Today's Hot Topic: Making Sense of Virginia Tech
Gun Control and Campus Safety: The WaPo argues that the nation should update its gun control laws after the Virginia Tech shootings, but admits that reform is unlikely to happen because of the gun lobby's influence and money. So instead, the editors write, Americans should "examine what can be done to deter, prevent or impede the recurrent episodes of deadly violence that afflict American campuses," and encourages school officials to "improve communications systems so the great majority of students, faculty and staff can be quickly alerted in the event of threats of violence and other emergencies" ... in the WSJ, David Kopel argues that university gun bans make campuses "attractive havens for mass killers": "Virginia Tech's policy only made the killer safer," he writes, "for it was only the law-abiding victims, and not the criminal, who were prevented from having guns" ... while the editors of the WSJ admit that "as a general rule" they "are not among those who think college students, of all people, should be advised to add guns to the books in their backpacks," they also argue that "any gun control crusade is doomed to fail anyway in a country like the U.S. with some 200 million weapons already in private hands" ... USA Today thinks that the lesson to be learned from this week's shootings is that "universities, no matter how big, must be able to quickly warn all their students of a life-threatening emergency," adding that "e-mail, text messages and other technologies" could provide the means.
The Rush to Analyze: WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson urges us to refrain from quick attempts to "make sense" of the Virginia Tech killings: "Don't try to make those involved into archetypes -- the gun-wielding loner, the valiant young heroes, the dithering college officials -- and fit them into a familiar, comfortable narrative. Don't rush to draw lessons about guns or alienation or funding for mental health services. Not yet" ... USA Today condemns advocacy groups on both sides of the gun control debate for "exploiting the tragedy as "proof" of the rightness of their side": "The impulse to score instant political points from tragedies might be natural, but it is also unseemly," the editors argue.
Cho Seung Hui: WaPo columnist Richard Cohen argues that the case of Cho Seung Hui illustrates a worrisome trend for modern society: Madmen's access to destructive technology -- like high-powered weapons -- is only increasing, and there is not much society can do about it ... in the LAT, Edward Taehan Chang explains his reaction to the shootings from a Korean-American perspective: "As someone of Korean ancestry, I feel a cultural connection and almost a moral responsibility for his actions. Many in the Korean community are already mourning the very idea that a Korean is responsible for these senseless deaths" ... USA Today wonders if the tragedy could have been averted "if Virginia Tech had put in place a more elaborate system for spotting problem students": "In Cho's case, the red flags were waving as briskly as Monday's winds," the editors write, but "involuntarily confining anyone for fear of what he might do, much less for the way he expresses himself in writing, is extraordinarily difficult, and for obvious reasons, it should be."
By Rob Anderson |
April 18, 2007; 6:44 AM ET
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