Tragedy on campus

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on April 16, 2007

Thirty-two people and one evil, deranged psychopath lost their lives today at Virginia Tech. Dozens more were wounded. The death toll could still climb further. The families of the dead, wounded and others affected by this horror are in our prayers tonight.

Some late reports say that the shooter was from China; here on a visa.

This news hasn't stopped the collective reflexes of the media from identifying a solution: More gun control.

One of the first few questions after President Bush made a statement on this horrible crime was "does there need to be gun control in this country?" Let's give the reporter the benefit of the doubt when determining that he or she left out the word "more."

Then you had the predictibly dim New York Times editorial page quick to jump on their gun control drum.

Courtesy of Ankle Biting Pundits we have this conundrum from the editorial board of the paper of record:

Yesterday’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech — the worst in American history — is another horrifying reminder that some of the gravest dangers Americans face come from killers at home armed with guns that are frighteningly easy to obtain.

Not much is known about the gunman, who killed himself, or about his motives or how he got his weapons, so it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy. But it seems a safe bet that in one way or another, this will turn out to be another instance in which an unstable or criminally minded individual had no trouble arming himself and harming defenseless people.

Our hearts and the hearts of all Americans go out to the victims and their families. Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss. [emphasis added]

It's too early to draw any lessons except that more gun control would stop this sort of thing. Need I remind people that the hardest substance on Earth is the skull of a New York Times editorial writer?

Need I point out that this has been tried before? Washington, D.C. has a near total gun ban, yet it still has an incredibly high violent crime rate.

And the solution is more of the same?

Let's also ignore, for the time being, that I don't think it's possible for a non-citizen here on a visa to legally purchase a firearm. (For the record, if that is currently legal anywhere, that's a gun control measure I could support. The following statement is insensitive, so skip it if you must: I think an American should hold the distinction for committing the worst gun rampage on American soil, not some foreigner.)

If you want to see just how "fair and balanced" the media is in the coming days, just start counting up the stories touting tougher laws for acquiring guns versus stories merely considering the possibility that concealed carry or permitting law-abiding people to carry loaded firearms in their cars could've lessened the slaughter.

I'm willing to bet that, aside from obviously conservative media outlets, the number of stories examing the latter option is in the single digits.

I'm also curious to see, if it's true that the shooter was a Chinese man here on a visa, how the media deals with typical American-gun-culture/videogames-made-him-do-it storyline that is de riguer in school shootings. Are we really able to corrupt Godless communists that fast?

And, just for the record, note how the Times editorial avoids using the "p-word": Prayer.

*UPDATE* The shooter has been identified.


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April 2007



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