New Zealanders Views of the Americans (and some of the responses)
(source: New Zealand herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1501154&objectid=10435034&pnum=0)
Note; The Editorial that invited the comments has since been removed!
Phillip Wister I am an American. I am a Patriot. I applaud anyone in the world that has a viewpoint on this tragedy. I chastise anyone that attacks anyone else’s free opinion given freely. We Americans are a violent people. We cannot get around that fact whatever the cause or history behind it. That is why I like the comments of “you would be speaking Japanese” if it were not for us. Nonsense. Gun control has been a problem since we stopped needing to hunt for our dinner(which was not that long ago in our cultural memory). The problem with guns is particularly handguns. The only thing handguns are used for is to kill other human beings, period. If anyone tells you different, they are lying. Americans now possess more handguns per person than most all the industrialized countries of the world put together. This brings up the old adage; if you got it, you are going to use it. The world should be making this same argument about the 1000’s of nuclear missiles that Americans still have on a hair trigger. We won the cold war so why do we need these also? One can only come to the conclusion that we are paranoid and live in fear all the time, That’s why we need all those hand guns and nuclear missiles at the ready. It really is no wonder that the rest of the world is so concerned, which comes out clearly in all the negative messages about these kinds of incidents. We have to realize that our foreign policy since WWII led by the Military and culminating in the American debacle in Iraq is finally bearing fruit; the scorn of the people of the rest of the world. If your value freedom of speech, then you must listen to what others have to say.myspace.blog/guderian123 disasterpresident.blogspot.com
Don My family has live in America for the past 378 years. We had to fight against savage natives, the French, the Spanish and the English Crown for our freedom and our survival. In 1776 we determined that we would never again allow a tyrant, either foreign or domestic, to disarm us. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, that we gave to ourselves, serves as a constant reminder to those in power that the American people can take power back by force of Arms if necessary. I understand that you do not understand why we cherish this freedom, since native Kiwis still live in an occupied country, subjugated to a foreign monarch. Imagine my shock when I saw the amount of venom spewing out of so many ignorant Kiwi mouths. Never have I ever heard one bad word about New Zealand from a single one of my 300+ Million fellow Americans. And now I discover that you people are not very nice at all. One last comment: The incident at Virginia Tech was planned and committed by a mentally ill young man. His ethnicity, religion, citizenship nor the weapon he chose are the cause of the murders and it is foolish to focus on those things, or on American society as a whole, in the search for blame. Rather, you might look toward the anti-depressant drugs that he reportedly was on, to explain his psychotic, depressive and psychopathic behaviors, and look around you. From several of the comments I’ve read here, many of you share his same state of mind.
Jerry So NZ calls the US a “sick society”…that is very interesting. The US is a world leading country in many things from sport, art, business, science, education etc. NZ leads the world in these statistics: teenage suicide rate, teenage pregnancy rate, domestic violence rate, depression (use of anti-depressants), mental disorder/disease rate/ percentage of population. Instead of obssessing about the imagined problems of America (when many kiwis on the North Island haven’t even visited the South Island!) The NZ media is censored and cannot report on how troubled NZ society is (eg teenage suicides are not reported). It’s time Kiwis faced the reality about NZ – one of the most PC and deeply troubled societies in the world.
Kiwi in Iowa I am a Kiwi living in Iowa. It never ceases to amaze me that I can go to Walmart, the biggest seller of guns in America, and buy myself a gun. Imagine being able to go to The Warehouse and purchase a semi-automatic Glock pistol and a bucket of ammo.
Scott I am an American that has been living in Auckland 17 years. I love this country a lot and have been raising 2 kids here. It really saddens me that some people either through there own ignorance or whatever make such brash comments like” they (Americans) get what they deserve!” No one deserves to be murdered in cold blood. The murderer acted alone. He was not forced. He was a coward! There is no way to stop these things from happening. I don’t care where you live, if you want a gun bad enough you can find one.In the 17 years of living here I have seen some atrocious murders here. Does it dim my opinion of NZ? No it doesn’t. It makes me realise that America is not alone. Who is to blame? The same people who voted for Legalising prostitution, same sex marriage. The same people that don’t know there neighbours or know where there kids are. The people who send there kids to daycare 8 hours a day. The people who are teaching us to ‘spot’ a bully, but not teaching us not to be bullies. Its people in such a rush to get across town to work that they arrive with such rage it ruins there whole day. Its me,its you. Society in general has really put the family on the back burner. Where is the love? I am afraid that Global Warming is more interesting. Lets teach our kids about that four letter word and maybe we can avoid these tragic events again.
JamesP It is truly amazing how sensitive Americans are to criticism. They take every negative comment about their country and twist it into a raging vindictiveness. They seem so easily angered, makes it easy to see why there is so much shooting there.If Americans think the rest of the world is irrelevant, why do they get so upset when the rest of the world criticizes them? Americans can dish out all the criticism to others that they want but they can’t take it at all. If Americans are so sensitive to what other people say, then they should stop holding themselves out to the world as God’s greatest gift to mankind. They would do well to mind their own business once in a while too. And just for the record, WWII, WWI, the American Revolution, and the Middle Ages are actually over. It’s also really sad to see how the rest of the world laps up American movies and culture as if they were thirsty animals wandering upon a waterhole in the desert. Stop blaming corporations, globalization or governments and just don’t buy it.
