18 April 2007
The fellow responsible for 50 deaths and injuries at Virginia Tech a few days ago was identified. Cho Seung-Hui was a 23-year-old senior, majoring in English.
From what I read of the article from the Badger-Herald, he was a sullen loner, obviously suffering from some intense inner turmoil. Warning signs were plenty evident in bits of creative writing he did for his classes, depicting gruesome, violent scenes.
Again, proving that it isn't the instrument that's to blame, it's the fellow behind the trigger.
He had even been referred to VT's counseling services.
One of weapons used was a Glock 9mm. Sheesh. Pretty bad advertising for Glock (of all the quality handguns used in crimes--as opposed to cheap disposable weapons generally used--that one seems to pop up the most).
The weapon had been purchased legally. Cho had no prior criminal background.
Now, naturally, the antis are getting their pontification engines warmed up. The Anti-Gun Guys have their two bits to say to try to find some explanation for what happened.
Two bits of what, I'll let you insert here...it ain't worth two copper coins, I'll tell you that much.
First, they turn to the Violence Policy Center...a very unbiased organization in such matters, to be sure, where a little history lesson is given on sidearm marketing trends since 1980, and the shift from revolvers to semi-autos as the choice of a handgun.
Naturally, the Guys chime in with their laments: "These weapons are definitely at or beyond the level of weaponry carried by even our law enforcement officers, and some of the weapons even rival what’s carried by our armies. These kinds of weapons simply don’t belong in civilian hands, and yet not only are they available to almost anyone– they are finding their way onto our streets by the millions."
Geez. Civilians outgunning LEOs and soldiers? They obviously haven't noticed too many police officers or security guards lately. All the ones I've encountered carry semis, not terribly different from the ones I keep locked in my closet. In fact, I bought my H&K from a Kentucky LEO.
But, for all their boo-hooing and hand-wringing over firearm-related tragedies, they leave out the most critical aspect of such shootings: they were carried out by a severely disturbed individual. If guns were such a critical factor to crime in this country, then why do crimes involving firearms represent about a tenth of a percent of all firearms owned in this country?
I mean, I currently own two handguns...according to the totemistic beliefs that undergird much of the antis' hysteria, I guess I stand as much of a chance to blow away my neighbors as this Cho (and since they are larger caliber than what Cho had with him, does that increase my susceptibility to some form of the "Dirty Harry" syndrome?). And since I have owned five in my lifetime, including an evil, military-style "Assault" rifle, I suppose I need a State Trooper following me around wherever I go, in the interests of public safety.
But the reality of the matter is, despite having been a gun owner since the 1990s, I have never committed a single crime with any of my weapons. So much for guns being the source of crime.