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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sullivan's Folly

Andrew Sullivan writes:
A grocery store clerk in Virginia can legally own a vast arsenal of deadly weaponry. Was he planning on shooting quail with an AK-47-style assault rifle? I guess that's what Glenn Reynolds would call his civil rights. Now, I'm sympathetic to the arguments against gun-control, but this kind of story gives me pause. I mean: surely common sense suggests that this kind of access to legal weaponry is, shall we say, "over-kill".
Oh, where to begin...

First of all, I'd love to know what an "AK-47 style assault rifle" is. The Washington Post article that describes the weapon this way doesn't say anything else about it.

Second of all, I don't know if the "grocery store clerk," as we're apparently going to condescedingly refer to him as, was planning on "shooting quail" with this "assault weapon," and it's neither my business nor Sullivan's. The right to own weapons is not synonymous with the right to hunt birds. It's synonymous with the right to self-protection, and that's what makes it a civil right in the eyes of Glenn Reynolds. (I prefer the term "civil liberty," but tomayto tomahto. Calling it a civil liberty does have the added bonus of pointing out the ACLU's hypocrisy on this issue, though. And pissing them off, which is always fun!)

(By the way, the clerk is not the one who did the killing: it was his deranged son, who had broken out of a psychiatric institution and carjacked his way home.)

Third of all, does common sense "surely" tell us that "this kind of access to legal weaponry is, shall we say, "over-kill"? I dunno. Does common sense also tell us that while freedom of speech is usually a good thing, surely it's over-kill to be able to offend someone's religious beliefs? And really, what does a grocery store clerk need all that free speech for, anyway? Is he planning on using it to run for office?

Here's a fact that even the anti-gun Washington Post couldn't ignore (though Sullivan conveniently doesn't mention it):
The shootings shocked the county, which had never lost an officer in a line-of-duty shooting.
So with lax gun control in Virginia, and all those evil assault weapons apparently floating around Fairfax County, no police county police officer had ever before been shot to death. Yet Sullivan wants to blame what happened Monday on the fact that a grocery store clerk was allowed to own an "vast arsenal of deadly weaponry."

Sorry, Andy. No sale.

Update: Welcome to all the 'lanchers, and thanks to Glenn for sending 'em my way.

Update Update: Jay at Stop the ACLU has some more info on the ACLU's hypocrisy when it comes to guns and individual rights.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this comment. I found Sullivan's "too much freedom" take revolting too. I think I know what an AK-47-style assault rifle is: It's any semi-automatic rifle (i.e. most rifles) with a cool looking stock and a curved clip. Calling it "AK-47-style" is just hype. BTW, I am an urban non-gun owner and haven't even fired a gun in probably 15 or 20 years.

14:47  
Anonymous MikeT said...

And the real irony of it is that apparently the weapon that actually did the most damage was a hunting rifle...

15:14  
Anonymous MikeT said...

I'd also like to add that I live within about 6-7 miles of that police station and the primary reason why people got freaked out about it is that Chantilly and Centreville are rich, yuppy areas. Had this happened in Manassas, Arlington or Alexandria it'd probably not have made the headlines. We should be so lucky that the people we "have to worry about" are mostly just random mental hospital escapees.

15:16  
Anonymous Jason O said...

I'm from Dallas but I work in the North Virginia area and I go to Chantilly all the time. I couldn't figure out what the big deal was, we have shootings all the time in Dallas. You should have heard some of the hysterics from the natives.

There was even talk of multiple shooters still being at large. The whole thing was blown way out of proporation. Frankly, the crime rate is so low in this area that people should be happy to only lose an officer once every 66 years. That's outstanding!

I feel bad for the woman who lost her life this week, but I can't say I feel any less safe working in this area. I think Sullivan is blowing the situation way out of proportion.

15:32  
Blogger Xrlq said...

"I think Sullivan is blowing the situation way out of proportion."

Andrew Sullivan? Blowing something out of proportion? I'm shocked, shocked!

15:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a gun-owning Fairfax County resident--Sully is my local police station and I live three miles from the tragic scene--I would say to Andrew Sullivan to come enjoy a safe evening in Fairfax.

The armed citizenry of Fairfax and our wonderful, professional police force ensure horrific scenes like this are a rarity--unlike those that occur daily in Andrew's hometown of Dupont Circle, Wash. D.C.

15:41  
Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

I think I know what an AK-47-style assault rifle is: It's any semi-automatic rifle (i.e. most rifles) with a cool looking stock and a curved clip.

I had written almost the exact same sentence in my post but then I double checked the WaPo article, and discovered this quote:

"A number of police officers stood up, faced automatic rifle fire and did their jobs," said Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr.

If this guy is accurate, then the shooter used at least one fully automatic weapon. He may be wrong (I'd actually bet he is), but given that description I didn't want to assume that the "AK-47 style assault rile" was a semi-auto.

15:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Does NOT Equal:
"A well hunted wilderness, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear hunting arms, shall not be infringed."

16:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Anonymous Poster #1 here . . .) Most people are so unclear on the terminology, it's hard to know. I'd guess that the Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney used "automatic" to indicate "semi-automatic," and would have used "machine gun" to indicate "automatic." When I first moved to D.C., I remember seeing a picture in the WaPo of a man with a shotgun - and the caption called it a "rifle." Again, not a gun-owner. My parents were just good enough to make sure I had a basic familiarity . . .

16:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the MP-5 that Fairfax S.W.A.T. officer Deval Bullock used to murder ^H^H^H^H^H^H protect society against Dr. Salvatore Culosi considered "overkill?" Robert Horan (the D.A. quoted in the article) is covering this up.

According to the ACLU, "the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."

16:56  
Blogger Clayton said...

"According to the ACLU, 'the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.'"

Unlike a lot of "fundamental civil liberties" that the ACLU tirelessly defends--even though they were felonies when the Constitution was written. What an interesting parallel universe the ACLU's press releases issue from.

17:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sullivan and the rest of the Washington politically correct types know nothing about civil liberties, they only know about civil deprivations.

If they enact a CCW law in Washington, the violent crime rate will drop like a stone. Don't hold your breath waiting for the Sullivans of this world to advocate for that law, however, as they're quite comfortable with the societal predators having free rein. THose types DO seem to find time to rant about their civil deprivations, however, even as people suffer in that environment. Pitiful.

Think about how those same types forced the local NBA franchise to change their name from "Bullets" to "Wizards". That's the mentality we're dealing with here.

17:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for fun go to Statemaster.com .

Look in the left column and choose "Most Trigger Happy" and "Most Murderous."

Hint: it ain't Virginia, but it ain't far away, either.

17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what's great about Virginia? I can carry a loaded gun anywhere I want to, with the exception of the courthouse, bar or school. Don't put it in the glove box, and don't hide it.

Loaded and everything. God bless the Old Dominion.

19:12  
Anonymous Californio said...

I believe I read a comment by Glenn Reynolds that also stated he was fine with a world where happily married gay couples owned closets full of assault weapons. But that would be CRAZY , correct Andrew? I mean all the FREEDOM! people would then maybe live a licensious lifestyle!

19:34  
Anonymous Darkmage said...

Years ago, as local prez of my activist gun organization, I gave a speech to the DC chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans. Respectful crowd, but the pro-gun message got a decidedly cool reception. It's something about DC proper that just attracts victims...

00:26  

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