Bloggers, MSM and Geeks on Gun Control

Bloggers and some mainstream media pundits today fired the opening salvos in what is shaping up to be a lively policy debate over the future of the nation's gun-control laws following the shootings that left 33 dead at Virginia Tech on Monday.

Instapundit author Glenn Reynolds points readers to an essay by a VT student Bradford B. Wiles, who lamented campus rules that kept him from carrying his licensed handgun that he might have otherwise used to defend himself, and presumably his fellow classmates. Wiles writes:

"First, I never want to have my safety fully in the hands of anyone else, including the police. Second, I considered bringing my gun with me to campus, but did not due to the obvious risk of losing my graduate career, which is ridiculous because had I been shot and killed, there would have been no graduate career for me anyway."

Blogger Michelle Malkin also carried missives from students and parents who argued that the chain of events might have been different had other students been armed. Malkin also takes aim at a New York Times editorial (subscription required) for "jumping the gun" in calling for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the massacre. Andrew Sullivan, in his blog The Daily Dish, shoots back at Malkin: "Is it just me or is there something just a little creepy about the impulse to blame gun-control policies on campus for a massacre of over 30 people? While the corpses are not yet cold?"

Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor at The American Prospect magazine and author of the blog theGarance, suggests that the university's response to the initial shooting - which school officials said they thought they had contained because it was thought to have been related to a domestic dispute - overlooks a more fundamental issue: domestic violence. From her post:

"Because the first victim was a woman, and possible had a romantic connection to the killer, the police did not see her murder as a threat to the community. Now the police are pretty plainly telling the public that they failed to warn the campus there was a killer on the loose because they failed to understand that men who kill their partners are also threats to society."

Politico writer Roger Simon takes a dim view of the prospects for this tragedy to substantively advance the gun control debate. Simon notes that despite the fact that pretty much every major 2008 presidential candidate issued a statement in response to the attacks, none of them (not even the Democratic candidates) mentioned gun control.

Finally, over at the high-traffic news-for-nerds site Slashdot, an unusually minimalist news blurb about the shootings prompts 2,500 comments (a staggering response even for the Slashdot community) which predictably devolved into a shouting match over violence in video games and 2nd Amendment rights, a subject on which many geeks apparently have rather strong opinions.

By Brian Krebs |  April 17, 2007; 6:00 PM ET  | Category:  Opinion
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Is This A Symptom of our "Chain Letter Society"?

Read an analysis of the influences in our "Chain Letter Society" that may be precipitating events like the tragedy at Virginia Tech and how our focus on winning and being number one may be fostering a generation of children with fully inadequate coping skills who have a misguided sense of self-worth...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: dd1780 | April 17, 2007 07:09 PM

Do you think if Virginia had stricter gun control laws ,it would have
prevented this tragedy? Should they involve pscych clearence before
letting someone buy a gun?

Should firearms be allowed on campus to each teacher,professor and
certain students of proper pschological profile , just in case??
If some teachers or students had guns to retaliate, they could have
stopped the killer before he killed 32 innocents

Should there be more campus security ? e.g access badges to get in a
building, only if you had a class at that time scheduled.
all class doors with autolock, only to be opened by your card , if you
had a scheduled class at that time?

Should there be yearly pscych profile testing? mandatory for all
students and councelling,medications for people who test abnl for
depression, pschosis etc ?

Posted by: | April 18, 2007 01:02 PM

Virginia Tech

What can be said that hasn't already been covered by the media?
And why should there be so much media coverage in the first place? CNN, ABC, NBC, FOX, YAHOO, BBC and on and on. I can only imagine how our friends in Europe and across the globe are viewing this unimaginable event. But one of the first reactions that may come to mind, is blaming something. Blaming somebody. We may look for a reason why this occurred. Now that we know who the perpetrator is for sure, we are able to identify the event with an individual, Cho Seung-Hui. But how can we blame him, he is gone. There really is nothing we can do to punish him, really. Can we indict his family for allowing such a troubled individual such freedom? I did read a little piece that his grandfather wrote from Korea where he said that he would rather be dead than to have to face this horrible scenario. Whatever. We could even look for scapegoats such as the entire Korean community or Asian community. I suppose it would have been even more intense if he would have been a middle-easterner.

Is the school to blame? Not really. There is certainly no way to protect an entire campus from the acts of one deranged individual. Gun safety proponents certainly have a lot of material here, but c'mon. Would that really change things. Cho Seung-Hui may have had easy access to the weaponry, but that is not the cause for his actions. We'll never really know what was going on inside his head. He certainly wasn't dealing with the stress in his life unfortunately 31 fellow classmates paid for it.

All I can say is that this type of reaction just doesn't occur overnight for an individual. Unless he was severely inebriated or taking some mind altering substance, his thoughts, and mode of behavior have been building for a long time. It's just unfortunate that he was unable to cope with his troubles in other, non dangerous ways. Unfortunate and tragic. Horrific.

The only thing that even comes close to this situation is the Columbine massacre. Never before has anything like this occurred on a college campus. I went to Ohio State, and I can't imagine anything like this happening. They used to talk about the events of Kent State during Vietnam when four student protestors where killed by armed national guardsmen during a protest-but that's it. When I went to school my biggest fears where sustaining a permanent or life threatening injury on the football field. Can you tell me that today's college kids now have to look over their shoulder to see if one of their classmates is planning a massacre. I can't even imagine....more to follow. Perhaps, we'll talk about something lighter, like hair loss.

John Frank, MD
New York, NY

Posted by: john | April 19, 2007 04:10 PM

To put down a gun takes an mutually Honored act of True Faith in Man.
Unless you've got that in order...
You are better off being an American without the Gun and joining a church within the Nation where the Contitutional officers [i.e. gun toters] will stand between the True Church and the False Church. There are forces outside just waiting for full disarming of a populace to offer them such a postion to plunder anyone in such a position as it appears as weakness to them - though it is not.
So keeping it peaceful on the inside and believing in full disarming is a faithful idea though the advantage gambling agents would see in it will be exploited were it allowed to be offered. Some people do nothing but gamble to be the winner of a selfishly made gambling world.

Posted by: ifcj | April 20, 2007 01:16 AM

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