Congresswoman Shot

Our Arizona Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords has been shot, and perhaps killed (stories vary at this point) at a public meeting this morning

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman at a public event in Tucson on Saturday. There are conflicting reports about whether she was killed.

The Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's office told member station KJZZ the 40-year-old Democrat was killed. At least nine other people, including members of her staff, were injured.

Giffords, who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

Beyond the base level tragedy here, this is really a terrible incentive for a Congress that already shows incredible reluctance to actually meets its constituents face to face.

  • me

    Anyone think this will deter some of the more loony politicians from running ads suggesting you shoot the competition? (http://gawker.com/5728501/arizona-congresswoman-shot-outside-grocery-store?skyline=true&s=i)

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    While we don't know the motive behind the shooting, perhaps the wisdom of Sarah Palins issuing statments to put Rep. Giffords in her 'rifle crosshairs'for supporting health care for all (which she voted for again last week) and her Republican opponents campaign event billed to 'remove Giffords' where participants were allowed to shoot a M-16. Someone should also investigate the intelligence of Republican/Tea Party hero Sharron Angle, who advocated 'second amendment remedies'.

    We'll have to sort this all out later, but we should know. 1) Where the shooter got the gun and what reason the shooter had the gun for 2) Whether the shooter was a follower of any political movements 3) How we can stop this from happening in the future.

  • To the first two commenters: never let a tragedy or crisis go to waste, huh?

    Incidentally, if you're wanting to lay this at the feet of Republicans, you might want to look into Balko's comment regarding Daily Kos participants (and Kos himself), speaking of this Congresswoman as "dead to him" and a "target" for defeat in the primaries.

    How about you do more reading and listening, and less making a fool of yourselves? Or, would that be too much to ask at this point?

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Just terrible, but it sounds like she may actually recover:

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/01/08/20110108arizona-giffords-brk.html

    Not to sound insensitive, but I'm unsurprised given the deterioration of the political dialogue on all sides, due largely to an insanely aggressive government power grab coupled with very heated responses from the right. That's a virtual lock to rile up the reactionary wackos.

    There are a good number of those here.

  • Heated responses from "the right", like Daily Kos?

    Look, you can play the "Coke is violent" but "Pepsi is peaceful" game, but anyone paying attention knows that's bullshit. How about you stop trying to play cheerleader, get some facts, and stop looking like such a jerk?

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Elliot, basically agree with Balko, but I think we both know who will get the majority of the blame for this, and who will sweep their behavior under the rug. That's the way it works: the right gets the blame, and the left gets a pass.

    There are plenty of wackos out there looking for an opportunity to go off - I'm somewhat surprised something like this hasn't happened sooner.

    And get ready for an onslaught of gun control nonsense in this state, and probably nationally.

  • Val

    Mesa, maybe you should confirm that right wing thing before you jump to confusions... I believe you might be mistaken.

  • Henry Bowman

    Val:

    I think Mesa is right, in that the Right will get the blame no matter who actually did this, for the simple reason that the news media, typified by Pravda (aka the NY Times), always spins such events this way.

    I know little or nothing about the wacko who did this (some claim to), but he certainly does not represent any political movement.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    It was the left that intentionally misinterpreted Palin's desire to target some Democrats for being thrown out of office. If anyone has turned that into something harmful or hateful it was the left.

    As for the shooter's background one of his classmates said he was a liberal and a pot smoker. Maybe he was on drugs, maybe his politics drove him, maybe he was simply mentally ill. To soon to know.

  • This is a tragedy for the family, Arizona, and all Americans.

    Let's wait a while before jumping to conclusions.

  • If the YouTube video was made by the shooter, I'd say his political ideas are a bit incoherent. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a major mental illness, of the schizophrenic or manic varieties. If that turns out to be the case, then all the political opportunism is going to include implications that group X is not only evil and responsible for provoking mass murderers like this guy, but crazy, too.

    Thus, even rational ideas will be discarded via guilt-by-association tactics.

  • Matthew Brown

    A warning to Democrats: it's easy to mistake 2nd Amendment activism as shoot-politicians advocacy. Don't make that mistake. Guns in a pro-gun Republican's campaign materials are quite likely to be the former, not the latter.

