"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Apr 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Shootings and gun control

The massacre that took place today at Virginia Tech in the USA reminds us once again of the consequences of the United States liberal attitude to gun ownership. The death toll from this tragedy seems likely to make this among the worst of all the seemingly regular gun massacres that take place in the US. On each occassion it appears that some warped soul chooses to go out in a " blaze of glory" by murdering scores of their fellow citizens in an orgy of murder.

In this case, the murderer Cho Seung-hui, a 23-year-old from South Korea, appears to have been triggered in his murder spree by the break up of a romance. It is reported that Cho Seung-hui was studying English and had been living on the university campus.

In a society without ready access to guns an individual locked into such a psychological spiral would in all probability not have the weaponry available to murder more than a few of their fellow citizens. Yet in the US guns are part of the culture and the individual has no constraint of this type on the mayhem that they can cause.

The gun lobby has been fond of saying "Guns dont kill, people do" and they are right. Yet this is the very argument for gun control. For when guns are put in the hands of people in this uncontrolled way then there will be a small proportion of people who in some psychological crisis will choose to use those guns on their fellow humans. Remember that on average over 80 people a day are killed by firearms in the US - a match for the daily toll of deaths in Iraq which gets so much media and public attention.

The questioning of Virginia Tech officials in the early press conference apppeared to concentrate on the issue of there being two incidents and whether the police and University authorities should have done more to "close down" the campus. Perhaps valid criticisms of the authorities may emerge from all this, perhaps not. The main business is grief and the identification of victims at this stage.

In the longer term the US media will however miss - yet again - the main issue however if they concentrate on such issues. They will conspire, perhaps unwittingly, with the gun lobbby who will be keen to see attention diverted from the main issue.

Whatever controls universities and others have in place, whatever emergency response plans institutions evolve, these events will be repeated some other time , some other place in the US.

Until the US gets to grip with gun control and greatly reduces the guns in private hands there will be repeat after repeat of these massacres.

12 comments:

Paratus said...

Odd, in the Appalachain school shootings the shooter was stopped by two armed students. Is it not possible that the "Gun free zone" mandated by the VA Tech administration left the students and faculty defenseless in the face of a deranged killer?

Bunc said...

Hi Paratus
I understand your point but ask yourself about the death reates from gunshot in the US compared to say the UK. Ask youself how many major massacres like that we have had comparatively. Does that not suggest to you that there is a need for much greater gun control in the US?

Abdelilah Boukili said...

Hi Bill,
The shooting incident in Virginia Tech shows what despair can lead to. Only lunatics come to such acts. As we say, it isn't the gun that kills. It is those who have them. Tight laws on gun control can be evaded by acquiring fire weapons through devious means. It seems the USA is the only country in the world with the highest frequency of deadly shooting in educational and other public areas. Violent scenes in entertainment productions like movies and electronic games may have something to do with such incidents.

Bill said...

Hi Abdelilah,
I do agree that it is the person ultimately that kills. However, without guns large scale massacres like this would be much rarer. The problem in the US is that the "cat is out of the bag" - once you have a society so infused with guns how do you regain control? It may not be possible.

I have seen some suggestions that this would not have happened if all the students had been armed - I dont agree with this. I suspect there would have been bullets flying everywhere and innocent people shooting innocent people.

Looney said...

Howdy Bunc,

I am sympathetic to more controls. After all, we don't let people have WMD's in spite of a "right to bear arms". The other issue is that too much of our culture is linked. In the UK, law enforcement has the right to listen in on potential criminals without spending a taxpayer fortune and wasting time in court proceedings involving pinhead judges. Most of the killings in the US are gang and drug related and it is doubtful that gun control will do anything about this.

The gun control lobby should be prepared to negotiate some of their sacred rights for criminals in exchange for the sacred rights of the gun owners.

Bunc said...

Hi Loony,
You know I knew we would agree on something ;-)just kidding!

Maybe too often the debate about guns is an "all or nothing one". We in the UK, with no substantial history of guns in private hands ( apart from farmers and club shooters), maybe find it too easy just to say ban them and think that solves your problem.

It is a bit simplistic because it fails to recognise that in your country there is a history and culture of gun ownership. Also it fails to recognise that because of relatively unrestricted gun sales there are many many weapons in criminals hands. This of course causes anxiety for ordinary citizens and means they are reluctant to give up their guns.

It may be that the best that can be achieved in the US is to set a "direction of travel". In other words achieve some consensus that its not about completely banning guns but about achieveing mmore sensible control. there must be at least some sensible element ofthe gun lobby that wouldnt come out shooting at that proposition. Or am I being to nice to them?

Anyway it was a tragic event and folk over here are heart sorry for the poor parents and relatives of those murdered students.

A small anecdote - I was in our local shop and I mentioned the massacre. "Awful" she said. Then she says " Do you know what that paki in the shop down the round said?"
She stopped at this point and aplogised for using the word Paki ( not one I would use but I am relating the story).

"He said that its good enough for those Americans. thats what he said. The bastard."

A sentiment I share exactly if that is indeed what he said.

SH00T2THR1LL said...

To Bunc
I think you are missing the point here on what causes crime, and why the UK has a lower crime rate. What causes crime is differances. Think about it. Differances in religion, ethnicity or favorite soccor team. Think of one of the major conflicts in the U.K. though it is being resolved the IRA conflict is mainly a propblem with Irish catholics having British Protestants control them.

So here in america(god bless) we have more crime because we are a nation of immigrants. The guy who did this was a disturbed S. Korean. Each year hundreds of blacks whites and mexicans fight each other in gangs which are generally regulated by race. And yes even without guns they would still hate each other.

And maybe if more people in Europe owned guns you wouldnt have gotten your buts mowed by Hitler. And then America wouldnt have had to save you. An unarmed society is a whipped society.

Looney said...

sh00t2thr1ll, have you ever been to Europe? Our racial problems are nothing compared to theirs.

What we do have is plenty of feral young men and a mindset that says that freedom = the complete absence of discipline and responsibility.

SH00T2THR1LL said...

LOONEY are u american

Looney said...

Errr, I live in the People's Republic of California.

SH00T2THR1LL said...

Well to answer your question NO. i have never been to Europe my ancestors were smart enough to leave a couple hundred years ago. Something about being persecuted and being treated as SUBJECTS.

Well you should know better than anyone the violence here (america). The Rodney King Riots dwarf the Riots in Paris a couple of years back. WIth an influx of over 12,000,000(ya count the zeros) illegal immigrants plus large migrations from asian countries stemming from post-vietnam political upheavels cities like LA and Oakland are virtual Hot boxes of violence.

Looney said...

sh002thr1ll, the DOJ stats are:

86% of white victims killed by whites.
94% of black victims killed by blacks.

That don't look like no race war to me. It is feral young men killing whoever is nearby because they haven't been taught by their daddies to control their anger.

Ref: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

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