Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy at Virginia Tech and the Knee-Jerk Political Response

First and foremost my heart goes out to the victims, the families, the students, and the faculty of Virginia Tech University. The actions of one deranged individual have ended, impacted, and interrupted countless lives in the worst possible way. All of you are in my thoughts and my prayers, and I offer you my most sincere condolences. I pray you are able to find solace as you work through this unimaginable tragedy.

Unfortunately, in this tragedy the political opportunists and vultures have seen an opening to spread ignorance and prey on people’s fear. Before the shooter’s identity was even known, before the source of the weapons was known, before any meaningful data was released, and before most of the victims had even been IDENTIFIED – those who “know what’s good for you” already had the solution – more gun control.

Michael Daly of the NY Daily News wrote a particularly ignorant hateful piece with the normal line of “blame the tool, not the person.” Most of the responses to this editorial have been decidedly negative. The Washington Post seems to feel obligated to pass along the standard pack of misconceptions published by foreign press, including this ludicrous statement:

"’I think the reason it happens in America is there's access to weapons -- you can go into a supermarket and get powerful automatic weapons,’ Keith Ashcroft, a psychologist, told the Press Association. Ashcroft said he believed such access, along with a culture that makes gun ownership seem normal, increases the likelihood of such attacks in the United States.”

I don’t know of a single supermarket in the United States where you can pick up an automatic weapon. Period. Automatic weapons are rare, expensive, and strictly regulated by the BATFE. But apparently the facts matter even less to the Foreign press than they do to the American press.

To anyone who believes that more gun control would have prevented this tragedy, I’ve got news for you – it wouldn’t have helped. In fact, I strongly believe that it was the GUN BAN THAT CAUSED THE HIGH DEATH COUNT! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I FIRMLY believe that the fact that firearms were not allowed on the Virginia Tech campus – because it was a “gun free zone” – no one had the opportunity to defend themselves from this sort of violence.

In 2006, a bill was proposed in the Virginia Legislature that would have allowed individuals with state issued Concealed Carry permits to carry on college campuses. This bill was defeated and the Virginia Tech Administration praised the defeat of the legislation:

“VA Tech spokesman Larry Hincker [celebrated] the defeat of the bill. ‘I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions,’ Hincker said on Jan. 31, 2006, ‘because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.’”

There’s a world of difference between “feeling safe” and actually being safe. The article above cites several examples of shootings that could have turned into rampages that would rival the tragedy at Virginia Tech, but were stopped by the intervention of one law-abiding individual with a firearm. We’ll unfortunately never know how many innocent lives could have been saved had Virginia House Bill 1572 passed, but we now know the cost of a “gun free zone” – over 30 innocent lives wasted.

1 comment:

Hunter said...

Here, here Fin!

You, as always, hit the nail on the head.