The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
It's a small world. "Former Finn" is, in fact, my husband, who posted that comment at the NYTimes blog from work today when his family told him about the shooting.
A few things that are being left out of the MSM discussion on this...
Finland had a school shooting in 1985, in which two kids died. So this unfortunate occurrence was not the result of an importation of the violent U.S. culture. More importantly, idealists (or liars) try to portray Europe as some wonderful non-violent utopia, when in fact it is one of the coldest and most violent places in the Western world. Finland's violent crime index is more than twice that of the U.S., and only rivals that of Northern Ireland back when they were in the midst of their "troubles." All the scars on my husband's face and body attest to this.
This is my first time commenting, although I've been lurking for quite a while.
I have to correct you slightly regarding Israel. I'm an American citizen who emigrated (or immigrated, depending on your perspective) to Israel a few years. Despite the acceptance of guns in the popular culture, and the ever-present M-16s and Galils on the street (especially Friday and Sunday as soldiers head home/back to base), normal gun ownership here is heavily regulated. Since I don't live in an "essential security area" (aka the west bank), and I'm not a retired Army officer, or a jeweler, or a professional driver, I cannot own any weapon. Period.
If I were to be one of the above, I could, after a great deal of bureaucracy, own one pistol. No rifles, no shotguns (which would be an excellent and yet safe home defense weapon, especially considering that most Israeli homes are constructed from cement/cinder blocks, not wood), and not more than one handgun. There are few States, if any, which are this awkward (even my home state(s) of MD and NJ weren't quite this restrictive), and none which completely ban rifles (except for certain people with hunting licenses, and certain types of target shooting, where, I believe, the gun must be stored off-site)
On the other hand, many of my friends and coworkers have licenses own to a pistol (which automatically permits CCW, I believe, although most people carry in a regular holster), and except in a few of the radical left areas, no one even blinks. Even in those areas, the stares are usually more due to the fact that most people with guns are settlers, and they're not always universally liked. Additionally, many people in the settlements do keep their assault rifles at home (especially those who do periodic service in their town's guard service), but I don't know if that's a license and a private weapon, or simply extended permission from the Army to keep the Army-issue gun at home. It's certainly _not_ a constitutional right here (seeing as how after 60 years, we're still trying to decide if we need a constitution, and if so, what to put in it...)
Thanks for that very informative update.
Looks like I'm an ignorant idiot, too. (But isn't the vast majority of Israel's adult male population ex-military?)
Many are. There's a mandatory draft, in which most people (except Arabs, some religious Jewish men, many (if not most) religious women and those with (usually mental) health issues) serve.
However, successful completion of three years (the standard duration) in the Army does not entitle one to an guaranteed pistol permit.
I found this http://www.jpfo.org/israel-firearms.htm which is a pretty good translation of the Hebrew document shown at the bottom. I don't know how up to date the document is, but it looks quite similar to what I saw last time I visited the local Interior Ministry office.
Many settlements also maintain an armory from which residents can borrow a weapon in a case of need (for example, to do guard duty, or for traveling). In practice, therefore, it can be quite easy for a veteran who wants a gun to get one, at least for a limited time. On the other hand, someone who didn't serve (like myself; I was married + kids when I arrived, and so the army didn't want me) has basically no chance of being able to purchase a gun for either personal protection or as a worst-case, second-amendment-style check on the government (at it's core, Israel remains a liberal socialist government).
Mike, I'm going to contradict you a bit on the Israeli CCW issue. This is anecdotal but I'm willing to believe the author in question.
Open carry is the norm in Israel where allowed. CCW needs to be justified on a needs basis. The belief is why do you need to hide your weapon unless you are up to no good? It is generally limited to IDF officers and special cases. CCW is not automatic by any means from what I've read.
Ok, I concede. My knowledge in that area is based on observations, not facts.
Hmmm, like at the Horror in Blacksburg,and so many other mass murders, once the murderer realized that he no longer had a monopoly on deadly force, he self-destructed.
Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?
What if these shooters had NEVER had a monopoly on the means to kill?
"Would Nazi Germany have risen if everyone had a gun?"
Of course not! That's the point of having armed citizens. They can rout the thug army (if they have the cojones to do it, of course) and put an end to the tyrant damn quick. This is a GOOD thing!
I disagree, crotalus. It takes more than simple possession of a firearm. It takes a philosophy that defends the rights of individuals. The Germans of the 1930s were hardly of the Lockean philosophical persuasion, much less the subset that was Jewish.