Simon As a New Zealand student at a University in Texas, I feel I have had a good view of American people and their culture. Firstly it is horrible that such a tragedy has occurred, and my sympathy goes to VT students and others effected by the situation. Secondly, it disugust me the ignorance shown by people back home in New Zealand. Im a very proud Kiwi, but we as a society often bemoan the ignorance of others cultures, without realising the ignorance of our ownselves at times. Do not stereotype all Americans to be ‘gun toting cowboys’ as this is certainly not correct. They are very generous people and well educated people. With a country as large as it is, of course tragedies like this will happen. Certainly as a country our own problems would be magnified by 100 plus with a population that size. But on the contrary, the gun laws here do need tightening (I can definitely say I have a lot easier access to guns here than home) making shootings become less frequent. This is something that will take a long battle for the society here as the constitution (like out treaty) is the document which the country was founded upon. But please do not stereotype so much, realise this is a tragedy caused by one person, not all American people.
Tim Edwards Hello, After reading many of the views expressed here I had to write in again, first off I am an American through and through, I know what the Constitution says and means, it is the foundation of this great and mighty country, this country is the light of this world for a reason, that is the freedoms and guarantees afforded us by that Constitution and the blood given to maintain it, if you start denying freedoms and what the constitution says then the foundation will crumble and we will fall as a nation, and regarding the Ten Commandments, you know the ones given to all mankind Thousands of years ago by our Creator, believe in him or not he is still “Our” creator, and believe me 2 seconds into eternity you will know that, are the ten greatest things society can do for each other, tell me what is wrong with not stealing, cheating on your spouse, lieing to each other, If you love this country then get behind each other and “our” constitution and make it a better place, that includes “our” right to keep and bear arms, which means self protection for yourselves and family from harm from criminals, and government, look at the history of this nation and that of other nations, tyranny has been, is, and will always be somewhere lurking for a new place to grow. If you don’t like America then get the hell out and stay out, if you are from another country don’t buy, sell, watch, or have anything to do with us, May God look after the victims and families of this horrible tragedy and may GOD bless the United States of America.
Grant Of course the lunatic US gun laws play a major role in so many tragic deaths there. Incidents like this can & do happen anywhere but not with anything like the frequency that they do in the US. Do the math guys – the US population is six times that of the UK, but deaths from guns in the US are 40 times those in the UK. The US is a wonderful country that has done many good things for the world (present administration excepted) but lets face it, unless you can adopt a gun control policy more akin to other civilised countries it is sadly likely that there will be many more events like this one.
Dennis Castanares As a literate Amwerican, and one disgusted by our gun-worshiping fetish, I find it embarrassing to see my compatriots writing these jingoist rants with poor grammar and multiple misspellings, excoriating other people in more sensible nations for just criticism of our national fetish. We are presently in a paroxysm of self-pity over the senseless massacre of 32 of our citizens, while as a result of our foolish and arrogant policy, more than 200 innocent Iraqis died just today. Perspective is notably lacking in the American media these days.
Jo In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre the rednecks crawl out of the woodworks to disown the shooter by labelling him an Asian, despite him living in the US for most of his life. It’s not enough to label him as a disturbed individual – he was Asian, now there’s a helpful tidbit of information. By this same logic we should also label the victims by their ethicities as well, but this would diminish the significance of American deaths as there was at least a Jew, Indian and Indonesian in the mix. People would rather discuss the look of the killer than debate the more appropriate issue of gun control and America’s fanatic obsession with the right to bear arms and confused logic that more guns equals a safer society. How is it helpful to make such a big deal about the shooter being South Korean? It will only serve to victimise other South Koreans in the US who are all tainted by the association with the killer and will no doubt suffer backlash from “real” Americans.
Scott What’s to blame? The usual, mental defective criminals who would not or could not get the help they needed either from outside or inside themselves to deal with real or perceived shortcomings.
Kelly from America The editorial about the problems with American gun violence raises fair points. I’m a 53 year-old American. My mother was Australian and came to the US after WWII. I own a two rifles and a handgun. I hunt big game like deer and elk. I eat what I kill. And I’ve travelled and lived and worked in New Zealand.The editorial says, ” . . . Americans may rethink their constitutional right to bear arms, but it seems unlikely.” I think that is too broad of a stroke, although it is correct. We may rethink the regulation of guns. But it is not an all-or-nothing proposition.Our murder rate is about the planetary average. But New Zealand’s is six to 10 times less per 100,000 than ours. And South Africa’s is about like ours. Brazil’s is worse. Regarding handguns: People in New Zealand hunt. But hunters in New Zealand don’t fear human-eating predators. Here in the US, in some parts of the country, large cats and large bears can kill us while hunting. There is a need for handguns for such hunters. I personally have been in the forest late at night cutting up an elk on watch for bears and cougars that would be attracted by the scent of the kill. I had red pepper spray. The other three in my group each had handguns. This is sensible. But, aside from a few hunters fearing for their lives from cougars and bears, handguns are needed by no one but the police and military. To defend one’s home from invasion (since many American burglars have guns, unlike most burglars in New Zealand) can be easily accomplished with a shotgun, small-caliber rifle or any hunting rifle. To have guns to oppose governmental tyranny, a rifle is more effective than a handgun. If some of our states would ban handguns (with rare exceptions for hunters, police and some collectors); eliminate large clips and semi-auto rifles, assault rifles; and allow inspections (like they do in many countries) of houses that do possess guns to see if they are stored safely, perhaps our huge murder rate would drop significantly in those states. After all, in the US, game wardens can inspect houses suspected of holding stolen or illegally taken game meat. We could do the same with universal registration of guns. New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan and many other countries have very low rates of murder compared to the US. It is hard, as one of my Kiwi friends told me, to do a drive-by knifing. As an American I believe our policies can benefit greatly from a best-practices analysis of nations, such as New Zealand, that have a much better record when it comes to domestic murder rate. To explain the expressions of anger against Americans and the gun policies we tolerate and indeed legislate, there are two justified reasons I think: Our arrogance as a large and militarily powerful nation often prevents us from learning from countries with more successful policies. This makes no sense to Kiwis who know their policies are working for them. The same is true when it comes to matters of state violence against people where New Zealand’s record is very good. People are upset when our government kills so many innocents such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia recently. In fact, the US government has killed many millions of innocents since WWII–over two million in Vietnam and approaching one million in Iraq. How many has New Zealand killed in the same period? Very few, to New Zealand’s credit.
