Reflection

In honor of the victims of yesterday's shootings at Virginia Tech, as well as their families and friends, On Balance is taking a break from our scheduled Tuesday Guest Blog. The massacre was the largest shooting rampage in U.S. history. Its many victims deserve to be honored and respected.

"Schools should be a place of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community," President Bush said in a news conference yesterday afternoon. "Today our nation grieves for those who have lost loved ones."

In the wake of yesterday's events, any sense of "balance" seems difficult to find.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 17, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
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Comments

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Sorry, but this essay does not ring true.
It reminds me of the makeshift memorials that arise whenever there is a shooting, or the T shirts commemorating someone who died too young. Both to be forgotten in a week.

Yes, this was a terrible incident that we will probably never explain, nor be able to prevent a re-occurrence.

This is a sad time for our nation.

On the other hand, have we forgotten the victims of 9/11 and Hurrican Katrina?

How about our 3200+ dead in Afpghanistan and Iraq? And the tens of thousands wounded and disabled?

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | April 17, 2007 8:19 AM

Isn't it time to get rid of the NRA.

"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."

Well, almost all gun owners aren't in a well regulated militia. A well regulated militia is NOT necessary for the security of a free state. Hence, no need for guns. Get rid of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:28 AM

"Well, almost all gun owners aren't in a well regulated militia. A well regulated militia is NOT necessary for the security of a free state. Hence, no need for guns. Get rid of them."

That is like saying we should get rid of student visas because the shooter was here on one. Guns are not the problem, crazy people are. Many people in other parts of the country use guns to hunt with and use the animals they kill to feed their family.

I am terribly sorry this happened but if you take away guns, only the criminals will have them.

My heart goes out to the families. It is truly a sad day in America.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 8:40 AM

My prayers go out to the victims and their families. Also to the entire VT community.

To anon April 17, 2007:

Isn't it a litle early to start spouting off on your personal agenda. Have some facts:

(1) The guns were stolen.
(2) The person with the guns was a criminal.
(3) The victims were unarmed.

As people have said numerous times before: When guns are criminalized only criminals have guns. And the innocent die because they are unable to defend themselves.

Posted by: Another View | April 17, 2007 8:40 AM

If we really want to reflect, I suggest that today's blog be closed to comments. We can resume the insanity tomorrow.

Posted by: Silence | April 17, 2007 8:40 AM

"Isn't it time to get rid of the NRA."

In a democratic society, it is never an appropriate time to eliminate the ability of citizens to support organizations that lobby for those citizens' preferred laws. Squelching speech with which you disagree is the solution only of dictators.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:43 AM

Isn't it time to get rid of the NRA.

"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."

Well, almost all gun owners aren't in a well regulated militia. A well regulated militia is NOT necessary for the security of a free state. Hence, no need for guns. Get rid of them.

----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------

It has been about a year since a similar college shooting in Montreal. Canada has gun laws and is rarely accused of aggressive culture problems.

I don't disagree with your politic... just your timing.

Posted by: why politicize | April 17, 2007 8:43 AM

Amen. Close the blog. I am a mildly frequent poster, but support this. Classes are cancelled at Tech, why not cancel this?

Posted by: to 8:40 | April 17, 2007 8:44 AM

The press doesn't shut down, if it did, you wouldn't know what was going on in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:46 AM

The gunman was a student who grew up in Ffx county, attended FCPS schools, and his parents still live here. He is probably a US citizen, and was definitely not on a student visa. It is quite likely that his family has lived here for generations. He doesn't represent his ethnic group, he is an individual like you and me.

Posted by: not on student visa | April 17, 2007 8:47 AM

Amen. Close the blog. I am a mildly frequent poster, but support this. Classes are cancelled at Tech, why not cancel this?

Posted by: to 8:40 | April 17, 2007 08:44 AM

another speech squelcher - the favored solution of tiny minds.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:53 AM

This has been such a shock. My heart goes out to those in the Tech community, the epicenter of this horror. What a sad time for our country as well.

I believe greatly in freedom of speech. However, I would like to respectfully ask that debate over gun laws be saved for another day. Let this be a day of honoring those those lost, hurt, and grieving, and let us reserve our comments (if any) to those that are non-provoking and kind.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 8:58 AM

What does it signify when kids see this story on the news, shrug, and say "Well, that is fewer people than died in 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina," then continue eating their Cheerios?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:58 AM

My university was considerably smaller than VaTech's, but was also an engineering college and an integral part of the small town it was in the middle of. Universities are open campuses, available to all and not insulated or isolated from the larger community around it. Many students live off campus and walk/bike/drive to their classes daily; this kind of tragedy is nearly impossible to prevent without turning these campuses into fortresses, which I doubt anyone wants to try and do.

Several of my coworkers and many of my wife's are alumni of VaTech; my sympathies go out to the entire campus and especially those who lost loved ones yesterday.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 8:58 AM

"Guns are not the problem, crazy people are?????" Really? Could a "crazy person" with a butter knife do this kind of damage. The scale of the carnage is a result of the fact that guns and ammo are so easily available in this country. One can search for meaning in this tragedy, but the real lesson is that WE NEED MORE RESTRICTIVE GUN LAWS.

Posted by: Montgomery County mom | April 17, 2007 9:09 AM

Before today, the words "gun" and "firearm" appear in 136 posts by 63 different contributors.

Top 5 listed below:

4 Megan
5 CMAC
5 pATRICK
6 Texas Dad of 2
7 Megan's Neighbor

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 17, 2007 9:10 AM

How are the parents out there explaining this to your children?

Was it just a bit unnerving to put them on the bus this morning with yesterday's events on your mind?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 9:14 AM

MoCo Mom, until we know more about how the shooter got his guns we won't know if more restrictive gun laws would have prevented this tragedy.

Posted by: Silence | April 17, 2007 9:15 AM

I hope and pray that the Hokies are able to pull together and be strong. The world grieves with you all.

Posted by: experienced mom | April 17, 2007 9:15 AM

'How are the parents out there explaining this to your children?'

the younger ones know the gun man is dead, so they are safe from him. their thoughts are now on other matters.

the older ones are presently finding out that their high school alum is among the dead. FCPS has counselors available.

my lessons for my children:

cherish your family and friends

seek community support

act quickly in a emergency to try and save yourself and others

bad stuff happens. try to cope and move forward.


Posted by: experienced mom | April 17, 2007 9:21 AM

My heart is broken for the grieving students and faculty, friends and family. For the parents especially.

Leslie, for a future blog, I'd like to see a discussion of the new book "The Feminine Mistake". There's an article on today's WaPo:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/12/AR2007041201849.html?hpid=smartliving

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 9:21 AM

Yes, Silence, you are absolutely correct in indicating that we don't know the origin of the guns. However, it is reasonable to suppose that one of the reasons we have such an extensive market in illegal weapons is that "legal" weapons make their way in to that market when they are stolen or otherwise lost by legitimate owners. The number of weapons in circulation does not CAUSE such violence, but it does increase the probability of its occurrence.
This is an immeasurable tragedy, but we need to take a look at all factors in the tragedy -- availability of weapons is only one, but it's an important one.

Posted by: Montgomery County mom | April 17, 2007 9:24 AM

I went to graduate school there,getting my degree a few years ago.

I am stunned, shocked, and a little numb.

All I can do is pray, and donate if they set up a fund to contribute to.

Posted by: NW anon | April 17, 2007 9:26 AM

This morning's news says the guns (a 9mm and a .22 caliber pistol) had their serial numbers obliterated. That would make the guns impossible to sell legally, or at the least, make it difficult to identify who the legal owner was.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 9:27 AM

While this is a shocking and horrible tragedy, it is sobering to think that this type of event happens nearly every day in Iraq. Hard to imagine...

Posted by: GBS | April 17, 2007 9:28 AM

What a horrible thing to occur.

My youngest child has no idea what has happened (I didn't see fit to have the news blaring about it, endlessly) and my eldest is aware that it happened, that the shooter is dead and that there will be questions answered and more questions raised.

I doubt that there will ever be answers "enough".

I feel so badly for those who suffered losses yesterday.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 17, 2007 9:29 AM

Leslie wrote: "In the wake of yesterday's events, any sense of 'balance' seems difficult to find."

Well, yes and no.

Outside the immediate Blacksburg region, most people still have to work or attend school. There and everywhere else, most of us still have to do whatever we do -- continue our home lives, family responsibilities, etc. For various of us, today meals still have to be made, basic household chores done, children cared for, some people may even have to finish their income tax returns.

It's just that our hearts aren't in it.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 9:33 AM

To "not on student visa"

Looks like you need to check your facts. From CNN and NBC4:

"He has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui. He was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, 23, a South Korean native, was in the United States as a resident alien with a residence in Centerville, Va."

He was not a citizen and did not grow up in the US. As a resident alien it was illegal for him to possess a firearm of any kind.

Posted by: Another View | April 17, 2007 9:51 AM

Silence wrote: "I suggest that today's blog be closed to comments. We can resume the insanity tomorrow."

I'll refrain from calling you the vile names you richly deserve, but merely point out that it is totalitarian states that seek to suppress the free flow of information and commentary whenever something bad happens. We must keep communicating -- civilly, I hope.

Our free press -- which so many are too quick to malign -- will bring us information as it is discovered; the free market motivates them to compete to bring it to us as quickly and accurately as possible. Do they ever make mistakes? Sure. Who doesn't (besides a few sanctimonious anonymous snarkers)? But the news media try their best, which is better than most of us could do under the circumstances, and in the long run we will find out and start to understand more.

Yesterday Chris asked, in so many words, who and why (we already knew the what, when, where and how). This morning we're starting to find out answers to his questions, and this likely can bring a little more comfort.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 9:53 AM

"How are the parents out there explaining this to your children?"

My child is a college freshman (not at VA Tech, but knows people who go there) who has lived through 9/11, DC area sniper, student at same high school murdered when friend laced soda with cyanide, classmate killed when hit by car, classmate died of heroin overdose, acquaintance killed on a high school football field during a large fight involving baseball bats - the last three within the past year.

We pronounce our love and sorrow and let our child know that feelings should be discussed and not held in.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:58 AM

WARNING OFF TOPIC TO MEGAN


Megan-I will copy this as an OT on todays blog as well. To answer your question, the reason the new testament lessons does not apply to the old testament readings because the old testament is one interpretation of the God of Israel. Like a previous poster said the new testament represents a new covenant with the God of Israel. But it is important to note that Jesus did not fulfill the Jewish prophecy of the Messiah. The Jewish Messiah was suppose to be a great military and political leader who would restore the state of Israel. Jesus did not do this. What Christians do believe is that Jesus transcended the Jewish prophecy and offered salvation to all who believed in him. Hence creating a metaphorical state of Israel in the after life. But it is also very important to note (and often missed) is that the Christian church of today looks more similar to the ministry of St. Paul rather then Jesus' ministry. Jesus very much believed to be his follower one needed to be Jewish. What Paul found was the gentiles (non Jews) did not like the idea of circumsion (the covenant or the law of Abraham). Well they were not getting enough converts willing to be circumsized or former Jewish people. So they opened up their membership to gentiles and dropped the requirement of circumsion. Thus dropping the concept of being Jewish as a follower of Christ. Remember Jesus was considered the King of the Jews. The Christian church started to divorce their association with their early Jewish roots some time prior to the Nicean council. Then the idea of our early Jewish heritage was pretty much down played or basically lost. Again, only girls are born into the Jewish faith. Even Jewish males need to be brought into the faith through circumsion. In short the old testament pretty much depicts a hard a$$ kind of God while the new testament offers a kinder gentler approach. A little tangent too is that if you read any of the banned books of the bible, you will learn that monotheisim (belief in one God) was really an evolutionary concept. Even to Abraham (the grand father of monotheisim). There were other gods, namely Baal. There was a great battle between Baal and the God of Israel and guess who won. So the idea of one God took a while to mold into our modern belief of being a singular entity. Even the God of Israel according to Abraham resembles Baal and some of the other pagan gods of his time. So one idea is that the old testament god was just a misinterpertation of the one true God. Or simply or more accurately the relationship between the God of Israel and his people changed. Again the bible is a story about the relationship of the God of Israel and his people. It is not meant to be an historical account of events.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 07:50 AM

So, Adoptee, where does the Greek Orthodox church fit into this? My quick skim of your last posting doesn't seem to address the schism that led to the Orthodox vs. Roman churches.

(For the record, I suspect the Orthodox Church is vastly closer to the followings of Jesus than the Roman.)

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 08:32 AM


The Orthodox split came a lot latter then the St. Paul's letter to the cornithians. St. Paul traveled to Europe to spread the gospel. He went to Greece (Cornith) aroudn 51 AD. The Orthodox church as we know it today started around the 4 century. But the Orthodox church, like the Roman church believe they are part of the Apostolic succession which begin with St. Peter. Just because they trace their roots to the ancient church, the actual division between the orthodox and the roman church occurred a lot later. Remember in the early church, it was not really functioning as one united philosophy. There were a lot of splinter groups for centuries. It is easy to see that when you read the current biblical text and the Gnostic gospels. Remember it was the ecumenical council that set up five regions of the church:Rome, Jerusalem, Constantianople, Antioch, and Alexandria. Each of the five synods had their own customs and traditions. Eventually those five branches molded into two main philosphies: Roman church and the Orthodox church. The Roman church was the Latin rite and it's seat was Rome. While the Orthodox was the Greek rite and it's seat was Byzantine. But that happened way after St. Paul's ministry. That official schism was during the 11Century.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 09:10 AM

(For the record, I suspect the Orthodox Church is vastly closer to the followings of Jesus than the Roman.)

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 08:32 AM
I don't know about this. I know you don't have to be circumized to be part of the orthdox church. But as far as the difference in the sacraments and the history, I don't know a lot about the Orthodox church. They do keep closer to the date of Easter and other holidays. But as far as the major teaching of Jesus, I don't know if it is a lot different then the Roman church.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 09:23 AM

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 10:03 AM

Maryland Mother's instincts for handling news of the shootings age-appropriately WRT her children are right.

The National Mental Health Association offers these guidelines for helping children deal with tragedies like yesterday's at Virginia Tech, and other school shootings. Their toll-free information line is 800-969-NMHA. See more at:
http://www1.nmha.org/newsroom/system/news.vw.cfm?do=vw&rid=103

NMHA recommends:

* Talk honestly about the incident, without graphic detail, and share some of your own feelings about it. It is important for children to feel informed when they see their parents and other adults reacting to a crisis.

* Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. (Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to ask what the child has heard about the incident and how they feel about it.) Validate the child's feelings. Do not minimize his/her very real concerns.

* Limit television viewing for younger children, especially those of preschool age. It is very difficult for young children to process the images and messages in news reports.

* Let children know that such tragic incidents are not common, and that on a day-to-day basis schools are safe places.

* Empower children to take action about their own school safety. Encourage them child to share with an adult their concerns about school safety or specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide). Let children know they can talk to you anytime they feel threatened or fearful.

* Recognize what may be behind a child's behavior. Younger children may react directly to the school shootings by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline.

* Keep the dialogue going even after media coverage subsides. Continue to talk with children about their feelings and discuss actions being taken to make schools and communities safer. Open dialogue about safety issues will encourage children to share future concerns with you or another caring adult.

* Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a child's reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at school or at your community mental health center. Your local Mental Health Association can direct you to resources in your community.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 10:06 AM

"The press doesn't shut down, if it did, you wouldn't know what was going on in the world."

Closing the blog for the day is not shutting down the press.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:06 AM

Scarry hit the nail on the head. If you outlaw guns, then only the people who could care less about breaking yet another law- criminals- would have them. Look at DC. If you make guns illegal, then you will just create easy pickings for criminals who have guns and crime will actually flourish! You will be severely impeding a person's ability to defend themselves. The lesson learned from this tragedy should be one of firearm awareness. Guns are not going away no matter how much we wish. How best to deal with them then? Either get one of your own with which you can defend yourself and others, or be prepared to be a victim, or at most an unarmed opponent (ie- you can play hero). If you are in a group setting of like-minded people who are willing to take a big risk, you can rush a gunman. A few will no doubt be shot, but you can potentially save more lives if it is apparent that they have the means and will to kill multiple people (notice multiple weapons/ammo). Otherwise, you can abandon everyone else and make a run for it... and hope you don't get shot in the back. If the attacker is aggressive and just wants to kill the odds are in your favor if a group rushes the attacker and ends the situation ASAP- as when they are overwhelmed/killed help will be able to arrive sooner to patch you up if you have a non-lethal wound. Otherwise you leave yourself at the mercy of a lunatic gunman. It's blunt, but there it is.

Faced with a crazy man who is trying to kill as many people as possible, I would like to have my own gun, or at least a group of people willing to make a stand to show the world that we will not be intimidated.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 10:06 AM

My brother treated some of the wounded yesterday at the Blacksburg hospital. My young nephew and his HS girlfriend are planning to attend VA Tech next fall. I think we are all saddened and dismayed. I don't think shutting down a blog will help at all. People need to grieve and talk about it on their own terms. My heart goes out to all of the families touched by this tragic event. I hope we all did go home and hug our kid last night (suggestion from moxiemom). I know I did.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 10:08 AM

"He has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui. He was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, 23, a South Korean native, was in the United States as a resident alien with a residence in Centerville, Va."

Could this be true? If he was a resident alien, he should have had finger prints on file. The police could not match his finger prints to their data base.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 10:12 AM

Maybe all the VT students should be armed, so they could defend themselves. I'm sure none of them would use the guns to hurt themselves or one another any other times, right?

Posted by: To Chris | April 17, 2007 10:12 AM

Hi Catlady,

Well, another reason I minimize the re-playing of the event is that it fosters learned helplessness.

Happens to grown-ups too, which is why I can remember being VERY VERY upset with my husband when he kept watching the re-play of the 9/11 footage. He refused to turn it off, he refused to go pay attention to anything else (life, for example) and it got him really upset (bipolar & borderline, let's not forget those) and it's not like he could change anything. But it made him a frighfully nasty dangerous person to be around.

Poison in, poison absorbed.

I'm not advocating ignoring the events either, simply not subjecting yourself to them endlessly. It'll make you crazy (crazier) and possibly ill.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 17, 2007 10:13 AM

I fail to see the logic behind the notion that tougher gun control measures lead to only criminals having guns. It gives me the impression that the US has reverted to the wild west where everyone should be carrying a weapon.

There are lunatics everywhere in the world, but the main reason that such tragedies occur here is because it is relatively easy to get a weapon.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 10:16 AM

official said Cho's backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol.

Maybe it was a legal purchase.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:16 AM

Chris,

I think one of the last places I'd want to see guns carried around is on a university campus. Way too many emotionally immature adults there, not to mention the possibility of drunken misbehavior involving firearms.

Here in NC it is legal to carry a licensed firearm in public, and has been for years. I have yet to hear about a situation where an armed citizen successfully stopped a crime from taking place, however, despite the constant railing by the NRA that a gun-armed society would be far more crime free.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 10:18 AM

The Washington Post website states that the gunman came to the US as a young child. He did attend FCPS schools. He is a resident alien, which is not the same thing as being here on a student visa. Someone on a student visa is here while they attend school. The visa does not allow them to live here permanently. As a resident alien, he is legally allowed to live in the US indefinitely. His family has relocated to the US. They have longstanding ties to this community. An individual committed this tragedy, not a culture, not a legal status, not an immigration classification, not a nationality or ethnic group. An individual.

Posted by: not on student visa | April 17, 2007 10:19 AM

According to the reports he immigrated here as a child - that may be the reason his fingerprints aren't on file (I am only guessing - but maybe there is some immigration expert among the blog contributors who would know)

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | April 17, 2007 10:22 AM

Adoptee, great post! Many people forget - or don't know about - the historical underpinnings of Judeo-Christian religions.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 10:24 AM

Maryland Mother, After a while, back in 2001, it was determined that the repeated airing of the images and video of the planes hitting and the twin towers collapsing was harmful to at least younger children, who were unable to grasp the difference between repeated attacks and mere replays. While adults were able to grasp this distinction, I don't think it did us much good after a while, either -- after we'd seen them enough times to be able to remember them in our memories. I'm so sorry to hear that it affected your husband (and by extension everyone around him) the way you describe, although I'm sure his pain was authentic, too. At least with the Virginia Tech shootings, there aren't such violent iconic images to haunt us.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 10:25 AM

Adoptee, great post! Many people forget - or don't know about - the historical underpinnings of Judeo-Christian religions.

Some of us don't care, as we think it is all a crock of sh*t. Or used as la Orwell's Animal Farm, "All animals are created equal. Some are more equal than others."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:26 AM

Foamgnome said: "He has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui. He was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, 23, a South Korean native, was in the United States as a resident alien with a residence in Centerville, Va."

Could this be true? If he was a resident alien, he should have had finger prints on file. The police could not match his finger prints to their data base.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 10:12 AM

Foamgnome, my older daughter was a resident alien until Feb 27, 2002, when a law was passed that made all adopted children citizens. She never had her fingerprints taken. Her photograph is on her resident alien card, but a photograph wouldn't have helped in this case, since his face was obliterated when he shot himself.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:29 AM

There are lunatics everywhere in the world, but the main reason that such tragedies occur here is because it is relatively easy to get a weapon.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 10:16 AM

I agree with you MV. I'm pretty sure they have crazy people in Europe too (just look at Parliament) but the reason this doesn't go down there is the limited access to guns. The nutcase in Holland who killed VanGogh, the director, had to do so with a knife.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 10:29 AM

"although I'm sure his pain was authentic, too"

It was authentic, but it was also self-inflicted.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:30 AM

Even if he immigrated as a child, his fingerprints should be in ICE's database because they don't change. The Immigration and Customs office is really not the most reliable government office. They do lose people's biometric information.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 10:30 AM

"An individual committed this tragedy, not a culture, not a legal status, not an immigration classification, not a nationality or ethnic group. An individual."

I made no comments about his ethnic group or nationality. You are the only one talking about that issue. I heard on the news he was here on a student visa and was using it as a comparison to saying lets get rid of guns. You need to get a grip, everything cannot be made into a race issue.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 10:31 AM

Catlady, I hadn't intended to trample on anyone's right to free speech. What I had in mind was a time-out in honor of the victims and their loved ones, and a chance for more information to come out about the shootings. There is definitely plenty of room for debate here, but it helps to know what we're debating about.

Posted by: Silence | April 17, 2007 10:35 AM

10:22: Thank you for these links. I have only skimmed them but plan on printing them out and reading in more detail. I find the historical and literal studies of faith fascinating subjects. I admit to only having about a 4 th grade understanding of the Orthodox church and the Great Schism. It is amazing what I do remember about 4 th grade studies of the Great Schism and my later 8 th grade study of the Protestant Reformation. I can still remember my diarama(sp?) of Constantianople the New Rome.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 10:36 AM

One of the lessons in the wake of last fall's school shooting at West Nickel Mines, PA., was that the families of the victims reached out to the wife and children of the dead shooter -- who were not only also bereaved but whose family member had done something so horrible that he was reviled widely by the public fort it.