  • me

    @Elliot, Henry Bowman et al.

    Sorry to see you misread my comment so. My point is that the quality of political debate in the US is abysmally bad. Specifically, there are a lot of ad hominem attacks where a discussion of issues should take place.

    Some responses here exhibit that behavior in a particularly sad way. A child and several people are dead, and the first reaction is a tribal denial "sure the right will get the blame"... sorry, but "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly" is awfully suggestive language.

    How about "I am sure nobody wanted this, but we should all take under consideration the quality of political discourse and we will surely do our part to work on our side of this"?

  • Yes, the quality of political debate is abysmally bad. That is a direct result of how the exercise of political power has more intensely affected the lives of citizens. Voters recognize how all the government programs, laws, regulations, taxes, etc. are dominating their lives and threatening their futures more and more each day, so they are understandably alarmed and getting more desperate to stop the "other side" from taking advantage of them.

    All of this is the predictable result of putting moral questions up to a vote, of rulers making election contests into mock battles, pitting one "side" against another. (Warren mentions the "Coke vs. Pepsi" mentality, which is spot on.)

    Around the 2010 election, I read somewhere that an election is nothing more than two or more armies getting dressed up, marching to the battle field, then counting which side has the most soldiers and awarding the spoils of victory to that side without actually drawing blood. And, as Billy Beck has pointed out for many years: "All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."

    My solution? Stop voting. Stop giving your permission to politicians to wield power over your neighbors. Work with your neighbors to solve problems via reason and persuasion, instead of resorting to force. Government, by definition, is the use of force.

  • Gil

    Heck don't most 2A folk believe that it allows overthrow of a homegrown tyranny? Just like the fellow who flew his plane into an IRS building - it's a start.

  • IgotBupkis

    > That’s the way it works: the right gets the blame, and the left gets a pass.

    That's how they started to sell it... read the comments:

    Comments like:
    This is outrageous! When will the far right extremists realize how F'ing CRAZY they really are?
    and
    A nine-year-old is among the dead. Mother-fuck all you tebaggers and god damn all right wing gun-hugging extremists.

    Then this came out:
    Jared Loughner, Alleged Shooter in Gabrielle Giffords Attack, Described by Classmate as "Left-Wing Pothead"

    NOW, all of a sudden it's:
    Clearly, this is not about left or right, Dem or Rep. This young fool had an issue that he wanted to take to the extreme. He can't even articulate what he is so pissed off about.

    and

    It is wrong to politicize this. I have read so many blogs and forums blaming Sarah Palin. Only the shooter is responsible for his actions.

    Got that? "Only the shooter is responsible for his actions".

    LOL. The capacity for tap-dancing on The Left puts Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly to shame.

  • tehag

    Politicians are citizens, no more or less important than any other. It's a shame the murder (or attempted murder) of the representative is attracting more attention than the murder of the judge or girl or any other of the murders committed anywhere else in the USA that day.

    With the defeat of Obama's agenda in the last election, I expect the 1960s to return: expect more assassinations, more bombings, more city burnings, perpetrated by both left and right, though everyone will forget about or excuse the leftists.

  • IgotBupkis

    > With the defeat of Obama’s agenda in the last election, I expect the 1960s to return: expect more assassinations, more bombings, more city burnings, perpetrated by both left and right, though everyone will forget about or excuse the leftists.

    You forgot the part about how they'll blame the right. Never forget that part -- they certainly won't.

  • greg

    Let's set aside all the politics and recognize it takes a lunatic to run up and shoot anyone in the the face. It's a tragedy and a reminder that we that are reasonable people need to stay reasonable whether we agree or not.

  • caseyboy

    Our Founding Fathers had great insight into the tendencies of man relative to the governing of a people.

    "This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” Benjamin Franklin

    "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson

    "Religion is the basis and foundation of government. We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

    “The propitious (favorable) smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” George Washington

    As a nation we've driven God to the sidelines and God has removed his favor as a result. You don't have to be a religious person to see the logic of a code of moral behavior built around the Ten Commandments and the Teachings of Jesus Christ.

