found a link that didn't work. It's fixed now, I think. Also, LawDog
has a good take on the tragedy. With 22,000 people on the campus and one lone shooter, it seems like someone should have been able to get behind him and knock him out... or a dozen folks swarm him and take him down. Mindset is everthing in a situation like this. Don't go quietly into the soft night.Like Clockword
, there are groups calling for stricter gun control in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy.
It is not my intention to dance in the blood of the slain, yet I note that other voices are calling for greater restrictions on freedom and I cannot stand by and let those voices go unchallenged.
If there is one thing I've learned in 25+ years of law enforcement, it is that a law abiding person cannot understand the criminal mind. Most violent crimes are senseless, and the more violent the crime, the more senseless it is. The rational mind cannot make sense of something that is by definition senseless. Bad things sometimes happen to good people. That is the nature of humanity, the nature of living, and the nature of the dichotomy between good and evil. As much as we decry the violence, we can't prevent it, except at a very basic, personal level.
There are already calls for more gun control. In the days and weeks ahead, there will be those persons trying to understand how this chain of events started and how one person was able to do so much damage in so short a time. As far as gun regulation is concerned, there are only one of two possible scenarios about how the still unnamed gunman obtained the pistol he used.
Scenario One. He obtained the pistol legally at some time prior to his actions. There was nothing in his background to alert authorities that a problem existed or that the pistol would be used for anything but lawful purposes. More stringent gun control would not have helped prevent the crime under this scenario.
Scenario Two. He obtained the pistol illegally, in violation of all laws. He either stole it, lied on the Form 4473, or in some other way breached the laws of the state to posess a pistol. We can say with some certainty that he breached the laws of the state by bringing the pistol on to the campus. Virginia Tech is a gun-free zone. More stringent gun control would not have helped prevent the crime under this scenario.
Either way, gun control failed to prevent this tragedy. In the days and weeks to come, we'll learn of incidents of pure heroism, like the acts of Professor Liviu Librescu
who put himself in harms way so his students could be saved.
THen there is the heroism of Derek O'Dell
who also blocked a doorway and dodged a hail of bullets to protect his fellow students. Other students joined him, and they successfully kept the gunman from entering the classroom. O'Dell survived with a bullet wound to the arm.
We must, by all means, honor the dead and learn the lessons that this tragedy will teach us. We are still studying the Columbine incident and we have learned things from it that make our schools safer all over the United States. Colleges will learn from this tragedy, too.
We wonder what the outcome might have been if some of the heroes on that campus had been armed? The most basic right of any human is that of self-defense. Gun-free zones make crimes like this very easy for criminals who want to prey on the defenseless.