While I cannot fully know the grief of any of the families of yesterday's victims, at least they are easy to sympathize with. The shooter's family are presumably good people, too, but their undoubted pain and sense of shame are beyond my comprehension.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 10:37 AM

"An individual committed this tragedy, not a culture, not a legal status, not an immigration classification, not a nationality or ethnic group. An individual."

The gun didn't kill anyone either, the person did.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:37 AM

We entertain ourselves with violence. Without handguns, life would be hardly exciting.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:40 AM

To to Chris, if that is your name... if campus law at VT students are not allowed to have guns on campus, how did THIS particular VT student have one on campus? My point is that people like this guy break laws on purpose. In fact, I'd be willing to say that most criminals know they are breaking the law... :-P
An alternative I proposed, for those unwilling to carry a gun at all times, just in case there is a crazed gunman, is for a group of the unarmed to rush said crazy gunman in hopes that they managed to overwhelm him before he kills even MORE people.
You can either be a victim, or be willing to do something about it.

There are three types of people- sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.

Run a search for the following article (it is a great read and maybe just maybe coudl open your eyes):
On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 10:42 AM

I guess it shocks me that we don't finger print resident aliens. I can understand little children (and I know he came as a small child). Hmm, maybe we should change the process.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 10:42 AM

Without toy guns, how would we entertain our children? Toy Knives?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:44 AM

Chris you are the type of person who I would want by my side in case of emergency.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 10:45 AM

Chris,

Again, putting guns in the hands of underrage students (most freshmen/sophomores are under 21) would seem to me to increase the number of shootings, not prevent the few that take place. You're just parroting the usual NRA mantra that guns in everyone's hands will make society more safe and polite.

Down here in NC allowing citizens to carry firearms in public hasn't changed a thing wrt reducing crime.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 10:45 AM

most freshmen/sophomores are under 21

18 is the legal age in this country.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:46 AM

Silence wrote: "There is definitely plenty of room for debate here, but it helps to know what we're debating about."

Definitely.

Perhaps some of our chatters who WOH can let us know if they think there's too much, too little, or just the right amount of discussion of yesterday's events in their workplace -- and how they deal with it if they think it's not the right amount for them (since not everyone has an office door to close).

Those of us WAH today at least have more control over the amount of exposure: we can turn off our radio or TV, or log off news or discussion websites.

Silence, I mean this kindly, but if it sometimes hurts too much to discuss what happened yesterday, then you don't have to, or you can take a break for a while -- it's OK, because we all process these thing differently. We also need, as you say, to define the issues, especially in terms of "balancing" personal life and work -- and above all, we need not to snark, especially now.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 10:47 AM

I find two things disturbing. The first is the idea that the fact that the shooter was an immigrant is somehow relevant to anything. The Colombine shooters and Timothy McVeigh were as American as apple pie, and this did not prevent them from committing horrific crimes. Evil can come from any person. Immigrants don't have a monopoly on it.

Second, after digesting some of the horror of yesterday, I wondered how the gun industry is able to sleep at night. Like it or not, these kind of large scale massacres would not be possible without guns. Study after study has shown that the prevalence of guns in society is associated with increasing rates of suicide, homocide, and intentional deaths. Those who say that stricter gun control would only cause criminals to be the only ones with guns are seeing things clearly. Unless we become a society where everyone carries guns (like in the wild west), less strict gun control is not going to provide victims with defensive weapons anyway (they didn't yesterday), and criminals are going to have more access to guns because legal weapons are going to get lost or stolen and get into the black market where they can acquire them. There are lots of studies that show that prevalance of gun ownership is just more dangerous:

See the following website on firearms research: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/pdf/litreviewfirearmdeaths.pdf

These are some examples:

Miller M, Hemenway D. The relationship between firearms and suicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 1999; 4:59-75.
Major Finding: This review of the scientific literature on the relationship between gun ownership levels and suicide rates finds that the vast majority of current evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for suicide in the US.


Miller M, Azrael D, Hemenway D. Household firearm ownership levels and suicide
across US regions and states, 1988-1997. Epidemiology. 2002;13: 517-24.
Major Findings: The authors analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and suicide across 50 states over a ten year period. After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, across the United States, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of suicide, particularly firearm suicide.

Miller M, Azrael D, Hemenway D. Household firearm ownership levels and homicide
rates across US regions and states, 1988-1997. American Journal of Public Health.
2002; 92: 1988-93.
Major Finding: An analysis of the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten year period, and found that after controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Kellermann AL, Rivara FP, Rushforth NB, et al. Gun ownership as a risk factor for
homicide in the home. New England Journal of Medicine. 1993; 329:1084-91.
Major Finding: This case-control study found that after controlling for various
characteristics (e.g. neighborhood, race, age, living alone, drug use), keeping a gun in the home was strongly associated with an increased risk of homicide victimization. Virtually all of this risk involved homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.

Wiebe DJ. Firearms in U.S. homes as a risk factor for unintentional gunshot fatality.
Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2003; 35: 711-16.
Major Findings: In this case-control study comparing subjects living in homes with guns to those without (and adjusting for covariates), the relative risk for dying from an unintentional gunshot injury was 3.7 times higher for adults living in homes with guns. Having handguns in the home was associated with the largest effect estimates.

Hemenway D, Azrael D. The relative frequency of offensive and defensive gun use: Results of a national survey. Violence and Victims. 2000; 15:257-272.
Major Findings: Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey, we
examined the extent and nature of offensive gun use. Firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.


Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 10:49 AM

A followup to my last post:

While rushing an armed gunman when you are unarmed is certainly a last resort action, there are alternatives to carrying a gun yourself.

Pepper spray, mace, stun guns, etc, are all legal and can be used to incapacitate even someone with a firearm, without risking those around you. My wife carries one of the above self protection devices and knows how and when to use it if the need arises.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 10:49 AM

Something else that some of you might want to read is Tom Shales's fine article on yesterday's media coverage, "Bad News, Broken Slowly":
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041601841.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 10:50 AM

"The first is the idea that the fact that the shooter was an immigrant is somehow relevant to anything."

Emily it has nothing to do with it, which was my point about the student visa. One thing doesn't automatically quantify the other. Allowing law abiding citizens to have guns in this country has nothing to do with this shooting. I used the example to try and show the absurdity of it, but apparently, that is lost on some people who have an agenda.


Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 10:57 AM

Does this news makes a practical difference for some families? Does this info tip the scales against large campuses in favor of small? Single sex and closed off vs. co-ed and open? Or even make people decide to encourage their children to skip college and go to technical school on-line or something? My child is only 3 so, although it is terrible news that certainly made me hold him a bit tighter this morning before school, it hasn't had any substantal effect on our lives.

Posted by: Jen | April 17, 2007 10:57 AM

"Emily it has nothing to do with it, which was my point about the student visa. One thing doesn't automatically quantify the other. "

I beg to differ with you on this point Scarry. Study after study has shown that prevalence of gun ownership by law-abiding citizens is in fact associated with a higher rate of suicide, homocide, and unintentional deaths. Comparing gun ownership to the issuance of student visas is a ridiculous analogy.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 11:00 AM

Pepper spray, mace, stun guns

Actually, those are pretty tightly regulated. Binaca just doesn't have as far-reaching a "blast".

And no, this doesn't change my world anymore than the DC sniper incidents did. Personally, I was peeved more than anything else--as my risk of getting killed in a traffic accident is still far likelier than getting shot by anyone besides a family member. Family and friends are still the most dangerous people around.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:01 AM

Note: "Mace" brand and "Pepper Spray" are used interchangeably for the purposes of this article.

New York: New York residents may only purchase defense sprays including Mace or other brands of pepper spray and tear gas from licensed Firearms Dealers or licensed Pharmacists in that state.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts residents may only purchase defense sprays including Mace or other brands of pepper spray and tear gas from licensed Firearms Dealers in that state.

States Where Pepper Sprays Have Some Restrictions

Michigan: Click here for All Michigan Approved Pepper Spray & Mace. OC Pepper spray can be no stronger then a 2% concentrate (Different companies can sell different concentrations.) CS is the only Tear Gas accepted and can be no larger then 35 grams per can. No combination spray allowed.

Wisconsin: Pepper only. No Tear gas, UV Dye or combination sprays. OC can be no stronger then a 10% solution. Can must be between 15-60 grams only. Must have safety feature.

Posted by: some states regulate some things | April 17, 2007 11:03 AM

Adoptee, great post! Many people forget - or don't know about - the historical underpinnings of Judeo-Christian religions.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 10:24 AM

Isn't that the truth. I always joke that the Protestant faith (my own heritage) thinks Christianity started with the reformation.

But on todays topic-Tragic says it all.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 11:04 AM

'Does this news makes a practical difference for some families? Does this info tip the scales against large campuses in favor of small?'

No. My son still wants to start at Va Tech next fall. It's still a great school.

I'm really annoyed with the media people who keep squawking about what the authorities should have done differently. They were doing the best that they could with the information that they had available.

Posted by: experienced mom | April 17, 2007 11:06 AM

Emily you are missing her point.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:07 AM

http://www.stungunsupply.com/store/catalog/Laws-And-Restrictions-sp-4.html

Pretty comprehensive list of where you can't own certain items and the penalties you will face if caught.

Posted by: more info | April 17, 2007 11:07 AM

I disagree with today's first poster. I don't know anyone who has forgotten the victims of 9/11, Katrina, the Holocaust, Darfur, Iraq or other tragedies of the last 100 years. The reality is that life resumes. This doesn't mean the victims are forgotten by everyone.

I also think it is important to come together during a time like this. Silence is one way to honor people and events. But connecting with others via conversation and community is also important.

Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2007 11:08 AM

"On the other hand, have we forgotten the victims of 9/11 and Hurrican Katrina?

How about our 3200+ dead in Afpghanistan and Iraq? And the tens of thousands wounded and disabled?"

Or the hundreds of thousands dead in the wake of the 2004 tsunami? Oh, wait...if it doesn't happen to us, we don't care.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 11:09 AM

My nephew and his girl friend still plan on attending VA Tech this fall. I don't think you can say this one tragic event is a reflection on the school as a whole. It could have happened on any campus.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:10 AM

Foamgnome, legal residents are fingerprinted.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 11:10 AM

MV: Someone said their infant child who was adopted was not finger printed but was considered a legal resident. Maybe we only finger print adult legal residents.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:12 AM

Comparing gun ownership to the issuance of student visas is a ridiculous analogy.


I don't think it is ridculous at all. I think it is silly to say that if we got rid of guns in this country there would be no violence. I grew up around guns and the people who use them. Yes, there were accidents, but no more than car accidents, swimming accidents, or any other kind of accident. My great uncle was stabbed to death for ten dollars in an alley, no gun there. My other uncle was almost killed by a drunk driver. People kill people and if they want to kill people, they will find a way whether we outlaw guns or not.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:13 AM

"I don't think it is ridculous at all. I think it is silly to say that if we got rid of guns in this country there would be no violence."

I never said there would be no violence. But the violence that would happen would not be as lethal or easy as with gun ownership. Physically, it is a hell of a lot harder to stab someone to death than to shoot them from a distance. Yesterday's shooter at VT would have done vastly less damage with a knife than with a gun.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 11:16 AM

Emily, if gun owners are the ones who keep killing themselves with their own guns, it seems to me that the problem will eventually go away.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:18 AM

Emily, I'm with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:20 AM

But they are not just killing themselves, are they? Yesterday's shooter killed a bunch of other people also.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 11:20 AM

Emily, if gun owners are the ones who keep killing themselves with their own guns, it seems to me that the problem will eventually go away.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 11:18 AM
Unfortunately, they don't all kill themselves to save us a trial. I know that is a very un christian attitude. But I do feel the least they can do is commit suicide.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:21 AM

Sure those items I mentioned are regulated; they can be used by criminals to commit a crime just as a gun can. I purchased the one I gave my wife from a gun dealer; no big deal. I showed them my ID and made the purchase.

The point I was making is they can be used to defend yourself without risking those around you, at least to the level of using a gun (in an extremely stressful condition, I might add) to defend yourself.

Might I also point out that, in cases where police have to use their guns to stop a criminal, often the number of shots fired doesn't match the number of times the criminal is hit? Sometimes those numbers are very, very different, and that's from people who train with their weapons and know how to use them very well.

Now imagine how difficult it would be to successfully use a gun in a life threatening situation by someone not trained to use it nearly as well as law enforcement officials are.

I'm not for banning all guns, but this "give everyone guns and these kinds of tragedies will stop" attitude is IMO wishful thinking.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 11:21 AM

But guns are so quick, so effective, & negates the need for lots of physical strength.

Posted by: To scarry | April 17, 2007 11:22 AM

Since the dawn of time, people have found ways to kill each other. Yes, guns can make it easier to kill a large number of people in rapid succesion, but so can bombs, chemicals, a speeding truck, etc, etc.

This incident was horrific and I, for one, with my pregnant hormones, am still shedding tears over it. But no matter how awful it was/is, I'm still a strong believer in the freedom to bear arms.

Gun control is no control - and as previous posters have said again and again, when you outlaw something (no matter what it is), then the only people who have access to it are criminals!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:30 AM

"Pepper spray, mace, stun guns, etc, are all legal and can be used to incapacitate even someone with a firearm, without risking those around you."

Careful with this--these things are only legal in certain jurisdictions. I accidentally carried a small martial-arts keychain into the airport and got into what could've been some major trouble. And I'm talking about something more innocuous than a stun gun or pepper spray. Everything turned out okay, but the police officer notified me that the keychain is illegal in most places, even if bought from a legitimate martial arts catalog. So be careful who you advise to carry such things.

That said, almost anything can be made into a weapon. I have a string of beads that would never do much damage, but when used stings like crazy. Aimed in the right direction, it could certainly temporarily blind someone. And when I reflected on what I would do if someone managed to get into my place of business and start shooting, the rows and rows of flammable, acerbic chemicals immediately came to mind.

Guns are convenient, but they are not the only weapons.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 11:32 AM

Some folks are claiming this type of thing doesn't happen outside of the US. FYI:

Scotland, March 1996: Thomas Hamilton shoots 16 children and their teacher dead at their primary school in Dunblane, Scotland before killing himself.

Yemen, March 1997: A man with an assault rifle attacked hundreds of pupils at two schools in Sanaa, Yemen, killing six children and two others.

Germany, March 2000: A 16-year-old pupil at a private boarding school in the Bavarian town of Branneburg, shot a 57-year-old teacher, who later died from injuries.

Germany, April 2002: Seventeen people killed after a gunman - a former pupil - opens fire in a school in Erfurt, eastern Germany. He then turned the gun on himself.

It should also be noted that gun ownership is strictly regulated in all of those countries.

Another post questions why electronic key cards were not used to restrict access to the buildings on campus. Since the shooter has been identified as a student he would have had his own key card to gain access, so how would that have helped?

The only way to have stopped this madness would be to have armed guards at the door of every classroom. Is that the environment you want your children in?

Posted by: Another View | April 17, 2007 11:33 AM

Stupid pregnant brain... succession. See, I can spell. =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:33 AM

"when you outlaw something (no matter what it is), then the only people who have access to it are criminals!"

Perhaps, but so what? If guns were more strictly controlled, guns would be incredibly hard to get a hold of (like in Europe and Canada). So what if a very few number of criminals got a hold of them. We would still have vastly less numbers of gun crime victims than we have now. We would also have less accidental deaths, as well as suicides and homocides between family members. In other words, we would still be much better off than we are now.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 11:36 AM

OK, history buffs please correct me if I am wrong. But wasn't the original intent on the right to bear arms was to protect people from the established government or tyranny of government. It was not meant to protect citizens from unlawful citizens.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:36 AM

"As people have said numerous times before: When guns are criminalized only criminals have guns. And the innocent die because they are unable to defend themselves."

This is a specious argument.

It works only if every citizen carries a gun -- a truly terrifying prospect.

The problem is the NRA and its steadfast refusal to give an inch on gun control. Few in this country advocate eliminating gun ownership altogether. Guns for hunting game have a long-established history in this country. (I personally find hunting nauseating and immoral, but I do recognize the right of a citizen to have a hunting rifle if he wants one.)

But the NRA refuses to accept the idea that other kinds of guns should require tight controls or be unavailable to non-military personnel.

Why does anyone outside of the military and law enforcement need an automatic weapon? And why shouldn't every gun-owning person be required to register with the state? You have to have a license to drive a car; why not to own and shoot a gun? (Or does the NRA think that, if the founding fathers had had a crystal ball, they would have included automobiles in the Second Amendment as essential to a "well-regulated militia"?)

If the NRA would stop trying to stifle the national conversation about what makes for reasonable gun laws, if it would stop resisting every effort to bring sanity to the gun culture in this country (why, in god's name, shouldn't buyers at gun shows have to wait for a security check?), then maybe legislation could be crafted that protects the majority while guaranteeing the minority a regulated right to own a gun.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 11:38 AM

Scarry, it is also silly to say that by arming everyone that violence would be reduced. As Emily posted, the evidence points to the contrary.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 11:39 AM

"But wasn't the original intent on the right to bear arms was to protect people from the established government or tyranny of government."

Yes, but when the government lets child molesters, rapist, and murders out of jail aren't you protecting yourself from their tyranny?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:40 AM

Check out www.Boortz.com for a great discussion regarding why outlawing guns doesn't work so well.

Click on neal's nuze

Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2007 11:40 AM

Ok, to those of you who think that we ought to have tighter regulations on guns -what would the restrictions be? No private citizen is allowed to have guns? My father, who has been an avid hunter for over 40 years, who has never pointed a gun at a human in his life, would he have to give up his rifles?

Would police officers be allowed to carry them? Our armed forces?

I'm not trying to be glib, I'm just honestly wondering where the line would be. Should we be like England, and have our "Bobbies" just carry batons?

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:42 AM

Hey Adoptee - thank you! Clearly I need to find some good books on the history of christianity, it's interesting stuff.

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 11:42 AM

"But wasn't the original intent on the right to bear arms was to protect people from the established government or tyranny of government."

Yes, but when the government lets child molesters, rapist, and murders out of jail aren't you protecting yourself from their tyranny?

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 11:40 AM
Now come on. Do you really think the goverment does that on purpose or is it more likely a weakness in our judicial branch and a lack of evidence collected from the law enforcement agencies?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM

John L, you are putting words in my mouth. I am not parroting anyone. I merely pointed out the options available to ANYONE in life: being armed and resisting, not being armed and resisting, not resisting, or running away. As guns are not going away, the choice as to which option you want to embrace are up to you.

Again, read the article
On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

It puts everything in perspective.

I have the utmost respect for people who choose a life of non-violence, but I for one would kick myself eternally if I had a chance to do something to save a life and did not do it- be it armed or unarmed. Why be a sheep who only looks to others for help? I once ran 3/4 mile with a hole in my lung. You know what? It sucked and hurt like hades, but I finished running. It sure beat lying down and dying because nobody was around to help me. Baa all you want. The sad truth is, there is not always someone there to help you and you may have to face a situation alone in life. Do you have the mindset to overcome that situation, or will you crumble? Again, I have the utmost respect for people who choose a nonviolent life, or feel safe relying on others for protection, and I pray they may live a long peaceful and productive existence, but that is not the same as ignoring the possibility of something going wrong.

My pitty is for those who habitually lash out at the sheepdogs and say they are not needed. Someday such people, if they have their way, will find themselves defenseless and alone- with no training or resources available to fix things... what would you do? Lay down and die? Run away if possible?

Furthermore, stun guns are not legal in all states/ counties. I did my research before moving to the area and wanted to get my wife something... Nor are they necessarily effective. If I have a gun and you have a stun gun, guess who is going down first if there is even a few feet between us? Possibly you can cover the distance, maybe even with a gunshot wound, but unless you have a group of likeminded people willing to make a stand, even more people are going to be dead.

As far as "can be used to incapacitate even someone with a firearm, without risking those around you." Anything you choose to do in the face of a gunman puts yourself at risk. Don't delude yourself. If you want to play hero, armed with even another gun, you are taking a risk and putting others at risk depending on the mental state of the gunman. Resistance of any form is about taking a risk to take control of a situation and mitigate the overall risk that a mad gunman represents. Pepper spray? Oh yes, maybe effective- IF you are able to take the time to use it before or after getting shot- depending on your injury and willingness/ ability to keep moving with one for the sake of others. Personally, I've had habanerro in my eyes. It hurt like hades, but would not have stopped me from doing something I was focused on doing- which to place myself in the mind of a sick individual with a gun would have been an act of retaliation. In reality, a few deep breaths allowed me to clear my mind and seek milk to pour in my eyes.

Too many movies fights for you- if you are going up against an armed oponent odds are you will receive a life threatening injury. To me, I'd risk it if it meant taking down an armed oponent who was intent on murdering myself and those around me anyway. Real fights are over in seconds or minutes and nobody walks away without serious damage. So kiss your pepper spray before you go to bed, but remember, determination to overcome a situation is your ultimate weapon. I'll go down snarling with tooth and nail and nobody will ever hear a baa from me. Do what you like, but don't insult those who you may one day rely on for protection, it's rude. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM

MV I didn't say to arm everyone. I don't own a gun, but people have the right to if they want to. What about the people who use it to hunt for food. A very real issue where I come from and out west.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM

I am not sure what kind of restrictions would work. But it should be at least as hard to get a gun as it is to get a driver's license. I wouldn't go so far as to keep policemen from having them. I also think it should be okay to hunt. I don't see the need for anyone to have automatic weapons.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 11:45 AM

scarry,

gun control does not mean outlawing all guns. I am in favor of outlawing automatic and semi-automatic guns. They are not necessary for hunting or self-protection.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:46 AM

"(I personally find hunting nauseating and immoral, but I do recognize the right of a citizen to have a hunting rifle if he wants one.)"

I find the idea of hungry kids nauseating too.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:47 AM

Foamgnome, as I said, ICE is not good in following their own rules or in making sure that their files are in order.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 11:47 AM

Scarry, I'm right there with you. My father has been a hunter his whole life, and he regularly gives the animals that he kills to local shelters, and they use that meat to feed countless people who would otherwise not have food.