Tara from Boston I don’t think most people in the US have actually read their constitution. If they did they would find that the second amendment doesn’t read “right to bear arms”. The exact text reads “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.” When the constitution was written there was no organized military, only minutemen. The minutemen were farmers, shop keepers, carpenters, ect who took up arms in defence of America. The sentence also mentions a well regulated militia so it’s doubtful that the writers intended for every person to be allowed to own a gun.I’m not doing to debate what happened in Virginia. that is a terrible tragedy and my heart aches for the victims and their families. This sort of thing should not happen ever. It’s not easy to predict what drove the shooter to his actions. It is clear that had a thorough background check been done, his records of mental illness and illegal alien status would have likely prevented him from purchasing the weapons.America’s gun legislation desperately needs to be rethought. Unfortunately, we live in a democracy. I say unfortunately because the American people are almost equally divided on the issue of gun reform. This is unsteady ground for politicians and it’s unlikely this issue will be mentioned in any elections.
Liaminh The shooter was “mentally unstable” and even had a “detention order” issued against him. But because there was nothing the authority could do to force him to remain under psychiatric care forever, eventually he was able to carry out his deranged and deadly delusions. This is a recurring problem in the US, be it a mother drowning her children in a bathtub or a young man going on a shooting rampage. Of course, easy access to firearms create the potential for horrific tragedies such as VT; however, I believe the deeper issue is with the American healthcare system and how it deals (or not) with mentally ill individuals.
Derek Nalecki Some people just have no shame. They will use a horrible tragedy to advance their, uhm, peculiar politics, knowing that in the light of day, those are seen as nonsensical. And so it is with gun-control crowd. There is no amount of gun control that could’ve prevented a deranged, determined lunatic from acquiring the guns. On the other hand Virginia Tech had a very strict gun control policy in place. One comparable to those of New Zealand or Australia. Law abiding people – students, teachers – were told guns were not allowed and they… well, abided by the law, and had no guns. This makes sane people wonder; what if there was no gun control policy at VT; what if one of the law abiding people had a gun; and instead of hiding under a desk praying not to be shot…acted? What if…?
Avery I think what happened at Virginia tech is a tragedy, but at the same time I find myself thinking, this is happening in Irag and the middle east on a weekly basis! and people seem to be so shocked about the Virginia tech situation, which they should be but it just shows how numb we have become to the issues in the middle east.
Thom There is a large amount of anti-American invective on here, and a fair amount of outraged rebuttal from Americans. I personally think it unnecessary for Kiwis (and anyone else outside America for that matter) to comment on an issue that does not directly affect the rest of the world (as the war on Iraq has for example). The statistics on violent gun crime and the number of school shootings in America speak for themselves. Americans are perfectly entitled to their right to bear arms – but clearly there are going to be consequences as a result of that right. Leave them to it – unfortunate as it is, it does not concern us.Perhaps our American cousins also need assuaging that the anti-Americanism voiced on this page is more a result of their current Administration’s foreign policy (which has had a destructive effect on the rest of the world), rather than people taking umbrage with the American people as a whole.
Claudine Lundgren As a retired teacher and close friend of the Kinkels who were murdered by their son of the Thurston shooting, I can tell you that it is not about the guns. It is about the medicine. It is about the major drug companies who are working in tandem with politicians and the FDA to make Americans sick. Just look at the TV ads. Students drink soda pop all day and wonder why they can’t pay attention in class, and get labeled with ADD, then take drugs to control that, then go off their drugs and shoot people. The mafia didn’t go away, they just got bigger and fly under a different name at the expense of everyone. They are filthy rich and powerful across the entire planet. Remember, it’s always about the money.
Luke This incident is probably a result of one persons bad treatment (or bad experiences in the past) that led to him being mentally unstable, Maybe it could have been stopped if he had been treated better by others. It could have happened anywhere in the world. (And has in the past) Wouldn’t it be great if only the police and the military had guns? In this day and age there isn’t really a need to hunt for food using guns and anyone who kills stuff for fun “sport” maybe shouldn’t have a gun. I think handguns shouldn’t be available for the public; they are too easy to hide and serve no real purpose when hunting. Do you think this guy could have hung about a campus unnoticed for 2 hours if he was carrying a shotgun or rifle?
St. Lou To all you hateful Kiwis: There are hateful and violent people in every walk of life, those are the facts. I am sorry you are either unaware and ignorant or afraid to admit that. Blame the gun if you want, but I can guarantee you that murder and violence will not go away. It is in the hearts of man that violence exists. Some facts for you: in 2000, 10,800 murders by guns were committed in the US 2002 42,800 deaths by motor vehicle, any kind of occurrence including alcohol. No more cars for you !approx 16,600 were the result of alcohol. Let’s ban the use of alcohol, right? in 2002 485,000 deaths were attributed to tobacco use. in one year, folks. Bad things happen to good people. Always have, always will. I find it funny that the world embraces everything America and then gives a slap in the face when something goes bad. When something happens bad to them or their country, they come whining to America “oh save us oh save us”. Always has. Always will. If America is so awful, why are so many Mexicans are risking so much to come across the border? Why is the world sending it’s students here to learn? Why all the immigration? Either the world is jealous of America or the rest of the world is stupid for trying to become American, period. You can’t hide from the facts, Kiwis.
Cathy No-one is to blame. The person was obviously mentally disturbed and ell through the cracks in the system. Instead of slamming each others countries cultural differences you should take a moment to imagine how these poor innocent kids went through hell and for their parents who will live in hell for a long time to come. SO hug your family and especially your teenagers. They need to know you are there for them. FYI: Im a kiwi who lives in the US and the parents of an 18 year old son. We do not own guns nor do friends or family. We go about our daily lives just the same as we did in NZ without guns blazing around us.
