Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Making Sense Of It All

First of all, I am not sure one can make a lot of sense come out of this. That's what senseless is.

But as could have been predicted, the European press is having a field day with this.

Across the continent on Tuesday, European media rubber-neck at Monday's massacre in the United States. Most seem to agree about one thing: The shooting at Virginia Tech is the result of America's woeful lack of serious gun control laws. In the strongest editorialized image of the day, German cable news broadcaster NTV flashed an image of the former head of the National Rifle Association, the US gun lobby: In other words, blame rifle-wielding Charlton Heston for the 33 dead.


However implicit or explicit you paint this, I do not think this can be pinned on Charlton alone. In fact, I would think that intelligent people could/would recognize it's a combination of factors, with no one thing that can be isolated as the root cause. If anyone is going to make a case against the NRA, they must also make a case against the other things that led us up to this point.

1. The de-sensitizing of of people through: a) Movies that both show and glorify gratuitous violence. b) Video games that do the same thing.

2. The mental state of the shooter. We can blame the gun, which is merely an inanimate object. But when it comes down to the crux of the matter, it was a deranged gunman that chose to pull it's trigger.

3. The lack of an effective tool to deny deranged and law-breaking people access to guns, while allowing sane law-abiding citizens the right to own them.

Papers reserve their sharpest criticism for the 2004 expiration of a 10-year ban on semi-automatic weapons under the then Republican-controlled Congress. Others comment on the pro-gun lobbying activities of Heston's NRA. Some papers also draw analogies between school shootings and Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers.

Irrelevant. These guns were not semi-automatic weapons. That's completely a separate argument and having this in place would not have prevented this tragedy.

No, there is no easy answer to this.

Many believe that if we had Europe's gun laws, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe, maybe not. No one can prove it with irrefutable solid evidence.

One of PYY's distinguished visitors from time to time is L'Amerloque.

At
SF's blog, he makes a very poignant statement that is worthy of re-print, here in this instance:

In response to a specific part of SF's post on this:

In fact, I feel safer taking the metro in Washington than in Paris, rarely lock my car wherever I go in town, and often leave my house door unlocked.

Assuming that you don’t deal in drugs and/or live in some very limited neighborhoods, America by and large is a safe place.


Amerloque says:

Amerloque feels the same way about SoCal. (grin)

He has thought about this quite a lot (re: differences in France and the USA (grin)) and has come to a few conclusions.

One is that perception counts for quite a lot. It’s a matter of belief: with a gun, there is no middle ground. If the person facing the gun feels that the person holding the weapon will use it, then the person facing the gun will behave. If the person doesn’t believe, then he/she will do whatver she/he wants. It is then incumbent upon the person holding the weapon to use it. He/she must shoot. There is no middle ground (except, perhaps, shooting to “wound”, which is a bit haphazard, indeed …). That’s why Tasers have equipped many US police departments and “tonfas” and “flashballs” have equipped many French municipal forces: they allow a graduated response, just like a simple “billy club” used to. This is also why the CRS and police in riot situations in France do not pull their guns and not fire. The element of “belief” would be negated. If a French cop pulls a gun out of the holster, he will use it. It is a last resort.

Another conclusion: in Washington, or LA, or Podunk, a burglar or carjacker will hesitate mightily before breaking in or making off with the car, for one very good reason: the supposed “victim” may well be armed and open fire on the criminal. The criminal will be blown away. The plea in court might very well be “self defense”.

The plea may be self-defense, but the shooter may end up dead. Dead men tell no tales. It may be not be a deterrent in all instances. But I would be willing to bet this would be a significant factor, in some people's decisions as whether to commit an act of violence or brazen theft, or not.

Europeans hear of the savagery that sometimes rears its ugly head on this side of the ocean, sometimes in a very skewed way. Images of the wild west era are drawn up by critics, whereby people are packing pistols, holding up the stage coach, riding into town to get drunk and shoot up the town, and other things that conjure up the belief that America is out of control. But despite this active attempt to persuade Euros to believe this inaccurate portrayal, the US does not have the highest murder rate per capita, at least not according to this website. Despite being 24th overall on this list, the fact remains we have more than many of us are willing to accept. Wikipedia bears this out, as well (although the latest stats on this table, shows the US as #22).