I was taught how to use a gun when I was a small child. I'm a decent shot. Do I own a gun? No. But am I gonna tell another law-abiding citizen that he shouldn't? Heck no.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:48 AM

dlm79 --

For answers to your questions on line-drawing, please see my post at 11:38.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 11:49 AM

Everyone keeps saying how easy it is to get a gun. Aren't there waiting periods and background checks and things? Maybe what we need is stricter observation (if that's the right word) on shops that sell guns, to make sure they're following the rules.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:50 AM

I find the idea of hungry kids nauseating too.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:47 AM


Vegetarianism.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:50 AM

Scarry I think that you're talking about two issues: the right to have a handgun for hunting purposes, and the right to bear arms period. While I don't agree with hunting per se, I recognize that people have a right to hunt to feed their families. I do, however, think that we should have tougher gun control in this country...and I don't think that everybody should be armed.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 11:51 AM

It is true, that if we were all vegetarians, we could vastly reduce the number of hungry people in the world. It takes a lot more resources to raise beef than to grow crops that will feed people more efficiently.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:52 AM

pittypat ~ I can agree with you in part. Automatic weapons are probably a little excessive for your every day Joe.
But law-abiding citizens (and this is what I keep coming back to) DO register their guns and DO have permits and DO follow the rules. So your argument about having a license to own a gun doesn't really hold up.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 11:53 AM

It is true, that if we were all vegetarians, we could vastly reduce the number of hungry people in the world. It takes a lot more resources to raise beef than to grow crops that will feed people more efficiently.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 11:52 AM
This is true. But veggies burgers just do not taste as good as beef hamburgers.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:54 AM

I find the idea of hungry kids nauseating too.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:47 AM


Vegetarianism.

Wow that is so easy. I wish I would have thought of that. Let me go tell all the poor people back home about it. Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:55 AM

It takes a lot more resources to raise beef than to grow crops that will feed people more efficiently.

Cows aren't wild. I am talking about deer, elk, rabbit, and turkey.

No, I don't think that you have the right to an automatic weapon. I don't know anyone who has one.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:58 AM

All those pro-gun people arguing for guns -- you are no doubt responsible with your weaponry. But to believe that everyone out there would be just like you -- locking up your weapon, separating ammo from the weapon, gun safety, etc. is, as many have pointed out, wishful thinking.

Do you really want your preschool teacher to be packing, for example? Perhaps she gets a little too fed up with little Johnny one day and threatens him by showing him the gun in her drawer. Next thing you know, little Johnny sneaks into class during lunch, finds the gun and accidentally kills himself.

A crazy, but entirely possible scenario if everyone was encouraged to have guns. Guns are not a "tool". They are meant to kill, and have no other purpose.

Think about cars. Some of us are responsible drivers. Some are not. It's easy to accidentally kill someone when you are driving a car, particularly when you are drunk. Cars are not weapons, but they are more highly regulated than guns.

Posted by: Rebecca | April 17, 2007 11:58 AM

from the bleakly named childdeathreview

n 2000, 174 children (0-18) in the United States died from unintentional firearm-related injuries. Unintentional injuries are usually caused when children play with guns or are hunting.

Unintentional injuries from firearms represent less than two percent of all firearm deaths in the U.S. But of this two percent, children and adolescents are involved in 55% of the deaths. The majority of the injuries occur to children playing with or showing the weapons to friends. The easy availability of firearms is believed to be the number one risk factor for unintentional firearm deaths.

--------------------------------

I am not sure how to search for how many children are protected by gun owners... that seems much more difficult to track.

Posted by: missing stats | April 17, 2007 11:59 AM

I'm just numb. I graduated from VT in 1998. Like catlady said, we go on. It's hard, and I put one foot in front of the other. I don't know why it is affecting me so. It just hurts, a lot.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:01 PM

Where are criminals getting their guns? I strongly believe that at some point in time most of the guns in the hands of criminals were obtained in a legal manner.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 12:01 PM

"What about the people who use it to hunt for food. A very real issue where I come from and out west."

And such and important need for living in out here.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:01 PM

How many people die each year in vehicle related accidents?

Let's ban cars!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 12:01 PM

The poor people back home eat what they kill? That's news to me. The poor people back home where I came from eat more McDonald's than wild game.

It's a long-standing fact that it costs more to raise beef for human consumption than wheat, vegetables, and legumes. A veggie burger may not taste the same as a beef burger (I wouldn't know), but it's inherently healthier. I don't see the point of defending the beef industry, with our obesity problems the way they are. That's like getting a cavity filled while eating Skittles.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 12:02 PM

Disclaimer: I am NOT now, nor have I ever been, Blog Stats -- I clearly lack his/her computer skills. Also, my knowledge of foreign languages is limited to those using the Roman alphabet (in which English is written), and it's pretty easy to pick out the name of Virginia Tech in any of these languages.

So, last night and again just now, I took a quick check of all the Roman-Alphabet international pages offered by Google News to see if the Virginia Tech shootings were being reported in other countries.

Last night, all but one page carried the story, and all but one of those that did carry it had it in the upper two screenfuls.

Just now, every single page carried the story, and all but one of them had it in the top screenful (the one that appears when you open the page).

Interestingly, this morning some nations were featuring the fact that the suspect was a Virginia Tech student, while others were headlining his national origin. A few merely stated that the suspect had been identified.

So, this is not merely a domestic news story, but one of worldwide concern.

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 12:02 PM

And such and important need for living in out here.

What?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:03 PM

As far as outlawing guns, again, only criminals will have them. It may be trite, but it is true. There are too many that exist right now to get rid of them all... In any case do you honestly think they are that complex a piece of machinery that illegally manufacturing them could not easily be done? Besides, a bullet is little more than gunpowder in a shell with a projectile of lead... Maybe we will go back to muskets and swords? In "honest" society there might be fewer mass casualty incidents, and those so armed with swords might more easily overpower a crazed lone gunman with an automatic or semi-automatic... but again such a scenerio involves a criminal with an illegal weapon to begin with. If you take away EVERYONE'S option to defend themselves, you create an environment in which there will be a greater time gap between when a gunman has control, and when authorities have control... meaning more time for the gunman to kill. Then you forget the possibility of foreign hostility. At present everyone resents the America where everyone can have a gun. What happens when that image goes away? Do we proclaim our vulnerability- even if it is imagined- and thus invite attacks? Terror is coming anyway... live in denial all you want.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 12:03 PM

"n 2000, 174 children (0-18) in the United States died from unintentional firearm-related injuries."

That's more than 5 times the number of people who were killed yesterday. And somehow, we don't have a day of national mourning for these tragic deaths, because they happen one by one. Even so, their obscurity makes them no less tragic than yesterday's killings. Perhaps even more so, because they are almost unrecognized.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 12:03 PM

For anyone who's interested:

"Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, will be online Tuesday, April 17, at 1 p.m. to discuss how the survivors of the Virginia Tech shootings will cope and grieve, and what can be done to help them."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/04/16/DI2007041601159.html

Posted by: catlady | April 17, 2007 12:04 PM

Well Scarry, I can certainly see supplementing their diet via hunting, but if they are that poor, are they also receiving food from the food bank, or via WIC or something?

As for guns, well, they make it a lot easier to take down deer, squirrels, geese, people, etc. from a distance. But not everyone really needs them around the house.

If interested, I found this:

Combining your plant proteins at each meal will ensure that you get all of the essential amino acids every day. Here are some combinations of plant proteins that will provide you with all of the amino acids you need:

Grains plus legumes. Try black beans and rice.
Nuts and seeds plus legumes. Lentil soup with a serving of almonds on the side.
Corn plus legumes. Try pinto beans in a corn tortilla.
There are lots of possible combinations.
Try whole grain pasta tossed with peas, almonds, and your favorite sauce.
Whole wheat toast with peanut butter will give you a complete protein.
Bean soup with whole grain crackers.
Corn tortillas with refried beans and rice.

Posted by: for Scarry | April 17, 2007 12:05 PM

"Where are criminals getting their guns? I strongly believe that at some point in time most of the guns in the hands of criminals were obtained in a legal manner."

Where do drug users get their illegal drugs?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:05 PM

Wow that is so easy. I wish I would have thought of that. Let me go tell all the poor people back home about it. Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:55 AM


Start planting their gardens now, and put up surplus. Give other surplus to family, friends, neighbors, foodbanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:05 PM

"And such and important need for living in out here.

What? "

Sorry, one-handed typing.

Regarding the comment "What about the people who use it to hunt for food. A very real issue where I come from and out west."

And such an important need for living out here.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:06 PM

This is true. But veggies burgers just do not taste as good as beef hamburgers.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 11:54 AM


Oh you poor thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:06 PM

The poor people back home eat what they kill? That's news to me. The poor people back home where I came from eat more McDonald's than wild game.

Yes, Mona deer season is a big deal where I come from. Dead deer in trucks, in yards, etc. (yuck) Although it does taste good is prepared right.

Lots of people try to get two, including my brother, so he can give one away to people who want it. I had a professor in college who told our class one time that elk kept her family alive one winter when her husband was out of a job.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:07 PM

for scarry, you're making me hungry! It's true, you can get protein from a vegetarian diet. I had anemia and wasn't getting enough protein BEFORE I became veg, and now I get plenty. The problem was, I wasn't taking care of my body and making sure I got enough nutrients, and now I do. That is something we should all be doing, vegetarian or not, instead of mindlessly throwing french fries and chicken nuggets down our collective gullet.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 12:08 PM

And such an important need for living out here.

Are you being sarcastic?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:09 PM

I am talking about deer, elk, rabbit, and turkey.

No, I don't think that you have the right to an automatic weapon. I don't know anyone who has one.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:58 AM


You could use an automatic weapon to turn those animals into fresh hamburger for Foamgnome.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:09 PM

Around here, more deer are killed by running in front of cars than are killed by hunters.

But it's a real pain to get the paperwork done so you can take them off to be processed. Not to mention difficult if your car has been totalled.

Then again, there seems to be an almost limitless supply of unwanted cats & dogs.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:10 PM

Dim 79 suggested that we ought to ban cars because people are killed in automobile accidents. But is killing the PURPOSE of automobiles? No, the purpose is to transport people. By contrast, the PURPOSE of a gun is to kill. Period. Whether it is used in a homocide, suicide, self-defense, battlefield, that is its sole purpose. That is the difference.

Posted by: Montgomery Mom | April 17, 2007 12:10 PM

Considering the tragic and contemplative day today is, I thought to offer the following:


Desiderata
===========
Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others,
even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter,for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disappointment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars.
You have a right to be here.
And whether it is clear to you or not,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 17, 2007 12:11 PM

---The poor people back home eat what they kill? That's news to me. The poor people back home where I came from eat more McDonald's than wild game.

Yes, Mona deer season is a big deal where I come from. Dead deer in trucks, in yards, etc. (yuck) Although it does taste good is prepared right.

Lots of people try to get two, including my brother, so he can give one away to people who want it. I had a professor in college who told our class one time that elk kept her family alive one winter when her husband was out of a job.---

That is just sad. It's sad that no one is tackling poverty in this country.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 12:11 PM

"Let's ban cars!"

Yeah! But only famblee vans and S-MOO-Vs. They're the worst drivers of all, those EntitleMoos!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:12 PM

By contrast, the PURPOSE of a gun is to kill. Period.

Unless you are using rubber bullets. Then the purpose is to stop you.

But you know--it also takes the KNOWLEDGE that a gun will kill you to do it quickly. The Maori warriors were getting peppered with bullets and it took a lot to get them to drop--they just kept on coming. Until they figured out that those little things would kill you. That slowed them up considerably.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:12 PM

Montgomery Mom - I was being sarcastic. Sheesh.

My main point is - and has been - that we shouldn't go overboard.

Especially not now, when so many of us are grieving and the natural reaction is to lash out.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 12:14 PM

i want gun control, but I certainly want people to have access to rifles, long guns for hunting and self-protection in their homes. I came VERY close to getting such a weapon after hearing about the terrible behavior of police officers "defending" their town from those trying to flee the chaos and tragedy of New Orleans.

So I am pro-"long" gun, and anti- handgun. If we could eliminate all handguns, it would be great-- and I'm talking about police officers too. but that's a pipe dream, so instead, I'm in favor of very tightly regulating handgun ownership-- as in, if you have one, you are required to attend training every month or so.

I have great respect for police officers-- i used to be one-- but I know all too well that they are only human.

Why haven't I taken that step to purchase a long gun for my house? I just feel like it would change something in the home-- that it would bring in powerful negative energy. It would be like adding a new member to the household, even as it lies unloaded in the attic-- but waiting for some tragedy to befall my little world where it can then be put to terrible use. Isn't there some maxim for fiction writers that you don't describe a weapon in a novel without being aware that the reader will expect that weapon to be used at some point? I'm not ready yet to have the element written in the book of my life.



Posted by: Jen | April 17, 2007 12:14 PM

The Maori warriors were getting peppered with bullets and it took a lot to get them to drop--they just kept on coming. Until they figured out that those little things would kill you. That slowed them up considerably.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 12:12 PM


Let's hear it for genocide.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:15 PM

"If I have a gun and you have a stun gun, guess who is going down first if there is even a few feet between us?"

That depends, Chris. Are you aiming the gun at me when this little scenario starts? Are we both standing up? Are you distracted? Am I within 20' and have a clear path to you? What kind of gun are you armed with? Let me set the conditions and I'll bet on me. I also noticed you didn't mention the various incapacitant sprays; give me one of those and my odds go up even more.

Self defense experts will tell you that a gun isn't a panacea to your safety and can actually make you less safe (false confidence). Under certain conditions, an assailant that can get within 20' of you can reach you before you can aim the gun at him, much less shoot him. If he's got a knife, you could be as dead as if you didn't have the gun.

And yes, I've read that article. Let me just say I've had to act in a stressful situation, and I found I wasn't a sheep.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 12:16 PM

Chris, umm, aren't you extrapolating a little too much - it's quite a jump from gun-control laws to inviting terrorism attacks...

Also, I think you're assuming, as someone else noted, that everyone (who owns or will own a gun) is sensible and trained in the use of firearms, and doesn't panic under pressure (say, when confronted by a gunman or in other potentially threatening situations). But that, I don't believe, is the case.

You sound trained (military, etc) and have the mental preparedness for that kind of situation, but most people don't, which is, I think, is the problem.

Posted by: pd | April 17, 2007 12:17 PM

You can still get black-powder guns via mail order. No background check necessary.

50 caliber bullets have a LOT of stopping power.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:18 PM

You spend way too much time worrying. Get on with your daily life instead.

Posted by: To Chris | April 17, 2007 12:26 PM

"Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?"

Scarry,

I wasn't the poster who suggested vegetarianism, but I can certainly answer your question.

Beans.

Dried beans are one of the cheapest food sources and one of the best protein sources humans can eat.

Beans provide high-quality protein equal to that of animal flesh but have none of the artery-clogging fat that makes meat such a nutritional hazard.

So, tell the folks back home that dried beans are the way to go. I've got oodles of recipes to get them started!

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 12:27 PM

Now is not the time for the gun control debate or to place blame on anyone. Now is the time to hug your loved ones and appreciate those around you. There will be time for reconstructing events and debating the cause after the dead are buried.

Posted by: HappyDad | April 17, 2007 12:29 PM

Chris,

I'm not trying to get into a male sexual organ waving contest with you over this issue. You made it clear in your first post that in your opinion, armed citizens would have been able to stop this tragedy from happening yesterday:

"Guns are not going away no matter how much we wish. How best to deal with them then? Either get one of your own with which you can defend yourself and others, or be prepared to be a victim, or at most an unarmed opponent (ie- you can play hero)."

Obviously 'playing hero' (taking on a gunman unarmed) was a poor second choice to you, but you left out the nonlethal options I suggested. As for what I'd have done, since I wasn't there I don't know, but I doubt I'd have passively stood around waiting to die (sheep).

How you went from my comments to your last paragraph in your long response back to me I don't know, but that paragraph certainly looks like you're making some comments that are both condescending and patronizing. Of course you know nothing about me, but they were still pretty insulting.

"Kiss my pepper spray",
"too many movie fights for you",
"don't insult those who you may one day rely on for protection, it's rude"

How about taking a deep breath yourself?

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 12:31 PM

Great post, HappyDad...sure seems like the current discussion can wait.

Out of respect, if nothing else.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 17, 2007 12:33 PM

Well, you want to "bear your arms" to protect you from other citizens?

Who decides what "arms" means? WMDs are arms. Do our citizens get to bear those? What about cannons? Mortars? RPGs? High explosives? All "arms". So why do citizens not get to "bear" those?

Because some court interpreted the constitution to mean "guns" and further concluded that having a private citizen own a stinger missle is likely to due more harm than good.

And if you can interpret the constitution that far, as a court you can damn well interpret it a step further to conclude that everything but a hunting rifle is unnecessary for the citizen to defend his home (and, ok, hunt.).

We could make change in this country if the NRA was not yet another special interest group that pays lobbyists to coddle our congresspeople and set up silly strawman arguments against any regulation at all.

Posted by: Random Guy | April 17, 2007 12:34 PM

When I moved to Blacksburg in the 70s, we were told that the area had a higher per capita homicide rate than inner cities. Most of it was one-off shootings over a drunken card game or like the old Hatfield/McCoy feud. It is that way in much of the truly rural U.S.

I believe that was why there was a delay in getting the news out to the campus. It seemed to be a crime of passion that turned into a devil-may-care rampage. Once you have the gun, there is nothing to stop you.

The shooter was well trained and/or practiced. Shooting someone with a handgun is not as easy as it looks, especially at a distance. That's why you get a lot of innocent bystanders killed in gang wars. To be that precision oriented takes practice. I hope we get to learn more of his background over the next few days/weeks so that we can determine the root cause of the issue.

Posted by: Working Dad | April 17, 2007 12:37 PM

This shooting is so horrible, and brings back vivid memories of Columbine. My heart goes out to all the victims and families.

I'm curious how the media and nation will deal with this. After Columbine there was a lot of focus on preventing this by being hyper-vigilant of students that don't "fit the mold", or act strangely, or have ideas that are outside the norm.

It seemed to me that this strategy was destined to fail, and don't hear much about it anymore. Perhaps it isn't possible in a higher educational setting?

All theoretical ponderings aside, Silence hit it right on the head by calling for civil discourse today. I was in college when Columbine happened (I went to high school 5 miles from Columbine) and remember it was two days before I could honestly join the world and its' concerns.

Posted by: Seattle | April 17, 2007 12:41 PM

http://www.wral.com/news/national_world/national/story/1277188/

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled."

"There was some concern about him," Rude said. "Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be. But we're all alert to not ignore things like this."

This kind of statement could have been taken from teachers who knew the two boys responsible for the Columbine shootings. It appears that once again, there were warning signs that for whatever reason may have been ignored or not acted upon until it was too late.

Is this because people here in the US have such a strong, personal sense of privacy, that they are reluctant to get involved even when there're indications that someone needs help? While VTech did recommend Cho get counseling for his "disturbing writings", no one made him go and apparently there was no monitoring or followup to make sure he did go.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Are you kidding, pittypat? How can you get your daily dose of machismo by hunting a bean? Where are the antlers? I NEED something to hang on my wall, so that everyone will know that I am the master of these beans! Forget the health benefits, beans don't get that testosterone flowin'! If I eat beans instead of animals, I don't get to kill anything and then viciously rip it apart in my front yard for all my neighbors to see how awesome I am!

ROAR!

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 12:45 PM

Dear Happy Dad,
Clearly, respect ought to be paid to those killed, hurt, and otherwise devastated by this incident. But a debate over gun control is particularly important today -- if not now, when? Sadly, a few weeks from now this will fade and we will again be following the latest exploits of Brittany or Lindsey. NOW is the time to talk about whether the "right to bear arms" means the right to bear any crazy type of weapon, many of which are available on the legal market. Hunting rifles are one thing...semi-automatic handguns quite another. This must be part of a national debate or this debacle will continue to be repeated.

Posted by: U.S. mom | April 17, 2007 12:47 PM

"But law-abiding citizens (and this is what I keep coming back to) DO register their guns and DO have permits and DO follow the rules. So your argument about having a license to own a gun doesn't really hold up."

dlm79--

I think the argument does hold up. Consider a few points:

1. Are gun owners and their weapons registered in a nation-wide (or even state-wide) database that can be accessed remotely, within moments, by law enforcement officers?

2. Are gun owners who have concealed-carry permits required to acquire and maintain any sort of level of shooting ability? Do they have to pass tests and then requalify periodically? I ask this because of an incident that happened last year, a couple of miles from where I live. Some guy in a shopping mall was threatened by (not actually attacked by) two or three black kids, whereupon he pulled his concealed handgun out of his car and began shooting -- somewhat indiscriminately -- around the parking lot. He wounded one of the kids and could easily have killed anyone who was in the parking lot or the nearby stores. He was hailed as a hero, despite the fact that he endangered as many as a hundred law-abiding citizens in his zeal to "protect" himself from a perceived threat. Frankly, the idea of untrained shooters carrying weapons around with them is far scarier to me than criminals with guns. They're only gonna come at me if I have something they want; the crazy urban cowboy, on the other hand, is likely to shoot (badly) under any perceived provocation.

3. You refer to a license to own "a" gun. What about the gun owners -- and apparently there are a lot of them -- who feel that one isn't enough? That having 10 or 20 is better? The more guns a person has, the more guns can be stolen or picked up by kids. And don't say anything about gun safes. Every time a little kid kills or maims himself or someone else with a gun he "found" somewhere, that's another gun that wasn't locked up. The more guns you have, the harder it is to keep track of them.

Finally, the idea that all gun owners -- or all members of any group -- are law-abiding citizens is patently absurd. Gun owners are going to make the same kinds of errors in judgment that people make who aren't packing guns. Sadly, for the gun owners, such errors in judgment can be deadly.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 12:49 PM

Oh Mona, beans are every bit as macho as meat. Testerone ain't the only thing flowing freely after eating beans, if you know what I mean. And we're definitely viciosly ripping something.

Excuse me.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 12:49 PM

Mona...LMAO :-)!!!!

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 12:50 PM

One thing that we can do is donate blood. It is a personal, meaningful gesture that will save lives.

Posted by: jeanrw | April 17, 2007 12:50 PM

Actually, I did mention pepper spray... so I guess once again you are trying to be condescending without reading my full post. The real distance you can cover before being killed or stopped is closer to 8 and not 20 feet... unless you are a flying cheetah with ninja skills.
The attacker, if he had 2 cents in the first place would ensure he has no blind spots, or at the least would check them often and ensure that nobody is advancing- and shoot anyone moving or reaching for anything. After all, why not shoot if you are only intent on killing more people anyway? But you know what? Good for you John L for keeping your cool and not being a sheep. That leaves 2 types- so are you more likely to be the crazy gunman, or are you more likely to leap to the defense of those same people whose options to defend themselves you want to limit?

As far as everyone carrying guns, which at no time did I advocate- if you are going to get a gun, definitely practice and become familiar with its operation. Again, it is not some overcomplicated thing to do or be scared to hold... You aim and squeeze the trigger to make holes in things. Yes, there are things you can do to increase accuracy. If you panic, you will not increase your accuracy. Holding it like it will bite you will not increase accuracy. Waving it around will not increase accuracy. I think everyone buying a gun for self-defense should undergo a gun safety/use class- It is a tool that can raise awareness and improve your odds of survival.

Not everyone should have a gun- simply because there are those who choose not to, who know they could not handle it, or know they are not mentally prepared to do so or live with any consequences... However, the choice should remain with each person and not dictated by anyone else.

