Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VA Tech Tragedy - More Guns is not the Answer by Louis Evan Palmer

The American NRA vultures and their "cold dead" supporters have emerged again after the VA Tech tragedy to bruit their nauseating mantra of "more guns equals more safety". Several of their mouthpieces and like-minded bloody-minded sympathizers have stated that all would be well if only everyone, or mostly everyone, was armed because then the VA Tech killer would have been shot outright.

It appears that it has occurred to no-one in the NRA movement that if this disturbed young man had not been able to buy a gun, let alone a high-powered Glock, then this tragedy may not have happened. He may have had time to be diagnosed and treated and the young people that he shot might be alive. What rational reason does a person have for buying a Glock?

The competence of the VA Tech administration (and possibly the campus & local police) is a separate matter. How what was initially reported as a single homicide can be treated as an event that would not interrupt the normal course of events at the school is difficult to understand? How the administration of that school can not know that there were actually two homicides in the first incident and that the killer was unknown and at large is also hard to fathom? Wouldn't your first order of business be to positively confirm what happened and if there was a continuing danger? Wouldn't you alert the whole school and search the grounds until you had either apprehended the suspect or ascertained that he was not on the grounds?

Everyone being armed and then having this threatening person shot almost right away is a fascist dream and just as realistic. Will everyone have their guns with them? Will they be able to pull the gun out properly and use it? Are the guns to be carried around fully loaded? Will their aim be any good? Will it be obvious to anyone who is the suspect when everyone is walking around with guns looking for him? It is likely they would shoot as many innocent people as gunmen.

What's wrong with using pepper spray or other non-lethal weapons to stop these would-be or in-progress killers? Some of the dispensers have a good range and should work well in a building.

Even "official" armed groups are dangerous. Random reports suggest that six of the Columbine victims were shot by a SWAT team. The public won't know about that though because the records have been sealed. And, while various police forces are known to be trigger-happy and have the wrongful death suits to prove it, they are trumped by the plague of heavily-armed SWAT teams roaming around the US at any given time. Some of the teams are well-trained, disciplined and effective but many are not, the modern-day equivalent of a posse, they often come in shooting whether they've got the right person or even the right house. More guns always equals more deaths.

The stats for the US is something like 30,000 deaths by gun a year with 250 million guns in circulation for a 300+ million population.

If one looks at any war zone, you'll find a significant number of soldiers getting shot by their own comrades or allies or even themselves. And this is usually happening under a strict control regime for having a weapon and the ammunition for it and under the rules of engagement. Accidents with guns can be deadly - everything with guns can be deadly which is why society wants to control them and their use.

Potentially having everyone armed is a recipe for disaster and pleases no-one except the gun manufacturers and their fanatic followers because very quickly you're into a full-fledged arms race - each person or side going for bigger guns, faster guns, more guns and then later, depending, they will want and acquire grenades, bombs, and missiles. Is the NRA a secret propaganda arm of the gun industry?

The same amoral "protection" logic is used in wars where one side, usually the losing side, will complain that if only they had dropped more bombs then all would have been well. This is part of the terrible logic of the Dresden or Tokyo firebombings. It spreads out to every type of ordinance - if only we had laid more mines; if only we had devastated the enemy more completely; if only we had used more of every weapon we possessed.

The arm-everyone logic is not consistent because we have the usual hypocritical governments pushing to stop certain countries from getting the same nuclear weapons they have. In the case of the US, they will state that they support the right of citizens to bear arms yet not certain countries. If citizens can bear arms then how much more can nations bear arms but to prevent our mutual destruction, the desired solution for nations is disarmament. Wouldn't that solution be the same for societies?

The question is easily answered: if tomorrow there were no guns, bombs or nukes in the world, would it be a better place or not? Versus - if tomorrow everyone had guns and bombs and nukes, would the world then be better? The answer for any normal peace-loving, law-abiding, rational person is obvious - especially today in Virginia.

VA Tech Tragedy - More Guns is not the Answer, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer, http://twicb.blogspot.com
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications.



Nathan said...

Hi Evan. I understand how you feel but you really ruined your argument by ranting. Calling supporters of gun rights "bloody-minded sympathizers", saying that the VA Tech administration was incompetent, and calling thousands of SWAT teams "incompetent, typically fat, out-of-shape and undisciplined" did not help your case at all. You generalized and made unfair stereotypes. Also, the VA Tech administration did what they thought was correct because they thought it was an isolated murder to begin with. Yes, they should have notified the whole campus but they did not want to cause a panic. Also, it might have helped if one of the people in the dorm had had a gun. If they gun laws are relaxed for that reason, not everyone will buy a gun. Almost no one will walk around with it fully loaded. But if just one student had had a gun in their dorm room, they might have been able to load it and end this tragedy. I'm not saying that would fix the problem but I'm just saying that maybe you should look at both sides of the argument before making broad statements.

The Way It Can Be said...


Thanks for your insights. I accept some of your criticisms... and I've amended the POST accordingly... sometimes posting too quickly is not the best course of action..

Everyone is saddened by this tragedy.. and it is infuriating how the NRA tries to profit from every one of these shootings while accusing gun control advocates of the same.. one group wants a workable peace in a free society while the other helps to enrich a gun industry that is already soaked in blood..