Monday, April 16, 2007


Although this one happens to be the worst campus shooting spree in U.S. history:

Gunman kills 21 on Virginia Tech campus

BLACKSBURG, Va. - A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people in the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history. The gunman was killed, but it was unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life.

...Up until Monday, the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history took place in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire. He killed 16 people before he was gunned down by police. In the Columbine High bloodbath near Littleton, Colo., in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives....

And no, there isn't even the slightest chance that this will lead to a serious discussion of whether guns are too easy to get in this country, or in some parts of this country. Any minute now, the gun absolutists will fan out and begin to attack Virginia Tech for having a policy that forbids students to carry firearms on campus. All discussion after that will focus on one question and one question only: whether this and other similar incidents could be prevented if as many law-abiding citizens as humanly possible carried concealed weapons everywhere and if it were legal to have a gun in churches, schools, workplaces and virtually every other location in America. The NRA and its ideological soul mates frame the debate after incidents like this 100% of the time, and they'll do it again in this case. And nothing will change. And there'll be more massacres.

Here's what I think: Law-abiding citizens packing heat sometimes do prevent horrors like this, or minimize the number of innocent victims. But the gun culture that puts weapons in the hands of those law-abiding citizens is the same gun culture that makes it too freaking easy for sickos and psychopaths to arm themselves for slaughter. As long as the gun absolutists insist that it's jackbooted totalitarianism to have background checks at gun shows, or to make serious attempts to shut down dealers who sell to straw purchasers with impunity, we'll have plenty of incidents like this.

Oh, and by the way: I live in New York City. If gun control always leads to more crime, explain our crime statistics for the past dozen years.


UPDATE: Instapundit is already on message.


UPDATE: Well, OK: The purchases were legit, according to this ABC report -- the shooter did have the right, as a resident alien, to purchase firearms, and he did so at a gun shop while observing the state's one-a-month rule.


UPDATE, WEDNESDAY: But now we know he was detained for mental illness, in addition to being accused of stalking (and terrifying a couple of professors). So why is that not caught in a background check? (Question #9 on the Virginia State Police Firearms Purchase Eligibility Test: "Have you ever been adjudicated legally incompetent, mentally incapacitated, or been involuntarily committed to a mental institution?")

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