As far as the perception of terrorists, the more they see us as a gun-toting nation, the safer we will be from them... well, at least it might give pause to the ones who want to walk into malls and start shooting people... which has happened by the way.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 12:52 PM

I completely agree with you US Mom....also, I'm sure the NRA has already sent someone there.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 12:52 PM

Oh, gosh, Mona. I didn't think of that. Bean carcasses aren't very impressive.

:>)

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 12:52 PM

I don't know honestly how I feel about guns. To talk of banning them outright is not a productive discussion in my opinion, but I would never own one or allow one in my house.

Also, to the person who quoted the statistics about the number of children who die while playing with guns, I wish people would realize that a child is 100 times more likely to die drowning in a pool than he/she is to die from an accidental gunshot. Should we ban swimming pools?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 12:54 PM

jeanrw,
What a wonderful suggestion. As soon as I'm eligible again, in about 3 weeks, I'll do just that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:54 PM

//My father, who has been an avid hunter for over 40 years, who has never pointed a gun at a human in his life, would he have to give up his rifles?//

O.k., let's let hundreds of kids in the inner cities keep getting shot so your daddy can keep up his hobby killing defenseless animals. Please. I am deeply mistrustful of people who kill things for fun. What kind of a person wants to kill stuff for fun???

How many people scarry in reality are feeding themselves off the land for goodness sake. I'm from a small midwestern town and we all went to the Kroger. As for self or other defense - if you store a gun as you 'ought to when you have children in the house in a locked safe with the bullets separate - how useful is that really going to be in defending your family? All silly, silly arguments.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:55 PM

Also, to the person who quoted the statistics about the number of children who die while playing with guns, I wish people would realize that a child is 100 times more likely to die drowning in a pool than he/she is to die from an accidental gunshot. Should we ban swimming pools?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 12:54 PM


Guns are only for killing. Swimming has healthful benefits.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:56 PM

Chris,

You're right; you did mention pepper spray, although habaneros in your eyes is nothing like the stuff in the self defense sprays.

However, it appears I'm not the only one not thoroughly reading posts. If you get to define the scenario, certainly someone with a gun will be able to stop someone without one. That's fine.

You DID, however make it clear that you believed if students on VTech's campus had carried firearms, this tragedy would not have taken place, as you made quite clear in your second post today. Yes, you said a group of unarmed students could have taken him down, but you made it clear that was a poor alternative in your opinion to owning a firearm.

As for the rest of your comments, how about keeping it civil and knocking off the patronizing, OK? You know nothing about me.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:02 PM

My children are not allowed to play at houses where they have guns under any circumstance.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 1:03 PM

Thanks, John L., for pointing out that the creative writing teacher found something disturbing in the shooter's writings... I didn't know that, and find it interesting.

Do you think that an institutionalized program would have solved this?

It seems like anytime schools try to institutionalize something as subjective as writing/creative pursuits in order to look out for the norm it causes more problems than solutions.

Posted by: Seattle | April 17, 2007 1:04 PM

At least rifles and shotguns have a valid purpose; hunting. Few crimes are committed with either type, especially compared to handguns. Perhaps it's because rifles/shotguns are kind of hard to conceal and just carry around if you're looking to commit a crime?

As Lynard Skynard said, "handguns are made for killing, they're good for nothing else".

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:06 PM

Drowning is not particularly healthy.

Let's be realistic. What are the chances that gun ownership in this country will be banned? How would you suggest that we make that happen?

As I said, I am NOT in any way pro-gun. I'm just a realist.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 1:06 PM

So, it appears snarking and little cheap shots to advance anti-gun agendas will rule the day.

Sorry, VT family and respectful others. You are to be held hostage, even today.

Enjoy yourselves--but I ask you, do you really think you are making converts in this way?

Posted by: Mourning time | April 17, 2007 1:07 PM

Wow, I didn't know that all the worlds' ills could be solved by being a vegetarian.

Nice stereotype Mona. Maybe when a set of those antlers comes through your car window because of over population you will learn not to stereotype hunters. I have seen starving; sick deer and they are not a pretty site. When I was growing up my mom would put out water and food for the raccoons during the droughts we had, but she eats meat so I guess she is a bad person too.

I eat meat and I am not a bad person. My brothers, cousins and friends hunt. They are not bad people either.

To anon, I know lots of people who supplement their family's food supply with deer meat. I didn't say they didn't shop at Kroger, I said they supplement with it and many depend on it.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 1:07 PM

Nope, guns are not only for killing. You can shoot targets whether they are clay, paper, or old cans. Swords are only for killing too then... wait... nope... Fencing is a fun sport in which we poke people with blunt rubber tipped swords (and sometimes joke about being after a six-fingered man). So, if ever we are invaded by a bunch of sword waving barbarians, I will be ready. ;-P

I finally submit that if a BAD person is intent on harming others, they WILL find a way to attempt to do it. The ONLY way to stop them will require an act of courage on the part of someone willing to do something about it. This is has it has always been, and how it will always be. Fight, freeze, or flee- up to you.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 1:08 PM

MM, how do you know whether a given playmate's parents have a gun?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:08 PM

Seattle, I honestly don't know if that is the answer or not. It just seems to me that every time one of these tragedies takes place, after the fact we hear all these reports about how people said he was "troubled", or how there were "warning signs", etc, and nothing was done.

Do I want the government showing up on someone's doorstep because another official decided he was "disturbed" and potentially a criminal? Absolutely not. But, if a teacher (as in Columbine and now VTech) identifies some of these warning signs with a student, what should be done other than turning away and hoping they'll grow out of it?

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:10 PM

MM, how do you know whether a given playmate's parents have a gun?

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 01:08 PM

I ask them when they invite either of my children over for a playdate.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 1:11 PM

We have returned to the good ole' days of people trying to have a logic-based argument with scarry.

Check the archives. It doesn't work.

(Or keep going while she pretends you called her a "bad person" because you disagree with her.)

Posted by: Mr. Nostalgic | April 17, 2007 1:12 PM

I think your comment is baloney. You can't possibly know if someone has a gun in their house unless you perform a full inspection (must make your kid's calendar full of playdates if so). Do you honestly believe that someone is going to tell you if they have a gun in their house?

Do you ask if they have small objects that a child could choke on? Do you make sure they don't have any weed killer in the garage? Do you make sure they don't have any staircases your child could fall down?

Posted by: to Moxiemom | April 17, 2007 1:13 PM

---Maybe when a set of those antlers comes through your car window because of over population you will learn not to stereotype hunters.---

Scarry, but is deer overpopulation a bad thing? Or is it just bad because we think that they are encroaching on our territory (when in reality we are the ones encroaching on theirs)?

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:15 PM

Oh and for the record, I'm not a vegetarian (pretty hard to be a vegetarian being from the Caribbean) and still found Mona's post hilarious.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:16 PM

I have seen starving; sick deer and they are not a pretty site.


You are such a humanitarian.

Posted by: To Scarry | April 17, 2007 1:16 PM

Sorry, VT family and respectful others. You are to be held hostage, even today.

With our non-guns?

Posted by: To Mourning time | April 17, 2007 1:17 PM

I think your comment is baloney. You can't possibly know if someone has a gun in their house unless you perform a full inspection (must make your kid's calendar full of playdates if so). Do you honestly believe that someone is going to tell you if they have a gun in their house?

Do you ask if they have small objects that a child could choke on? Do you make sure they don't have any weed killer in the garage? Do you make sure they don't have any staircases your child could fall down?

Posted by: to Moxiemom | April 17, 2007 01:13 PM

I think you and your nasty, condescending tone are unnecessary! Just because you disagree with me doesn't mean you have to be nasty.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 1:18 PM

Chris,

Other than target pistols, I've never seen an ad for a handgun that praised how great it would be on a practice range. If that were so, then stopping power would never be mentioned in the ads. Yes, there are also people who hunt with pistols, but they're far in the minority even among hunters.

BTW, my dad still shoots snapping turtles with a .22 caliber six shooter. Shoots them through the back of the head when they stick their nose up out of the water to breathe. I grew up around both handguns and longarms and know how to handle both, not that that is really germane to the current discussion.

Skeet and target shooting with handguns is a secondary use that is far outweighed by their primary purpose (note I'm saying
-handgun-, not "guns", which encompasses rifles and shotguns as well), which is to shoot something with the intent to kill it.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:18 PM

John L,
Amen to your earlier comment that you have yet to hear of an instance of an armed citizen stopping a violent crime. I understand the logic in the argument that gun control laws would mean that only the criminals have guns, but I, like you, question whether or not good people having guns actually helps. And let's not forget, none of the shooters in any of these school mass-shootings had criminal records. Until they pulled the trigger, they were regular people (on the outside at least).

Posted by: runnermom | April 17, 2007 1:18 PM

"Scarry, but is deer overpopulation a bad thing? Or is it just bad because we think that they are encroaching on our territory (when in reality we are the ones encroaching on theirs)?"

I think it is a bad thing that we are encroaching on their territory, but it doesn't do the deer any good when there isn't enough for them to eat or you any good when you hit one of them. This of course if just my opinion, you don't have to agree with me.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 1:18 PM

I don't think guns are ever going to be banned in this country. Gun ownership is just too culturally ingrained.

I don't understand why private citizens "need" to own automatic or semi-automatic weapons and definitely think those should be banned. I believe some are already.

I don't like handguns and will never have one in my house. With a child in the house, it just seems too big a risk.

Both my dad and my husband enjoyed hunting when they were younger. Growing up, I knew that my dad's hunting rifle was in a locked case on an upper shelf in the closet. I still don't know where he kept the ammunition. He took me with him target shooting once when I was 12 and I surprised myself by enjoying it, and by being a darn good shot. One of my dad's friends gave me a pistol to try. I remember being scared of it, and I don't think I ever managed to hit a target. My dad's friends ribbed him about my marksmanship being better than his and he never took me back. My mom was very upset when she found out I had used a handgun, so I suspect that's the reason, although I always worried that I'd embarassed my dad when I out-shot him.

We've pulled my husband's old shotgun out once (he doesn't hunt anymore, but keeps both his hunting rifle and his grandfather's shotgun for sentimental reasons). When we were poor newlyweds, our apartment was in a marginal neighborhood. The convenience store around the corner was robbed one night and the clerk shot. He pulled out the gun and kept it under the bed after that. It was never loaded. He believed that the distinctive sound of the shotgun being cocked would cause an intruder to think twice. He was surprised that I knew how to cock it, being a city girl and all! :>)

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 1:19 PM

I have seen starving; sick deer and they are not a pretty site.


You are such a humanitarian.

Actually, I am but I think that the word above is used in terms of "humans" not animals.

I saw them one year when we had a bad winter. I was helping my uncle put straw out in his field for them.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 1:21 PM

pittypat, Mona, and other veggies, you rock! Being a vegetarian is cheaper and healthier.

The poor folks scarry is speaking of can buy a gun or two, buy the other necessary equipment, drive out to the woods, spend hours (not working) to wait for an animal, kill it and drag it home, and then spend hours bleeding it, skinning it, storing it, and finally preparing it

OR

They can buy seeds for a few cents and plant a garden. In stores, rice, beans, and canned veggies are some of the cheapest foods. It's a no brainer for me.

My problem with the idea that people have guns to protect themselves is that, in practice, very very few people are able to actually use the gun for defense. The two scenarios are (1) you keep the gun unloaded in your gun cabinet with the ammo in another room (if you are a responsibile gun owner--if you're not, your kids have probably already shot themselves or will soon) or (2) you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. In scenario 1, there is no way you can access the gun quickly enough to protect yourself. In scenario 2, only the people carrying guns will be safe. Is the solution for everyone to carry a gun? I hope not, because then teenaged boys, people with manic depression, people with bad eyesight, and all sorts of other people who really should not have a gun will be encouraged to carry one around to "protect" themselves. In reality, more guns lead to more crimes.

If guns were banned for all people except police officers and the military, of course only criminals would have the guns. But it would be much harder for petty criminals to get them. For example, it's illegal for kids to buy cigarettes. But adults can buy them for the kids or kids can fake a license. So it's actually pretty easy for kids to get guns. But if you could only get cigarettes on the black market, it would be much harder. Most petty criminals do not have the connections to access the black market. So the harder it is to get guns (not sold in any store), the fewer guns will be floating around for crinimals.

My gun solution is actaully Chris Rock's solution: Make guns widely available but make bullets (and gun powder) $2,000. People would think twice before shooting.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 1:21 PM

Vegasmom,

I'm the same way. If self defense of my home is my concern, I'd not get a handgun, I'd get a shotgun. There are too many risks involved with using a handgun, both to children, myself (or my wife) and those around us. A round fired from a 9mm will penetrate a wall in your house and could easily hit a neighbor, for example.

With a shotgun, you don't have to aim it all that carefully, it won't penetrate your wall and kill a neighbor, and someone hit with it is not going to get up (although the mess will be pretty bad).

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:23 PM

Nope, guns are not only for killing. You can shoot targets whether they are clay, paper, or old cans.

OK, so they're for maiming and mindless destruction too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:23 PM

My thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families, and the family of the shooter. I've spent much of this morning reading about this horrific incident.

I do have two off-topic quetions:

MV, how do you prepare deer meat correctly to taste good?

And moxiemom, how do you find out if your kids' friends have guns in their homes? I assume you come out and ask, of course. But what if they lie? How can you be sure? How can you finesse the conversation do it doesn't appear to be a judgment of the people who do have guns.

Short story about a gun, at the risk of me looking like a total dumb-arse. But it may help someone somewhere:

Once, my dad gave me a gun (.38 special) when I was single and living alone. He taught me how to handle it. I also fired it at a range, so I wasn't really intimidated by it.

After I married and my husband and I moved to our first home, we heard what sounded like intruders. Husband went downstairs to check, and he grabbed the gun. He cocked it for some reason (didn't need to do that). I was thinking, "Oh, no."

Well, he didn't see anything, and in the meantime, I called police. He came back upstairs with the gun cocked; it was stuck there. Since I had handled the gun before, I took it to try to unlock it. But it was a problem I had never dealt with before. I was afraid to put it down cocked like that. I turned the gun away from me towards an outside wall, and tried to uncock it. You probably guessed it -- the gun discharged. Through the wall, a window and outside.

The police ended up unlocking the cock mechanism with no problem. That weekend, I sold the gun. Lesson: I really didn't know what the he!! I was doing, and my husband certainly didn't know, and with kids in the house, having that gun wasn't a smart move.

Never mind having to replace half a window and patching two walls.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 17, 2007 1:24 PM

//BTW, my dad still shoots snapping turtles with a .22 caliber six shooter. Shoots them through the back of the head when they stick their nose up out of the water to breathe//

Why??? What kind of a person goes out to kill things just to kill it?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:26 PM

Oh, and moxiemom, I truly want to know how you handle the guns in friends' houses issue. It's not a snark -- just informal research. :>

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 17, 2007 1:27 PM

I really don't want to wade into this discussion of carnivore/vegetarian philosophy, but I can't help it.

Meesh, you said "The poor folks scarry is speaking of can buy a gun or two, buy the other necessary equipment, drive out to the woods, spend hours (not working) to wait for an animal, kill it and drag it home, and then spend hours bleeding it, skinning it, storing it, and finally preparing it

OR

They can buy seeds for a few cents and plant a garden. In stores, rice, beans, and canned veggies are some of the cheapest foods. It's a no brainer for me."

I find this comment to be naive, and here's why. I taught in a very poor school district and we had almost no students show up the day deer hunting season opened. I was shocked by this, until I learned that for many of these families, they have to hunt to survive the winter. They struggle just to exist. I highly doubt they're going to be growing veggies and going through the extreme "fun" of canning because it's better for the environment. It's not a realistic solution.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 1:27 PM

Actually from what I have read, passing concealed weapons laws decreases crime because now the criminals don't know who is and who is not carrying a weapon-if the criminal is sure no one has a weapon, they are more likely to commit a crime.

Of course, none of that helps here, where criminal activity is not what this person was after.

Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2007 1:27 PM

(1) you keep the gun unloaded in your gun cabinet with the ammo in another room (if you are a responsibile gun owner--if you're not, your kids have probably already shot themselves or will soon)

Or your kid shoots someone else, and you get sued into oblivion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:27 PM

Because snapping turtles will devastate a pond stocked with fish, eat the ducks and geese that swim on the pond, and will even attack pets that jump in the water.

My dad would sit in the top of the barn and wait until the turtles stuck just the tip of their nose out of the water, and from about 100' away shoot them in the back of the head. I never got as good as he was with that pistol...

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:29 PM

"Maybe when a set of those antlers comes through your car window because of over population"

Humans are over-populating too. Urban sprawl is the main cause of animals being hit by cars. Build a subdivision surrounded by woods and highway, and what do you expect?

"I have seen starving; sick deer and they are not a pretty site."

I've seen starving, sick people and they're not a pretty sight, either. Why aren't they getting any of that deer meat that's so copious?

All snark aside, I have to respect hunters more than regular meat-eaters. Having to see what you kill and put it in your body tends to make one more respectful of the life that was lost. I'm not exactly anti-hunting (though I certainly am for myself); I tend to target (bad pun) meat industries. However, stereotypes exist for a reason. Growing up in West Virginia and other very rural areas, I saw more people skin the carcass and dump the meat, and mount the antlers or head in their living rooms. They didn't hunt because they were starving. There is an obesity problem in West Virginia, as much as anywhere else, so it's not for a lack of food.

On a global level, we could feed a small country if we replaced some grazing lands with vegetables, wheat, and legumes. We could also slow the deforestation efforts in the Amazon. We would have fewer unskilled illegal immigrant workers chopping their arms off in meat-packing factories meant for skilled workers. Obviously I'm an advocate for vegetarianism (and if you can go vegan, I salute you), but just cutting back a few times a week will improve your health, and it'll hit the meat industry where it hurts--in the pocket.

I apologize for my satirical account of the machismo of hunters. Being in that environment, I know it to be true, but the real problem is the meat industry. It is a topic worth discussing, but not now. Today should have been about reflection, as Leslie suggested, and I apologize for helping to lead us off topic.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 1:29 PM

They can buy seeds for a few cents and plant a garden. In stores, rice, beans, and canned veggies are some of the cheapest foods. It's a no brainer for me."

I find this comment to be naive, and here's why. I taught in a very poor school district and we had almost no students show up the day deer hunting season opened. I was shocked by this, until I learned that for many of these families, they have to hunt to survive the winter. They struggle just to exist. I highly doubt they're going to be growing veggies and going through the extreme "fun" of canning because it's better for the environment. It's not a realistic solution.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 01:27 PM


No, they're just too lazy and lacking in foresight to plant and tend a garden, then put up their produce.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:30 PM

TexasDadof2:

Thanks for posting Desiderata. I was thinking of looking for it last night. I know someone who keeps it on his fridge.

One commentary on yesterday's events that I read quoted the philosophy of the ancient Greeks that we are charged "to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." I think I'll get a copy of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. I haven't read it since college.

Off topic:
Your link to the Newsweek Article was helpful yesterday. I didn't want to get into it again-just wasn't feeling like it yesterday afternoon. The article did clarify aspects of that event for me though.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 1:33 PM

"...so they're for maiming and mindless destruction too."
Thank you! :-)

Hmm... I would be seriously concerned about the stability of anyone who is even potentially genetically disposed to violent outbursts against turtles (particularly the teenaged mutant ninja variety). Perhaps all citizens should be subject to an annual mind screening (more thorough than the astronaut one because we know how lousy that must have been) and the thought police will closely monitor anyone for any form of emotional expression that does not agree with that endorsed by the Party.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 1:33 PM

"So it's actually pretty easy for kids to get 'cigarettes'", not guns. I made that hopelessly confusing, sorry.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 1:33 PM

Oh, and moxiemom, I truly want to know how you handle the guns in friends' houses issue. It's not a snark -- just informal research. :>

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 17, 2007 01:27 PM

Seriously I ask the mother or father if they have guns in the house. If they say yes, then I tell them I am sorry but we don't allow the kids to play at houses where there are guns. I had a friend who died in high school from an accidental shooting. I also don't allow my 4 and 6 yr. olds to jump on trampolines or watch PG movies. I don't care what other rules people have in their homes - there are certain rules that are important to us and our family and I don't have a problem trying to make sure we live by them. Could someone lie to me about the guns, yes, but does that mean I shouldn't ask? I don't think any less of people with guns, I just don't want my children in a house where they are kept. Others might make a different choice.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 1:34 PM

WorkingMomX has a point. Veggies are not the solution if people do not want to eat them. Even if they bought them from the grocery store, it would save labor time but you can't force people to eat what they don't want to. I personally like the taste of meat. While I think a lot of the faux meats taste good as well. It just doesn't taste the same as meat. I like them but not as an alternative to meat. It is just something different to eat on a bun. On the other hand, DH won't even try faux meats.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 1:35 PM

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3048108&page=1

"Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, left a long and "disturbing" note in his dorm room at Virginia Tech, say law enforcement sources.

Sources have now described the note, which runs several pages, as beginning in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. It contains rhetoric explaining Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this," the sources told ABC News."

"Sources tell ABC News Cho bought his first gun, a Glock 9 millimeter handgun, on March 13; they say he bought his second weapon, a .22 caliber pistol, within the last week. The serial numbers on both guns had been filed off, they said.

Authorities found the receipt for the 9 millimeter handgun in Cho's backpack. They say the bag also contained two knives and additional ammunition for the two guns.

Legal permanent resident aliens may purchase firearms in the state of Virginia. A resident alien must, however, provide additional identification to prove he or she is a resident of the state. "

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 1:37 PM

Why??? What kind of a person goes out to kill things just to kill it?

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 01:26 PM


Someone who feels, shall we say, inadequate.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:37 PM

Scarry I actually agree with you on this one. But from the numerous Discovery channel documentaries (off topic - Planet Earth is amazing!), I understand that periods of scarcity are normal.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:38 PM

Man, go away for an hour and you miss all kinds of stuff on here!

To whoever made the comment to me - my father does not hunt just "for fun." I stated in one of my previous posts that he donates the food to local shelters, and what he does keep, we eat. He has never left an animal to rot in the woods, and once even tracked a deer for two days because he was so upset that he shot it and it ran off, wounded. He didn't want the deer to suffer.

As for all of you vegetarians... I tried soy once. Yucky. LOL I'll keep eating meat, thanks. ;-)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 1:40 PM

Meesh --

Many of the poor, rural families hunting for their food have also spent a lot of time growing vegetables and canning as well. I know my husband's grandparents did both in order to feed their families.

And many of those guns have been handed down from generation to generation. That's happened in both my family and my husband's family. I'm sure it's not unusual. A few days of deer or elk hunting can feed a family for an entire winter, and the time spent to prepare the meat is mostly done outside "work" hours as most of these families can't afford to miss many paydays. So I'm not sure your analysis of the "costs" of hunting are as high as you may think. It's still far cheaper than shopping for meat at the local grocery store and not everyone is willing to switch to vegetarianism, especially folks living at the margins of poverty in rural areas, where I suspect the tradition of providing for families this way also plays a huge role.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 1:42 PM

Meesh, Chris Rock has the answer to everything on the On Balance blog! :-)

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:43 PM

Militant vegetarians are hilarious.

