in the back right next to the director of the health clinic explaining how to make a healthy salad was this article. My View Thanks again, anti-gun loonies! Samuel Berkowitz Staff Writter By now, pretty much everyone is familiar with last week’s tragedy at Illinois University, and quite possibly the fact that it occurred not a full year after the horrific shooting at Virginia Tech. In this pointless display of wanton destruction, five promising students – all age 22 and under – were dispassionately gunned down and 16 others were wounded. Fortunately, the maniac in question, Stephen Kazmierczak, mustered a scintilla of decency and offed himself after firing 50 rounds in a room with 162 people in it. Had he not done so, there is little doubt that money would be gushing from every rehabilitation monkey on the planet to determine “What drove him to this?” and “Why?” and so forth. Entire sub-sections of university departments would line up to study the perpetrator and analyze ever spanking he hot (or didn’t get?) as a child. The rest of us, however realize that it is a sad fact of life that in a minute percentage of the population the mind’s internal wiring can be anomalous enough to cause extreme, violent behavior. We find it a much higher priority to allocate out resources and draft our laws to protect 99.9 percent of the populace who don’t slaughter innocent people because of their issues, rather than devoting disproportionate amounts of time, energy and money to the rehabilitation of homicidal maniacs. A considerable part of such an endeavor id the acceptance of the fact that guns in the hands of law-abiding, sane individuals tend to foster a far safer environment for all concerned than does a situation where in which the mental case is armed (very likely with a stolen gun) while those who could have gone on to be productive citizens are left defenseless as sheep at the abattoir because of a common culprit in disasters of all kinds: liberal crime policies. Much the same as in the VA Tech incident, had even one person at the scene of the slaughter had a concealed carry permit and not been forbidden to carry a gun on campus, chances are that at least one – if not all – of the victims would have been spare. It is well-neigh impossible, though, to get across to the anti-gun crowd the fact that guns themselves do not kill people; criminals do. I don’t recall hearing anything on the news of this killer keeping a journal for months with entries reading: “Darn. I’d really like to go kill a bunch of innocent people today, but jeez louise, they say you’re not supposed to have guns on campus! What am I to do?” It is an incontrovertible fact that the tougher the anti-gun measures in place in a given location, the higher the crime rate. You don’t have to listen to impassioned speeches from defenders of gun-ownership rights to realize this – although they do tend to be infinitely more logical and articulate that those arguments coming from the delusional morons touting more gun control in the face of overwhelming evidence of its failure here and abroad to engender a reduction in crime. The asinine 1976 handgun ban in D.C. is a prime example of the failure of such laws to achieve anything but disaster. Between 1976 and 1991 in D.C., the crime rate skyrocketed 200 percent while nationwide it increased 12 percent. Here in Florida the legislature enacted a right-to-carry law in 1987. Between 1987 and 1996, while the firearm homicide rate increased nationally by 15 percent, it went down in Florida by over twice that; a 37 percent reduction was observed. According to a July 26, 1996 University of Chicago Law Review article by John Lott Jr. and David B. Mustard titled “Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry concealed handguns,” “221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida reported 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms.” Perhaps more pertinent is the Associated Press and Washington Post reported in 1997 and 1999, “In October of 1997 16 year-old Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death and then went to school with a rifle where he shot nine students, killing two of them. Assistant Principal Joel Myrick raced to his car, retrieved a .45 caliber handgun, and used it to subdue Woodham until police arrived.” Highly verifiable data supporting the reversal of virtually pointless gun-control legislation is readily available and could be enumerated for what would take reams of paper (another product of which the left seems to be increasingly rueful, but that is another column). Concrete facts, not emotional wailing and moaning, need to be the governing force in the enactment of any law in this country, especially ones that are inextricably tied to the foundation of our republic, the U.S. Constitution. Anyone who suggest that it is justifiable to endanger numerous innocent people in order to protect the “rights” of violent criminals needs to have their head examined almost as desperately as does the maniac who viciously cut short the lives of five people last Thursday. Had there been a licensed gun owner in that room, and had the campus not been a “gun-free zone,” perhaps not even one person would have had to have been injured before the perpetrator’s gun was pulled from his cold dead hand.