Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why Is There So Little Gun Control In U.S.?

President Bush may mean well by participating today in a memorial service for those who so tragically lost their lives in the shootings at Virginia Tech University.

But the President has almost always opposed the gun control laws that could have averted the tragedy. Tonight, appearing on the NBC Nightly News, the President again ducked the issue.

As the shooter was identified, turning out to be another loner who carefully plotted the massacre, and was carrying the guns, chains and extra ammunition necessary to perpetrate it, the foolishness which has long characterized the nation's policies on gun control was being repeated in various quarters today.

Even the moderate Washington Post asked editorially whether the students and teachers at Virginia Tech would have been safer had the Virginia Legislature this past year not killed a law that would have allowed them to carry guns on campus.

But a massively-armed campus would be prone to more shootings, not fewer, through momentary flareups, misunderstandings and accidents.

The statistic are clear: the prevalence of guns in the United States causes a murder rate here that is far higher than in countries where guns are strictly controlled or prohibited.

Yes, Britain, which does have strong gun controls, had a massacre at Dunblane a few years ago, in which a crazed gunman slaughtered young schoolchildren. But, all told, Britain has had far fewer such incidents than the USA. In our own interest in these matters, we must play the odds. And after Dunblane, Britain tightened its laws, as did Australia, after a massacre there.

It is not enough to take the position the L.A. Times takes editorially today that silence and thoughtful contemplation is the best response to what happened yesterday at Virginia Tech. The New York Times, which presently has a stronger editorial page, was much more forthright when it said today, "What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss."

If we are ever to discourage the frequent repetition of such crimes (there have been several in the last year, including particularly poignant shootings in a Colorado high school and an Amish elementary school in Pennsylvania), then we must act, as citizens, to build the most powerful support for measures that will reduce the number of guns and make them more difficult for such loners as the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho Seung Hui, to obtain.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous McRib said...

Gosh! The VT Campus was a gun free zone. How could this have happened?

4/18/2007 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shooters mental health situation went unchecked. What we have in this country is a failed mental health program. Take a look at skid row if you need more proof. We don't have a gun problem....

4/19/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't have a gun problem in this country or this city?

Read the Los Angeles Times Homicide Report. Gun related homicides all over Los Angeles on a daily basis. People being picked off on the street one or two at a time night after night in the City of the Angels. After a while the number gets pretty big.

The Virginia Tech massacre hit the news because some sort of Guiness Book national record of number of people killed by one gunman at one occurrence was set. No other reason. I know this sounds cold and cynical. What did I keep reading? "Largest mass killing".

We got plenty of psychos out on the street. This guy isn't that much of an anomaly. Don't think this isn't going to happen again?

Looks like it was easier for this guy to get guns than to get laid.

4/21/2007 7:22 PM  

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