Posted by: Hilarious | April 17, 2007 1:44 PM

If there is such a thing as a "parent crush," I think I have one on Moxiemom.

Posted by: Arington Dad | April 17, 2007 1:45 PM

WorkingMomX, I understand why you say that. Trust me, I've seen people living in extreme poverty (in Latin America and China).

But I don't expect impoverished people to grow their own food for the "fun" of it or for the environment. I expect them to realize that it is MUCH cheaper, which is why I had that paragraph outlining the various costs of hunting versus growing.

I know that people hunt for food and that without they would starve. But these people are the vast vast minority. The majority of hunters could easily supplement their diets in other ways.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 1:45 PM

//Many of the poor, rural families hunting for their food have also spent a lot of time growing vegetables and canning as well. I know my husband's grandparents did both in order to feed their families.//

What may I ask do the poor in Europe do? You make it sound like there are millions of Clampetts out there having possum soup because they have no other choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:45 PM

>With our non-guns?

NO, with the biting words before even the bodies can be placed in the ground. Do anti-gun agenda people have no shame? Like Columbine, this topic will not fade from our lexicon. Not in weeks, or months. You will have all the time you need to pontificate on your vast supply of superior wisdom.

Just not today.

I threrefore respectfully request our 2nd amendment folks to just let the anti-gun side go full rant today, and don't engage further, regardless of provocation.

Just like the hustlers Sharpton and others during the Duke case, those that seize on fresh tragedies to grind over their agendas generally LOSE more hearts and minds than they win.

So let them be their own worst enemies today their heart's content.

Posted by: Mourning time | April 17, 2007 1:46 PM

theoriginalmomof2...I can't help you with venizon recipes since the closest I've been to a deer has been in a state park :-).

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:46 PM

Veggies are not the solution if people do not want to eat them. Even if they bought them from the grocery store, it would save labor time but you can't force people to eat what they don't want to. I personally like the taste of meat. While I think a lot of the faux meats taste good as well. It just doesn't taste the same as meat. I like them but not as an alternative to meat. It is just something different to eat on a bun. On the other hand, DH won't even try faux meats.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 01:35 PM


You're increasing your risk of many kinds of serious and painful cancers.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:47 PM

"The poor folks scarry is speaking of can buy a gun or two, buy the other necessary equipment, drive out to the woods, spend hours (not working) to wait for an animal, kill it and drag it home, and then spend hours bleeding it, skinning it, storing it, and finally preparing it"

What a snobby, elist thing to say. Poor people don't have to work 24/7 you know.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

Militant vegetarians are hilarious.

Posted by: Hilarious | April 17, 2007 01:44 PM


Vegetarians get less colon, intestinal and stomach cancer, and generally have less heart disease. Hilarious, alright.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

gimmie lean sausage and boca burgers are pretty good for vegetarian alts, but as much as I avoid pork, I can not say no to a good beer brat... sushi can never be replaced, and chicken... well... I guess they are making progess in replicating it- though nothing is affordable/ versatile enough to replace it. And before you go there I love cooking with tofu, but find that nothing can replace chicken in jerk chicken, mu-shu chicken, or any other chicken based recipe.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

Mourning time should not be so judgemental of those who wish to express opinions on gun control. This is the time to debate what happened and why...with the passage of time, the gravity of this moment will fade and the opportunity to talk about why these massacres take place will fade as well.

Posted by: U.S. mom | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

Militant vegetarians are hilarious.

Posted by: Hilarious

----

Anyone find that ironic in the least? So are we to infer that the poster, Hilarious, is a militant vegetarian? ;-P
---
The real funny ones are the violent hippies. bunch of oxymorons...

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 1:53 PM

To: for Scarry

The great news for vegetarians is that food combining is no longer considered necessary to get enough usable protein into your body.

Research has determined that, as long as you eat these foods across the day, you'll be fine. So, no need to make sure you eat the rice with the beans or grains with the peanut butter. Just get a good variety of grains, legumes, and veggies each day, and you'll be eating at optimum health.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 1:54 PM

You're increasing your risk of many kinds of serious and painful cancers.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 01:47 PM
I eat faux meats and beans. But I also like animal meat. I guess we are all going to die of something. I can't force my DH to eat beans.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 1:54 PM

I hear you, Meesh, about the cost, and you have a point. But the families of the kids I used to teach already own guns, so the cost for them to hunt is essentially the cost of ammunition, which is cheap (most don't bother getting a hunting license, although the cost isn't prohibitive), and they do the dirty work (seriously dirty work it is, too) themselves. So for them, the cost is just the work they do and a few cents for bullets.

I've never hunted, but I do have a garden and it is a LOT of work. Frankly, I would rather pick weeds for the rest of my life than shoot something and then have to prep it to be eaten, but that's what I know. The people I'm speaking of, they don't know any other way either.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 1:55 PM

To add to the meat-eater vs vegetarian debate: Please consider that cultural norms play an important role in the food we eat. I'm Caribbean and our main dishes are meat or fish-based.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 1:58 PM

Anon at 1:45 -- There are probably fewer people in this country hunting/growing their food due to poverty than a couple of generations ago. I should have made that point in my post. Cheap, processed good has made it cheaper and more convenient for many of these folks to feed their families. It has also led to weight problems for many. And, like it or not, vegetarianism is perceived by many to be an expensive choice for the educated elite. I would definitely support a group that spent their time educating poor families on how to eat healthfully on a small budget, shopping tips, etc.

I like meat, but I recognize that it's not always the healthiest, or cheapest, choice. Our family's policy for years has been to eat vegetarian 3-4 nights per week -- mostly pasta, potatoes or rice mixed with beans and/or veggies. The other nights it's largely lean cuts of chicken, pork or fish. Beef is an occasional luxury.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 1:58 PM

Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores? That we were made that way? We don't tell Tigers they should eat beans cuz it's healtheir... ;-) Just a thought.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 1:59 PM

Texas Dad of 2 --

You and I don't usually get along very well. But your offering of the Desiderata today was a nice gesture.

It's a beautiful and comforting piece. My brother read it at our wedding.

Thanks.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 2:00 PM

Where is the CTOTD? I may have to provide a cooking tidbit of the day in absence of Fred's ability to feed our other, cultural rather than culinary needs.

Basmati rice is wonderful and worth the little extra, but for a cheap healthy, and quick meal: prep some rice of your choosing, top with black beans, some shredded cheddar, diced tomato, onion, and crystal hot sauce. It's a classic- hearty, and not a bland bean meal. :-)

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 2:00 PM

Vegas Mom, respectfully, none of what you write is news to me.

I still think that people who would starve without hunting are the vast minority. Framing the gun debate around them is like saying that we should not allow swimming because some people drown. The number of people who would starve when guns are outlawed (because they can't hunt) is probably roughly the same number of children and adults who innocently die by gunshot. It's six of one and a half dozen of the other depending one which side of the debate you're on.

Oh, and by the way, you can hunt with a knfe or bow and arrow. I have friends who have killed deer with both. If you're starving and have to eat meat, I'm sure you could manage without a gun.

As far as the starving deer and the necessity of killing them, there are other options. We are encroaching on their land. They have no predators other than people. So they are all over and people hit them with cars. We can shoot them, or we can try other things. We can try birth control or sterilazation.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 2:02 PM

The more we try to ban stuff, the more prevalent and dangerous things will become.

It all starts in the home. Parents need to be accountable for their kids, pure and simple. Get your heads out of the clouds. Talk to your kids. Turn off the TV. Have dinner together as much as possible.

I'd be curious to know what the parents of the Columbine kids who killed their classmates would go back and do differently. I'm guessing that they'd take heed and do more of the things mentioned above. Perhaps even the parents of the gunman from yesterday's tragedy would, too.

Fight things that really matter. Did you know that someone out there is making a video game of the Columbine tragedy? Wrap your heads around that one! I don't know where the game is in regards to production or release schedules, but it is real. And if this does get out, what kind of message does that send to the kids who are stupid enough to buy it? And the parents who don't know? Just like the Columbine killer's parents didn't know their kids had firearms and a big plan in their own bedrooms...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:03 PM

I can't force my DH to eat beans.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 01:54 PM


You fix beans for dinner, and if he doesn't like them, tell him to fix his own dinner.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:05 PM

Meesh,

BC and sterilization for deer to control the populations doesn't really work. In the Biltmore Forest area outside of Asheville, there are so many deer (due to a ban on hunting) that they are overrunning the surrounding neighborhoods. They've tried biological controls and none have much effect; there're just too many deer to control that way.

The latest effort I've heard them trying is hiring some experienced bowhunters to try and thin the herd, but that sounds way too impractical to accomplish much either.

Note also that farming, especially in 3rd world nations, is responsible for the destruction of most of the world's rain forests. Growing populations of natives need food, they clear some of the forest, but the soil is so thin and poor they have to clear yet more land within a few years.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 2:07 PM

I'm Caribbean and our main dishes are meat or fish-based.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 01:58 PM


So you can't change, because it's your cultural? GIve me a break. You're an American now.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:08 PM

Right you are, U.S. Mom! Do tell. In lengthy detail. Spare no invective. Fulfill that Divine Mission.

I already feel people being converted as you speak!

Posted by: Mourning time | April 17, 2007 2:08 PM

"Do you honestly believe that someone is going to tell you if they have a gun in their house?"

If they have one, and they're ashamed of it, then why do they have it?

I've never met a gun owner yet who wasn't proud as Punch of his gun(s).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:09 PM

I think it is pretty safe to say that some people on this board think other people are bad for eating meat and hunting. So please don't act like scary is being irrational. She has not told anyone what to eat or how to live. Can all of you say the same thing?

Posted by: to pittypat et el | April 17, 2007 2:09 PM

Meesh wrote: They have no predators other than people.

Mountain lions, wolves, and other larger carnivores are also deer predators in this area. But every time we see them, we shoot 'em, so there are fewer of them as well. The deer now hav an abundance of food with the flowers and other gardens humans put by their homes. Just last night I drove up a friend's driveway and there was a deer not twenty feet off the pavement. I got out of the car and walked into the house and the deer never flinched. Just raised it's head when I closed the car door. They know there is nothing to fear any more.

Personally, I love venison. I wish they would sell it in the stores. I don't like having to dress the carcass so I don't hunt them myself.

Posted by: Working Dad | April 17, 2007 2:10 PM

"Do anti-gun agenda people have no shame?"

I don't know about other gun control advocates, but my views were rooted in sympathy and compassion for all those people who died senselessly and needlessly. And the people who say that people will kill no matter what are just wrong. If the opportunity to kill is made more difficult, many people who might otherwise kill on impulse will be deterred by the obstacles placed in their path. It is just human nature. The harder you make it to do something, the less people who are likely to do it. Gun control will not quell all violence. But it will certainly reduce it.


Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 2:10 PM

--Note also that farming, especially in 3rd world nations, is responsible for the destruction of most of the world's rain forests. Growing populations of natives need food, they clear some of the forest, but the soil is so thin and poor they have to clear yet more land within a few years.--

Add to this the use of trees for fuel (i.e. Haiti)

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 2:11 PM

http://www.kansascity.com/440/story/73455.html

"The gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead was identified Tuesday as an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service.

News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus."

...

"The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that he left a note in his dorm room that included a rambling list of grievances. Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune said he had recently shown troubling signs, including setting a fire in a dorm room and stalking some women."

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 2:12 PM

Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores? That we were made that way? We don't tell Tigers they should eat beans cuz it's healtheir... ;-) Just a thought.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 01:59 PM


God made us superior to tigers. OR
We're more evolved than tigers.

Take your pick.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:12 PM

I have seen starving; sick deer and they are not a pretty site.

Wolves.

As for straw--that doesn't have the nutrition per bale that hay does. You're in the midwest, right? Alfalfa hay is very rich stuff. (But watch out for blister beetles)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:13 PM

--So you can't change, because it's your cultural? GIve me a break. You're an American now.--

I don't see your point, but tell me what is a truly American dish?

You're right, I'm an American, but I eat Italian food, French food, Moroccan food, etc....and I enjoy Dominican food.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 2:14 PM

Humans are NOT carnivores; we are omnivores, like bears. A carnivore eats only protein, in the form of meat; we need both protein and vegetables for a healthy diet.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 2:14 PM

"Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores? That we were made that way?"

Having given this some thought, I have an opinion (shocker).

First, we have to agree on a simple premise. Most people think that humans are unique in having a conscience. Humans have the ability for rational thought, whereas no animal does.

Therefore, is would be silly to expect an animal not to eat whatever is has been for hundreds of thousands of years.

But it's not so silly to expect humans to change their diet. Humans have the ability to evaluate their actions and change them based on the best way to proceed. We have the science that tells us that eating veggies is healthier; we have the historical proof that growing meat is devastating to the environment and uses more raw materials; and we have the technology to access veggies almost year round.

So, if anything, humans should absolutely assess and rethink their actions in order to better use their resources and land. When you see a dog repeatedly digging a hole even though it gets filled the next day to prevent its escape, you laugh. If you see a person repeatedly performing an action that is not working while willingfully refusing to change, you have to wonder if their brains are working properly.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 2:15 PM

Meesh -- Absolutely, framing the gun debate around the small percentage of people who use guns to feed their families is disingenuous. I don't buy it for a minute.

However, I also think it's disingenuous to dismiss these people out of hand with a "let them grow beans!" as we march off to lobby for a total ban on guns and insist that meat-eaters are evil. Not saying you're doing this, just pointing out that there are extremes on both sides of this argument.

We need to do a better job of instilling good eating habits and food choices, especially for people at the margins of society. We need to do a better job of managing and protecting our open spaces and wildlife. I think there's room for some stricter gun control laws that would protect legitimate hunters (who, like it or not, do help our environment by controlling the animal population) and those that depend on hunting to help feed their families.

As usual, the answer is many shades of grey, but it seems the only people speaking out are at the extremes. Unfortunately, that usually means that nothing is changed.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 2:16 PM

What may I ask do the poor in Europe do?

A lot of them ate cats, dogs, horses, any sort of ground-dwelling rodent, crows, and even grubs when they were truly desperate.

And eating an ant, when it's not dipped in chocolate, is simply eating an ant.

But I HAVE eaten cicada. And whistle-pig. (The whistle-pig is kinda greasy.)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:16 PM

I think it is pretty safe to say that some people on this board think other people are bad for eating meat and hunting. So please don't act like scary is being irrational. She has not told anyone what to eat or how to live. Can all of you say the same thing?

Posted by: to pittypat et el | April 17, 2007 02:09 PM


Actually, Scarry IS telling people how to eat. You're just agree with her.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:17 PM

John L - you are right. My apologies. I meant to point out that we were not made as purely vegetarians.

As for the poster who wishes me to pick between humans being more evolved than tigers or us being superior... I'd say we're more evolved, but in no way more superior. Humans are actually pretty low on the totem pole in my book.

How many tigers, bears, emu, parakeets, etc, do you see killing each other for a pair of sneakers or the latest iPod?

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 2:17 PM

And what are the poor folks who have taken the time to plant their garden to do when the deer come and eat it all?

Posted by: DC lurker | April 17, 2007 2:18 PM

As for straw--that doesn't have the nutrition per bale that hay does. You're in the midwest, right? Alfalfa hay is very rich stuff. (But watch out for blister beetles)

Well, it could have been hay for all I know. I am a coal miner's daughter, not a farmer's daughter. Going out to the farm was a treat. My cousin found a baby deer frozen to the ground last year. They put warm water on him and brought him to the barn. They kept him a little to long and they had to call someone out to help introduce him back into the wild. He thought he was a dog!

Yes, there are wolves in Ohio.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 2:19 PM

Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores?

If you look at our dentition, most of it is devoted to grinding, not ripping and rending. Besides, our canines are hardly weapons anymore, and our cutting teeth aren't all that strong.

Compare our teeth to that of a pig, for example. Or a cat. Cats are almost strictly carnivorous--the plant matter they are "supposed to" eat is offal, and obtained from the disemboweled kill. Dogs are more omnivorous than cats.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:19 PM

"Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores? That we were made that way?"

I forget the name of the ape, but humans are descended from a species of primate that existed thousands of years ago. Those primates were strict vegetarians, until a huge famine caused them to hunt other animals and each other for food. I'll have more specifics on this when I get home later this evening; the text is at home.

And have you had a look at our teeth? We have dull canines and flat molars. Not good for chewing up tough muscle tissue and grinding up bones. Our teeth are more suited for the diet of a panda than a tiger, as are our digestive tracts. We can't handle raw meat, because our lengthy intestines absorb more of the bacteria than an animal whose body is meant for eating meat, like a cat. If we were meant for eating meat, we'd have much sharper canine teeth, sharper and fewer molars, and shorter intestinal tracts. We'd also be able to eat raw meat without getting sick.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 2:19 PM

IV. WHY HAS REDUCTION OCCURRED?

There is no single explanation of the mechanisms in dental reduction. Since human teeth have become smaller, it raises a question: what advantage is there to having smaller, weaker, and more friable teeth? Several proposals are presented below.

(1) Dental reduction is a result of facial reduction. This in effect says that forces of selection don't effect teeth directly and presents a logical dilemma if we insist that teeth are directly affected by forces of natural selection.

(2) Smaller teeth are an economic advantage; fewer resources go into making smaller teeth. A similar argument is made for why we can't synthesize vitamin C: in our ancestral past it was readily available. Early primates 'deleted' the ability to manufacture vitamin C as a biological economy measure. This argument has been dismissed by some as silly and inconsequential. Yet,

measuring the 'biological cost' of growing teeth would be a creative laboratory project.

(3) As early humans acquired culinary skills, teeth ceased to have survival value and they are just dwindling away due to the Probable Mutation Effect. This notion is complex, but is interesting for the light it sheds on some of our basic beliefs in biology.

Does every structure have a function? What about the appendix? What is the advantage of having the Carabelli trait? Are they there for survival value, or are they....just there? Ernst Mayer has pointed out that it is very difficult to prove the selective value of many characters.

.....

What the Probable Mutation Effect says is this: the most likely result of mutation will be a reduction of phenotypic manifestation of the trait under the control of one or more (molecular DNA) loci. If the trait that locus (or several ones) is important to survival, then with natural selection mutations that produce a reduction will be weeded out. But if the trait doesn't matter any more, then the accumulation of mutations over time will lead ultimately to reduction and loss. "Left to themselves, things will go from bad to worse" is one aphorism in evolutionary theory. When selection is suspended, the structure simply deteriorates to a lesser version of its original condition. It sounds a bit like Murphy's Law, doesn't it?

(My note: if every structure had a purpose, you'd expect the human genome to be particularly clean and efficient. It isn't. Apparently the human genome is a genetic junkyard. More than 90% of it isn't even transcribed. It may be just genetic debris left over from structures no longer utilized.)

.....

V. THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON TOOTH SIZE.

Food preparation technology may have eliminated the forces that previously maintained tooth size. It is true that teeth have had paramasticatory functions--such as processing animal skins. While teeth have a primary use in feeding, the important issue is not so much the food itself but what was done to it before it was eaten.

We are used to cartoon images of cave men cooking whole animals over an open air camp fire. Historically, however, more sophisticated techniques have been used. One is the earth oven--a technique observable today in a Polynesian luau where a pig is baked. If you have ever baked a potato in the hot earth and coals under a campfire, you understand the technique. Meat cooked in such a fashion becomes quite tender.

A variant of heated stone cookery is hot stone boiling, a technique used by many Native Americans at the time of contact.

Once pottery was developed, food preparation probably accelerated the reduction of tooth size. Along with pottery as part of the 'neolithic package' was efficient stone pounding and grinding. The beneficiaries of these techniques could survive without any teeth at all. In the Upper Paleolithic and before, edentulous human remains are uncommon. After the onset of the Neolithic, burials of edentulous persons is not unusual. Survival without tooth had become easier.

Over the last 7,000 years in Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan and Southeast Asia--the rate of dental reduction is effectively the same. One intriguing issue remains: why have Australian aborigines lagged behind in molar tooth size reduction? The arrival of technology may be the answer. The earth oven may have arrived there last, and from that it could be predicted that the Australian aborigines were the last to begin the Late Pleistocene trajectory of human reduction.

If you've kept your sense of humor while reading this article, you might enjoy this poetry from Brace et al, 1991.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:21 PM

Meesh - Our brains are NOT working properly, as evidenced by yesterday's tragic events. Humans as a group are a pretty messed up species. Yes, there are individuals who are pretty darn spiffy (like myself LOL), but as a group, we're off our rocker!

But I do conceed your point about us being able to make up our own minds. Do I agree that we should stop eating meat? Nope. But you make a good argument. =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 2:22 PM

To WorkingmomX --

You're certainly right that planting a garden may not be an option for poor people barely eking out a living.

However, it is absolutely true that legumes and grains are the cheapest foods there are. For less than $3.00, you can have a huge pot of hot bean stew (with a bit of onion, carrot, potato, if available) and a big pot of rice or macaroni to go with it. This would serve 8 or 10 people for one meal or 3 or 4 for several days. It's the kind of food that sticks to your ribs in the cold winters and really fuels the body optimally.

And it's a lot cheaper and less labor intensive than hunting. (In cold weather, you want to avoid using up calories too quickly!)

So, the argument that poor people have to hunt just doesn't hold up. It may be a way they PREFER to supplement their diets, but it's just not a necessity.

Eating flesh is always a choice.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 2:22 PM

John L., I guess I'd have to read the outcomes of those biological controls to believe that we've really tried all the available biological avenues.

Working Dad, I meant the deer have no predators in the areas where they are overpopulated. In urban areas where deer are being hit by cars, people are the only predators.

I'm imagining that in areas where there are wolves and like live, deer wouldn't be as much of a problem if people stopped shooting the predadtors.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 2:23 PM

And what are the poor folks who have taken the time to plant their garden to do when the deer come and eat it all?

Posted by: DC lurker | April 17, 2007 02:18 PM


That's what fences are for.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:23 PM

And as for us not being able to eat raw meat without getting sick, neither can my dogs. But that's because it's been breed out of them, they're "domesticated" now, just like we have been.

But mostly I'm just arguing now because I don't feel like agreeing with anyone. LOL

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 2:24 PM

MoxieMom, how do parents react when you ask them whether they have guns at home? Impressed that you are thorough, annoyed? Do you ask about other issues (drugs, live in partners, etc) and do you think people are honest? Are your children old enough to report back to you what they've observed? Do others ask questions of their children's playmates' parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:25 PM

I think the discussion is only looking in one direction (although Virginia's lack of gun control laws has always appalled me). Many kids are not taught to handle disappointment or frustration. You don't always get the score, the college, the girlfriend you want. Rather than arming kids in classrooms, lets teach them how to get through the really stressful times.

Absolutely, I asked about guns before my kids went to play at a new house. Now I ask if they'll be home to keep an eye on our teens.

