Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

The VT campus is only a 40 minute drive south from me on Insterstate 81. The past few days have been filled with anguish, empathy, sympathy, and deep sorrow. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this senseless act.

The media, however, have been horrible. We'd like you to go home, please, instead of rushing to shove a microphone into the faces of any group of two or more people you find dealing with their shock and grief.

If, however, you would like to do your actual job, rather than that of being vampires, perhaps you could pose a few questions beyond "How do you feel?"

I think it is pretty clear how most of us feel.

Perhaps you could ask if this shooter was using extended magazines rather than stock magazines...the difference being that extended mags would allow more than double the shots fed into the semi-automatic pistols before a new clip needed to be inserted. The standard mag holds 10 shots, extended mags can hold up to 33. Extended mags would still be illegal if George Bush had not broken his campaign promise and allowed the assault weapons ban to expire.

Perhaps you could ask why it is more worrisome to so many that this shooter wrote a frightening play than that he was able to so easily buy such deadly weapons legally.

Perhaps you could ask why so many Virginians would rather limit the constitutional right to freedom of speech than the constitutional right to bear arms.

Perhaps you could ask why so many of the people saying his odd behavior and mental illness should have gotten him removed from the campus are the same people fanatically opposed to background checks before the purchase of a firearm.

This is a tragedy of nearly incomprehensible proportions...but it is one for which we as a society must accept a portion of the responsibility.

It is not exploiting the tragedy to feel moved to prevent future tragedies by advocating for sensible, rational, gun control legislation. So, please don't make that idiotic accusation.

We have to accept that the possibility of this shooting is part of the price paid for being able to walk in and buy a gun so easily. I don't happen to think its worth the price paid.


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