  • Dan

    I don't want to get into the blame game here. What bothers me is that over and over again, people who are obviously mentally ill have no problem finding a gun and wreaking havoc (think Virginia Tech, or if you wish, go back to Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley). Around here in the Chicago area, we remember Lori Dann, a deranged young woman who in the late 1980s burst into a suburban elementary school and killed and wounded several kids with a gun.

    I'm realistic about gun control. I don't like guns, but there's no way we can ban them. The genie is truly out of the bottle. But there must be a meaningful way to keep them out of the hands of all the nuts who are out there. This guy in Tuscon was considered dangerous and unbalanced enough by his teachers to be kicked out of college last fall. But the authorities had no way of knowing this, and even if they did, they wouldn't have been able to bar him from purchasing a weapon at a sporting goods store. Are the people on this board who believe there should be no laws at all regulating firearms OK with this? If it was your 9-year old who'd been killed by this maniac, would you feel differently?

  • Brook

    I want to connect a few dots here. We know this deranged kid had at least one and reportedly 2 persons of interest with him -- one older guy they flashed a picture of. Remember the underwear bomber -- he was accompanied by an older well-dressed Indian guy to the airport who later disappeared. The Virginia Tech shooter has a very weird rectangular bulge in his forehead you can plainly see in his mug shots. What am I getting at here -- mind control. MKULTRA mind control that Congress held hearings on and supposedly shut down during the Clinton years. They didn't shut it down. It's very real, and it's more diabolical than you can imagine. It works like the movie Manchurian Candidate. A skilled handler can "switch on" an alter personality in the patsy via verbal commands, and that personality is trained to kill with no remorse. Watch the original version of MC with Frank Sinatra. This is not fiction, folks. It's real, and we need to wake up and stop shrugging our shoulders every time something that doesn't make sense happens. If you understand we are being manipulated by an agenda -- these things make perfect sense.

  • This guy in Tuscon was considered dangerous and unbalanced enough by his teachers to be kicked out of college last fall. But the authorities had no way of knowing this, and even if they did, they wouldn’t have been able to bar him from purchasing a weapon at a sporting goods store. Are the people on this board who believe there should be no laws at all regulating firearms OK with this? If it was your 9-year old who’d been killed by this maniac, would you feel differently?

    I'm not OK with current laws. They are too restrictive and hinder good people from obtaining the most effective tools of self defense.

    If my child were murdered, I'd blame the murderer. I wouldn't want to infringe on the rights of non-murderers. But even if I were a person of weak character and decided to lash out at innocents in my grief, why would being a victim entitle me to have more of a say than anyone else?

    As has been pointed out by many people in the libertarian corners of the blogosphere in recent months, laws named after victims are nearly always bad laws.

  • The latest thread in this story is that Loughner had made numerous death threats over the years and had been reported to the Tucson sheriff's department. However, Loughner has some family in local politics and they may have pulled some strings with the highly political Sheriff Dupnik to keep the kid out of jail/psychiatric care.

    We'll see if this goes anywhere, but I'm wondering if Dupnik is pulling a Nifong.

  • Dan

    Elliot,

    How can you say with a straight face that current laws hinder people from obtaining the "self defense" they need right after a deranged man with a record of odd and threatening behavior walked into a sporting goods store and purchased, no questions asked, a weapon that he was able to use to kill 6 people and wound 14 others in less than 20 seconds?

    Are you arguing that one needs a 33-bullet ammunition clip to defend their home? (With current laws, that's no problem, you understand). Or are you saying we should be allowed to also purchase hand grenades and other weapons of war in sporting goods stores? I'd be interested in hearing more about why today's laws are too restrictive for you.

    Interesting article today on Slate about how an armed man who responded to Saturday's shooting nearly shot and killed the hero who had grabbed the gun from the murderer. The armed man had assumed that the man with the gun was actually the murderer. This points up the fallacy of the NRA's contention that it's better for public safety that everyone be armed.

  • Dan

    One more question, Elliot: You say you don't want laws to infringe on the rights of non-murderers, and I agree to some extent.