Posted by: Kirsten | April 17, 2007 2:25 PM

How can we be so sure that vegetables and fruits don't feel any pain?

They're living, too...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:25 PM

Yes, there are wolves in Ohio.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 02:19 PM


Also in DC. THe 2-legged variety.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:26 PM

How can we be so sure that vegetables and fruits don't feel any pain?

They're living, too...

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:25 PM


If you're so concerned, YOU do the research. But don't eat anything till you complete your double-blind study.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:27 PM

No, I am not. I am not posting recipes and telling people that meat is better than vegetables or that people are too lazy to go hunt for their food.

I am just saying what people eat back home and why. I am also not trying to prove that meat is the only way to eat and that it makes me sick that people eat vegetables, tofu, and soy. I am just stating that some people hunt to supplement their food sources where I come from.

BTW my brother eats snapping turtles. He makes turtle soup out of them.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 2:27 PM

The VA Tech incident could spur interesting debate on the gun control issue, but it would be nice if today was used to respect and honor the dead, their families and friends, other students and faculty, and anyone else who works at the campus. Can't there be just one day without arguing?

Posted by: xyz | April 17, 2007 2:28 PM

The last-wordism in me wants to respond to you, dlm79, but since you mention that you're just feeling disagreeable, well then, let's just agree to disagree. All this talk about death is bumming me out. :-(

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 2:28 PM

'That's what fences are for.'

you obviously don't live with huge herds of deer passing through your yard. Deer can jump over a 10 foot fence, maybe higher.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:29 PM

Scarry,

Straw is yellow, but hay is green.

Your completely off-topic trivial fact of the day.

Bad as I feel for the victims of this young man, I also feel badly for his family. I can't imagine that they knowingly raised someone who would do such a thing. I would like to believe that if they had had any suspicions about him and his behavior, they would have addressed it long ago.

But I guess I'm stupidly optimistic, as my husband wasn't diagnosed until he was in his 40's. We'd already had kids by then, who are now living with the possibility of bipolar hanging over their heads.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 17, 2007 2:30 PM

MoxieMom, how do parents react when you ask them whether they have guns at home? Impressed that you are thorough, annoyed? Do you ask about other issues (drugs, live in partners, etc) and do you think people are honest? Are your children old enough to report back to you what they've observed? Do others ask questions of their children's playmates' parents?

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:25 PM


Are you afraid you'll be unpopular if you ask?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:30 PM

"I threrefore respectfully request our 2nd amendment folks to just let the anti-gun side go full rant today, and don't engage further, regardless of provocation."

Ah, yes. The gun folks so love to dictate the rules of engagement.

Your crocodile tears are offensive.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:30 PM

Ah, yes. The gun folks so love to dictate the rules of engagement.

Your crocodile tears are offensive.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:30 PM


They don't want to be confronted when they think they might lose. Unless they want to point their little guns at us.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:31 PM

dlm79, you crack me up. Isn't arguing the whole point of the blog?! LOL

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 2:32 PM

"And before you go there I love cooking with tofu, but find that nothing can replace chicken in jerk chicken, mu-shu chicken, or any other chicken based recipe."

Chris,

Being a vegetarian means that you may have to renounce things you like the taste of even though you can't find anything to replace them with.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:33 PM

It's a beautiful and comforting piece. My brother read it at our wedding.

Thanks.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 02:00 PM


Your brother read it when you and he got married?!?!?!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:34 PM

Do anti-gun agenda people have no shame?

The same could be said for those who are pro-gun.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:34 PM

Sorry, another off-topic remark: I'm surprised they (someone mentioned Asheville) feel they have to pay bow-hunters. I have two GOOD bow-hunters who are ready to go as far as thinning the deer that are around my property. I saw a small herd of six just the other morning.

By the way, it actually takes several days of leaving it to hang before it's ready to be processed. Literally. At least the way I've seen it done.

A friend of mine has a stepson who attends Virginia Tech. He's physically fine, but he knows two of the victims. I think she is going to be driving down to see him this weekend. It's quite a long haul from where she lives.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 17, 2007 2:34 PM

They don't want to be confronted when they think they might lose. Unless they want to point their little guns at us.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:31 PM

yeah, the bold, the courageous, the anonymous. It's not exactly a challenge to shoot a coward.

Posted by: Hannah | April 17, 2007 2:34 PM

I aspire to VegasMom's balanced approach to eating meat. I don't have a moral problem with eating animal flesh, but I would like to reduce negative impact on the environment. Cultural upbringing regarding eating habits are not quick to change though. I learned to cook from my mother who followed the traditional meat-veg-starch template. I have new skills to acquire in order to make tasty veg meals. I love almost all beans--my family only some so far. I doubt I will embrace meat substitutes--I think there's been some questioning of healthfulness of some too (high in fat?).

Just think of the reduced impact to the environment if just 25% of families reduced meat consumption by half. Also, our children would grow up with the norm that meat need not be a part of every meal.

My understanding is that many people who reduce meat intake find that they do feel better as they eat more thoughtfully and approach near vegetarianism.

I have a long way to go with this myself, and view eating meat as pleasurable. I'd like to have it be a more occasional pleasure though.

Note to self--add vegetarian cooking and earth-friendliness of individual types of meat/fish to my list of things to research.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 2:37 PM

Yep, deer can jump a 10' fence without even really trying. The best way to prevent them from entering a field is to build a solid fence at least 5' high so they can't see through it. They won't jump over a fence they can't see through, but it's expensive to make a fence like this. A fence made of barbed wire or chain link can't really be made high enough to stop a deer from jumping it, though.

As for eating snapping turtles, I've never had them but I have been told they taste a lot like whatever they swim in. Considering the water the ones my dad shot lived in, no thanks.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 2:37 PM

"Had anybody thought about the fact that Humans are SUPPOSED to be carnivores? That we were made that way? We don't tell Tigers they should eat beans cuz it's healtheir... ;-) Just a thought."

dlm79 --

Glad you brought this up.

Humans are not, in fact, supposed to be carnivores. If we were, we would have sharper, longer canine teeth for ripping flesh. Instead, we have strong back teeth (in strong jaws) to facilitate the chewing of vegetation.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 2:37 PM

Foamgnome -you are correct. In ga, apparently, they have recently changed the diet in the prisons yo be healthier. The result? Complaints from the prisoners.

Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2007 2:38 PM

"Being a vegetarian means that you may have to renounce things you like the taste of even though you can't find anything to replace them with."

I admire the committment of vegetarians, but I love meat and am not interested in being vegetarian. Many things influence health, and diet is one of those things, but not the only one. Genetics is a bigger factor in health than diet. Health conscious people can and do contract diseases and cancers. If you choose to be vegetarian, fine. Why is it necessary to condemn others who choose to remain meat-eaters?

Posted by: huh? | April 17, 2007 2:38 PM

And what are the poor folks who have taken the time to plant their garden to do when the deer come and eat it all?
~~~~~

This is another use for mace, which should still be legal.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:39 PM

There's a video game on Columbine???

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:39 PM

Marian and pitty, you're welcome.

I hoped Desiderata would start some positive thoughts about the victims and their families, or at least have us all appropriately reflect on things for a day like today.

Didn't exactly work out that way...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 17, 2007 2:40 PM

Pittypat, many, many people on this planet don't have the luxury as you clearly do of being able to make choices based on principle. I recognize that legumes and grains are very cheap, extremely nourishing, and can make a wonderfully hearty meal. People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life. They do what they have to do. Obviously, I am talking about one end of the spectrum, an extreme. As are you.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 2:40 PM

yeah, the bold, the courageous, the anonymous. It's not exactly a challenge to shoot a coward.

Posted by: Hannah | April 17, 2007 02:34 PM


At last, a pro-gun person ADMITS guns are for shooting people they disagree with.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:41 PM

Genetics is a bigger factor in health than diet.

You are quite mistaken. Diet is almost entirely under your control (as an adult), and being obese will definitely affect your quality of life for the worse, and shorten its duration.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:41 PM

Foamgnome -you are correct. In ga, apparently, they have recently changed the diet in the prisons yo be healthier. The result? Complaints from the prisoners.

Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2007 02:38 PM
Seriously guys, if we can't make the prisoners eat beans how do you expect to force law abidding citizens to eat beans?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 2:41 PM

And what are the poor folks who have taken the time to plant their garden to do when the deer come and eat it all?

Try putting bobcat urine around the perimeter. It's inexpensive and readily found online.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:42 PM

As for eating snapping turtles, I've never had them but I have been told they taste a lot like whatever they swim in. Considering the water the ones my dad shot lived in, no thanks.

My brother says they taste like chicken. I wouldn't eat one if it was the last thing on earth to eat, but more power to him if he likes it. He is just not allowed to kill them around our house.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 2:43 PM

Please pardon my grammatical hiccups today. I was typing quickly.

I would just add that I don't see the meat/veg question as having an all or nothing answer. Reducing meat intake without eliminating it alltogether could be a positive choice for many in terms of environment, health, and budget.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 2:44 PM

Genetics is a bigger factor in health than diet.


That makes it all the more important to control one's diet, since there's more to compensate for.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:44 PM

And what are the poor folks who have taken the time to plant their garden to do when the deer come and eat it all?

Throw legumes and whole grains at the deer.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:45 PM

Mona ~ Actually, the reason I'm being argumentative and silly today is becuase it's DISTRACTING me from the idea of death. The incident at Tech has hit me very, very hard, and it's easier to argue with all of you than it is to read the endless accounts and news stories of something that is breaking my heart.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 2:45 PM

People who are fussy about what they are offered aren't hungry enough.

Barring food allergies, the prisoners would be served beans if they are on the menu. If they opt not to eat them, well, nuts to them!

It's 3 hots and a cot. Not 3 hots of what you desire the most and a four-poster bed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:45 PM

Beans, beans, good for the heart....

I will spare you the rest.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 2:46 PM

Seriously guys, if we can't make the prisoners eat beans how do you expect to force law abidding citizens to eat beans?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2007 02:41 PM


Let them eat cake.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:46 PM

I want cake!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 2:47 PM

Moxiemom,
I'm with you. I plan to ask parents if they have guns in the home when my son goes anywhere for a playdate. I've known lots of parents who do this, so you are not alone. I also agree with a previous poster. Most people will tell the truth as to whether or not there are guns in the home and if they do lie, and something happens, they are going to be sued (and lose everything) so keep that in mind.

One funny story about asking if guns are in the home though:
A coworker of my mother's (Elaine) lived on Capitol Hill. Her daughter was having a sleepover and one of the invited girl's mothers called since they had never met. They were having a general get-to-know you chat and the mother asked Elaine if there were any "firearms" in the house. Elaine thought she had said "fire alarms" and replied, "Of course we do, one on every floor." There was a long silence and then the other mother said, "why do you feel the need for a gun on every floor when they're illegal in DC?" Needless to say, Elaine cleared that right up.

Posted by: Emmy | April 17, 2007 2:47 PM

Try putting bobcat urine around the perimeter. It's inexpensive and readily found online.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:42 PM


MMmmmmm. Bobcat Urine.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:48 PM

People who are fussy about what they are offered aren't hungry enough.

I actually agree with that. There is a saying in Spanish that when real hunger hits, there is no such thing as hard bread.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 2:48 PM

"I think it is pretty safe to say that some people on this board think other people are bad for eating meat and hunting. So please don't act like scary is being irrational. She has not told anyone what to eat or how to live. Can all of you say the same thing?"

Actually, I can say that. I don't attempt to convert people to vegetarianism; if other people ask questions about my diet, I answer them.

I don't think people who eat meat are bad. My husband eats meat, and I adore him. :>)

I brought up beans today in answer to scarry's question of what poor people can eat to get their protein. She claimed that poor rural folks have to be able to shoot game in order to stay alive. I merely refuted her claim by pointing out that eating beans is the cheapest way to get enough protein.

Please note that my posts don't contain any of the judgment for which you have attacked the veggies on this blog.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 2:49 PM

"Genetics is a bigger factor in health than diet.


That makes it all the more important to control one's diet, since there's more to compensate for."

Unless you have good genes. My family lives into 80's and 90's without any special diet. That's good enough for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:50 PM

My family lives into 80's and 90's without any special diet. That's good enough for me.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:50 PM


Why the low expectations? Go for 100.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:55 PM

I can't believe discussion of the tragic events at Va. Tech. have led to an argument between omnivores and vegetarians. Some people can't resist the opportunity to push their oagenda, no matter how inappropriate the circumstances.

Posted by: How did this happen? | April 17, 2007 2:57 PM

MoxieMom, how do parents react when you ask them whether they have guns at home? Impressed that you are thorough, annoyed? Do you ask about other issues (drugs, live in partners, etc) and do you think people are honest? Are your children old enough to report back to you what they've observed? Do others ask questions of their children's playmates' parents?

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:25 PM

Most parents are surprised that I ask but don't seem annoyed (however, suburban women can be very, very good at masking things like that! haha). Generally people stop and say "Gee, I never thought about asking that. That's a good idea". I don't ask about an awful lot else, but as noted in a discussion recently, I always stay for the first play date. I'm not too concerned about being unpopular, I used to be, but then I realized that if I wasn't willing to be an advocate for my child, who would be willing. That's why this is a job, sometimes there are hard things to do. I've only had one family that had a gun and they seemed understanding and their son still comes over here. BTW, I wouldn't send my child to a home where they smoke inside or in front of the children either. Nothing against smokers ( I used to be one), but at least while my kids are young I'd like them to have positive role models in that department.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2007 2:58 PM

Genetics is not a bigger factor!

If you stuff a kid full of crap from a young age, they will grow up to be fat and it is proven that if you are fat you are more susceptable to a wide range of health problems. Look up Mauritania on yahoo news.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 2:59 PM

Unless you have good genes. My family lives into 80's and 90's without any special diet. That's good enough for me.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:50 PM

Don't count on that holding true forever. Why trust to luck? Are you 60+? Did any of these relatives have the same high-fat, high fructose corn syrup, high sodium, overprocessed gelatinous goo that many of us eat today? Or children of today?

Someone on this blog once mentioned how hard it is to find food without high fructose corn syrup. I snorted derisively and thought, "Right, how hard can it be?" Now that I've been reading the food labels--darned hard!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

"People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life."

I lived in one of these homes for several years. We ate meat mayyyybe once a week, because, guess what? We couldn't afford it!

I agree, 2:45. Let 'em eat what we give 'em. I'm veg, but if I went to prison for murder and complained about eating a dead animal, well, that would just be ironic, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

I can't believe discussion of the tragic events at Va. Tech. have led to an argument between omnivores and vegetarians. Some people can't resist the opportunity to push their oagenda, no matter how inappropriate the circumstances.

Posted by: How did this happen? | April 17, 2007 02:57 PM


It came about when guns were defended with a hunting argument.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

"If you stuff a kid full of crap from a young age"

I don't know that feeding meat to kids equals "stuffing a kid full of crap". I know vegetarians who won't touch meat but will eat junk food.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:01 PM

>If you look at our dentition, most of it is devoted to grinding, not ripping and >rending. Besides, our canines are hardly weapons anymore, and our cutting >teeth aren't all that strong.

Actually, there is evidence that the first humans were so pathetic, slow and weak that all they could do to survive was get to the bones after an animal had been killed AND picked clean by the scavengers. That is one reason humans first used tools - to crack open the bones and suck out the marrow. Doesn't require sharp teeth at all, but it doesn't get much carnivorous than that.

Posted by: for what it's worth | April 17, 2007 3:02 PM

Although the events at VT were tragic, I see no reason why life has to stop because of it. This is a blog far removed from VT. People come here to read and opine. No one is hurting anyone at VT by blogging here. Those people who are too grieved to participate only need to recuse themselves. They don't have to be here. They have no right to stop the rest of us from carrying on with our daily lives. Life is for the living.

Posted by: blogger | April 17, 2007 3:04 PM

"I am just saying what people eat back home and why. I am also not trying to prove that meat is the only way to eat and that it makes me sick that people eat vegetables, tofu, and soy. I am just stating that some people hunt to supplement their food sources where I come from."

scarry,

This is disingenuous. It's not what you said. What you said was:

"Let me go tell all the poor people back home about [vegetarianism]. Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?"

Your snarky comment still stands. You can't go back and whitewash it with all that "I'm just saying" stuff.

Fact is, you tried to make a point using sarcasm, and you failed when several other posters pointed out that bean cuisine is the cheapest and easiest-to-get form of protein.

So stop with all the excuses. You WEREN'T just saying that "some people hunt to supplement their food sources where I come from."

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 3:05 PM

I don't know that feeding meat to kids equals "stuffing a kid full of crap". I know vegetarians who won't touch meat but will eat junk food.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 03:01 PM


By your logic, an omnivore can abuse their health but a vegetarian can't ever have a junk food treat. Sorry, that doesn't hold.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:08 PM

I don't know that feeding meat to kids equals "stuffing a kid full of crap".

No, but as I have been around plenty of farmers who inject antibiotics indiscriminately into their cattle (and yes, you too could go to a TSC or Southern States and buy 500 ml of antibiotics), in addition to feeding them feeds that have antibiotics contained within them, I have less faith in the value of your average USDA choice or prime meats than most.

And yes, I do eat meat periodically. But I prefer to go without it. Besides, it makes me tired when I eat red meat. Really tired! I don't know if it's the fat contained within or something else.

Hmm. I don't have this problem when I eat potato chips though. MMM...parsnip chips...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:08 PM

"By your logic, an omnivore can abuse their health but a vegetarian can't ever have a junk food treat. Sorry, that doesn't hold."

Actually, I don't believe that eating meat is abusing your health. It's the vegetarians who believe that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:10 PM

"My family lives into 80's and 90's without any special diet. That's good enough for me.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 02:50 PM


Why the low expectations? Go for 100."

LOL - only on a blog of over-achievers.

Posted by: anon | April 17, 2007 3:12 PM

I can't believe discussion of the tragic events at Va. Tech. have led to an argument between omnivores and vegetarians. Some people can't resist the opportunity to push their oagenda, no matter how inappropriate the circumstances.

Posted by: How did this happen? | April 17, 2007 02:57 PM

I think this blog is entirely appropriate. Some of us, extremely saddened and horrified by the events at Tech, need an outlet, a way of distracting ourselves. This is healthier than drinking to excess or eating too much ice cream....

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:12 PM

dim79 -

I also think the blog is a good, harmless distraction. But I could go for some ice cream too. In fact, I can do both simultaneously. An embarrassment of riches!!

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:14 PM

Why the low expectations? Go for 100."

LOL - only on a blog of over-achievers.


Posted by: anon | April 17, 2007 03:12 PM

LOL! Good one.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 17, 2007 3:14 PM

So stop with all the excuses. You WEREN'T just saying that "some people hunt to supplement their food sources where I come from."

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 03:05 PM
~~~~~
Uh-oh. You're in trouble now.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:15 PM

Emily ~ Alas, I am at work and have no means by which to obtain ice cream... Maybe when I get home.

Darn, now I really want ice cream. Anyone near a Maggie Moos and feel like bringing me some? (I'm in Rockville! LOL)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:16 PM

Hey, I'm in Rockville too. Closest ice cream place is Baskin Robbins....
Unfortunately, I won't get there today.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:17 PM

You really ought to read the research literature on a subject before shooting your mouth off.

http://adc.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/archdischild%3b84/4/355

Women CAN choose to wait now, by freezing healthy eggs in their 20s and having kids later --whenever "later" is. Women in their 60s can safely bear and nurse children. The only part of your body that "expires" is the eggs themselves, which can now be frozen prior to fertilization.

Posted by: for Leslie | April 17, 2007 3:18 PM

Emily, you've unknowingly tortured a pregnant woman. Now I really, really want ice cream. LOL!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:19 PM

"My brother says they taste like chicken. I wouldn't eat one if it was the last thing on earth to eat, but more power to him if he likes it. He is just not allowed to kill them around our house."

Scarry, if you've got snapping turtles around your house you've got a problem. They like to hang out in ponds and swamps, not front yards.

My brother came up from the barn one day holding a snapper as big as a dinner plate by its tail. The turtle was rather annoyed and kept trying to reach him with its beak, so my brother had to hold it at arm's length to keep it from biting his leg. We were wondering if his arm would get tired (letting the turtle get closer to his leg...) before my dad came out with his pistol to shoot the turtle.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 3:19 PM

I never equated meat with crap! look up, yes, I posted a tasty bean recipe, but I have also been known to go on and on about the sacredness of a good beer brat!

I generally try to eat healthy- and limit my fatty meat intake, but I indulge in moderation. I think being an omnivore is fine, but if you just eat one type of anything all the time you will not be healthy.

As far as the guilty, let them eat beans. It's good enough. They should be reformed if possible, but the systems do not appear to be geared to doing anything good other than getting them out of sight for a few years at a time.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 3:19 PM

Hey, I'm pregnant too. Dim79, are you sure you're not me?

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:19 PM

for Leslie - the older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to bear children, fresh eggs or no. Pregnancy takes a HUGE toll on a woman's body. Maybe you're the one who ought to do some more research.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:21 PM

Maybe Scarry has a pond in her front yard?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:22 PM

'my dad came out with his pistol to shoot the turtle'

oh, no, hunting turtles with a gun!

(thanks for the best laugh of the day.)

Posted by: experienced mom | April 17, 2007 3:22 PM

Emily ~ Are you sassy, smart, sophisticated, sarcastic, and ... um... other "S" words? If so, I might be you after all! =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:23 PM

Doppelgangers on the blog! :>)

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 3:23 PM

Experienced Mom - how do YOU hunt turtles?

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:24 PM

for Leslie - the older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to bear children, fresh eggs or no. Pregnancy takes a HUGE toll on a woman's body. Maybe you're the one who ought to do some more research.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 03:21 PM

That is another point to be made to Leslie. MY point was that harvesting and storing one's own eggs is NOT so easily done. That was why I posted the link to an article discussing ways of preserving the fertility of children (prepubescent and adolescent) whose survival depends upon treatment that will likely render them sterile.

It's not as easy as ovulating, freezing, paying through the nose for 15-30 years then everything being viable. There are a lot of variables, particularly with ova. And it costs big bucks.

Did you read the article? Or did you simply shoot from the lip?

Posted by: for dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:25 PM

Aha, I forgot to put in the quotes.

This is what Leslie opined yesterday:

"Women CAN choose to wait now, by freezing healthy eggs in their 20s and having kids later --whenever "later" is. Women in their 60s can safely bear and nurse children. The only part of your body that "expires" is the eggs themselves, which can now be frozen prior to fertilization."

She hasn't a clue.

Posted by: for dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:26 PM

"Let me go tell all the poor people back home about [vegetarianism]. Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?"

Hmmm- WELL- Tofu costs about $1.20 per pound. YES, that is one dollar twenty cents per pound. Oh, my, how will they afford that?