Another problem I see is one of culture. The movies and the video games seem to reinforce murder as a sport. Anytime a movie such as Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse can open up number one at the box office due to pre-release hype on how gory the movie really is, and anytime a video game such as Grand Theft Auto can sell like hotcakes to kids, we must look at the culture issue as a contributing factor. I don't know how well these two things go over in Europe, but they are close to mainstream status here. This may play a small role in explaining why kids are committing more violent crimes.

Again, despite not being in the top twenty, we can take very little solace in that fact. One, in my view, is too many. Each victim has a name, a face, and an identity. Although it's not realistic to expect there will be no murders ever, it's not something many of us are ready are willing to tolerate (at least not after something as heinous and tragic as what occurred Monday in Blacksburg, Virginia). And although our European friends have us beat in this department in the post-modern era, it is estimated that there were 20 murders per 100,000 in medieval times.

The bottom line here is, violence is not going to go away as long as there are those that have little value for human life. That point transcends all nations and all cultures.

44 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

Hello LA

Great post. I was looking at your list of factors and this is the one that struck me as the main crux of the problem..

2. The mental state of the shooter. We can blame the gun, which is merely an inanimate object. But when it comes down to the crux of the matter, it was a deranged gunman that chose to pull it's trigger.

IMO, the mental state of the shooter was the key factor. He took a lot of time to plan this. It was weeks before the shooting that he purchased the guns and ammo. He had a plan and he was going to carry it out, most likely knowing that it would end in his own death.

If there were stricter gun laws or no guns available at all or nearly impossible to get, as in France, does anyone think that he would not have carried out his plan to kill? I don't think so. He could have used a number of things to carry out his deed, a suicide bomb attached to a vest, he could have burned down a dorm when it was full of sleeping students, he could have lobbed molitoff (sp?) cocktails into classrooms, especially the ones with no windows and he could have blocked the doors so they could not exit. There are a number of ways to carry out a mass killing, when the mind is set to do so. It seems his mind was set to do this.

It was obvious from the start, this boy needed help. One of his own teachers tried endlessly to get help for this boy. This is where our system failed, IMO. It wasn't our gun laws that were to blame, although perhaps it made it easier for him, it is our system of mental health care.

I'm not sure if this boy had the opportunity to work with a doctor, I heard he was on anti-depressants, but was he taking them properly? If a doctor just prescribes those, without following up his care with visits to a psychologist, the medication is useless, and can even be dangerous and cause the patient to have thoughts of suicide and killing others. Perhaps, this was the case with the shooter.

Papers reserve their sharpest criticism for the 2004 expiration of a 10-year ban on semi-automatic weapons under the then Republican-controlled Congress.

Believe it or not, I actually defended Bush on this one on another blog....I felt so dirty! :-) I pointed out that the Democrats also had plenty of time to work on getting stricter gun control laws, but this is the 3rd rail of politics, no one wants to touch it on either side of the aisle. I do think, even if it would not have mattered in this instance, that the Brady Law should not have expired and I hope we can get some common sense gun laws out there. I have the feeling that the gun issue is going to be the new big talking point in the Prez. election now.

Ok...sorry it's a long comment, a lot to cover with this subject.

Greg said...

Like here, the press in Europe really does their readership no favors. They give them the "big picture" that jives with their personal political leaning and don't bother with the details that give the nuance and don't jive with the desired message.

So a lot of Europeans are under the impression that most people own a firearm. Or that anyone can easily obtain a firearm (it's virtually impossible in my city, actually). Or that the debate is about arming everyone to make us all safer (that's not the debate, of course). Or that if we had just extended the assault weapons ban, these things wouldn't happen (I hear the killer used 2 handguns). Basically their journalists are as lazy, stupid and biased as our journalists.

The other tendency they have when it concerns America is, of course, to accentuate the negative. "What bad thing does this incident reveal about American society?" is the first question. Abu Ghraib? Well, that shows that the American gov't/society supports torture and is violent; ignoring the general revulsion of Americans to that incident and the harsh punishment dealt out to the perpetrators. 9/11? Well, this is the result of America's imperialist, anti-Muslim foreign policies; ignoring the response of Americans, which was to come together and try to engage with Muslims. Imagine if 9/11 had happened in Europe. Would there have more or less hate crimes against Muslims? Imagine if a US soldier had gone berserk in South Korea and slaughtered 32 people. Think there would be quiet reflection about why and how, without calls for revenge against those who share the ethnicity/nationality of the perpetrator? I'd bet they'd be burning American flags in the street and calling for uncle sam to go home, etc.

