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In today's pages

April 20, 2007 |  9:37 am

Pepperdine University professor James Q. Wilson joins the post-Virginia-Tech gun control debate to defend the maligned firearm, noting that guns don't kill people, Americans do:

If we want to guess by how much the U.S. murder rate would fall if civilians had no guns, we should begin by realizing...that the non-gun homicide rate in this country is three times higher than the non-gun homicide rate in England. For historical and cultural reasons, Americans are a more violent people than the English, even when they can't use a gun. This fact sets a floor below which the murder rate won't be reduced even if, by some constitutional or political miracle, we became gun-free.

Columnist Joel Stein defends another American weapon of choice, the cigarette, while Rosa Brooks wonders why Americans like vicarious trauma. On the lighter side, University of Chicago Law School prof Cass R. Sunstein sees the silver lining in the Supreme Court's abortion ruling.

The editorial board criticizes the state for its shady secret death chamber and the country for letting an admitted terrorist walk. But the board has mostly nice things to say about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's newly released city budget.

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