm anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?

    This occurred in Beverly Hills, a low-crime area dotted with upscale boutiques, restaurants and businesses -- a city best known perhaps for its glamour and celebrity sightings.

    Oh, and police tell me the armed robber definitely was not Korean. Not that I would have known one way or the other: Basically the only thing I saw or can remember was the gun, with the red dot, pointed right at my head.

    A near-death experience does focus the mind. We need to get rid of our guns.

  2. #2
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
    Piggybank Cop is offline Nobody important.
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    What's Wrong with America

    Nothing, just a few hemorrhoids.

    We are the thin blue line
    between you
    and all the money in the world.

    And no you can't have any.

  3. #3
    Virginian's Avatar
    Virginian is offline Major
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    Good. Grief.

    My boss in another state (planet?) this morning said on a teleconference "I hate how easy it is to get guns in Virginia" like that's the reason this happened. The damn kid bought one gun two months before all this. Idiot.

  4. #4
    rob84's Avatar
    rob84 is offline Did you press the power button?
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    He says get rid of the guns. What happens when everyone was SUPPOSED to get rid of their guns, and not everyone did (thats how it would happen of course). Then, one night as he is sleeping with his family, a burgular breaks in. He has the opportunity to shoot this guy because obviously he isnt there to drop off cookies, but because he doesnt have a gun, his wife and kids get shot to death, and he is left there with his fists, and a gun pointed at his head. What do you think is going to be going through his mind at that point in time?

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  5. #5
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    So let's just disregard all the hoopla about the race of the student responsible for the slayings. These students were not killed by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun.
    Thanks for clearing that up for us, Tommy. All this time, we thought it was a 23 year old nut-case in a murderous rage.

    Not all of us are so proud and triumphant about the gun-guarantee clause. The right to free speech, press, religion and assembly and so on seem to be working well, but the gun part, not so much.
    I am sure the authors of the Constitution -- which has lasted some 220 years as the foundation of the most successful government plan in world history -- would certainly cherish your opinion... after all, everyone remembers your brilliant authorship of that timeless LA Times piece... um... what did you write for them again?

    Because I'm anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?
    Taking your words literally, I think the mugger should be rewarded for fighting off that evil gun's desire to kill you...

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  6. #6
    rob84's Avatar
    rob84 is offline Did you press the power button?
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    Thanks for clearing that up for us, Tommy. All this time, we thought it was a 23 year old nut-case in a murderous rage.



    I am sure the authors of the Constitution -- which has lasted some 220 years as the foundation of the most successful government plan in world history -- would certainly cherish your opinion... after all, everyone remembers your brilliant authorship of that timeless LA Times piece... um... what did you write for them again?



    Taking your words literally, I think the mugger should be rewarded for fighting off that evil gun's desire to kill you...

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  7. #7
    Rhino's Avatar
    Rhino is offline Meat-eater & Fire-breather
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    I can't come up with something better, so I'll quote Samuel Adams:

    If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.


    Edit: If you'd really like to let Tom Plate know how you feel, e-mail him at tplate@ucla.edu
    Last edited by Rhino; 04-20-07 at 02:29 PM.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

  8. #8
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    Edit: If you'd really like to let Tom Plate know how you feel, e-mail him at tplate@ucla.edu
    Email sent, but I doubt well recieved.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  9. #9
    Jackalope's Avatar
    Jackalope is offline Yell O
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    I just sent him the following email:

    Dear Mr. Plate~

    I just wasted several seconds of my life reading your commentary about banning guns. It intrigues me to see that in your twisted world view your mugging would have been prevented had guns been illegal. Has it ever occured to you that guns are only one of many tools that can be used to kill? If you had stopped to think before writing, you would have realized that your mugger could have just as easily had a knife, a blunt object, or maybe even just big muscles and superior fighting skills. Your life could have been taken just as easily, and your wallet would have been just as gone. Indeed, a study of gun control in countries such as Britain and Australia proves that violent crime has risen dramatically since the subjects of those countries lost the right and ability to defend themselves.

