Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Tragedy

A few days ago (April 16th) I was shocked by two things. The first being the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus.

The second was my reaction. Initially I was overwhelmed by anger. How DARE this a**hole kill so many innocents! Why didn't anyone stop him? Then came the shocking part, hard on anger's heels. I thought 'The gun-banners are going to use this as ammunition'.

I know that they will, but what disturbs me is that the thought came so quickly. It seemed to cheapen the loss that the victim's families must be feeling right now. So I forced myself to look beyond my own interests and mourn for the victims. I thought of how their families and friends must feel now. I tried to imagine how the students that shared classes with them will feel when they look at the empty chairs and remember who sat there, the empty lectern and remember who stood there. I mourn for all of them.

Then anger made a comeback.

Virgina, like my home state of Minnesota, allows trained and licensed citizens to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense and the defense of others. The Administration of Virgina Tech, however, has made it policy that anyone with a firearm in their possession will be expelled, license or not. Obviously the shooter did not consider being expelled a sufficient deterrent to his actions.

I don't know for a fact that allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry one campus would have averted this tragedy. No one knows for sure. Maybe the students would have been too frightened to expose themselves to danger. Maybe they would have been afraid of missing the shooter and hitting someone else.

Maybe they would have ended that a**hole's life before he could do the same to more innocent students.

EDIT: Apparently the Westboro Baptist Church announced it's plans to protest at the funerals of the victims mere hours after the shootings. You may remember this group as the fun-loving bunch that protested the funerals of Matthew Shepard and soldiers that have died in the Global War on Terror.

Unfortunately for these rapscallions, Virginia has a little something to say about their plans:
In 2006, in response to protests at the funerals of dead U.S. soldiers, Virginia enacted a law that added funerals and memorial services to the state’s disorderly conduct statute. Other states have adopted similar measures to allow police to keep WBC protesters out of earshot.
-CBS News
And so, with any luck this mischievous bunch will find themselves spending a well-deserved night in jail shortly after arriving at the funeral's location.