Jason I think this latest shooting in the USA is, like the others before it, very tragic. Unfortunately, we once again have people blaming loose or poor gun control laws for this terrible and senseless act. Looking at the crime stats for the USA it becomes apparent that the states with the strictest gun control laws (including DC, where gun ownership is completely banned) have the highest rates of violent crime then those in States with less strict gun control laws and therefore a higher rate of legal, private gun ownership, in an article in The Herald Online, there was a person from Virginia who is now in NZ and is a farmer here, he claimed that Virginia is saturated with guns, yet on the next line he goes on to say that it is a place where people can leave the keys in their cars and their houses unlocked. If you take a closer look, you’ll find this is more so the case in most states with looser or less strict gun control laws, then in the states with the more strict gun control laws, therefore, as is being hammered out from most media outlets around the world, loose or less strict gun laws can hardly be the cause of high crime rates, on the contrary, more legally owned guns, seems to indicate less crime. Therefore, as stated above, lax gun control laws cannot be to blame for this tragic event, this person was hell bent on killing is classmates, murder is already illegal and he never thought twice about breaking the already existing laws against shooting people, murdering people and ironically, the “No guns on campus” laws, what on earth makes people think that tighter gun control laws would have made a difference escapes me, he would have just broken any more laws just as he did the existing laws. The only gun law to blame for this tragedy, if any laws are to blame, it is the law that prevented, legally armed and trained law abiding citizens from carrying a gun for self defence, of the 32 people killed, over half would have been able to legally carry a firearm for self defence, had that been the case, the gunman, could have been stopped before more then three or four victims were taken, not after 32 and him ending it himself. But as stated above, this is a tragic and terrible event, not a time for blame or finger pointing, but a time for those who have been affected by this heinous tragedy to mourn and a time for the rest of us to count our blessings and hug our loved ones.
Steve Hart Whilst the shooting in Virginia was a tragedy for the individuals, their friends & families in reality in the good old US of A its a sad fact of life. On average about 82 people die a day from gunshot wounds in the USA. The gun lobby has powerful allies in the bush government & arms profits soar during times of war, unrest & in the aftermath of mass shootings when citizens arm themselves for greater protection. We may suffer a similar fate as present NZ gun laws could allow nutters to purchase large clip magazines on Trade Me & the police have no knowlege of who owns what or how many rifles. A 30 shot mag fitted to any number of semi automatic (banned in Australia) rifles becomes a very lethal killing machine & god grant us mercy the day some “P” head looses it with one of these in the wardrobe. Its now time to give the NZ police the powers to register all firearms & restrict the sale of large shot magazines.
Patricia My hearts and prayers go out to all the victims families. How many more lives are we going to lose before better gun control laws are established? It is a shame that the US government caves to the NRA….do they care about innocent lives? No, they don’t they care only about profit. Do they care about the constitution? No, they care only about profit. It is time (way past if you ask me) for the American citizens to stand up and speak out. We have lost too many innocent soles over greed. Stricter gun laws IS not taking away any ones constitutional rights “to bear arms” . Better yet, do as Chris Rock states in the beginning of Bowling for Columbine: increase the cost of bullets .
Jruawhare Kiwis heaping blame on Americans. Thats a bit sad isn’t it? Give New Zealand the same population as America and watch how many weirdos would come out of the woodwork. People seem to forget, if NZ had the same population as the US, we would have just as many serial killers, rapists, murderers and yes, “School Shooting Lunatics”. They may not have access to handguns, but theres plenty of semi-auto shotguns and rifles in NZ. Imagine if South Auckland was 50 times the population and size. How many Paicific Islanders are charged with shocking rapes and crimes, and theres currently only, how many there. What if that crime went through the roof? How many tourists come to “Green-Crime Free” NZ, only to get their belongings stolen, or raped / murdered? And whats our population? 4 Mill? I think too many people back home ( I’m a Maori living in California )have a tendancy to look the other way. Its way to easy to point the finger and say..”Oooo…America, land of guns and killers” How about…”Oooooo..New Zealand, land of meth labs and “P”..and men who kill little kids while on meth binges”..or…”Lets go for a hike ( female ) and get raped, then murdered by some Kiwi on the dole who everyone knew was a bit weird”. Bugger me…doesn’t sound so crash hot to live in NZ eh? Take the P epidemic in NZ and work that out per head of population, it makes us just as f-ked up as America’s drug culture. I mean please, some people should pull their heads in and take a reality check. New Zealand may be for now, safe from walk in school shooters, but as our population grows, so does the number of nutters ( easy math equation folks )and meth users. Its just a matter of time, and considering the crimes being committed thus far by meth induced morons in NZ, its not to far off me thinks. I have a .50Cal S&W pistol,.357 Ruger, .45ACP Semi Auto and a military remington 870 12Guage, but im not running around shooting up schools. Ive already pulled a gun on a individual who was breaking into cars in our gated area, but thats part of living in the US. Crime happens…theres so many people. Whats New Zealands excuse? 4 Mill’ and we already have a reputation overseas of “be careful when in out of the way places, you can get your kit stolen and or raped / killed”. So…what is our excuse then? For Americas size, they theoretically should have school shootings like this on a weekly scale, but they don’t.I think with all the guns that are out there, things could easily be a hell of a lot worse, but they aren’t. Think about that fellow Kiwis, you are making it embarrassing to be called one. Haere Ra.