    I carry a gun every day. My gun has never killed anyone, or even been pointed at anyone. It's certainly never been used in the commission of a crime. But if I'm ever present when an evil person decides to try to kill people, I will have a fighting chance to save innocent lives. In the same situation, you would cower and allow evil to do whatever it wants. I don't care if you're unwilling to stand up to evil, but don't try to stop me from doing the right thing.
    "I'm not a coward,
    I've just never been tested
    I'd like to think that if I was,
    I would pass"
    ~Mighty Mighty Bosstones~

  10. #10
    Rhino's Avatar
    Rhino is offline Meat-eater & Fire-breather
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    I thought y'all would get a kick out of this. Here's my letter to Tom Plate:
    Mr. Plate,

    You are far more damaging than any gunman on a college campus. Why?
    Because you are encouraging our youth to give up the only thing that
    protects them from a tyrannical government.

    You are a college professor. That is to say, you do not operate in the
    real world. You couldn't survive- and you display this fact by
    proposing that we just "surrender" to our government. To trust our
    government to take care of us.

    In your ridiculous article, you wrote: "These students were not killed
    by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun."

    That's great logic, Tom. That's the kind of logical thinking I want in
    a college professor. By that logic, we should also ban cars as well.
    Since cars kill more people annually than handguns, right? Oh, wait,
    you need a car to get to work, so let's not ban those.

    Not only are you an idiot and a danger to our youth, you are also a
    hypocrite.
    He actually wrote a reply, which is already more than I expected. Of course, he addresses none of the issues I bring up, which means- typical liberal mentality- when confronted with logic, he has no recourse.

    you mean, guns don't kill people, unarmed professors do!!!!

    cheers!

    Prof TOM
    Cut and pasted just as I received it. So you can tell he's educated by his proper use of grammar.

    The sad part is, and I'm not ashamed to say, I have a high school level education.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

  11. #11
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    My email response:

    Congratulations on your interesting article, and a remarkable and innovative new opinion in gun control punditcy. There are a few points which particularly struck me, aside from the more common below-average anti-gun drivol and I'd like to comment. I'll have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek on a few, so fair warning given:

    Tom:
    "So let's just disregard all the hoopla about the race of the student responsible for the slayings. These students were not killed by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun."

    Thanks for clearing that up for us, Tommy. All this time, we thought it was a 23 year old nut-case in a murderous rage.

    Tom:
    "Not all of us are so proud and triumphant about the gun-guarantee clause. The right to free speech, press, religion and assembly and so on seem to be working well, but the gun part, not so much."


    I am sure the authors of the Constitution -- which has lasted some 220 years as the foundation of one of the most successful government plans in world history -- would certainly cherish your opinion... after all, everyone remembers your brilliant authorship of that timeless LA Times piece... um... what did you write for them again?

    Tom:
    "Because I'm anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?"


    Taking your words literally, I think the mugger should be rewarded for fighting off that evil gun's desire to kill you. You were to stop him, Tom, but you didn't have the ability because of your choice not to be prepared to defend yourself. Evil exists to a great extent because it has the ability to thrive in environments where victims are abundant. You were a victim of evil Tom, not of the gun that it held.

    I particularly became focused on your statement that "he chose not to shoot me..." I believe that you have almost grasped a concept here. I'll call it a "near miss". For the sake of accuracy, Tom, I'll substitute your pronoun usage and expand the phrase: The robber chose not to shoot you. There, that's better. The robber chose to pick up a gun and stalk a victim. He saw you (and your no-doubt peaceable appearance), chose you as a target, and chose to rob you at gunpoint. You surrendered and he "chose not to shoot" you. Where in this scenario did the gun, (an inanimate object, Tom -- I realize your specialty isn't science), get the ability to choose how it was used? It was your choice not to be armed. I respect that choice, and were there no evil in the world I would certainly join you. But... there is evil in the world, Tom. The Virginia Tech student turned mass murderer also chose his course of action, and in my mind, he is a dark representative of the depth of human depravity. His guns were his choice of tools to carry out an obvious vengeance against society in general. Was that choice of tool effective? Unfortunately so. However I beg to differ with those who claim that a removal of one tool will prevent its replacement by another of equal, or perhaps even increased effectiveness. Our focus to better civilization should be placed directly on the root of the illness, Tom. I would think that an academic such as yourself would hunger for a delve into the intellect of such a deviant mind. Until we as a society find a more effective means to control the cause of such victimization (those who choose predatory behaviour), how can we refuse those who would strive to save themselves or others the right to combat such evil just as effectively as it has presented itself?
    Last edited by countybear; 04-21-07 at 05:32 PM.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

 

 

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