Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

I don't want to downplay the significance of this tragedy. I don't want to cheapen the lives that were lost. Some do. Some have already leapt up to use this tragedy to their ends. Like I said, I don't want to do that. But I do feel a certain duty to respond, and it may make you think I'm twisting the legacy of the victims. For that, I apologize. But I do not apologize for the overall message of what I'm about to say, so please do not dismiss it.
People have already demanded more gun laws. They do it "for the sake of the victims" and "to prevent future tragedies." Virginia Tech already had rules against guns on campus, and they believe that "guns don't belong in classrooms" and that their policies against them are "sound." No doubt they'll try to find more effective ways to disarm people, but the killer did not kill because of lax rules. If someone wants to kill people, there's always a way. More laws won't help. Mind you, the fact that he was able to kill in one place, wander around campus for two hours (Thinking on the Margin has a map), and then kill again shows that there was a definite problem with the police and university officials involved.
Would fewer rules have helped? It's possible that an armed student could have defended everyone. It's also possible, given some of the college campuses I've been on, that everyone in the vicinity would have still been unarmed. It is impossible to know for sure whether anything would have changed. The killer may have even chosen somewhere else had the rules not required victim disarmament.
One thing to note, though, is that the killer was allowed to roam, then start killing again. We can't always rely on the quick response of the local PD. You could very easily be one of the victims. Shooting the Messenger has an interesting piece on this.
In any case, buy some high-capacity magazines, any modern semi-auto rifle you might have been eying, or whatever else you can afford. This tragedy is bound to pass HB 1022. Which won't help the victims or anyone else.

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