L. Neil Smith's
Number 196, October 28, 2002


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<< To a British audience, the pictures this week of Charlton Heston brandishing a rifle above his head at a meeting of gun triumphalists - declaring that liberals would have to prise the piece from his cold, dead body - suggested that a country which tolerates so many ad hoc battalions of licensed snipers should not be surprised when one of them starts getting undesired targets in his cross-hairs. But to spot this obvious connection would cost President Bush re-election. >>

Source: www.guardian.co.uk/usguns/Story/0,2763,819531,00.html

- - -

<< John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, man and boy, seem to have a special bond. Mr Muhammad told people they met that Mr Malvo, a 17- year-old Jamaican, was his stepson, but there are no documents to prove it.

<<Whatever their legal connection, they clearly shared something far deeper: a fascination with guns and a chilling indifference to human life. >>

Source: www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,818957,00.html

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<< Like the Sept. 11 atrocities, the sniper attacks offer no reason to diminish the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans. But small adjustments in favor of greater security are in order. Ballistic "fingerprinting" of all firearms sold in this country - new and used - would provide a database that might hasten the identification of weapons used in future murders.

<<Opponents of gun control are balking at this simple improvement in federal law. They ought to be chastised by the havoc that one man with a rifle was able to cause this month. >>

Source: www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/298/editorials/Domestic_terror+.shtml

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<< With 10 deadly rifle shots in the Washington suburbs killing eight people, wounding two and making headlines around the world, politicians in the nation's capital have been eerily silent on the issue of gun control. ...

<<In contrast, the governors of Maryland and Virginia, ... took on the issue on Sunday as the outcry from gun control advocates began to build.

<<Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening [said] that his state, among the most aggressive in regulating and controlling the proliferation of deadly arms, should consider expanding its "ballistic fingerprinting" law. ...

<<"I believe it should" be expanded nationally, Glendening said, adding that Maryland should consider expanding the law from handguns to rifles and other long-barreled weapons.

<<"I do know there are some people who are opposed to this and argue that somehow this would eventually lead to a restriction on gun owners' rights," Glendening said. "That is not the case at all.

<<"It simply says that if we have that shell casing, as we do now in a couple of cases, we'd be able to determine exactly which gun that came from, where that gun was sold," he said. >>

Source: story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021013/pl_nm/crime_shootings_guns_dc_1

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<< The leader of the largest U.S. gun owners' group on Sunday dismissed a plan to "fingerprint" bullets, an idea promoted by gun control advocates after the Washington area sniper attacks.

<<The chief executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, said ... that ballistic fingerprinting legislation in Congress was a "technical fantasy" that would not help solve cases like the Washington sniper attacks.

<<"A sniper, a criminal with steel wool, with a cleaning kit, with a drill can completely change the characteristics in the time it takes (someone) to drink a cup of coffee," LaPierre said. ...

<<A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would require firearms be test- fired before they were sold and their unique "fingerprints" entered into a computer database accessible to law enforcement agencies. ...

<<Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who backs the fingerprinting bill, said ... that the ballistics fingerprinting plan is "common sense" and has the support of most police organizations.

<<"What this database does, very simply, is link the bullet to the gun. So if you find the bullet, you can then find the gun, where it was purchased and who purchased it," Schumer said. ...

<<LaPierre said the proposal is useless because the database would be too large and a gun's fingerprint changes over time.

<<"Every time you fire a gun, the ballistics change. Talk to any firearm expert in the country. All you're doing is you're giving them obsolete baby pictures and you're taking the police off the street," he said. >>

Source: story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021020/pl_nm/crime_shootings_guns_dc_1

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<< [Maryland] Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend unveiled a new advertisement Friday slamming her opponent's record on gun control, and rebuffed immediate criticism that she was politicizing the sniper shootings. >>

Source: story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021012/ap_to_po/sniper_shootings_politics_1


... researchers at the highly-respected Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University have found that [Google] is actively removing sites from its database ...

[Researchers] discovered over one hundred sites which can be found by searchers in the US but not by those in Germany or France. ...

... Google spokesman Nate Tyler said ... that the sites were removed to avoid the possibility of legal action being taken against the company, and that each site was removed only after a specific complaint from the government of the country concerned. ...

What is happening is that a government is saying to Google: 'we don't like that website - so drop it from your database' and the company is acquiescing. ...

The problem is not that content is being censored - that is inevitable and in many cases desirable. ...

The problem is that Google itself is deciding what should be censored and that its motives are entirely commercial, making it possible for government agencies to influence it without having to go through due process or defend their requests in public.

I believe we need to move towards an internet that is properly regulated, where decisions like this can only be made through the courts.

I would rather have a net where Google and other search engine providers had a legal obligation to provide full and comprehensive results to the best of their technical ability and to inform searchers of any areas where content had been removed from their index on legal grounds, even if that also gives governments the ability to block certain sites from the index.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2360351.stm

See also:
www.google.com/remove.html and

Google contact information:

Suggestions: suggestions@google.com
Praise and complaints: omments@google.com
Not satisfied with search results? search-quality@google.com
Report errors, bugs and broken links: webmaster@google.com
I have a question and/or need help using Google: help@google.com

Google, Inc.
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phone: (650) 330-0100
fax: (650) 618-1499


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