Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, December 16, 2011

Virginia Tech Professor Advocates For Gun Control

Two people were shot to death at Virginia Tech over a week ago, nearly four years after Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people in a shooting spree that climaxed with his suicide. As can be expected, gun control advocates are using these two tragic events to push for stricter gun laws, and since Rick Perry has advocated for looser gun laws that will allow concealed weapons on college campuses, they’re accusing him of wanting to start another Virginia Tech incident.

In a recent article for the Daily Beast, Virginia Tech professor Roland Lazenby detailed his traumatic experience four years ago, using it as a bludgeon against Republicans like Perry and an anecdote for stricter gun control.

I simply cannot imagine being in the same vicinity where a major killing spree occurred. I cannot fathom the trauma Lazenby had experienced and the nightmares that must have haunted him afterwards because of it. So I will forgive the man for being emotional. I cannot, however, forgive this man for using his emotions to push for failed policies.
[T]ens of thousands die each year around the globe from gun violence. In the United States alone, better than 31,000 people died from firearms wounds in 2007 with nearly 70,000 more suffering injury, according to the advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence. Of that number, 12,632 were murdered.

So often in the wake of these incidents I’ve thought of the helpless complaint from that officer in 2007: “We’ve got to do something about people having access to guns. I don’t know what, but we have to do something.”

In recent years, there has been a movement to allow registered guns on college campuses. Having taught 20 years of college journalism and taught in the public schools for three more, I can say that schools are often places highly charged with emotion and conflict. Only an idiot could posit that guns would somehow enhance that atmosphere.

You cannot be injured by a weapon that isn’t there. So you can argue all you want about Second Amendment rights, but many countries don’t have anywhere near our level of gun violence simply because guns are illegal or deemphasized. Unfortunately, in this country, the killing isn’t going to stop, not unless we stand up to the gun manufacturers’ lobby and begin dialing back our aggressive firearms culture.

The only alternative is to continue to endure the succession of shootings and killings and public trauma and to continue to accept the idea that we are impotent to do anything about it. From Blacksburg to Little Rock to Tucson, we are discovering one terrible day after another that that’s simply no way to live a life.
So Lazenby honestly believes that stricter gun laws would prevent another Virginia Tech incident. For a professor who taught at Virginia Tech, he seems painfully unaware that his school was a gun-free zone at the time of the shootings. Yet somehow the “gun-free zone” didn’t stop Hui from bringing a gun on campus and shooting the place up.

On that same note, Columbine High (another anecdote used by gun control advocates) was also a gun-free zone, and yet two students still managed to kill 15 people including themselves. Gee, it’s as if these stricter gun policies do nothing to prevent bad kids from bringing guns on campus and everything to prevent law-abiding students from doing so.

And to add insult to injury, over a year before the Virginia Tech shootings, a bill was proposed in Virginia that would have allowed college students to carry concealed weapons, but as can be expected, the bill was shot down. Who knows: maybe if students were allowed to carry guns, perhaps a brave college student could have stopped Hui once he started shooting.