Do some research

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:27 PM

"Shoot from the lip"

Hahahaha. Good one. And very much in keeping with our gun debate.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:27 PM

Oh, so Leslie made those comments, not you. AH... I did not read the article, nor did I read yesterday's blog. My apologies.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:28 PM

"Shoot from the lip"

Hahahaha. Good one. And very much in keeping with our gun debate.

I do stay on topic, sometimes. Sort of!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:28 PM

Tofu. Now there's a thought.

Back in another life, I ate lots of tofu. It is actually okay. It takes on the taste of whatever you cook it with. But I prefer beans. Much tastier.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:30 PM

"Let me go tell all the poor people back home about [vegetarianism]. Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?"


Hmmm- WELL- Tofu costs about $1.20 per pound. YES, that is one dollar twenty cents per pound. Oh, my, how will they afford that?

Do some research

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 03:27 PM


GOD SAVE ME FROM MILITANT VEGETARIANS. pitty, mona, meesh, whoever else please spare the rest of us your diatribes. I'm too busy sucking the flesh off the leg of a cow. And God, is it good.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:30 PM

And I apologize for snapping at you, after all, I was the one who failed to put in the quotes to keep it clear.

But as for women who "have it all", well, Kathleen Battle qualifies, in my eyes anyway.

Posted by: to dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:31 PM

dlm79 - you're two of those 4 S words . . . and I think you know which 2.

Posted by: half is ok . . . | April 17, 2007 3:31 PM

And for the record, the only shooting I do is from the lip. ;-)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:31 PM

But if you go to an animal shelter and gather up the bodies, the meat is free. And there is a seemingly endless supply of unwanted cats & dogs.

They generally eat pretty well, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:32 PM

Well, your pleasure is more important to us than anything else.

Posted by: To 3:30 | April 17, 2007 3:33 PM

Enough of this nonsense...

"It's peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time, where you at, where you at, peanutbutterjelllywithabaseballbat."

And I bet that is the most balanced thing said today. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 3:33 PM

OUCH! Come on. I'm also sweet, and sensitive, and silly, and... Hrm... Snippy.

I will admit that the "sophisticated" made me chuckle as I typed it, but I am no dummy. Smart I is! =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:33 PM

Pittypat I only become snarky when the answer to people supplementing their food supply was becoming a vegetarian. I've seen you be snarky before too, so please don't lecture me about it.

I am not making excuses for how I feel or whitewashing anything. You have the right to be a vegetarian and people where I come from have the right to go out shoot a deer and eat it. I am not going to debate this with you or any of the other veggie eaters on here anymore. I just found out that two of my friend's professors were killed yesterday. I am deeply saddened by her loss and feel really bad for her. The whole debate is really stupid anyway. People where I come from will still hunt and have guns no matter what anyone says.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 3:35 PM

--Pittypat, many, many people on this planet don't have the luxury as you clearly do of being able to make choices based on principle. I recognize that legumes and grains are very cheap, extremely nourishing, and can make a wonderfully hearty meal. People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life. They do what they have to do. Obviously, I am talking about one end of the spectrum, an extreme. As are you.--

I agree with this. Again, I want to reiterate the cultural norms play an important role in what we eat. In Central America, for example, the diet is rich in legumes, but they still eat meat (mostly poultry). In my country of origin, we eat a lot of legumes and root and tuber vegetables - but we still eat meat.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 3:35 PM

"Why is it necessary to condemn others who choose to remain meat-eaters?"

huh? --

I didn't condemn anyone. I was responding to Chris's comments specifically.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:36 PM

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0417071vtech1.html

They claim this is the writing described as "disturbing" by Cho's creative writing professor.

WARNING: it is graphic and indeed disturbing, but there's no way to know if it is indeed Cho's, and they don't say how they got it either.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 3:36 PM

Remember, it's free cone day and Ben and Jerry's.

Posted by: Free Ice Cream | April 17, 2007 3:37 PM

//People where I come from will still hunt and have guns no matter what anyone says.//

Bet they'll keep inbreeding too! cue dueling banjos!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:37 PM

Is It Right For You?

Scientists now working at the Fertility Institutes have successfully cryopreserved (frozen), later thawed and fertilized human eggs and obtained the birth of healthy babies. From a total of six patients having eggs frozen in the initial work, three pregnancies and live births have resulted

--gotta love those odds!--

Step 1
Step 1 involves waiting for your normal menstrual period to begin. Depending upon the treatment protocol prescribed for you, with the beginning of your menses, you will either be given instructions to begin your fertility drugs, or instructions to wait for a certain date within the three weeks following the start of your period to begin a medication to allow the Doctors the opportunity to optimize your ovaries for the fertility drugs that will follow.

Step 2 - Ovarian Stimulation
Step 2 involves the administration of fertility medications designed to allow your ovaries to begin the growth of the several eggs that will be removed for subsequent freezing. During this phase, you will be self-administering daily fertility injections to allow for the successful production of multiple healthy eggs. You will be shown how to take these injectable medications prior to using them. While taking these medications, you will need to be seen for painless ultrasound studies and blood tests 3-4 times over the 10-12 day period these medicines are being used. These studies may be carried out near your home, or at any of our offices.

Step 3 - Egg Retrieval
After your eggs have been determined to have matured adequately, you will be scheduled for the surgical harvesting of your eggs. This is done by the Doctor at our facilities. In nearly all instances, the procedure is carried out with a light sedative and pain medication that allows for a very rapid recovery. You will be discharged from the office when it has been determined that you are stable, usually within 1-3 hours of your procedure.

Step 4 - Oocyte Cryopreservation
After your eggs have been recovered, they are prepared in our cryopreservation laboratory by the embryologist and who will assure the healthy appearance of the eggs and begin the process of preparing the eggs for freezing. The freezing process involves removing much of the water from within the egg cell and replacing it with protective substances that are used to prevent ice crystal formation that may damage an egg while it is being frozen. After this process has been completed, the eggs will be placed in a very special, computer controlled freezing chamber that will monitor the eggs closely as their temperature is lowered to a point where all metabolic processes (aging) is halted.

Step 5 - Oocyte Storage
Following the freezing process, your eggs will be transferred to a liquid nitrogen storage chamber where they are able to be effectively stored in the frozen state. The initial, short term storage of your eggs will occur at our facility, however long term storage will be required at a special "cryobank" which is a facility where long term secure maintenance of frozen human specimens occurs. You will be given information concerning a contract that you will need to enter into providing for the long-term storage of your eggs.

Step 6 - Thaw and Use of Your Frozen Eggs
When the time arrives for you to use your cryopreserved eggs, you will need to make arrangements with our facility at least 3 months in advance of the time you desire the eggs to be thawed and fertilized. It must be remembered that the eggs have been frozen UNFERTILIZED, and that the fertilization of previously frozen eggs requires special techniques and handling. The successful fertilization of cryopreserved eggs is greatly enhanced by the use of a process called "ICSI" (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Utilizing this method assures the best chance for the fertilization of the eggs and their subsequent development into healthy embryos with the potential to produce an ongoing pregnancy. When we are contacted by you with a request for use of the frozen eggs, we will begin making the arrangements for the treatment cycle required to assure the best chance for a successful pregnancy outcome for you.

IMPORTANT NOTE
THE CRYOPRESERVATION OF YOUR EGGS IS A SEPARATE PROCEDURE UNRELATED TO THE LONG TERM STORAGE OF THE FROZEN EGGS OR LATER TREATMENT REQUIRED TO THAW, FERTILIZE AND RETURN TO YOU THE FERTILIZED EMBRYOS. A SEPARATE FEE ($300 yearly) IS REQUIRED FOR THE LONG TERM STORAGE OF THE EGGS AS WELL AS FOR THE SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT COURSE FOR THE THAW AND USE OF THE FROZEN EGGS ($3,000). All fees subject to change.

--And let's not forget that this is a BUSINESS VENTURE, which means the BUSINESS can go under! What about those eggs then? No guarantee you'll be notified, and no guarantee you'll find some other business that can/will store them. Or that you'll be able to afford it--

Posted by: more for Leslie | April 17, 2007 3:38 PM

*sobs* Why is it that the only ice cream place that I DON'T care for is the one that's always giving away free ice cream?

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:39 PM

MV don't you know that you can change! I mean why be the way you want to be when you can be like someone else.

Yes, that is snarky.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 3:39 PM