Bruce I am a American and a NZ permanent resident after living in NZ 19 years I understand both countries well. The gun laws in NZ are far more sensible in any Kiwis way of looking at things because they do work I am very proud to tell my friends in the USA how the police dont carry guns except in extreme situations in NZ. The procedure to get a firearm licence in NZ is excellent with police visit to the house, hunter saftey courses being required and I am certain that we are at much safer in NZ than I am when I am in America.I also know that if this troubled young man had not had easy access to firearms the horrible killings would not have happened. In America people are used to being able to buy guns that has been part of the culture and it has always been our right. I have many friends who are lovely rational people who own guns some carry them in order to be able to protect themselves in just this kind of tragic incident prefer to live in New Zealand and I am privileged to be allowed to in no uncertain terms. But it is disappointing to read the cold remarks from Kiwis. These unfortunate young people lives have been snuffed out by a troubled man it matters not that he was from Korea or anywhere else. There are good and bad people from every country as we all know.The wonderful people that I know and love in New Zealand would be understanding and supportive and compassionate of Americas loss at this dreadful time of need.Is there a need for better gun control in the US of course there is no one can deny that, but now is the time for understanding. We have diverse culture in New Zealand that in the main embraces people of all the many countries that make our lives interesting and wonderful in our daily lives,please let us not single Americans out as idiots and such for they are not. They are caring wonderful people who sacrificed many lives for NZ and deserve respect.I do not agree with the government that George Bush is running or all the wars and lies nor do most of the people in the US any thinking person can see his administration is ruining America and its good name around the world.But the American people are still good and have mana unfortunatly our leaders do not know what it is.
Kiwi Reading through the comments on this page written by all the Americans (or people living in America) is fascinating. They are all calling Kiwi’s sick and disgusting for not liking America, and telling us that nobody cares about our country, and yet you are reading the NZ herald site! Something tells me you do care what we think! haha, go the NZ Herald!
Alex I am writing this from the US. The level of anger (and illiteracy) that I see in some of the postings from US readers is frightening, but not surprising. After decades of conservative misrule, excepting a few Democratic admininistrations here and there, we’ve become a culture in which wealth and consumerism have become a primary value. Real regard for the common good is considered suspect or socialist. In addition, we also have a public education system of very very low quality (essentially a day care system in many places). A complete abdication of responsibility on the part of the public school system (or of the government to insure its integrity), which in turn has dumbed down or lowered the standards of higher education. This has led to what really seems to be as a regression from an educated, literate society to one that has characteristics of a pre-literate or oral society. There is little capacity, on average, to question, investigate, or engage in critical or analyt ical thinking. No knowledge of history or historical relatavism. People are easily influenced by propaganda. They are confused, addled, prone to react on an emotional or gut level. (This comes from the top down. Look at Bush, with his “Bring him on” type displays. Look at the letters from other posters. This kind of reaction has become normalized.) Religion has never held more sway. Millions and millions of Americans are under the spell of a powerful, fundamentalist Christian Church, which has become more brazenly smug, intolerant, and politically influential than ever. Slowly, and over many years, beginning in the Reagan era, the fundamentalist Christian right has quietly infiltrated state and national government, culminating in the election of George W. Bush. He in turn has appointed at all levels, especially at the judicial, politicians with fundamentalist Christian agendas. The result is a society that really seems at war with itself. There is tension and anger everywhere which is often too much for those that are weak or mentally ill or with psychopathic tendencies to begin with. What happened at Virginia Tech is horrible, yes, but the real question is why it doesn’t happen more often.
David Very tragic event, however not surprising. This is not the first time that this has happened, and unfortunately will probably not be the last. On August 1, 1966 Charles Whitman ascended the University of Texas tower in Austin Texas. During a 96 minute shooting rampage Whitman killed 19 people(I believe this is the correct number) and wounded many others. The first mass school shooting in American history. What has changed in the last 40 years. For one thing there is more gun control now in the United States then there was in 1966. There was no Brady Bill, or any background checks, yet an angry young man got a hold of weapons and killed 32 people. This brings me to the point I am going to make. Even with all the gun control measures in place an angry man still managed to go on a shooting rampage. In 1966 there was no S.W.A.T.. It came about as a result of Whitmans rampage, however S.W.A.T. was at Virginia Tech in full force, and there was a two hour lag between the first and the final shootings. The politicians will calmor for more gun control and more security believing these measures will insure safety. This has not worked in the past and probably will not work in the future. Until people in the United States come to the realization that certain core issues need to be addressed, nothing will change. Isolated angry young men perpretrated these acts. Men who needed help and did not receive it for many reasons. Until men in this society are encouraged to seek help, other acts such as this will occur. Not only does it need to be encouraged, it needs to be seen as a strength and not a weakness. Men need to be told as well as believe that it is ok to have emotional problems as long as they are willing to take the steps to correct it. Until this is addressed, I am afraid the next rampage is just around the corner.
TM Got it wrong again as every foreign pundit does but so do most Americans. make sure you read what the right is before you start talking about it. The second amendment to the constitution says: 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. What this says is that the people have a right to a well-regulated militia. personal handgun ownership does not play into this right, especially regarding a well-regulated militia. it did when the people were the militia, but now it is the national guard. You can argue a person has the right, but the courts have rejected that argument.
Larson If one or two legally armed American Army veterans were in that classroom (or TWA flight for that matter) would the events have played out the same way? I don’t think so. We all need to protect each other from insane hate from outsiders and other gutter trash. How are those “No Guns Allowed” signs working for you?
Donald There are near 1/3 of the US population, some 80 million+ are gun owners, who are law abiding sane individuals and one nut murders 32 defenceless people. By comparison in NZ if one person kills another with a knife the government should ban all kitchen and pocket knives. You people are nuts.
Dan What gets me is how does someone with a mental history is permitted to legally purchase guns. They should have been removed when he had shown emotional problems in the past. Strict enforcement of gun laws would help. He could have killed with a bomb or something else almost as easily. Mental health in the US is not given enough understanding and the quality of treatment is lacking.
