April 17, 2007
The inevitable post-tragedy gun control debate
You might think that the days immediately after a horrible shooting spree seems like the most strategic time to raise the issue of gun control and try to make some real policy changes. Advocates for greater gun control have tried in the past, and generally failed (with the notable exception of Jim Brady.)
At today's convocation at Virginia Tech, President Bush spoke mostly about the raw emotions everybody is feeling: "On this terrible day of mourning, it's hard to imagine a time will come when life at Virginia Tech will return to normal, but such a day will come. And when it does, you will always remember the friends and teachers who were lost yesterday, and the time you shared with them, and the lives that they hoped to lead."
But his staff are already fending off suggestions that a different gun policy might prevent shootings like this from happening in the first place. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says, "We understand that there's going to be and there has been an ongoing national discussion, conversation and debate about gun control policy. Of course we are going to be participants in that conversation. Today, however, is a day that is time to focus on the families, the school, the community."
And you can bet that Second Amendment advocates are going to use this shooting as an example of why we'd all be more secure with greater access to guns, not less. After all, the reasoning goes, if some of the students in those classrooms had guns on them, they might have been able to take the shooter out before he killed so many people.
Boing Boing has coverage of the predictable debate. And as they point out, "No matter which side of the gun debate you're on, one thing is obvious: anyone who is capable of and intent on killing 32 innocent fellow human beings will do so regardless of law. Homicidal maniacs can always be counted on to violate the boundaries set forth by others who want to promote a civil, peaceful society."
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