Virginia Tech massacre and gun control legislation
As expected, the tragedy in Blacksburg, Virginia is being used to argue the case for and against greater infringement of the 2nd Amendment.
Boston Mayor Mumbles Menino had this to say:
"The federal government could take action . . . by getting the NRA to back off these issues," Menino said in a telephone interview. "Young kids have guns today. . . . How is this being perpetrated throughout the country? It's not just a Boston problem. It's a national problem."I guess he is going after the 1st Amendment as well in declaring the federal government should get the NRA to back off issues they support. What Mumbles fails to grasp is cities like his and New York with very restrictive gun control measures have higher rates of violent crime because crooks realize law abiding people there are soft targets.
David Kopel has a commentary piece in the Wall Street Journal titled 'Gun-Free Zones.' The whole article is worth reading but here are a couple paragraphs which really jumped out:
But let's take a step back in time. Last year the Virginia legislature defeated a bill that would have ended the "gun-free zones" in Virginia's public universities. At the time, a Virginia Tech associate vice president praised the General Assembly's action "because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." In an August 2006 editorial for the Roanoke Times, he declared: "Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same." Actually, Virginia Tech's policy only made the killer safer, for it was only the law-abiding victims, and not the criminal, who were prevented from having guns. Virginia Tech's policy bans all guns on campus; even faculty members are prohibited from keeping guns in their cars.
Virginia Tech thus went out of its way to prevent what happened at a Pearl, Miss., high school in 1997, where assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieved a handgun from his car and apprehended a school shooter. Or what happened at Appalachian Law School, in Grundy, Va., in 2002, when a mass murder was stopped by two students with law-enforcement experience, one of whom retrieved his own gun from his vehicle. Or in Edinboro, Pa., a few days after the Pearl event, when a school attack ended after a nearby merchant used a shotgun to force the attacker to desist. Law-abiding citizens routinely defend themselves with firearms.
In NewsDay, James Pinkerton writes an article that ties this event to others where a killer unconcerned with his personal survival can kill many people and goes on to examine what steps we can take to reduce their success:
To put it bluntly, America, with a few exceptions, is mostly one big "soft target." So if we want to protect ourselves, we need a nationwide "hardening." We must have a new architecture - legal, physical and psychic. Take a look at each:His questions are but a start. These horrific situations should not lead to hasty legislation. Rather any proposed changes should be considered calmly and not just with an eye on ensuring no future attacks (which may not be possible anyway) but also with a review of cost, potential unintended consequences, constitutionality, etc.
First, legal. Obviously, procedures for dealing with Cho-like figures need to be streamlined. If human nature in the 21st century includes more mass killers - and sicko hoaxsters, who have been numerous in recent days - we have to be ready for them with stern law enforcement.
Second, physical. Are public places secure? Do we need more surveillance cameras? More police? More gates and checkpoints? More sanctuary-like panic rooms? More protective walls around facilities? It's not pleasant to think about fortresses, but it's worse to think about more acts of terrorism.
Third, psychic. What's the best way to react to a shooter? Run? Barricade the door? Fight back, like the "let's roll" passengers of United Flight 93? Should more people be carrying tools for self-defense?