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Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009

Mass Murders R Us

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To understand just how twisted our nation’s gun laws are, all you have to do is look at an Internet gun sales operation in Green Bay, Wis., providing deadly weapons and accessories to mass murderers throughout the nation.

Mass Murders R Us isn’t really the name of the online gun dealer to America’s demented killers, but it might as well be. The company goes by the name of TGSCOM, Inc.

Last week, when the company’s latest crazed customer, George Sodini, killed three women and himself at a Pittsburgh fitness center, it brought TGSCOM’s known body count to 43.

TGSCOM previously sold deadly weapons to Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people and himself on the campus of Virginia Tech in 2007 and to Steven Kazmierczak who killed five people and himself at Northern Illinois University in 2008.

The pattern of TGSCOM’s customers killing themselves after murdering as many other people as possible suggests a possible flaw in the company’s business model. Murder-suicides really cut down on return customers.

Perhaps that’s why TGSCOM president Eric Thompson tries to milk the mass murders linked to his company for as much free publicity as he possibly can.

After the Virginia Tech shootings that not only killed 33 but also wounded 25 other students and faculty, Thompson actually appeared on campus to argue the shootings demonstrated the need to allow concealed carry at the university so students and teachers could protect themselves.

After all, you never know when some mentally ill student is going to get access to deadly weapons through some Internet site in Green Bay, Wis.

Another Marketing Opportunity

Thompson sees the latest killings tied to his Internet gun sales as another marketing opportunity.

On his Internet site, Thompson acknowledged Sodini, whom he described as “a disturbed and socially stunted mad man,” had purchased a Glock magazine and a Glock magazine loader through TGSCOM.

Thompson drew two lessons from the health club murders linked to his business and, unbelievably, neither of them was to stop selling guns over the Internet to crazy people. “The first is that no matter how responsive law enforcement is or can be, it is not good enough to rely upon for the safety of yourself or your family,” Thompson wrote. “The second fact is that you are legally responsible for your own protection.”

In other words, have we got some great deadly weapons for you to protect yourself from all those disturbed and socially stunted mad men we already are arming with deadly weapons.


When you go to various Web sites run by Thompson, you can “View Our Clearance Firearms. Prices So Low, You’ll Have To Buy Two!”

The more you browse for deadly items to fill up your shopping cart, the more you get the uncomfortable feeling Thompson’s target audience is precisely the mass murderers who have been linked to his company over the past three years.

How else do you explain the hyping of high capacity magazines providing “100 rounds of continuous fire” described as “the firepower you want and the penetration you need”?

Thompson is able to sell deadly weapons over the Internet to insane killers like Sodini, Cho and Kazmierczak through a legal process that allows him to profit from mass murders and human tragedy around the country.

Disturbed individuals can order all the firepower they want at the click of a button. Then they can pick up their deadly weapons at gun stores right in their own hometowns. The gun stores are charged with conducting the required background checks, which we know often leave out important information such as treatment for mental illness and histories of violence.

The 43 gun deaths and 52 others wounded by gunfire were the handiwork of just three of Thompson’s customers. He is said to operate more than 100 Web sites. We will never know his actual death toll.

All those people who worry about naked bodies on the Internet need to get a new definition of pornography. We have an online business in Green Bay openly marketing products to blow bodies apart.

As Thompson likes to boast, his operation is perfectly legal. That says more about the sorry state of laws governing the sale of deadly weapons to disturbed mad men in this country than it does about the legitimacy of Thompson’s operation.

There is nothing stopping us from writing real laws that create real restrictions on gun sales. Anyone who sells weapons capable of massacring large numbers of people should at least be required to look the purchaser in the eyes to see whether they are spinning around in their sockets.

If we can control the sale of alcohol and tobacco over the Internet, we certainly should be able to control a website that promises—and delivers—to mass murderers continuous rounds of “the firepower you want and the penetration you need.”