Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You can’t prevent something like this

That's the ironic title of Professor Stephen Griffin's post about the Virginia Tech shooting yesterday. Professor Griffin notes bitterly:

I've heard something like [you can't prevent something like this] after every mass slaying or, rather, every mass slaying committed by someone with a gun. After mass slayings committed by terrorists, presidential assassinations, or killings in areas supposedly secure like courts, we commit ourselves to the actions necessary to prevent such killings in the future, whether through better security, use of intelligence, confiscation of weapons, and the like. But with mass killings committed in country with a gun, we are encouraged to believe, by people who should know better, that they are akin to natural disasters or freak occurrences like an asteroid strike in your backyard.

Griffin's post drew the usual howls of protest from the gun nuts. Spotty has been thinking lately about all the Catch-22s in life: Want to be the president? You're clearly too much of a megalomaniac for the job. Want to carry a gun around all the time? Then you're probably such a paranoid psychopath that you're too damn dangerous to be trusted with one.

Where was Spotty? Oh yes. Virginia does very little to control guns. There is no background check, nor any waiting period before purchasing a handgun. According to reports, the shooter at Virginia Tech had just recently acquired the handguns used in the killings. Might a waiting period have stopped him? Maybe, or maybe not. But one thing is certain now: thirty-three more people are dead from gun violence in Blacksburg, Virginia.


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