Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guns and the Culture of Death in Virginia

Mayor Bloomberg of New York is trying to crack down on gun deaths in his city. Finding that many of the firearms on the city streets are coming from Virginia, at one point accounting for almost half of guns recovered by the police, Bloomberg decided to send in undercover agents to gun stores in Virginia to conduct sting operations. The idea is to see if gun shops will sell guns illegally, involving "straw purchases, in which one person legally fills out a form and buys a gun for someone else." As a result of these operations, New York filed lawsuits against six gun shops in Virginia that sold guns illegally to undercover agents.

How did Virginia respond? By having a group known as the Virginia Citizens Defense League raffle off guns to aid the guns shops under investigation. Yes, that's right, they gave out free guns. Even Governor Kaine, who has sharply criticized Bloomberg's tactics noted that when he "read about a group doing this, it just makes me wonder what makes them tick." Of course, the top Republican elected officials defended the gun giveaway, partly on the grounds of giving the finger to Mike Bloomberg. So shortly after the Virginia Tech massacre, this is pretty insensitive, to say the least. Nobody seems to care about the proximity of the actions and policies of Virginia to gun deaths in New York city. Is this cooperation in evil, I wonder? How remote?

Something is rotten in the state of Virginia.

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