Greg The blame goes to Seung-Hui Cho. Freedom is a two-edged sword. We are free to be as great, or in this case as horrible, as we can be. Unlike the stagnant corners of the world where freedom is exchanged for a false sense of security, we trust our people with the means to protect themselves. Thousands of times every year this pays off – an armed citizen protects him/her self and proves our Constitution has it right. The anomaly of a Seung-Hui Cho is just that – an anomaly. We cannot, and will not, shape our laws to constrain the millions in a vain effort to control the one. Freedom is what America is all about – and we do it better than anyone else in the world…with more often great than tragic consequences.
Bill How can we blame anyone but the nut job that shot 32 people. He obtained a gun legally. No gun law would have stopped him from buying a gun. What if one or two of the people that were shot had a gun. When you depend on the state to take care of you it is usually to late when they arrive to pick up the bodies. Nuts and criminals will always get guns. Look at England! You can’t even own a gun but the murder rate with guns is sky high. If they can’t shoot you then they stab you. The 2nd Admendment was put in place by some very wise people. We have a right in this country to defend ourselves. What is wrong with someone carrying a gun to protect themselves and others.
Daniel I have sat here and read these remarks in their entirety, realizing that the bickering done here not only loses sight of the real topic at hand but shows just how little people understand about each other. People like Keith and Markus on the first page show there complete immaturity in this matter saying Americans deserve what they get, sounding like every dictator who has ever came to power advocating the killing and slaughtering of innocent people simply because they belong to a certain race, religion, or country. At the end of the day everyone is a part of humanity, not just their individual countries and this needs to be realized so that progress can be made. Gun laws do need to be addressed in America, it is a serious matter. But outlawing guns all together is not the solution, there are to many guns on the market already to ban them, for then the only people who will have access to these guns is the people who should not be around them in the first place. Even if the gun was taken out of the equation, this young man has the mind set to do what he did, he could have just as easily went on the internet and found plans to make a homemade bomb out of house hold items and strapped it to his chest and walked into the class room. This happens far to often in other parts of the world and outcries are not herd in nearly the same fashion as they are being made here. People need to stop playing the blame game and learn how to show compassion for you common man, for if you can not do that how can you accept any of these problems in the world to be resolved.My condolences are with the ones who have lost friends and family in this tragedy. 33 innocent people have died, whether they were American of not.
Bill Last line of the article says, “they continue to harbour the weapons of their own destruction.”America’s destruction will come about from the unappreciative arrogance of people like the article’s author and the revolting posters who imply, once again, these Americans “got what they deserved.” How can one balance the logic that makes the United States simultaneously the most hated country and the place people most want to be? People die to get to the United States. I think it about time for a demonstration to show what the world would be like without the US It is said that Americans are too involved in other nations’ business. That all of the world’s ills are the fault of the United States. I’ve been suggesting we find out how true that is. I’ve been pushing for “A Year Without America.” Withdrawal of all US troops, not only from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from every single foreign post. No US military anywhere outside US boarders. That will provide a great boost to boarder protection. Withdrawal of all foreign aid – all of it. Not one US Cent given to any nation or foreign organization. No food, no medicine, nothing. That will go a very long way toward balancing the US budget. Also make it illegal for private donations – no more of Bill Gate’s or Ross Perot’s money either. Donate in the U.S., or not at all. If Americans are too involved in other nations’ affairs, then all diplomatic posts should be closed and the US diplomats and staff recalled to the US All foreign diplomats in the US should be sent home. No diplomatic immunity extended to anyone. No interference – That means the US withdraws from all UN committees, all UN contributions cease, and the is UN told to find another home. Russia and China will dominate the Security Council. If the rest of the world is correct, that all the world’s problems are being caused by the U.S., then in one year there will be global piece, no starvation, no poverty, and everyone everywhere will love each other. And if they are wrong? No Israel, a much smaller world population, …
Kenneth Ho As a New Zealand citizen, I wish to apologize to our American counterparts for the absolutely disgusting comments that have been posted here by our citizenry. In a time when such a tragedy has occurred, not only have we not offered our sympathy, but we have exploited this tragedy to inflict further rhetorical harm to your already mourning country. I must say that those members of our country who obviously don’t care that innocent members of society, who most probably had no say in the gun policies of the United States, died while attending college, do not reflect the popular opinion of the majority of New Zealanders who are praying with the American people at this time. Please don’t let the views of a few ignorant ill-informed members of our society alter your view towards your friends down under. As you have rightfully mentioned, without America, we may not be enjoying the whole host of freedoms that we as New Zealanders take for granted today.
Chad Gun Control has never worked. Gun Control laws have been shown to have no positive impact on crime. The UK has soaring gun crime problems, as does Australia. Both have passed strict gun control laws in the last decade. Carrying concealed firearms for protection by licensed law-abiding individuals has been shown to have a positive effect on crime. In fact, the tragedy in Virginia was made worse by gun control. Virginia has gun control laws that prohibit licensed individuals from carrying guns on campuses. Of course, the assailant in this case ignored that law. But it prohibited law abiding permit carrying citizens (students and faculty) to carry for protection, so the whole campus became one free-fire zone for the assailant with no one there to stand up to him and stop him. Odds are that there would have been at least one permit holder carrying a gun in the area when this assault happened who could have reacted and stopped the assault before the huge number of people died. Instead, thanks to gun control, the list of dead is much longer than it had to be. Contrast this with the recent shopping mall shooting in Salt Lake City Utah, where an armed citizen lawfully carrying a concealed weapon engaged the shooter and prevented him from killing a lot more people than he did and pinning him in one place until police got there and were able to take control and kill the assailant. The Salt Lake City Police Chief has publically come out that this armed citizen saved lives. The Virginia Assembly (Virginia’s State legislature) recently had a Bill before it that would have removed the prohibition on law abiding permit carrying citizens from carrying on campus but they did not take the opportunity. They now have blood on their hands.