The positive aspects are there for the world press to report, but they never will. Doesn't jive with the desired message. No wonder polls of Europeans show such negative attitudes towards us and our country.

Mary Ellen said...

Good points, Greg.

Yesterday, someone (French) on another blog asked the questions, "why was the campus open?" and "why not more cops", "why the student arrived there." and "why carrying weapons of war is legal?"

The first thought that came to my mind was, if we did all these things, kept the campus closed or under tight restrictions, put cops all over the place, and kept out a Korean student, we would probably be accused of running our Universities like a fascist police state. Or, being racist and keeping out a student because he was Korean. No matter what we do, in the eyes of some Europeans, we are wrong. I've even seem speculation that the shooter was probably angry and a loner because he was Korean and was probably treated with racism. hugh?? Of course, what else to think when Americans are stereotyped as racists?

I hope this case doesn't restrict the freedom of the open campus or turn our colleges into police states.

I've seen a lot of bad reporting on this and some very good. I think some of our journalists needs to go back to one of these Universities and take a brush up coarse on fact finding, reporting, and journalistic integrity. Not every news story can be wrapped up in 24 hours. I miss the days of investigative reporting.

Greg said...

BTW, forgot to mention an article from the French daily Liberation or le Monde (can't remember which), in which an "expert" on the US from a French university explained that the debate about gun control is "taboo" in the US. So, I'm not sure you realized it, LAS, but we're really not supposed to be talking about this. LOL.

Another observation. When Muslims are slaughtering themselves in Iraq daily (making the VA Tech massacre seem mundane even), why is there no worldwide inquiry into the "culture of violence"? In fact, in general, is not the violence in Iraq generally blamed on the Americans there, even though they are among the few trying to stop the violence? Something to think about.

Greg said...

The hits keep on rollin'. From today's Liberation:

"En France, dit-on, tout se termine par des chansons. Au pays de John Wayne, de Charlton Heston et de George Bush, grand sectateur de la NRA, tout, colère individuelle, peine de coeur, conflit de voisinage, querelle entre dealers ou dépression, se termine par des fusillades. Voilà pourquoi les étudiants meurent sur les campus, sans que quiconque, à commencer par Hillary Clinton, songe à y faire grand-chose..."

"In France, it is said, everything ends with a song. In the country of John Wayne, Charlton Heston and George Bush, prominent member of the NRA sect [nb - my loose translation here - not familiar with the word "sectateur"], everything - individual anger, heartache, conflict between neighbors, beef among dealers, or depression - ends in a shootout. That is why students are dying on campuses without anyone - starting with Hillary Clinton - thinks about doing anything about it."

And to think I forgot my bullet proof vest at home today! I'm going to have to hide under my desk until quittin' time! LOL!!!

LASunsett said...

ME,

//It was obvious from the start, this boy needed help. One of his own teachers tried endlessly to get help for this boy. This is where our system failed, IMO.//

While I agree with you in principle on this, it's impossible to force someone who has not committed a crime to undergo any kind of evaluation. He had the right to refuse treatment, unless there was enough evidence to get an emergency 72 hour hold. But to do that, it has to be clearly demonstrated that he was a danger to himself or others.

But again, no easy answer.


//If a doctor just prescribes those, without following up his care with visits to a psychologist, the medication is useless, and can even be dangerous and cause the patient to have thoughts of suicide and killing others.//

This is something that can be changed with little difficulty. There are those in the medical community that over-prescribe medications. The purpose of a psychotropic agent (of any kind) is to make the the patient more receptive to therapy. If drugs are prescribed and no therapy is required, the pills aren't going to work much. The key here needs to be follow-up, follow-up, and more follow-up. The pills will not work alone.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//So a lot of Europeans are under the impression that most people own a firearm. Or that anyone can easily obtain a firearm (it's virtually impossible in my city, actually).//

Not so here. Take a look at an Indianapolis staple for years.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

Regarding the French media, I was surprised when I read in Wikipedia, that the French media censored the news of the riots last year (?) in France.

Media coverage

Jean-Claude Dassier, News director general at the private channel TF1 and one of France's leading TV news executives, admitted to self censoring the coverage of the riots in the country for fear of encouraging support for far-right politicians; while public television station France 3 stopped reporting the numbers of torched cars, apparently in order not to encourage "record making" between delinquent groups. [108] [109]


I was also surprised when reading how widespread the riots were in France. It involved 274 towns. I was under the impression that it wasn't all that bad, just a small suburb in Paris. I also didn't know that 8,973 cars were burned and destroyed. That's a lot more than "a few cars were torched" which I hear all the time.

