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tuesday, july 29, 2014 10:01 pm zst

carving reality at the joints

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How would you have prevented it?

We now know that the murderer in the Virginia Tech massacre was "a sullen loner who alarmed professors and classmates with his twisted, violence-drenched creative writing and left a rambling note raging against women and rich kids." Did his family know how disturbed he was? They must have, if everyone else around him noticed. As in the Columbine massacre, survivors said afterwards "I immediately thought it would be him." So the signs were there. What could be done about them? Did his parents ignore them? His professors and classmates certainly knew he was disturbed and his English teacher recommended counseling. His teachers said they couldn't force him to go to counseling but that's not necessarily true; the school let a lot of things slide in this case, they could have forced him to attend counseling or expel him. And if the school didn't force him to go, what about his parents, shouldn't they have done so?

People brought up the gun control issue immediately after the massacre. Is it a gun control issue? I don't know, perhaps it is. My first thought in this wasn't "where did he get the gun?", it was the lack of security on campus because I believe that massacres like this one and the one in Columbine will happen again. I don't know what the procedure is for buying a gun, do they ask the person if he/she has a mental illness? And how could they check anyway, it's not like there's some central registry for mentally ill people. Anyone can buy a gun and I know that many people believe in carrying a gun for self-defense. But what do you do, walk around in your office with a gun tucked in your belt in case one of your co-workers goes nuts and decides to kill a few people? And what about kids in school? Let's say that you are a responsible person and you've trained yourself and your kids to use a weapon. Do you trust other 16-and-18-year-olds to carry weapons to school?

I think it may be too late for gun control in this country, millions of people have weapons and there's nothing we can do about it. But at the same time, I do wish we had some form of gun control, enough to make it harder for deranged wackos to get a gun. Maybe you should need a note from your doctor or insurance company that you don't have a mental illness. Is that a requirement now?

I know that murderous psychotics who really want a gun can get a gun whether there's gun control or not. I just wish we could make it harder for them. Impossible would be good too.

Posted by zorkmidden on Apr 18, 2007 7:00 am

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