Bob If the liberal Democrats would quit trying to tighten gun laws things like this would not happen on such a large scale. If it were easier to actually exercise one’s right to bear arms more would do so. Imagine how many less victims there would have been had more of the victims been armed. The number could have been one or two instead of 32. The fact of the matter is that there are so many guns on the street that criminals can attain them with relative ease. If Congress were to ban guns today this wouldn’t change. Instead of taking a Socialist view they should allow all Americans to protect themselves by any means necessary.
Ken It is a sad state of affairs when a non citizen purchases a gun and shoots 30 Americans. The right to bear arms is a privilege to those who are citizens of the US, not foreign nationals. The state of Virginia broke the US constitution by allowing the sale of the hand guns.
Kieran I have now been living in the U.S for 7 months with work, I think everyone is missing the point here, it’s a tragedy 32 lifes gone to waste because someone decided to kill it doesn’t matter about race or culture this guy was out to kill. Re: Gun laws, this guy was so dead set on killing I am sure he could have got his hands on a gun even in NZ to complete his massacre. I am praying for VT and their families and hope some good comes out of this somehow in a twisted way so those 32 lifes have not gone to waste.
Aaron Having been to New Zealand I have (had) a lot of respect for your society. Having read some of your commentaries here, I’d like to invite most of you to not visit. In this country we pick our government and make our own laws. If you don’t like it well…
Ollie Those who have been posting anti-American sentiment seem to have ignored some underlying problems of their own. These posts smack of jealousy and ignorance, reflect some very misguided opinions, and fortunately, are not characteristic of the attitudes of any of the Kiwis I have met. It is obvious that many of these negative bloggers have spent little or no time in America, because if they did, they would understand how inaccurate their perceptions are. I ask that if you want to hate America, hate our government, but don’t judge us as people in one lump sum. We’re not perfect as a country, or as a people, but neither are you or any one else. It’s very easy to try and find someone to blame for the tragedy in Blacksburg, but in truth, the only person to blame is the gunman himself. To proclaim that firearms should be banned or that the campus should have been locked-down earlier, etc., and that this tragedy could have been prevented outright through these means is absurd. No one, in any country, can guard themselves against a psychopath. Draconian security measures and overreactive lawmaking will not prevent psychopaths from a) existing or b) unleashing their hell upon the population. At the most, it will deter the less committed, but it will not prevent the actions of those who feel they have nothing to lose.
Balu American people are one of the nicest in the entire world. There is nothing wrong with the people, it is the system. They are more adventure oriented – unfortunately a little experimental too. If you tell the law makers that if you touch the fire, you will get burnt, they do not heed the warning – They like to touch it and see it for themselves. One lady had commented that Americans are helpful and are the first ones to be there when needed – Its 100 per cent true – but sometimes they like the idea of playing “global police” While a lots of instances merit assistance and intervention, a few of them feel like they want the world to see when they flex their muscle. If you run a company and are not delivering positive results, the board will fire you. Unfortunately the great American people do not have the right to fire the incompetent officials who run the company – The people should fight to get an amendment in the constitution that gives them the right to fire the ruling government if they do not deliver the required results.
MD It is s sad day indeed when people of so called “civilized” nations joke about the deaths and maiming of so many innocent young people. And this, even before they can be laid to rest. One must look into a mirror occasionally to see what kind of a person is truly staring back… This editorial focuses on American culture as the root of this and apparrently all evil… What about the injustices against innocent people in Israel, Iraq, Afganistan, Russia, Phillipines, and on the African and South American continents? The world wide wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women and children in the name of someones god, for profit, or to further a personal or maybe political agenda? Sure, America has it’s problems with violent individuals who are willing to die for their cause and Mr. Hui personally saw to it that 32 innocent souls were lost at V. Tech because of his apparent broken heart. I’m sorry, but I can’t fathom the difference between a 9mm at a Virginia university, a human bomb at a mosque full of children or over one million people being executed in gas chambers. It seems to always boil down to evil people who are hell bent on killing to further an agenda and they could care less who dies in the process. Does American culture have a patent on this??? Not no, but hell no! Look around people, our entire world is a dangerous and violent place and has been since the beginning of humanity.
Erin Dinneen And humans need personal guns why? What the heck do humans need guns for….. I really don’t get the obsession.
Ben I spent a few months in a US college town on a university exchange and found it to be the safest place I have lived in. No doors were ever locked no thefts etc. The locals said that burglaries were almost unknown because the would be burglar could be almost 100 per cent certain that the householder was armed.I don’t think the US should change its gun laws because of this but they do need to have a look at their immigration laws because a disproportionate number of these incidents do seem to be caused by non-American born immigrants. Maybe they should make gun possession rights, like the Presidency, just for American-born only. Living in the US is at times a stressful existence because there is little in the way of social security and the individualism of the place can be difficult to accept for an outsider. Less of the anti-American comments though. If the US Marines hadn’t stopped the Japs at Guadalcanal the Imperial Japanese flag could well be flying in Wellington now – something that even the self-loathing Marxists who post on this site might not wish for.
Ben in America As a New Zealander living in the USA, I’m thankful I have the freedom to own a handgun. And yes, it’s for shooting people with. After reading many of the responses here, I’m glad I left New Zealand. New Zealanders seem to have no concept of personal responsibility. It is your responsibility to protect yourself. If you rely on others or the government, then you only put yourself in jeopardy. The police are only going to arrive after the fact to clean up the mess.
Salvatorparadise Painting any country with such broad brushes is exactly the sort of ignorance that has led to most of the bloodshed on this world forever…if it weren’t for those bad Americans most of the world would be signalling hail Hitler and speaking German. We Americans freed ourselves from an oppressive British rule, instead of sucking off our masters like New Zealand did for so long, until everyone realized the nation was a shitty little chain of islands that don’t matter to anyone.