Also, those riots sparked other riots throughout Europe, 7 other countries to be exact. This is something that a US riot has never done, AFAIK.

So, to make my point, the French media has no room for criticism about the US, when they can't even be honest about what is happening in their own country. The perception that violence is reserved for the barbaric Americans is a bit of a reach, IMO. I have to wonder how much is not being reported in France.

Any thoughts on this?

Mary Ellen said...

LA

Missouri is interesting...I had a picture that I took of a store in Missouri that was named, "GUNS, LIQUOR AND AMMO". I can't retrieve the picture now, but I did put it up on SF's blog once. What a combination, eh?

There was also a picture of a sign that I took that was on the front door of the Catholic Church that I went to in Missouri. It said something like "No guns allowed in church without the permission of the Pastor". Yikes! Gun laws in Missouri are a lot different than they are here in Illinois. It's a whole different world there!

Greg said...

LAS: I like Don's quote on his site there. Also, I think I may need to take a trip out there to buy the big rifle he is posing with. Never know when I'll need to take out a tank. :)

M-E: suffice to say that no matter where you are, it feels better if the people in other countries are worse than you. I mean, take a read of some middle eastern newspapers some day. You'll read all about the problems in American society...and nothing about "honor killings" and female genital mutilation and islamic supremacy and general tyranny. Walking into certain suburbs of Paris (esp. with a yarmulka) is just about as dangerous as it would be for a clean-cut White Sox fan to parade around the West Side of Chicago flashing lots of bling.

But people don't generally want to hear how messed up their own country is. It's so much more reassuring to believe the savages are elsewhere. That's why reality shows like Wife Swap and Nanny 911 are so popular - it's a way to pump up your self esteem by realizing you aren't as bad as the fool on the TV screen.

Mary Ellen said...

I just checked out the Atlantic Review, based out of Germany, and found this post. As always, they are very respectful in their views towards Americans and a great group of bloggers. My prayers and thoughts are with them in their loss.

Their post:

Fulbrighter Killed at Virginia Tech

Posted by Joerg in Fulbright on Wednesday, April 18. 2007
The shooting on the Virginia Tech Campus started in the Introductory German class. The first victim was Professor Jamie Bishop, 35, who was a US Fulbright scholar to Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. More information at Dialog International.
Our condolences to the families of all the victims of this tragedy.


The comments are also very respectful, no bashing or calling Americans "cowboys". Great bloggers at that site and it's beautifully run, IMO.

LASunsett said...

ME,

Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws of any state, yet, it doesn't seem to affect the crime much, does it? Anyone can read the daily Chicagoland police blotter to see.

Even though Illinois has these tough laws, they have a higher murder rate (6/100,000) than Indiana does (5.6/100,000), and Indiana is far more lax (as you see from the Don's Guns site).

So making a correlation between these things (either way), would present a skewed picture. But as we all know, there are those that will ignore this fact, in their rantings.

Mary Ellen said...

Of course, although I've seen some pretty nasty remarks coming from some of the French blogs, I have to point out that there are a few right wing blogs that have been just as disgusting in their comments about what happened at Virginia Tech. It's bad enough hearing misinformation or hateful stereotypes from across the pond, it's even more disgusting to hear this stuff coming from our own Americans. Something is seriously wrong with this crowd. Here are some examples:


Debbie Schlussel, of debbieschlussel.com decides–absent any reporting that would indicate as such–that the shooter HAD to be a "Paki." When commenters tell her that's an offensive slur, Debbie doesn't take it so well. She also didn't seem to like the news that the shooter was a South Korean who has lived in the US since he was 8 years old. You can link to her blog if you like, personally, I find it offensive to read that garbage spewing from her keyboard more than once. Her journalistic skills are to say the least, laughable and her sense of descency is beyond disgusting.


Lets look at what Derbyshire of the National Review has to say,


" Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy."

Easy to say when your sitting behind you desk, typing this crap on your keyboard. Blame the victims, that's always a good idea, isn't it? I wonder if he noticed there were many stories of heroism from those kids and faculty. He should be ashamed...but something tells me he isn't.