    But whose rights are we talking about here? Does a deranged person with a criminal record have the "right" to purchase a weapon? Please explain how you can defend that, given the mayhem this has caused over the years.

  • caseyboy

    Dan - The NRA's premise is that if a potential shooter knows that nearly everyone in the crowd can and will shoot him down he may be not feel so brazen as to commit the act. If he is crazy enough this may not prove a deterrent, but the fall back premise is that someone in the crowd will indeed shoot the killer before too much harm can be done.

    MAD, mutually assured destruction worked on much the same premise. The instinct for survival is strong.

  • Gil

    How about this Dan: the murderer instead bought a car and ploughed into the crowd with the same results. So should there be "car control"? Should everyone go through an arduous process for purchasing a car on the ground that some may use cars for nefarious purposes?

  • <a href=#comment-41337Dan: "How can you say with a straight face that current laws hinder people from obtaining the “self defense” they need right after a deranged man with a record of odd and threatening behavior walked into a sporting goods store and purchased, no questions asked, a weapon that he was able to use to kill 6 people and wound 14 others in less than 20 seconds?"

    You don't even know the facts.

    The gunman had to pass a background check (which is exactly the opposite of "no questions asked") and apparently, despite there being complaints to police, the police hadn't taken any steps to establish a "record of ... threatening behavior" which might have shown up on a background check. (The shooter's parents worked in government and it is curious that after multiple threats, no charges were ever filed. I consider that particular story a bit speculative at this point, but one worthy of paying attention to.)

    "Are you arguing that one needs a 33-bullet ammunition clip to defend their home? (With current laws, that’s no problem, you understand). Or are you saying we should be allowed to also purchase hand grenades and other weapons of war in sporting goods stores?"

    That's a decision for the gun owner to make, along with whether she wants the gun for defending her home, for having fun at the gun range, or for whatever other purpose she decides. (I understand it is legal.) Yes, good people ought to be able to buy all kinds of weaponry.

    "I’d be interested in hearing more about why today’s laws are too restrictive for you."

    I don't think a good person should ever be limited in the exercise of his freedom, regardless of whether such freedom makes it easier for a bad person to do something bad.

    I don't care what the NRA says. They're a bunch of Fudds and political opportunists who presume to compromise away our rights.

    "Does a deranged person with a criminal record have the “right” to purchase a weapon?"

    No, I don't think someone who has demonstrated they are dangerous has a right to purchase a weapon.

    I don't object to taking measures to keep such people unarmed, so long as you don't presume everyone else deranged until proven sane.

  • Dan

    Elliot:

    Thanks for answering my questions.

    Dan

  • Dan

    Elliot,

    One more thing. Since you make the car analogy, and I've heard it elsewhere, here's how I feel about that:

    To be allowed to drive a car, one needs to take training, be licensed by the government and buy insurance. Every so many years, you have to re-register and prove once again that you're competent and capable of driving in a safe way, because, as you note, cars can be dangerous (though unlike guns, they aren't designed solely to hurt people).

    Since you compare cars to guns, I take it you'd be OK with new laws that regulate guns in the same way cars are regulated. I'd be supportive of that.

    I'm not sure what the licensing requirements are for guns, although I understand there is a background check (which obviously failed with the Tucson shooter and needs to be more rigorous). A license that can be renewed every so many years could be required for gun ownership, with license holders having to demonstrate every so often that they are competent to own and operate a gun.

    Maybe, as with cars, there could be various degrees of licensing. That is, if I want to drive a Mac semi-truck, my Illinois driver's license isnt' enough, and I'd need to take extra courses and get an expanded certificate from the government once I've proven I can handle a big rig. Maybe the same for guns - if you wanted an advanced weapon like the one the Tucson shooter used, you'd be required to get extra training and be re-certified year after year.

  • Dan

    Apologies, Elliot. I looked back and saw it wasn't you who used the car metaphor, it was another poster.

    Still, I stand by my idea.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Turns out, as expected, this kid was batshit looney, literally.