Brendan in Minnesota It looks like those favoring gun control are forgetting Erfurt, Germany, in 2002. That was worse than Columbine, folks, with 18 dead. And German gun control laws are much stricter than those Down Under. And banning guns won’t help. Then what we’ll have is increasing victimization of law-abiding citizens by criminal gangs who can get guns on the black market. Sort of like in Britain, in fact. New York is safer than London and Paris now. South Africa banned guns at about the same time as Oz and NZ did and a fat lot of good it did them. Let’s show some sense, folks.
Andrew Stevenson I think the Americans on this site getting offended are missing the point. I don’t consider myself “anti-American” and I have nothing but sympathy for the victims and their families. What I don’t like is why the killing of these 33 people will dominate the Western media for weeks to come, how “V-Tech” will become a catch-phrase, like “Colombine”, and yet the nameless, faceless 200+ Iraqis killed in today’s car-bombings will be forgotten tomorrow. There will be no investigation into who the bomber was, no stories of victims or witnesses on websites, no pictures, and no live satellite links to the scene. Their deaths, arguably caused indirectly by the US, will go unnoticed. They are merely statistics and collateral damage. Yet when 33 Americans die, its a tragedy. I think that is why some people on this website may appear to lack sympathy.
Tim Edwards After reading this stupid, ignorant rank about the massacre in Virginia and then Colorado, it is obvious to me whoever wrote it is a moron, first off people kill people, not guns, and from first reports the lunatic that did the massacre had known mental problems with the campus and police doing very little or nothing at all, including reporting to the state and federal authorities that he had be put in a mental institution for a short time (voluntary or forced doesn’t matter) would have been on his record and he would not have been able to purchase legally the firearms that he used, bottom line stop blaming the guns all the time and get to the root of the issue, which is another complete failure to stop this “known” problem, more than a year before it happens, and talking about Columbine, the authorities there knew about those two nuts as well, so stick you can stick your one sided anti gun bias where the sun doesn’t shine.
Chris Alexis wrote “Those of you saying this should be lined up and shot for such callous disregard for peoples lives.” Sounds like something Cho Seung-Hui would have written in one of his “poems”. I’m thinking that statement is a good example of why omone would call us “stupid Americans” or the like.We Americans live our lives in relative safety day to day. A killing spree of 30+ victims is shocking to us, but that body count is a good day in Baghdad. Here is a recent associated press article to give a little perspective . . . Some of the deadliest days in Iraq since January 2006:-Nov. 23, 2006: Mortar rounds and five car bombs kill 215 people in Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. -March 27, 2007: Truck bombs hit markets in the northwestern city of Tal Afar, killing at least 152 people and wounding more than 150. At least 46 other Iraqis are also killed or found dead, for a total of 198. -March 6, 2007: Officials report 194 deaths, including 120 by two suicide bombers in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad .. I don’t see how these mass killings are any less shocking than the Virginia Tech killings. I know it probably doesn’t affect Alexis the same as these are “Arabs killing each other over there”. Actually, she might want to watch some news, because often times “Americans are in Iraq shooting up a storm for fun”, or to cover up rapes, torture, ect. Maybe these are the reasons that the rest of the world might be a little short on sympathy.
John Americans as usual are upset by criticism. I think most people worldwide think they should clean up their own stuff before they tell the rest of us how to live. Of course it’s tragic that these young people have died, but the easy access to guns and American lawmakers’ failure to deal with this issue over the years is at the heart of the problem. The other thing I think causes scepticism is that thousands of foreigners can die as the result of American policies and it’s called collateral damage, but when a few Americans die whatever the cause it’s a tragedy of monumental proportions. Bush was seen at the memorial in Virginia saying how dreadful this act was and then again a few hours later giving an interview which made clear nothing about gun laws was going to change in the US Nothing is going to change in the US until Americans take control of the corporation currently running their government.
Raman The Virginia Tech tragedy underscores the real problems here in America: the worship, glut and availability of firearms. Too many Americans suckle at the teat of the NRA. Too many Americans place their right to bear arms above any other privilege. The National Rifle Association is nothing but a front to endorse and market firearms to a paranoid public. Meanwhile, the lunatics that love and require their guns at any cost have far too much political clout. Gun-happy hawks have overwhelmed our nation. It is sadly obvious that this same “kill’em all” mentality has permeated our government and military. No wonder the Bush administration felt empowered to invade Iraq. The rest of the world watches as America slowly marches to its death.
Toby After Aramoana, New Zealand reacted and tightened its gun control laws significantly. After Port Arthur, Australia reacted and tightened its gun control laws significantly. After Columbine, the US talked a lot about ‘trench-coat mafia’ and did…
Alexis You New Zealanders are very sick, disgusting people.I hope a tragedy like this happens in your crappy country 10 times as worse. “Big deal”, “who cares”, “stupid americans” Those of you saying this should be lined up and shot for such callous disregard for peoples lives. Half of you have the nerve to mention Iraq like its relevant to this. In case many of you idiots are unaware its the Arabs killing each other over there. So stop acting like Americans are in Iraq shooting up a storm for fun. You guys are just as pathetic and ignorant as Europe. And yur America bashing rhetoric along with Europe is soo old, find something new to complain about. Barely anyone can find your damn country on a map because thats how unimportant all you are. Really all of you go to hell, you dont know anything about America than what you read in you ignorant America bashing papers.And if you hate us and our culture so damn much, stop buying our music, watching our movies and TV shows. Stop paying attention to our politics and everything America does. You are the same with Europe, irrelevant. Now really shut up and stop worrying about our gun-control laws because in case you didnt know, doesnt affect you.