Then we have conservative Nathaniel Blake at Human Events Online who links positively to John Derbyshire’s post, then writes that the students at Virginia Tech should feel “heartily ashamed” for not acting more bravely, he says:

College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that. …"



Yeah...blame the victims again. Disgusting and shameful. There is something clearly wrong with this right wing crowd who thinks they are more manly, when they don't have someone pointing a gun at them and shooting bullets at their heads. How "manly" is it to criticize the dead?

Greg said...

M-E: agreed that gun laws don't seem to make a dent. But prevalence of guns and gun deaths ARE corrolated. The question is how to get the guns off the street if legislation doesn't work. We tried gun buy backs last summer in Boston. Cost us a bunch of money. Killing continues. Tough nut to crack.

Greg said...

Already blaming the vicitms? Are their bodies even cold yet? Some people are complete fools. But if they are so brave as to hurl themselves in front of gunmen, there is room for them in the fighting force in Iraq & Afghanistan. I can hook them up with a recruiter.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//: I like Don's quote on his site there.//

He used to say in his commercials (which he did himself), "Folks, I don't want to make any money, I just love to sell guns." And then he had an impish grin while pulling his hand into the form of a pistol and acted like he was pulling the trigger. Needless to say, he dropped that long-standing ad-campaign after a lot of pressure. That's when he started using his current slogan that you liked.

I have to say that he has done a lot in the way of gun safety education over the years. But the first slogan was a little eerie. I am glad he dropped that one.

//Also, I think I may need to take a trip out there to buy the big rifle he is posing with. Never know when I'll need to take out a tank.//

You mean you have tanks driven by UN blue helmets in Boston? I thought they were out in Montana and Wyoming somewhere. ;)

Mary Ellen said...

//
So making a correlation between these things (either way), would present a skewed picture. But as we all know, there are those that will ignore this fact, in their rantings.//

I ranted?

Well, of course I'm not surprised at the differences between Chicago and Indiana. Gun laws don't stop the illegal purchases of guns. What Chicago needs is more police on the streets and with the cut in Federal funding (thanks to Bush), we don't have all that we need. Crime has gone down in some areas, and I'm assuming that Daley will do more to bring it down further in lieu of his bid for the Olympics.

I've lived hear all my life and have never been a victim of a crime, but of course, there are neighborhoods that I wouldn't think of going into, with or without a gun. There's no doubt, Chicago is a great city, IMO, but as all big cities, we have our share of crime, guns, and gangs (or "gangsta's" as my grandson calls them).

I'm not sure what the crime rate in Missouri is, never bothered to look. They do have a very big problem with drugs, specifically meth. My daughter, while at the University there, lived off campus in a townhouse about 5 miles from campus. She ended up moving to another neighborhood that was further from the school, but much safer. She said she was afraid to get out of her car and walk into the house at night, it was that bad.

What can I say....I love Chicago, and wouldn't leave it unless my husband had to transfer for his job. It doesn't look like that will happen, so I'll happily spend my retirement here and going to White Sox games...even if they lose. In fact, I'm going to a game tonight and tomorrow. I'll freeze, I'm sure and may be disappointed at the outcome of the game, but nonetheless....I love those Chi-Sox!

Mary Ellen said...

I've lived hear

crap, I meant "here". Damn Chicago education system! ;-)

LASunsett said...

ME,

//How "manly" is it to criticize the dead?//

I have found that there are a certain number of people that haven't the first clue about what it's like to have a gun pointed at them or shot at. I can say with experience, you do what your instincts tell you to do at that time, given the specific situation you are in. No more, no less.

Anyone else that says otherwise, is a fool. Pay them no mind.

LASunsett said...

ME,

//I ranted? //

No, no, no.

The Euros that blast our society have ranted. Not you.

LASunsett said...

ME,

Missouri 6.9/100,000.

LASunsett said...

BTW ME. Here is the link to the stats, I am using.

Mary Ellen said...

Ohhh! I see! Not that I've never ranted before, that's the best part of blogging. It gives me a sense of catharsis....and sometimes it drives me nuts, depending on the subject! :-D

Ok...have to go for a run and work off some steam.

Have a good day everyone.

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks LA!

My daughter is moving to New Hampshire in a month or so and I looked it up. Missouri 6.9 as you said...New Hampshire 1.4.

I'll sleep a lot better knowing that!

My other daughter is moving from Colorado to Boston this summer...I'll check that out, too.

All my kids are going East, Yikes!

LASunsett said...

//All my kids are going East,//

Tell them to stay away from Greg, or they will be Red Sox fans in no time. ;)

Anonim said...