    Influenced by the "aggressive political debate" climate? Possibly. Talk of political currency business and random crap sideswipes the topic, but he clearly had most of his wires loose.

    Would anything set him off?

    Definitely.

    Totally detached from reality?

    Definitely.

    Just like Keith Olbermann, Paul Krugman, et al.

  • Dan: "Since you compare cars to guns, I take it you’d be OK with new laws that regulate guns in the same way cars are regulated. I’d be supportive of that. "

    I think people should be free to use their property, be it a vehicle or a tool of self-defense, on their own terms, so long as they aren't hurting anyone else. I don't think free people should be required to genuflect before the state for permission to act as free people, whether the requirements are safety training, damage insurance, registration for tracking, or tribute to the emperor taxes.

    Let me put it this way: I don't think it's anyone's business if three men marry each other then load up a cargo plane with heroin and serial-number-free Uzis in Mexico, fly to a private airstrip in the US (without notifying authorities), and sell their goods from an unlicensed, unregistered corner store, past 6 p.m. on a Sunday.

  • Dan, here is a story of people who are cooking meals for the homeless and giving away food, being stopped by the heavy hand of government, purportedly in the name of protecting the homeless. So, the poor people get nothing, instead of getting meals which could possibly be slightly more at risk of contamination than a registered food preparer (or, might damned well be cleaner than most places where the cleanliness of your meal depends on some high school dropout with a half pound of metal stapled to his face).

  • Dan

    OK. There's no use continuing the conversation, because it sounds like we're on very different wavelengths.

    Still, one last thought (or several):

    I think it's reasonable that people be required to prove they can drive a car safely before they get in it, because when their car hits me, it's my safety that's at risk (the old argument is, "the rights of your fist end where my face begins").

    Not that registering people to drive always works, obviously. Plenty of people who have licenses get into accidents. But it does protect us to some extent.

    I'm for a free society, but our freedoms can't be exercised if there isn't some protection from chaos, which is why we have government in the first place. Last Saturday, a group of people in Tucson exercised their Constitutional right to gather peacefully in public, but were thwarted because our lax gun laws enabled a mentally-ill person to purchase a gun.

  • enoriverbend

    "I’m for a free society, but our freedoms can’t be exercised if there isn’t some protection from chaos, which is why we have government in the first place."

    I agreed entirely. Since you compared firearms and cars, I'd like to mention another Bill of Rights issue, the press.

    Extending your logic, I think that requiring all journalists to be approved by the government would be a fine idea. (This includes, by the way, all bloggers like Ezra Klein and part-time column writers like Paul Krugman.)

    So to write a published story, a column, or a blog, one would need to take training approved by the government, be licensed by the government and buy insurance against the possibility that you'd get something wrong -- and I mean wrong by government standards, of course. The government could, of course, take away your license if you wrote something "wrong" by government standards. Every so many years, you have to re-register and prove once again that you're competent and capable of writing not just coherently but according to government specifications. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword, isn't it? Then journalists should need much tighter rules and regulations than guns, so we need government to protect us from the chaos of too much free speech.

  • laursaurus

    Interesting analogy between driving and guns.
    The very first concept taught and repeated reiterated in Driver's Ed:
    Driving is a privilege , not a right.

    OTOH, the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by our constitution in section entitled: The Bill of Rights.

    But OK, fine. It's pretty easy for the state to revoke your driver's license. We could crack down on who can own a fire arm. What do terrorists or killers use instead? Bombs or other explosives. Tim McVeigh, the Times Square bomber, the "Underwear" bomber, Lockerbee, Al Qaeda, Palestinian suicides, Ted Kaczynski aka. Unibomber,Eric Rudolph, etc.
    The plan for Columbine was explosives. Kliebald and Harris planned to shoot the people as they were escaping the school. They were forced to resort to Plan B when the homemade bombs failed.

    Turns out, BTW, that Loughner was particularly influenced by Zeitgeist and Loose Change. His writings and videos certainly seem consistent with the delusional conspiracy theories put forth by these internet films.

  • Dan

    You ignore the fact that guns are far easier to obtain and use than explosives.

