View Full Version : Ventura County Star hit piece

05-02-2007, 7:46 PM
Yellow journalism at its best:


Virginia Tech killings reignite efforts for more federal gun controls

By Stephanie Hoops (Contact)
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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The day Seung-Hui Cho shot up the campus of Virginia Tech has come and gone. Thirty-three people were killed, 29 wounded. Classes have resumed and many Americans believe it's over.

Two thousand miles across the country, Tim Heyne is not one of those Americans. He sees the ordeal as having only just begun.

Heyne's been there, face to face with a gun. He has been shot, and saw his wife and best friend shot dead. He knows this nightmare is still in its infancy for the relatives, friends and survivors.

"It will touch them for the rest of their lives," he said.

The Virginia Tech shootings stirred up the cold memories Heyne still struggles with from the 2005 shooting.

On May 30, Toby Whelchel, 38, shot Steve Mazin and Mazin's longtime friends and next door neighbors, Jan and Tim Heyne. Mazin and Jan Heyne died. Tim Heyne suffered critical wounds.

The next day, Whelchel pistol-whipped and killed Carole Nordella, 48, in her Santa Rosa Road home and also beat two of her children and the family pool man.

Whelchel also shot sheriff's Deputy Scott Ramirez, who came to the family's aid. Whelchel later shot himself in the head in a Simi Valley store.

Two years later, Heyne is still asking why lawmakers can't do something to stop gun violence.

The Virginia Tech tragedy has sparked some reaction on the part of federal legislators. Bills have been proposed to strengthen requirements for states to get updated mental health information to the federal government for background checks something that might have prevented the Virginia killings. Cho, who had been declared mentally ill, was still able to buy the guns he used to kill 32 people and then himself.

For its part, the National Rifle Association has not been opposed to strengthening the national background-check system and blocking gun purchases by the mentally ill.

Guns are monitored by a combination of federal, state and local law. California's own gun laws are among the most comprehensive in the country.

That said, attorney Sam Hoover questions how effective they can be when the country has porous borders and a patchwork of laws that begin and end at each state's line.

Hoover is part of a team of lawyers that studies and writes about gun prevention legalities at a San Francisco-based public-interest law center, the Legal Community Against Violence.

California's laws are so well-regarded they were given an "A-" grade by the Brady Campaign, a grass-roots organization working to stop gun violence. By comparison, Virginia received a "C-," Texas a "D-" and Florida an "F+." Nevada, California's neighbor, got a "D."

Those very grades explain why what happened in Virginia could not have happened in California, said Chris Biller, owner of Simi Valley-based Greta's Guns. California's gun laws, he said, are "very strict."

The problem, he said, is the disconnect between federal and state law, and the absence of unanimity.

Hoover agreed, but said the political realities are such that he doubts the issue will be dealt with anytime soon at the national level. The NRA, he said, has "co-opted the debate."

Robert Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, echoed Hoover's remarks, saying the NRA still stands in the way of strengthening gun legislation.

Stern said the presidential candidates have not come out strongly advocating for new gun laws. He suspects that's because they realize it can hurt their candidacies.

"They're worried about the NRA," he said. "They think they have a lot of clout."

William Rusher, who writes the syndicated column "The Conservative Advocate," called that nonsense. He said the anti-gun voices "don't like it because the NRA is a good, effective lobbying association that appears to share the opinion of a majority of the American people."

Rusher doubts Democrats will use the gun issue in the 2008 presidential election.

"The Democrats have decided not to use it because every time they use it, they lose," he said.

Whether Americans will press the issue remains to be seen.

"I think it's premature to tell," Stern said.

Gee, is there an agenda here? :rolleyes:


05-02-2007, 8:51 PM
Brady Campaign - grass roots?!


Bill in SD

James R.
05-02-2007, 9:04 PM
How the hell can those stats even be remotely right? It says the US has 0.2 murders per 100 people. That means for every 500 people in the US 1 person will be murdered with a firearm if you believe their table and heading.

If there are 300,000,000 people in the US that'd be 300,000,000/500 = 600,000 people killed every year.

Now it doesn't say that it's annually, but generally these types of things are done on a per capita, per anum basis. This is a really crappy table.

It can't be the number of people killed in all time right? In 2005 we snuffed about 15,000 of each other (with all weapons, not just guns) and for the few years prior it hovered right around 14~15k. So that's like what 40 years of data which would take us back to 1967 if the rate were constant, which I know it's not...but for sake of argument. Did we just start shooting (or weapons in the generic sense) each other with guns back in 1967?

I hate when people provide half cocked data like that...


James R.

05-02-2007, 9:13 PM
How the hell can those stats even be remotely right? It says the US has 0.2 murders per 100 people.

James, not to doubt you, but where does it say in the article above that the US has 0,2 murders per 100 people?

James R.
05-02-2007, 10:41 PM
James, not to doubt you, but where does it say in the article above that the US has 0,2 murders per 100 people?

It's on the left margin as an adder to the article I guess. I'm sure it's not there by coincidence. We'll see if it can be linked like so...



James R.

05-02-2007, 10:52 PM
Thanks, I'm pretty sure that it is supposed to be murders per 100 THOUSAND people.

Not that they gave much of a **** about accuracy, though.

What's the diff?? It's essentially true....no?