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Posted: 10/17/2002 5:15:58 PM EDT
Here is a sample of what is fed to the masses. The Washington Post Thursday, October 17, 2002; Page A21 A Few Good Fingerprints By Richard Cohen http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37795-2002Oct16.html Ever since the sniper first struck in the Washington area, the police -- not to mention every quasi-expert on early-morning television -- have been trying to come up with a profile of him. A more productive exercise might be to come up with a profile of a nation that is awash in guns and refuses to keep track of who has them. That's the profile of an idiot. Lest you think that my own profile is of a gun-control zealot, you are wrong. I am not talking of outlawing guns, even pistols, or taking them away from people who use them for hunting or self-protection. I am talking instead of taking reasonable measures to track those guns and the ammunition used in them so that the authorities have a fighting chance to stop killers before, as has been happening over and over, they kill again. If the Constitution forbids such measures, then I ought to have the right to own an unregistered car and drive it without a license. But the Bush administration, fearful of the National Rifle Association, opposes what is known as "fingerprinting." Don't get me wrong. In the name of anti-terrorism, George Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft would fingerprint everyone in sight. But guns? Not a chance. This, though, is a scientific reality: Because every weapon leaves unique markings on the fired bullet, it is possible to store these markings in a national database so the cops would know what specific gun was used and -- maybe someday -- who owned it. Science is one thing, politics another. At the moment, it's possible to buy a weapon in, say, the currently terrified state of Virginia -- the site of four of the shootings -- almost at will. A background check is required to weed out mass murderers and psychopaths, but there is no regulation of the secondary market -- private sales. As for ballistic fingerprinting, only two states -- Maryland and New York -- require it. That's not much help when the other 48 don't. The NRA stands athwart such common-sense measures. It opposes almost all regulation, of course, and fingerprinting is no exception. As for George Bush, it's not quite clear where he stands. His spokesman, Ari Fleischer, was asked whether fingerprinting would have aided the police in the search for the serial killer, and he had this to say: "These are the acts of a depraved killer who has broken and will continue to break laws. And so the question is not new laws; the question is the actions here represent the values in our society." Huh? The remark seems to put Fleischer in the company of the Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who blamed gays, liberals, the ACLU, etc., for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For the life of me, I cannot see what societal value the serial killer represents. Maybe he's a liberal. On the other hand, I also cannot see the societal value of ammunition such as the .223 bullet the killer has been using. It shatters within the body, causing catastrophic trauma -- and leaves a gaping exit wound. I also cannot fathom the value to society of assault rifles, such as the Galil, which, again, is the weapon he may be using. I can understand the value, though, of restricting the sale of such ammo and weapons to those, like the police, who have a need for them. I can understand the value also of fingerprinting the guns so that when -- as is bound to happen -- some nut uses them to kill people at random, we can "dust" the bullet. Yet the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is only now getting some attention for its efforts to push this common-sense measure. Fleischer aside, the Bush administration is supposedly reviewing the matter of ballistic fingerprinting. This is undoubtedly a ploy, as the serial killer has presented the staunchly pro-gun president with an exquisitely awkward moment. But when Fleischer's "deranged killer" is caught, the White House will forget about the matter -- until, of course, the next deranged killer gets his hands on a weapon, locks and loads it with ammo meant for warfare, and goes on a killing spree. Look, gun nuts, this is not about taking away your weapons. Increasingly, I have become less and less convinced of the efficacy of strict gun control -- the English experience has been just awful -- and at times, such as the night a burglar broke into my house, I hanker for a gun myself. All that I and others like me want right now is to make it harder to kill and harder to escape apprehension. That's our profile, Mr. Fleischer, Mr. Bush and the NRA. If we had our way, we might not need one for the killer.
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 5:33:37 PM EDT
It's good to know they're not after all guns, just ones that can shoot bullets that can enter the body and do damage. [rolleyes]
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