Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday I dreamt I was with a class of college students, leading them through a dense tropical jungle on a bright, cloudless day. Persian buildings could be seen here and there, including white towers with golden domed tops rising above the trees. Eventually we came to a bright blue wall that I realised was in fact the sky. There was a large, blank white rectangle painting on it that I knew was used as a movie screen, and I wanted to show the students some movies. But one of the students, a guy who looked like Jay Hernandez from Hostel, which I watched a few nights ago, opened the white rectangle in the middle like a couple of large sliding doors. There was a dark room inside and I told everyone to stay out because I knew Lost Highway was playing in there and that, because Lost Highway isn't available on DVD, going in the room would result in disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, Jay Hernandez didn't listen to me, and soon he and many of the other students were dying of some kind of flesh-eating tropical disease.

I suppose there's some slight resemblance there to the school shootings to-day. The latest and worst of what seems to be becoming a terribly regular fact of life, I can't help feeling a little numbed. With Iraq to think about, and Darfur, the world seems increasingly covered by a boiling sea of violence.

I must admit, what's interested me most so far about this has been the politics on gun-control that appears to have already taken the stage. From the White House Press Briefing given by deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino:

MS. PERINO: As far as policy, the President believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting -- I don't want to say numbers because I know that they're still trying to figure out many people were wounded and possibly killed, but obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for.

Q Columbine, Amish school shooting, now this, and a whole host of other gun issues brought into schools -- that's not including guns on the streets and in many urban areas and rural areas. Does there need to be some more restrictions? Does there need to be gun control in this country?

MS. PERINO: The President -- as I said, April, if there are changes to the President's policy we will let you know. But we've had a consistent policy of ensuring that the Justice Department is enforcing all of the gun laws that we have on the books and making sure that they're prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Q Lastly, in Texas, if I'm correct, he passed legislation, no age restriction on possession of weapons, if I'm correct. Should there be some kind of federal age limit, as far as the President is concerned, raising the age for gun possession in this country?

MS. PERINO: Unfortunately, I'm going to have to go back and look at what the record was in Texas. Maybe Ken Herman could tell us. We'll go to Ken next.

Keith Olbermann pointed out to-day that one of the guns used by the gunman was modified with a special clip that allowed it to hold more than its standard ten rounds of ammunition. Such clips were made illegal by the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, but that law was allowed to expire by the Bush administration.

Olbermann also mentioned a press release from Gun Owners of America that argues that the gunman might have been stopped sooner if the students were allowed to carry firearms.

So they want to see a world where every college guy who thinks he's got a small dick can legally carry a gun? Every boozy frat boy? I have to wonder what ridiculous, slow motion shoot-out is playing in Bushie minds. It seems impossible that anyone can be so stupid, yet if they're deliberately attempting to destroy this country, you'd think there'd be faster ways of going about doing it. Maybe there's just no accounting for delusions. I wonder what remedy Gun Owners of America would recommend for someone whose callous short-sightedness has resulted in American deaths at home and abroad.

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