Now eBay Is Responsible for Murder?

Now eBay Is Responsible for Murder

by Greg Perry by Greg Perry


The MyWay headline blazing its way down reads, "Tech Gunman Bought Ammo Clips on eBay."

The writer, as is almost always the case when reporters report about gun-related stories, got it wrong. The Virginia Tech murderer did not purchase ammo clips on eBay (unless he wore hairclips). He purchased ammo magazines on eBay.

Please understand that accuracy isn’t often the goal when a reporter writes about guns. Nevertheless, using the incorrect term clip instead of magazine is common. Even many gun owners make this sloppy mistake. It’s just easier to use the one-syllable (and incorrect) term clip when using the correct, three-syllable term magazine takes time and effort.

Although it’s a pet peeve of mine to see those terms used interchangeably, that’s not the big problem with the story. The big problem is the story’s goal of telling the world that eBay allows its members to sell gun-related items. Perish the thought! Almost assuredly, the reporter’s agenda was to make it known that eBay sold gun-related items to bring more pressure for eBay to disallow such sales.

Do you think we’ll ever see a headline that reads, "Tech Gunman Bought Chains to Lock In Students At O’Reilly Auto Parts"? Not in a million years. That headline doesn’t promote an agenda. (I don’t know that O’Reilly sold those chains. I don’t know where the murderer got those chains because nobody’s going to write a headline that tells me.)

eBay and Guns and Supplies

I love eBay. A large portion of my career centers around eBay. As one of the early sellers on eBay I’ve seen eBay go through many changes. I write a syndicated newspaper column about eBay (past issues for one of the papers is here if you’re interested), I write books about advanced eBay selling techniques, and we run an eBay consignment business.

A few years ago eBay decided to stop selling guns and other weapons. I didn’t like that decision but eBay has every right to make it. Many gun enthusiasts stopped buying anything on eBay when eBay made that decision. I think those enthusiasts were short-sighted. In all likelihood, eBay made a business decision and nothing more. eBay decided it wasn’t worth the legal costs in today’s America to sell weapons. A victim’s family would likely sue eBay as though eBay hired the shooter and demanded that the weapon be used against the innocent.

When a victim’s family sues a seller that legally sold a weapon, that family has just committed a wrong somewhat like the one done to them: they have now, with premeditated and knowing intent, harmed innocent victims (the store’s owners and customers). Those families have turned into the thing they now despise most: the predator.

eBay didn’t want predators coming after them, turning eBay into a victim of the justice system. You can’t blame eBay. You could blame our welfare-mentality society, our constitution-hating lawyers, our leftwing politicians such as all Democrats and Republicans in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government with the one lone exception of Ron Paul.

You should not blame eBay, however.

And by putting out the following headline, "Tech Gunman Bought Ammo Clips on eBay," the reporter likely wants readers to blame eBay in some way. Such articles increase pressure on eBay and other sites to rethink policies that sell weapons-related items.

Did Gun Control Work at Virginia Tech?

Perhaps you’ve heard of a brilliant thinker and author, Lew Rockwell. He recently wrote that it was a perfectly fine policy when Virginia Tech stopped permitting weapons on campus. Once you picked yourself off the floor and considered his point you must agree that Lew is correct. You should support the right of Virginia Tech to make that policy.

The moment Virginia Tech made that policy, then parents responsible for sending teens to Virginia Tech, and the adults attending classes there, had their own decision to make:

  1. Keep attending and give up their right to self-defense and hope Virginia Tech and the police protect the school’s students
  2. Keep attending but violate Virginia Tech’s policy by carrying a concealed weapon so you could more reliably protect yourself if needed, or
  3. Find a school that lets its students carry weapons (those are few and far between).

If your decision was #1, then here’s the way it should work: you then concede your right to blame the school when a lone, psychotic murderer takes out your son or daughter. You lose the right to blame the school unless the school knowingly, in advance, knew the murders were being planned and did not stop them. You lose the right to sue the school. Well, you don’t lose the right and you know that Virginia Tech is going to be hammered with lawsuits, but in my opinion you should lose the right to legally challenge the school for not protecting your family member.

Nobody put — a proverbial — gun to your head and forced you to pay the tuition to attend Virginia Tech! You knew the rules, Virginia Tech made its decision, you made your decision.

Unless new discovery is revealed, the lawsuits from families that will probably take place against Virginia Tech will say that Virginia Tech did not provide security needed to guard the students. Well, guess what? No amount of security would guard the students. Nothing Virginia Tech could possibly do would ever be enough to protect every student. The moment you think that some institution will protect you is the moment you’re in for an eye-opening surprise someday.

The facts of this situation are still being discovered but some facts are certain and the freedom-hating, gun-control loving, hoplophobes do not want you to think this through: After the initial shootings, this murderer had two hours to go to the post office and to get those chains from who-knows-where. During these two hours the school’s security was on campus trying to figure out what was going on. The local police were on campus trying to figure out what was going on. No doubt, some FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies were on campus trying to figure out what was going on.

A zero-tolerance gun control policy was in effect on Virginia Tech’s campus. Also on campus were scores (perhaps 100 or more?) law enforcement officers and security, many of which carried weapons, and not one of those officers stopped any one of the 30 murders that would take place on that campus just two hours after the first shootings.

If you truly blame Virginia Tech for not protecting students from the second wave of murder then you should truly blame the local police, and any other of the hoards of law enforcement officers who were on campus. They did nothing to stop the following set of murders. Yet, they and the murderer were the only ones on campus who had weapons.

When only the police have guns, that is called a Police State. Among many problems of a Police State are:

  1. Most law enforcement officials are woefully unskilled when they find themselves in a shootout. Case histories clearly show that dozens of shots can often be fired from their weapons that miss their targets. (The exception, especially for FBI and BATF agents, is they’ve proved to be excellent marksmen when shooting an unarmed mother holding a baby and they sure know how to incinerate a church in Waco when lots of women and children are inside.)
  2. There will never be enough law enforcement officials to guard every citizen until there is a one-to-one ratio of officers, and even then refer to the previous point before trusting your safety to your assigned personal officer’s shooting skills.

Greed vs. Service

Back to eBay. I suspect eBay will implement more stringent weapons-related product policies. I hate to think that might happen but again, I don’t blame eBay.

I have read a lot of freedom-loving writers write about greed. The old line from the Wall Street movie, "Greed is Good!" is shouted from the mountaintops of Libertarians and those in similar camps.

I disagree. I believe greed leads to lawsuits that sue the innocent. I believe greed leads to our runaway welfare society. I believe that greed is the #1 reason why Welfare Kings and Welfare Queens (also known as parents of public school children) force their neighbors to pay for their own children’s education. I believe greed is why the legal and justice system parade wheelchair-bound people into courts to make a whole lot of money suing small businesses who cannot afford to spend $75,000 to remodel their bathrooms to conform to the evil Americans with Disabilities Act’s draconian requirements.

Greed does not produce a just wealth.

Service does!

When you provide a service to someone who wants or needs that service, whether it’s in the form of a product you sell or something you do for money, you are then serving others. It is there that you get more than the zero-sum gain found in greed’s tactics. It is when you serve someone, trying to put their needs above yours, that you ensure your best chance at success.

Suing Virginia Tech for failing to stop these murders is greed gone wild. If someone wants to put pressure on eBay for selling gun magazines, it’s greed of a different form: envy combined with a hatred of those who value their own right to protect their own freedom.

Sue eBay and Imprison Sean Connery

If eBay is partly to blame for these murders then so is Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

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