"The whole debate is really stupid anyway. People where I come from will still hunt and have guns no matter what anyone says."
~~~~

Entered into the record as Exhibit 43253.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:40 PM

To the cow sucker at 3:30, I'm not a vegetarian. There's no way I can be a militant vegetarian when I eat chicken and fish. I was merely stating the logical arguements made by vegetarians and backing up the vegetarians who already posted.

I firmly believe that vegetarianism is better for our environment, our economy, and our health. But no where did I insult meat eaters. Because I am one.

Posted by: Meesh | April 17, 2007 3:41 PM

For the ice-cream lovers: Ben & Jerry's is having free scoop day today.

Posted by: curious nonmother | April 17, 2007 3:42 PM

"*sobs* Why is it that the only ice cream place that I DON'T care for is the one that's always giving away free ice cream?"

Because we can't always get our way. Guess you won't be teaching your kid that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:42 PM

//People where I come from will still hunt and have guns no matter what anyone says.//

Bet they'll keep inbreeding too! cue dueling banjos!

As opposed to you elitist, snobs who can only breed if you find another elitist, snob just like you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:42 PM

What? 3:36, first of all it would be Chris'

Second, I said nothing bad about meat or being a vegan, so don't try to pin this mess on me. Eat what you want. I was responding to a quote about how health is more tied to genetics than what you eat by saying if you stuff someone with crap they will not be healthy. meat had nothing to do with it so stop twisting my words you anonymous word twisting person! I am fully capable of writing inflamatory statements and don't need your help. :-P

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 3:42 PM

So scarry is not one of our most articulate or reasoned debaters. She's not even that sharp. That doesn't mean she's a bad person. Leave her alone. She is feeling bad right now. So what if she was snarky. Other people were too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:42 PM

"People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life. They do what they have to do. Obviously, I am talking about one end of the spectrum"

There are plenty of people who pick through garbage in order to eat; here and elsewhere. In fact, aren't people who are starving to undernourished actually the majority of people alive in the world?

I bet they'd be thrilled to have almost any food that was prepared specifically FOR them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:43 PM

"*sobs* Why is it that the only ice cream place that I DON'T care for is the one that's always giving away free ice cream?"

Because we can't always get our way. Guess you won't be teaching your kid that.

____

Oh, come off it. I was kidding. You actually think that I'm distressed becuase I'm not going to have free ice cream today? Get real, please.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 3:44 PM

3:42, is that you Scarry?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:44 PM

"Pittypat, many, many people on this planet don't have the luxury as you clearly do of being able to make choices based on principle. I recognize that legumes and grains are very cheap, extremely nourishing, and can make a wonderfully hearty meal. People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life. They do what they have to do. Obviously, I am talking about one end of the spectrum, an extreme. As are you."

WorkingMomX --

The majority of the people on this planet eat a grain-and-legume diet. For them, it's not a choice or a luxury; it's what they have.

The people you mention in unheated homes with dirt floors make the choice to hunt (which, it seems to me, takes a fair amount of energy) and trap in order to eat meat.

I'm not condemning them or anyone else. I'm just pointing out that it's a choice, not a necessity.

My grandmother grew up in an unheated, straw-thatched house with dirt floors far from any city. You can bet they knew about beans and grains. It's just basic survival.

I don't understand what your problem is.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 3:45 PM

//As opposed to you elitist, snobs who can only breed if you find another elitist, snob just like you.//

Beats sleeping with your brother after a bowl of possum soup.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:45 PM

"You actually think that I'm distressed becuase I'm not going to have free ice cream today?"

Perhaps you're not, dim79. But I am very very seriously distressed about it. Sob!!

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:46 PM

"*sobs* Why is it that the only ice cream place that I DON'T care for is the one that's always giving away free ice cream?"

Because we can't always get our way. Guess you won't be teaching your kid that.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 03:42 PM

This is the sort of person who doesn't offer their seat to someone who looks like they might need it, either.

But I would hazard a guess that any child they raise will know full-well that they not only can't always have what they want, but that they will NEVER have what they want.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:46 PM

3:42, is that you Scarry?

No, I have no reason to call myself stupid, but thanks for asking.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 3:47 PM

"and being obese will definitely affect your quality of life for the worse, and shorten its duration."

Actually, the latest research is beginning to refute this notion. Nutritional scientists are finding, in large-scale study after study (the kind that last 10 to 20 years), that excess weight doesn't predispose people to disease or early death. Morbidity and mortality rates are actually higher for thin people.

So, go figure ...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:48 PM

Emily--go to Stella's Bakery--right now. Get something good. They may even have gelato by now.

(Nicholson Lane, next to Taipei Tokyo Cafe).

Posted by: for Emily | April 17, 2007 3:48 PM

Scarry, I just figured it was false modesty & you were angling for a compliment.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:49 PM

"I don't see the meat/veg question as having an all or nothing answer. Reducing meat intake without eliminating it alltogether could be a positive choice for many in terms of environment, health, and budget."

Marian,

Yep. Exactly right.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 3:49 PM

that excess weight doesn't predispose people to disease or early death.

Checked out their knees and hips though? I've seen plenty of 30-40 year olds who if they do not lose 100 pounds or more, and start right away, are looking at joint replacement surgery.

And of course, those joints don't last a lifetime, which means they've started a bad trend.

Quality of life matters too.

Who wants to be hoisted out of their apartment by a forklift to go for a walk?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:50 PM

//People where I come from will still hunt and have guns no matter what anyone says.//

Bet they'll keep inbreeding too! cue dueling banjos!

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 03:37 PM

This sort of demeaning comment only confirms your immaturity and nastiness, 3:37.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:51 PM

Higher M&M for the acutely fat & thin, not for normal weight.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:51 PM

Scarry, I just figured it was false modesty & you were angling for a compliment

Nope, I am just fine!

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 3:52 PM

Oh I know Stella's. It is heaven on the Pike.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:52 PM

--MV don't you know that you can change! I mean why be the way you want to be when you can be like someone else.

Yes, that is snarky. --

Scarry, sorry but I don't get your post. Is the snark directed at me? I didn't mean to offend anyone...

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 3:52 PM

Exactly Emily. Now get moving. I want a full report tomorrow. Yum.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:53 PM

"Pittypat, many, many people on this planet don't have the luxury as you clearly do of being able to make choices based on principle. I recognize that legumes and grains are very cheap, extremely nourishing, and can make a wonderfully hearty meal. People who live in unheated homes and have dirt floors do not have the energy to question their way of life. They do what they have to do. Obviously, I am talking about one end of the spectrum, an extreme. As are you."

WorkingMomX --

The majority of the people on this planet eat a grain-and-legume diet. For them, it's not a choice or a luxury; it's what they have.

The people you mention in unheated homes with dirt floors make the choice to hunt (which, it seems to me, takes a fair amount of energy) and trap in order to eat meat.

I'm not condemning them or anyone else. I'm just pointing out that it's a choice, not a necessity.

My grandmother grew up in an unheated, straw-thatched house with dirt floors far from any city. You can bet they knew about beans and grains. It's just basic survival.

I don't understand what your problem is.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 03:45 PM


I'm actually the one who DOESN'T have a problem with it. You, on the other hand, seem to care tremendously about the eating (and hunting) habits of others. I'm a live and let live kind of person, except where meat is concerned, in which case, I'll keep my seat at the top of the food chain if it's all the same to you. I have no problems with people who don't want to eat meat for any reason -- but I do have a problem with people who would dictate what others, particularly others in reduced circumstances, should do or not do.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 3:55 PM

Scarry, sorry but I don't get your post. Is the snark directed at me? I didn't mean to offend anyone...

No, it was directed at the person who said you could change because you were an American now. Def not directed at you. Sorry.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 3:55 PM

Do you have to be pregnant to want ice cream? Cuz I'm not pregnant and I want ice cream!!! :-)

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 3:55 PM

"Do you have to be pregnant to want ice cream? "

No, but as far as excuses go, it sure is a good one.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 3:57 PM

Problem with eating at the top of the food chain (meat) is that everything bad along the way up the food chain accumulates at the top.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:01 PM

Gah! No more ice cream talk! LOL 28 minutes until I can get out of here... May have to stop at Coldstone on my way home... LOL

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:02 PM

I wasn't snarky because I was feeling bad, I was snarky because I felt like it.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:03 PM

Scarry.. got it!!! :-)

I would like to try deer meat, by the way.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 4:05 PM

Problem with eating at the top of the food chain (meat) is that everything bad along the way up the food chain accumulates at the top.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 04:01 PM

Exactly. DDT anyone? And for a more recent development, did anyone catch the article in the Smithsonian magazine about India's vulture population being wiped out?

Why? Because the cows had high concentrations of antibiotics within their bodies, which mimicked gout in the vultures. So there are more wild and rabid dogs around, but fewer and fewer wild vultures.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:07 PM

It has to be cooked a certian way. I haven't had it in a long time. My brother is a really good cook, so if he makes it I will eat it.

My BIL not so much.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:07 PM

"Pittypat I only become snarky when the answer to people supplementing their food supply was becoming a vegetarian. I've seen you be snarky before too, so please don't lecture me about it."

Good try, scarry, but it doesn't wash.

I never, ever said anything about poor people becoming vegetarian to supplement their food supply. (If you don't believe me, go back and read my posts.) I said that beans are a cheap protein in answer to your inquiry as to where the "poor folks back home" could get 6 months worth of "free" protein.

I've never pushed a vegetarian agenda, and I'm not doing so now.

You do have a way of twisting what other people say while backpedalling on your own claims.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 4:08 PM

Chris apparently fancies himself as Dwight.

Posted by: Does anyone watch "The Office" | April 17, 2007 4:08 PM

--"Do you have to be pregnant to want ice cream? "

No, but as far as excuses go, it sure is a good one. --

Emily we went to Buster's for ice cream this weekend and I told my husband that I can't wait to be pregnant so I can use that as an excuse to eat ice cream everyday. He said that I had just jinxed myself and will crave only carrots :-)

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 4:10 PM

Scarry, just ignore pitty. Scarry's good people. pitty's a pita.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:10 PM

"But if you go to an animal shelter and gather up the bodies, the meat is free. And there is a seemingly endless supply of unwanted cats & dogs."

Nope, sorry, that's going into dog and cat food, plastic body bags, euthanasia drugs, and all.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 4:10 PM

Who is Dwight?

Posted by: I don't watch The Office | April 17, 2007 4:11 PM

I didn't say that you said that unless you are under the impression that you are the only other person on the blog.

I have not back peddled anything either and I am not twisting what you said.

Thanks for the insult though, add to the others.


Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:12 PM

"What? 3:36, first of all it would be Chris'"

Actually, Chris, you're wrong.

Take it from an 18-year book editor and 10-year college English prof --

it's "Chris's"!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:13 PM

Pitty, meet pot. Kettle, meet pitty.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:13 PM

pitty's a pita? *snort* Love it.

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:13 PM

dlm79 | April 17, 2007 02:47 PM

Of course you want cake - you are pregnant. I have cake - white cake with jello and cream cheese frosting. I will have a piece for you.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 4:14 PM

MV I have ate nothing but apples, oranges, carrots, and yes cheesburgers, during this pregnancy.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:15 PM

scarry, I forgot you were preggers! No wonder you're so wonderfully full of snark! ;-)

KLB - I would call you mean, but I don't like jello or cream cheese frosting, so you're off the hook. Eat away! =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:17 PM

"Higher M&M for the acutely fat & thin, not for normal weight."

Nope. That's not what the research is showing. And, of course, definitions of "normal" weight vary widely.

But the idea that it's only anorexically thin people with higher M&M is patently wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:17 PM

Hey--is it wrong if I push a vegetarian agenda? Don't we all have one? Yesterday I bartered with an undergrad to buy a raffle ticket benefiting his charity in exchange for his signature on a petition to end the Canadian seal hunt. He could have just as easily said no. So what? You don't HAVE to go vegetarian. I don't recall laying out a plot to destroy all the equipment at the rendering plant. If I want to spread around some knowledge, why not? You can do the same, as many of you have. Then again, "I'll eat what I want, you militant vegetarian!" isn't exactly knowledge.

It is nice to see people here who understand the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, though. I'm treated like a pariah in my everyday life. BF's parents freaked when they found out, as if I were a member of some weird cult. (Thankfully, they're over it.) There was some snarking, sure, but I see it as a dialogue with two opposite sides. Hopefully someone got something out of it! :-)

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 4:17 PM

Has anyone read recent articles about research showing that EXCESSIVE weight gain during pregnancy is no longer found to be as good as once thought. Neither is failure to gain enough weight, either. Moderation.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:18 PM

Emilly, Scarry, I think we were just admonished. Which is bizarre, because I can't say that anyone on this board has a clue as to our eating habits or weight gain... Hrm...

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:21 PM

I thought Mona broke up with her bf?

Posted by: Huh? | April 17, 2007 4:22 PM

"I have no problems with people who don't want to eat meat for any reason -- but I do have a problem with people who would dictate what others, particularly others in reduced circumstances, should do or not do."

WorkingMomX --

Go back and read what I actually said.

I would never dictate anything to anyone about anything. Not that kind of person (which, if you had read my posts, you would realize).

My only point in bringing up beans was to answer scarry's question ("Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?").

I never said that anyone -- poor or otherwise -- should eat one thing over another. I simply demonstrated, IN ANSWER TO SCARRY'S QUESTION, what a choice would be.

So knock it off. Go nibble on the chip that's on your shoulder.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 4:23 PM

I foresee an outstanding legal career for you settling lawsuits out of court to your client's advantage!

Posted by: To Mona | April 17, 2007 4:24 PM

Scarry,
I have to agree with Pittpat on this argument. You asked this question "Any suggestions on where they should get their free protien for half the year?"
Pittypat provided you with an answer. And Pittypat has consistently been very gracious in her arguments today. You may not like what she says, but her method of delivery is blameless. You, on the other hand, have been alternately snarky, sarcastic, and petulant.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 4:26 PM

dlm79
Well, I tried to get your goat after your and your darned cookies from yesterday. What were those called again (please - I take it all back)?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 4:26 PM

Has anyone read recent articles about research showing that EXCESSIVE weight gain during pregnancy is no longer found to be as good as once thought. Neither is failure to gain enough weight, either. Moderation.

20-30 pounds is what you should gain unless you are overweight or underweight.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:26 PM

KLB - I think you may have confused me with someone else. I don't recall discussing cookies yesterday. As a matter of fact, I don't think I was even on this blog yesterday. =(

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:28 PM

Maybe you were treated as a pariah because of your judgmental, holier-than-though attitude. You certainly seem to believe that those who don't agree with you (omnivores) are ignorant, and that it's your duty to "spread around some knowledge" and enlighten them. Maybe you don't mean to come across like this, but you do.

Posted by: to Mona | April 17, 2007 4:30 PM

"Has anyone read recent articles about research showing that EXCESSIVE weight gain during pregnancy is no longer found to be as good as once thought. Neither is failure to gain enough weight, either. Moderation."

Is this news? When I was pregnant 9 years ago, 20-30 pounds was recommended, and my doctor recommended that I try to stay on the low end of that spectrum. I don't think any doctor has recommended excessive weight gain for a really long time.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:31 PM

Just because a vegetarian -- or a vegan, but we won't go there -- recommends beans as a good source of protein doesn't mean she's preaching vegetarianism. Did any of our vegetarian friends scream "put down that hamburger!"?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 4:32 PM

I thought Mona broke up with her bf?

Posted by: Huh? | April 17, 2007 04:22 PM

I think it far more likely that he broke up with her.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:33 PM

dlm79,
Sorry, these are what were discussed yesterday:

Brent & Sam's gourmet chocolate chip pecan cookies

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 4:34 PM

KLB - Ok, now I KNOW I have to log off and go find something sweet to snack on! LOL

It's 4:35 - for once I'm late leaving work not due to a crisis! I'm just too caught up with you silly people. =) G'nite!

Posted by: dlm79 | April 17, 2007 4:35 PM

Actually Emily, I did not say anything to pittypat until she directed her comments at me. As for snark, it is all around you from Mona's hunters post to Meesh's poor people not working post. The only thing I said to Pitypat before she addressed me is below.

I find the idea of hungry kids nauseating too.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 11:47 AM

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:35 PM

Pitty, in case you've forgotten, here are some of the ways in which you've said that people -- poor or otherwise -- should eat one thing over another. I weary of this argument, however, and find your tone patronizing at best and insulting at worst. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day for us. Here are your direct quotes:

Beans provide high-quality protein equal to that of animal flesh but have none of the artery-clogging fat that makes meat such a nutritional hazard. So, tell the folks back home that dried beans are the way to go.

Just get a good variety of grains, legumes, and veggies each day, and you'll be eating at optimum health.

Eating flesh is always a choice.

Humans are not, in fact, supposed to be carnivores. If we were, we would have sharper, longer canine teeth for ripping flesh. Instead, we have strong back teeth (in strong jaws) to facilitate the chewing of vegetation.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 4:37 PM

I don't find Pittypat tone patronizing. And I eat meat. I think she is very thoughtful and probably right in her posts, even those that WorkingMomX posted. The fact of the matter is, that except in America, the poor people of the world don't eat much meat because it is too expensive. But in America, we seem to feel this entitlement to meat, whether we can afford it or not. Eating meat is a choice, not a necessity, in our country, and I have heard no credible argument to the contrary.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 4:40 PM

Mona,

Unfair as this may seem to you, the worst way to preach the veggie gospel is to ... well ... preach the veggie gospel.

No one wants to be told that they're immoral, anti-environment, unhealthful, etc. Saying such things just gets people's backs up -- and not unreasonably. You can't insult someone and then expect them to change their habits or preferences.

The best way to share your beliefs is by your example. Just live your life as a committed vegetarian. When someone asks you about your diet -- e.g., why you do it, how you do it, etc. -- give them the info they request...and nothing more. If they're interested, they'll ask for more.

Believe me, people who want to go veg have lots of questions, and they're always happy to find someone willing to answer them. But you need to let them come to you. Be a resource, not a crusader.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 4:40 PM

Attack Pitty and Mona when their facts are true.

Posted by: To WorkingMomX | April 17, 2007 4:42 PM

Well, I got something out of the veg discussion even if we got there in a roundabout way. It re-kindled my interest in reducing my family's meat consumption. VegasMom reminded me that whatever efforts we make are worthwhile, even if they don't meet our own or someone else's ideal standard. I needed some distraction today too.

If it's late enough in the day to solicit off-topic advice, I'd love to know how to get good results with dried garbanzo beans. I've tried a handful of methods found on the web and in cookbooks and never can get them to taste as good as the canned. Is there hope without a pressure cooker? Advice on an easy way to get the skins off of them would be welcome too. I'll try the cooking blog tomorrow too.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 4:44 PM

Pittypat hasn't discussed anything that you won't read on Sally Squire's Lean Plate Club articles or blog.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 4:44 PM

Attack Pitty and Mona when their facts are true.

You mean their opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:45 PM

-I don't find Pittypat tone patronizing.-

Neither do I. I found her posts were very informative and responded to Scarry's question.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 4:47 PM

Marian,
I don't know about dried garbanzos but if you take the canned and throw them in a food processor with garlic and other stuff that you like you can make some awesome hummus. Get some mini-pitas and some fruit (and a glass of wine for the adults) and you have a great snack/light dinner or lunch.
I love black beans and rice for dinner. Even canned black beans.
I am not a vegetarian but I can go days to over a week without meat. Then one day all of a sudden I HAVE TO GAVE A STEAK! Other days I crave salad.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 4:47 PM

Neither do I. I found her posts were very informative and responded to Scarry's question.

My question was sarcastic. I don't think that people back home will go out and buy beans when someone will give them free meat. However, I didn't respond to her comment and my original snark was directed at the anon.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:48 PM

Marian, my mother always puts a bit of baking soda in the water where your baking the beans to speed up the cooking process.

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 4:48 PM

Emily, give it a rest. You've told us that you find pitty gracious, her presentation blameless and her tone not patronizing. Fine. We get it. That's your opinion.

Several of us disagree and find her posts to be dripping in patronizing, condescending tone.

New topic, please.

Posted by: anon for now | April 17, 2007 4:50 PM

I'm not sure why we're all talking about vegetarianism, but anyway, I just want to say how much different I feel about this tragedy now that I am a mom. When Columbine happened, I wasn't and I felt sorry for all involved but I wasn't emotionally affected. For some reason, I feel very differently about this one and I think it's because I am a mom. With Columbine, I think I felt like, well, I'm not a high school kid, I couldn't imagine it happening to me. But now, anything awful involving kids somehow feels very personal.

Posted by: chicagomom | April 17, 2007 4:50 PM

Perhaps your question was sarcastic. That doesn't mean there is no reasonable answer for it. Pittypat's answer was obvious to me. And the anon's suggestion of vegetarianism was a reasonable answer also, which did not deserve a snark. Most vegetarians get protein from beans and other legumes. These are perfectly reasonable and healthy choices. Pittypat's point is that meat does not have to be the answer to the protein deficiency. It can be, but it does not have to be.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 4:52 PM

I'm not sure why we're all talking about vegetarianism

Because some pro-gun folks were defending gun ownership in support of hunting.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:55 PM

If no guns existed on the planet, no one would (could) be shot.

If some guns exist on the planet, there is a chance someone could be shot.

If everyone on the planet has a gun, there is an increased chance that someone will be shot.

Why is that so hard to understand?

I am not saying that all guns should be removed, but regulation makes sense.

Posted by: Balt Dad | April 17, 2007 4:55 PM

Emily I would never call you a name first off.

Second, it did deserve a snarky comment because nothing that happens back there is as easy as changing you diet. It might be easy for you or anon or pittypat, but not the people back there.

Third, pittypat had no reason to go all whitewash, backpeddling, etc on me because I was not talking to her!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 4:55 PM

What are good sources of iron in a vegetarian diet?

Posted by: mountainS | April 17, 2007 4:56 PM

It never ceases to amaze me the turns this blog will take when you only check in once in a while. I haven't read all of Pittypat's and Scarry's post, but they are both very passionate and fiesty characters, and given the topic I would guess that it is easy to read whatever tone you want into their posts.

Marian, I gave up on dried chickpeas. I hate to say it but I did. I just buy canned. I do prefer dried beans generally though, and I have a fantastic recipe for Garlicky Six Bean soup if anyone wants it.

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 4:57 PM

WorkingMomX --

In each case, I'm stating a fact in response to another post.

The first was a response to scarry's question. I explained about beans to show that their protein is as good as that in meat, in case people would think beans are an inferior protein.

The second comment was in response to a post about how food combining is necessary to get complete protein. That is an outdated piece of info, and I was simply clearing up possible misperception.

The third comment...well, I suppose you could hear it as a rallying cry if you're predisposed to do so. My point was exactly what I said: it's a choice.

The fourth comment was to correct a misstatement of anthropological fact -- something several posters did in reponse to this claim. Most of them did so at greater length and in greater specificity than I did.

If you see in these comments a rabid and judgmental agenda being pursued, then I really can't persuade you of anything.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 4:57 PM

OK, I posted that after wading through only half of the 400+ responses.

I now see that we have moved on to vegetarianism at this point ... oops!

;-)

Posted by: Balt Dad | April 17, 2007 4:59 PM

Megan,
"Marian, I gave up on dried chickpeas. I hate to say it but I did. I just buy canned. I do prefer dried beans generally though, and I have a fantastic recipe for Garlicky Six Bean soup if anyone wants it."

Sounds yummy but does one have to sleep alone after eating it?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 4:59 PM

Pittypat -- you are aren't going to change the minds of the naysayers. Try to take comfort that several bloggers defended you as rational and interesting today.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 4:59 PM

I'd love a recipe for beans... yum!

Posted by: mountainS | April 17, 2007 4:59 PM

What are good sources of iron in a vegetarian diet?

Legumes (beans), dark greens.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:00 PM

Marian --

I hope you find some great vegetarian dishes. Please share the good recipes with us.

You can probably also take some of the recipes you have at home and make them vegetarian. Spaghetti sauce is easy to make with chunks of tomato, zucchini, mushroom, and onion instead of meat. And while some would consider this heresy, I prefer my chili sans meat. Simply substitute black beans and kidney beans for the meat. Chris's recipe above is a great meal. We make a variation that includes black-eyed peas and green peppers in addition to the ingredients he describes. Most stir fry recipes that call for beef or chicken are very good without the meat. Just add extra veggies. I tend to be recipe-bound -- my husband is the creative cook. We couldn't find decent snow peas at the store one week, so he put frozen okra in our stir fry one evening instead. A regular "easy" meal at our house is a baked potato topped by black beans or black-eyed peas, steamed broccoli, and salsa. We also like to throw together a veggie omlette (is this considered vegetarian?).

I think sometimes the prospect of searching out and learning new recipes (and eating tofu) makes people afraid of trying to eat vegetarian meals. Your family might be less afraid of the change if you try altering familiar recipes first.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 5:01 PM

"What are good sources of iron in a vegetarian diet?"

Some of the best are cooked dark leafy greens and blackstrap molasses (which is incredibly yummy in a cup of warm milk or soymilk in the evening).

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 5:02 PM

Sounds yummy but does one have to sleep alone after eating it?

Just feed it to your bedmate too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:02 PM

mountains,
Get a good can of black beans. If you have some red wine put about 1/4C in a small sauce pan along with chopped onion and garlic. Saute until onion is soft. Add beans and cumin. Heat. Serve over rice (yellow is great) with cheese and sour cream for a great dinner. Very filling.
If you don't use wine you can use some of the juice from the beans, otherwise drain them.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:03 PM

Good points Vegas Mom...the Italian at home (my husband) would be upset if I didn't mention that spaghetti sauce does not have to be tomato based either! Last night we had spinach and mozarella ravioli with a butter and sage sauce...

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 5:05 PM

Don't forget vegetarian lasagne. Instead of meat use zucchini, red peppers, onions, eggplant.

If you eat beans often enough your body gets used to the uh - side effects and they diminish. Really.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:05 PM

To all re the question of bean revenge:

If you eat beans fairly regularly (two or three times a week in some form), it doesn't take long before your system adjusts and the problem goes away.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 5:06 PM

So what if you weren't talking directly to Pittypat. You still said what you said. Are we only supposed to comment on posts that are specifically directed to us?

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 5:07 PM

I will post the bean soup recipe later tonight (I thought I had it typed up already but I can't find it, and don't have time to type it all in now). KLB, you definitely either need to sleep alone or make sure you bed mate eats some too!

On iron, dark leafy greens are high in iron; but some (spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens) are also high in oxolates that impede absorption so those ones aren't great sources. I think kale is ok though. Beans are a good source too.

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 5:12 PM

Do you mean spinach, etc? I am trying to find ways to put more iron into our diets and have only tried spinach - one can only eat so much spinach...

Thanks, KLB- that sounds really yummy! And I think I can definitely manage something like that - world's greatest chef I'm not! :)

Posted by: mountainS | April 17, 2007 5:12 PM

"Last night we had spinach and mozarella ravioli with a butter and sage sauce..."

Yum. That sounds delish.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 5:13 PM

KLB SS MD--
Thanks for the bean ideas. I like black beans a lot, especially soup--the family not so much.

Once in a while, I crave beef too. Sometimes I think cravings are our body's way of telling us what we need.

I've tried baking soda and it didn't seem to help, but maybe that bag of beans was old.

Sorry to keep off-topic if there are still people around who would rather keep to the main topic.

chicagomom--I find that bad things happening to kids/young people affects me more now that I have kids than before. Even watching a fictional movie like Little Miss Sunshine is a different experience than it would have been before kids.

Definitely, the real-life suffering of children is more emotional now. Helping a child understand these terrible events within her developmental readiness makes things more emotional too.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 5:13 PM

Yes, Emily but it wasn't an attack on pittypat like she is making out it was. It wasn't personal to her. It also seems like you like snark if it fits your opinion.

I stand by what I said. I have no reason not too.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 5:13 PM

Thanks for the good points you made, pittypat. The advice you gave is how I usually act in real life. I am very vocal on certain things--fur, for example--but I think meat is something you have to approach with more finesse, as meat is more mainstream than fur, and more people seem to be ant-fur--there is a lot more room to wiggle. But your advice does ring true; you can catch more flies with honey. Though why anyone would want flies is beyond me...

"I think it far more likely that he broke up with her.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 04:33 PM"

True, he did break up with me. He has a bad habit of dumping me and then asking me to take him back, and I have a bad habit of doing so. We have a delightfully dysfunctional relationship and we, like many, are just swimming through life trying to make things work for us. Ex-BF became BF-ish, and is now BF again. Hopefully this time for good!

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 5:13 PM

"It also seems like you like snark if it fits your opinion"

Sure I do. But I don't cry and complain when people don't agree with me. Boohoo. Somebody called me a opinionated loudmouth.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 5:16 PM

Don't forget to add vitamin C to your diet if you're concerned about iron--it increases iron uptake in the blood. If you're eating bean burritos for dinner, have an orange for dessert. If you must take a supplement, try carbonyl iron instead of ferrous sulfate--it's easier on the stomach.

Posted by: Mona | April 17, 2007 5:16 PM

Mona,

Glad to hear about BF. Hope it works out well for you. You certainly seem to have the relationship in perspective!

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 5:17 PM

A little bit of vinegar (not enough to change the taste) also helps soften the beans. Red beans and rice is also a good meal. If you aren't doing beef turkey kielbasa mixes well.
I agree - sometimes our body tells us what we need be it sleep, meat or salad.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:18 PM

mountainS, or anyone else, if you want more good veg recipes, I highly recommend Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." I like it for several reasons - first, it has a section that just explains how to buy, store, and cook simply a wide range of vegetables, which is great if you're just looking for an easy way to add more tasty veggies to an omnivorous diet. Second, the recipes for sides and main dishes are manageable and delicious. I've found a lot of veggie cookbooks are either too gourmet for every day use (like the Moosewood ones) or err so much on the side of making everything healthy that the dishes are kind of tasteless. Madison's book, on the other hand, is usable and very tasty.

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 5:18 PM

Emily you are just being nasty now. I am not crying about anything. I am just trying to point out that I was not attacking pittypat.

Posted by: scarry | April 17, 2007 5:19 PM

Boohoo. Somebody called me nasty. Ouch.

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 5:20 PM

mountains,
Now that it is grilling time most vegetables are great on the grill (slice a zucchini lengthwise and throw it in the microwave with some olive oil and garlic then onto the grill to brown in - yummy).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:21 PM

-I agree - sometimes our body tells us what we need be it sleep, meat or salad.-

Or ice cream!!!!

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 5:22 PM

MV,
Or cake! or cookies! or mimosas!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:22 PM

"-I agree - sometimes our body tells us what we need be it sleep, meat or salad.-

Or ice cream!!!!"

Or a gin ricky!! And chips with fresh guacamole! Why, why is it only 3:30 here??

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:24 PM

that was me at 5:24 in case you couldn't tell...

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 5:25 PM

What the heck is a gin ricky?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:25 PM

"Do you mean spinach, etc? I am trying to find ways to put more iron into our diets and have only tried spinach - one can only eat so much spinach..."

Yes. But like Megan said, some are better absorbed than others. Kale and collards are good.

I was initially intimidated by the whole notion of cooking greens. But, it's a lot easier than I thought.

My standard approach is to wash 'em, chop 'em, and then boil or steam 'em. Then, when they're soft but still bright green, I saute them in olive oil with any of the following:

--lemon and fresh-ground pepper
--shallots and balsamic vinger w/raisins
--sesame oil with sesame seeds
--raisins or currants with pine nuts
--any other sweet or savory things you can think of.

It's fast, easy, and tasty. Most often, I combine two or three types of greens -- like, for instance, chard with mustard greens, beet greens with kale, etc.

Posted by: pittypat | April 17, 2007 5:25 PM

Thanks for the advice re iron. My son is a little vegetarian most days so I need to be creative about iron intake and Vitamin C too (didn't know that either). I didn't realize beans were a good source - lentils count in there too, right?

Mona, you crack me up!

I have to sign off now but wanted to give my condolences to all who have been affected by the tragedy in Virginia.

Posted by: mountainS | April 17, 2007 5:27 PM

What's a gin ricky????

Posted by: MV | April 17, 2007 5:27 PM

There are a bunch of cooked greens lovers here but personally I don't like them (guess that comes from being a yankee). Spinach salad however is the best and you can eat a lot of spinach in a salad.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 5:28 PM

Scarry,
My apologies. I should have never said you were snarky, sarcastic and petulant (even though you were), since I tend to be sarcastic and nasty at times also. I generally find you to be funny and interesting. Our views diverged today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. It takes all kinds to make the world go around. So from one preggers female to another, peace?

Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2007 5:29 PM

I missed Kim O'Donnel's blog earlier today: A Recipe for Loss http://blog.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/
She talks about the sharing of food as a way of coming together in times of loss. Nigella Lawson has a touching chapter on funerals and food traditions in her cookbook Feast.


She does a regular (maybe once a month) blog on vegetarian cooking. I'll have to check that out more. I'll try to figure out if it's regularly scheduled.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 5:30 PM

moutainS, one last recommendation and then I will zip it, but the book Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina has good info on nutrition, including specific to children, so even if your son is still eating dairy but is cutting out meat, it might be worth checking the library for it. I've been veggie for around 15 years and I was surprised to discover how much I didn't know about good sources for various vitamins and minerals. It's a good source of information, you can just skip the intro/prosletyzing chapters ;)

KLB, a gin ricky is gin, seltzer and lim juice. Sort of like a gin and tonic but made with seltzer instead of tonic. Or like a gin gimlet with seltzer added. A nice summer drink!

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 5:32 PM

pittypat overeacted to what scary said. That is why she's saying zeelch now.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:34 PM

pittypat overeacted to what scary said. That is why she's saying zeelch now.

No she didn't. What the he!! is zeelch?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:36 PM

nada, nothing, zero

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:37 PM

children, children. can't we all just get along?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:42 PM

Marian, what a nice way to tie the food topics to the original topic, and what a true statement.

MV, you and KLB should definitely check out those gin rickies...

Posted by: Megan | April 17, 2007 5:42 PM

The vegetarian version of the What's Cooking blog seems to be sporadic. In the archive, they are labelled What's Cooking Vegetarian--there are just a handful. Maybe she'll do more.

Posted by: Marian | April 17, 2007 5:44 PM

Leslie,
I agree.
What a sad day for all of us, and a day to reflect on what happened and why ..
We cannot turn back time but learn from the past, and also act towards making things better - reflection is not enough - action is a MUST.

I also took time to write a special post on my blog today, How to act in an Emergency - Important Tips a Working Mother must know! (link: http://careerbright.blogspot.com/ )

It outlines a few tips that we as working mohters must know in a state of emergencies and disasters.

Posted by: Shweta | April 17, 2007 5:51 PM

The Rival


If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,

And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.

The moon, too, abuses her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.

No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.




Posted by: Sylvia Plath | April 17, 2007 5:55 PM

Experienced Mom - how do YOU hunt turtles?

With my handy, dandy bow and arrow!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 6:26 PM

One of my favorite poems - we had it read at my dad's memorial service:

James Whitcomb Riley
He Is Not Dead

I cannot say, and I will not say

That he is dead. He is just away.

With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,

He has wandered into an unknown land

And left us dreaming how very fair

It needs must be, since he lingers there.

And you-oh, you, who the wildest yearn

For an old-time step, and the glad return,

Think of him faring on, as dear

In the love of There as the love of Here.

Think of him still as the same, I say,

He is not dead-he is just away

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 6:47 PM

Thanks KLB. In the last couple of weeks, my husband found out that his close friend/former college roommate has only 3-6 months to live. He has a brain tumor. Yesterday, I found out that an acquaintance of mine, who has been fighting breast cancer for some time, likely only has a few days left. She is being moved from hospice to home so she can be with her family and loved ones.

DH and I have had to deal with 4 other deaths of close friends or family members in the last 18 months (one a 9-year-old boy) and it's been hard. We're only in our 40s. I'm not ready for this "stage" of life, if that's what it is.

I'm posting that poem where I can see it. It helps.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 17, 2007 6:59 PM

Vegas Mom,
You made me snivel.
Our family had a rough time in 2005. First we lost my dear aunt to breast cancer. Two months later my cousin's 14 year old daughter who had fought melanoma so courageously for 3 years, and two months later my dad. By my dad's memorial service we were a bit shellshocked.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2007 7:03 PM

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17538139/


Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 7:27 PM

Pittypat -- you are aren't going to change the minds of the naysayers. Try to take comfort that several bloggers defended you as rational and interesting today.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 17, 2007 04:59 PM

I agree. Just don't go anywhere, Pittypat. Or any of the rest of you, for that matter. I've goofed off too much at work reading this blog for it to lose its edge and humor!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 17, 2007 9:18 PM

We've let it go too long to put the handgun genie back into the bottle. The only existing reason that an ordinary citizen would own a handgun (not police, not military) is to shoot another person.

The point is that schools sare supposed to be safe places. And parents aren't supposed to burying their children. The whole thing is a tragedy beyond imagining. And trying to turn it into a political tirade is just a waste of energy, it's too painful.

A good acquaintance's son was one of the teachers shot to death. And on NPR I heard an emergency room doc saying that the a!!!hole didn't just shoot once, he shot each victim repeatedly, usually in the head..

It's a good thing I got training crying and driving while my father was dying....

Posted by: dragonet2 | April 17, 2007 11:43 PM

Fine. Have all the guns you want. Regulate the bullets.

As for Cheo and his dark writings--people, how much different are his writings from Quentin Tarantino's scripts?

I loathe slasher films, always have; have been subjected to a few. I can't believe people pay money to make or watch the things.

But that's me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 8:04 AM

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