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April 19, 2007

Looking Back: Gasoline Control

There are plenty of bloggers discussing the Virginia Tech tragedy, but I want to look back at another tragedy. On March 25, 1990, a Sunday, Cuban refugee Julio Gonzales tossed a gallon of gasoline into the entryway of an unlicensed social club in New York, the Happy Land bar. The resulting tragedy came to be known as the "Happy Land Fire."

The doors had been locked shut to prevent people from entering without paying a cover charge. That didn't matter much anyhow, as the $1 of gas that Julio dumped on the only stairwell started a fire that produced a noxious mixture of gas that killed several of the 87 victims so quickly, they were found still clutching their drinks.

With all the clammoring on about gun control in regards to the psychopath at Virginia Tech, I want to know what's being done about gasoline control? How is it that any drunk psychopath can just walk up and buy a dollar worth of gas, and kill 87 people? I guess we should thank God that Cho didn't bring a jug of gasoline with him when he invaded Norris Hall. He thought enough ahead to chain the doors shut, and we all heard the stories of students jumping out the windows and breaking bones in the fall.

But there are some who will say that buying gasoline should be a right of all Americans. But you can kill people with gasoline. With only $1 of gasoline, you can kill 87 innocent people. You can power your car, and mow down people indiscriminately, even in Britain. In 2005, 43,443 people were killed in automobile accidents, in vehicles all powered by gasoline. That's an average of 120 people a day, killed by gasoline powered automobiles.

We need to establish stronger gasoline control laws, and keep this deadly substance out of the hands of dangerous people. And while we are at it, we need to tighten up the laws to obtain a driver's license. We need to establish an instant background check system to verify that someone is legal when purchasing gasoline, and ensure that only sane, law abiding citizens have access to this deadly weapon.

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