Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Lesson Not Learned: VT Massacre


What follows is an Op-Ed piece I submitted to the local anti-gun fish wrapper. I've had others published. I hope this one is too, as its message needs heeding.

The old bromide about there being only two things that are certain in this world - death and taxes, needs modification after the tragic events of this week. The revised list of life's certainties must now read; 'death, taxes and hysterical, anti-gun editorials in the Miami Herald' of which Fred Grimm's shallow, thoughtless piece in Thursday's Metro section is a prime example. He looked at the facts surrounding the horrific shooting at Virginia Tech and, instead of thinking of scenarios which might have prevented or mitigated the carnage wrought by a single lunatic with a gun, he mindlessly regurgitated hackneyed anti-NRA propaganda and offered smug witticisms like 'Thirty-two murders in Blacksburg is no worse than Columbine plus inflation.' Even a cursory examination of the actual facts of this case in place of mindless clich├ęs from the Herald's 'Ban All Guns' talking points page would reveal a fact that even paragons of objectivity like Fred Grimm couldn't deny.

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After all the posturing, spinning and grandstanding this week by both pro and anti-2nd Amendment sides, an unavoidable truth remains that needs examination. That truth is illustrated by this series of events: In August of 2006, an escaped inmate killed a hospital guard nearby then fled to the vicinity of Virginia Tech campus where he shot a sheriff's deputy. In the wake of that shooting and student and faculty complaints that they had no means of protecting themselves should another situation like this (a lunatic with a gun) arise, a bill was proffered to the Virginia House of Delegates which would have prohibited universities from banning weapons on campus. It was voted down. That 'enlightened' vote was, of course, lauded by liberal academics like the associate vice president of Virginia Tech, Larry Hincher, who self-righteously proclaimed, when replying to an editorial in the VT school newspaper supporting the lifting of the prohibition:

"The writer [of the editorial, student Bradford Wiles] would have us believe that a university campus, with tens of thousands of young people, is safer with everyone packing heat. Imagine the continual fear of students in that scenario. We've seen that fear here and we don't want to see it again. Guns don't belong in the classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same."

Oh, the irony of those words would be delicious if it wasn't so tragic. 'Sound Policy' does not prevent disturbed individuals bent on killing from doing so. 'Sound Policy' is a 'feel-good' illusion. 'Sound Policy' is a talisman worshipped by the ignorant and naive who believe laws or words actually stop evil people from committing more evil.

The truth is, 'sound policy' did NOT deter Cho Seung-Hui. Nor did all the ominous 'This campus is a GUN FREE ZONE' signs. Nor did all the warnings and admonitions against the bringing of guns on campus by administrators at VT. Nor did the police who didn't even arrive until nearly all the murders had been committed. Rather than sound the clarion call for gun-control, the senseless murders should cause the playing of 'taps'; first, in honor of the 32 brutally murdered students and teachers and second for the death of the idea that government can and will protect us from harm.

That unavoidable truth is, Mr. Grimm: What could have stopped Cho Seung-Hui was an armed student or faculty member putting two rounds in his center of mass. But the administration of VT chose politically-correct signs and words and ‘sound policy’ that only offered the illusion of protection while leaving 25,000 students defenseless against one lunatic with a gun. Where are those brave administrators today? Where is their explanation for how someone could have had the audacity to bring a gun onto campus in the face of those ominous signs and words and ‘sound policy’?

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