  • Dan: "There’s no use continuing the conversation, because it sounds like we’re on very different wavelengths."

    No kidding.

    I recognize that individuals have the right to live their lives on their own terms, so long as they're not hurting anyone else. If you buy into the common notion that we have obligations to the sovereign lord state (or the nebulous "society"), and that ultimately our lives do not completely belong to us, then we're simply not going to get anywhere.

    But I will address a couple points:

    "I think it’s reasonable that people be required to prove they can drive a car safely before they get in it, because when their car hits me, it’s my safety that’s at risk (the old argument is, “the rights of your fist end where my face begins”). "

    The linchpin of any discussion on automobiles and individual rights is the question: who owns the road? If I own a stretch of highway, I'm sure I'd want my customers to be good drivers who follow sensible rules. And, anyone who didn't want to follow my rules (or had concerns about the types of drivers I let on there) could find an alternate route, as they wouldn't have the right to go on my property without my permission.

    As it stands, government uses its monopoly on the use of force to enforce a monopoly on roads. But they take property via eminent domain and force people to pay taxes to pay for the roads, so there is no choice involved. I understand how a limit on space and basic geometry pose serious challenges for any population in which transportation is handled privately, but taking land and money by force is not the ethical way to solve such problems. Once you go down that path, there are cascading consequences, which open the door for all sorts of abuses of power. Eventually you get police patrols who behave as highway robbers (civil forfeiture), setting up internal checkpoints (immigration, DUI checkpoints, drug war crap). Then you look up and see what you thought was the "Land of the Free" resembling a police state, more and more. You build a transportation system on the foundation of theft and it's no wonder the ethics turn south eventually.

    But that's another discussion.

    The excuses to make people jump through hoops to buy, carry, and use guns in a peaceable manner or as a reasonable means of self-defense, don't line up with the excuses for controlling drivers and vehicles. Driving involves sharing the road with all sorts of strangers who are on their way to do a million things that have nothing to do with my life. But if I have a gun in my house for protection, you have no need to enter my home and walk down my hallway, worrying that I might mistake you for a burglar--unless of I know you or you're there to fix my internet, for example. I understand that it might concern you if I'm carrying in public, wondering if I'm a good guy and if I'm competent enough to respond to a crisis without you being caught in the crossfire. So, I don't assert a right to carry in your home or store. But if we're not on your property, you really have no say in the matter, so long as I behave responsibly. I'm innocent (a good guy) until you find an actual reason to say otherwise. I shouldn't be obligated to you to "prove" that I'm sane and not a violent criminal.

    "I’m for a free society, but our freedoms can’t be exercised if there isn’t some protection from chaos, which is why we have government in the first place."

    I disagree that you are for a truly free society.

    People create governments mainly to obtain power over others, and it works great to scare the shit out of most people so they willingly sacrifice their freedom (and that of their neighbors) for the illusion of safety.

    Most people I know are decent and would likely deal with me honestly, in a civil manner absent the force of government to make a system of rules. There are ways to deal with people through reason, without resorting to aggressive force. It's typically in the interests of all parties to handle things that way.

    Not that I have any illusions about freedom spontaneously breaking out, or that people raised in government schools and brainwashed to believe the lie that democracy is interchangeable with freedom would be equipped to run their own lives absent some authority.

    But I see government for what it is and don't fall for the rationalizations for allowing government people to behave so unethically.

    "[the Tucson victims] were thwarted because our lax gun laws enabled a mentally-ill person to purchase a gun."

    Meanwhile, thousands of similarly good people minding their own business were saved from harm because the "lax gun laws" didn't stop them from owning the best tool for self defense. In nearly all cases, such uses did not result in the discharge of a weapon, as would-be predators were simply scared away or made to surrender.

  • Dan: "You ignore the fact that guns are far easier to obtain and use than explosives."

    I don't know specifically how to make explosives, but I've heard and read people in the public media explain how there are things people can do to make explosives which are very simple.

    I am no more comforted by laws governing explosive materials than I am by gun control laws. A determined criminal can obtain such things on the black market (or perhaps create them). People are robbed all the time by criminals carrying black market guns.