I think L'Amerloque has a point. The presence of guns (or easy access to them) changes the nature of the game. If confronted by a hostile body (trying to break into my car, demanding cash in a back alley, etc.), I would like to be able to assume that his having a gun is highly improbable. It's not going to be impossible ever, anywhere on earth, of course; but I'd rather be surprised if he pulled one than if he didn't. Not only do guns make a wide range of encounters a matter of life and death, but they also blur the line between the hero and the stupid (both being hindsight assessments of course). Whereas all personal safety experts advice us, for example, to not argue with the offender, hand him/her our wallet/purse without delay (for it's not worth your life), we still see in the news now and then an 80+ year-old lady fighting off a 220-lbs 20 year-old robber. THey then celebrate their victory on Leno or Letterman... Not that I don't celebrate with them. More power to them... By all means indeed. And "all means" should IMO include smaller likelihood of guns in the picture.

Mary Ellen said...

At 12:33 PM, LASunsett said...

//All my kids are going East,//

Tell them to stay away from Greg, or they will be Red Sox fans in no time. ;)


LOL! I would have to disown them! But maybe when I visit the daughter who is moving to Boston, I'll buy Greg and his wife a beer at the local pub. I'm dying to hear his Boston accent. :-D

Greg said...

Mary Ellen, if you make it to Boston, the beers are on me.

As for the accent, it's definitely not worth the trip. Ugly!

http://tinyurl.com/2uhqwy

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- your reference to the murder rate in medieval europe is very interesting and, i feel, goes to the heart of the european mentality.

i won't argue whether their viewpoint is good or bad, but europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies.

(of course,world war ii really threw a wrench into how they saw themselves and has led to agonizing studies on what went wrong.)

anywho, given this mentality, our combination of development and violent crime seems to defy logic for many europeans.

Rocket said...

"i won't argue whether their viewpoint is good or bad, but europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies."

I would love to know what makes the above person who commented on this, a spokesperson for what Europeans think. Has this person recently spent an extended period of time in Europe. Has this person mastered enough European languages to be able to speak in the name of Europeans.

I feel reassured as someone who has lived in Europe for 30 years knowing that "thou" who sits in Dade County Florida has the answers as to enlighten us as to what Europeans think.

Je vous prie madame, de bien vouloir accepter, l'expression de ma plus haute consideration

Anonim said...

Whether a Turk could speak for what Europeans think should be a matter of heated debate (I can grin, too :), but I feel Ms. Miami had a point. Speaking for Turks and Turkish language at least, I can say that the concept of "civilization" is first and foremost associated with "civilized/non-violent" behavior. Material development comes secondary to that. This may be overlapping with the Muslim tradition/understanding. And, I have no reason to doubt Europeans should think/feel differently.

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim

//If confronted by a hostile body (trying to break into my car, demanding cash in a back alley, etc.), I would like to be able to assume that his having a gun is highly improbable. It's not going to be impossible ever, anywhere on earth, of course; but I'd rather be surprised if he pulled one than if he didn't.//

I think the overwhelming majority (to include me) wishes it could be so. But like you said, it isn't going to happen.

LASunsett said...

MsM

//your reference to the murder rate in medieval europe is very interesting and, i feel, goes to the heart of the european mentality.//

I think many Europeans have not forgotten how horrific it was to have the continent grinding up their young and able bodied men. Death was something they have been well-acquainted with. If not for the last 60 years of peace there, you have to say that at one time, Europe wasn't always a safe place.

As a society that expects to survive, they had great need to change when the opportunity was presented to them. In that regards, they have done well.

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

MsM said:

//i won't argue whether their viewpoint is good or bad, but europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies.//

Actually, I happen to think she's got a good point. One of those rare moments where I can agree with her without a caveat of some kind. ;) (to MsM)

I lived there many years ago, but of the Euros I know living here, almost all of them pretty much look at murder in this light.

So, where are we wrong?

Rocket said...

LA

"i won't argue whether their viewpoint is good or bad, but europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies."

LA said:

"I lived there many years ago, but of the Euros I know living here, almost all of them pretty much look at murder in this light.

So, where are we wrong?"


I reiterate:

Are you so sure that the Europeans share the view that America is an underdevelopped society. Who are the Europeans anyway? What common points do the French have with the Germans or the Germans with the English other than lip service. For the moment it's Schengen and currency and not totally. Not much else to "tisser les liens"

If there is an adjective to use, it would be "violent societies" not "underdevelopped societies".

"Underdevelopped societies" was used as another provocative pique by Ms. Miami who remains "obnubilé" by her own self induced disdain for the American society. The blame game, quoi!

America may seem violent to "europeans" but certinly not underdevelopped. And I don't need to run to Wiki to give examples

La certitude de Ms. Miami sur ce que pense les européans est digne de toute l'arrogance que beaucoup de monde rapproche aux français ou à leur wanabees.

Always On Watch Two said...

As I understand it, back in 2005, a court found Cho "an imminent danger to self and to others." Why was he still enrolled at VA Tech?

I also found out about this.

Always On Watch Two said...

Question....Has there been any word as to what kind of academic achievement Cho exhibited? He was a senior, so I'm guessing that he was doing well academically. But maybe not.

Greg said...

AOW2: We've heard from his professors, and none of them have anything positive to say about his academic performance.

So it turns out that this kid was well known to the police and the courts and the mental hospital. And yet, the authorities who grant gun licenses did not have this information???? Well here is an obvious place for legislative action, ASAP.

And it also turns out he was some kind of Marxist suicide terrorist. How wierd is that?

And shame on NBC for milking this loser's manifesto for every last fraction of a rating point. Disgusting beyond words, IMHO.

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//If there is an adjective to use, it would be "violent societies" not "underdevelopped societies".//

I am not sure I follow the distinction you are drawing here. She said (emphasis is mine):

//europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies.//

I understand there are subtle differences in the way different Europeans look at things. But she is peaking from the theoretical perspective, mixed with her own experiences. What experience do you have that directly refutes the crux of her statement?

//"Underdevelopped societies" was used as another provocative pique by Ms. Miami who remains "obnubilé" by her own self induced disdain for the American society.//

I'd prefer not to get into her motives or intentions as much I would like to look at what she said, and argue the merits (or lack of) in her argument.

LASunsett said...

AOW,

Interesting perspective there. I will have to digest that.

Rocket said...

"to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies."

Read through the lines

only happen in underdeveloped societes. It happens in America "DONC" America is an underdeveloped society.

"What experience do you have that directly refutes the crux of her statement?"

Oh just about 30 years as of tomorrow at 10:30 am and as per today: non stop access to newspapers, tv, radio and best of all the man/woman in the street.

I do have a day job so I cannot spend hours researching and copying and pasting as some of our more fortunate bloggers do.

Rocket said...

LA

"I'd prefer not to get into her motives or intentions as much I would like to look at what she said, and argue the merits (or lack of) in her argument."

Maybe you'd prefer not to get into motives and intentions but in that case why do motives play such an important role in a court of law. In other words why does motive have to be established. Our distinguished guest from Miami gives no evidence for her erudite commentary and offers no concrete evidence to support facts either if we want to go down that road.

"but europeans overwhelmingly see "civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies."

Who says that? Which Europeans say that? Where is it printed? On which radio was that said? etc ad nauseum


Makes one think no?

LA you said

"As a society that expects to survive, they had great need to change when the opportunity was presented to them. In that regards, they have done well."

Having the atomic bomb (France, England) may also have something to do with it. And let's not forget Bosnia when you speak of "peace in our time" in Europe.

Rocket said...

A Day in the life of Ile de France.

Now I agree

"civilization" and "development" being paired with a lack of violence. to them, a high murder rate should only happen in underdeveloped societies.

http://tinyurl.com/2awge2

http://tinyurl.com/yqh7z7

http://tinyurl.com/ytkbkr

http://tinyurl.com/234hsm

http://tinyurl.com/2fvkkk

http://tinyurl.com/26xc7h

http://tinyurl.com/yqyoxo

Just another 24 hours in ile de France. It took about 5 minutes to find this. I really don't have time to get the rest of today's action

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//Maybe you'd prefer not to get into motives and intentions but in that case why do motives play such an important role in a court of law. In other words why does motive have to be established.//

You are right, motives do play an important role in a court of law. But this isn't a court of law, it's a blog.

Rest assured that I do not share MsM's view of the world or America, most of the time. But regardles of that fact, she is entitled to her opinion and is free to base it on whatever data she wants to believe. She is also welcome to post her comments here, as are you.

I guess what I am trying to say in my own polite way is that I don't want this blog's participants to focus on personalities, but rather the issues and the arguments made for or against. I want this blog to be different than the lion's share of the others.