Wednesday, April 18, 2007

People don't stop killers. People with guns do

In an editorial in NY Daily News Constitutional law professor Glenn Reynolds wrote On Monday, as the news of the Virginia Tech shootings was unfolding, I went into my advanced constitutional law seminar to find one of my students upset. My student, Tara Wyllie, has a permit to carry a gun in Tennessee, but she isn't allowed to have a weapon on campus. That left her feeling unsafe. "Why couldn't we meet off campus today?" she asked. Virginia Tech graduate student Bradford Wiles also has a permit to carry a gun, in Virginia. But on the day of the shootings, he would have been unarmed for the same reason: Like the University of Tennessee, where I teach, Virginia Tech bans guns on campus.

In The Roanoke Times last year - after another campus incident, when a dangerous escaped inmate was roaming the campus - Wiles wrote that, when his class was evacuated, "Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself." Wiles reported that when he told a professor how he felt, the professor responded that she would have felt safer if he had had a gun, too. What's more, she would have been safer. That's how I feel about my student (one of a few I know who have gun carry permits), as well. She's a responsible adult; I trust her not to use her gun improperly, and if something bad happened, I'd want her to be armed because I trust her to respond appropriately, making the rest of us safer.

Virginia Tech doesn't have that kind of trust in its students (or its faculty, for that matter). Neither does the University of Tennessee. Both think that by making their campuses "gun-free," they'll make people safer, when in fact they're only disarming the people who follow rules, law-abiding people who are no danger at all. This merely ensures that the murderers have a free hand. If there were more responsible, armed people on campuses, mass murder would be harder.

In fact, some mass shootings have been stopped by armed citizens. Though press accounts downplayed it, the 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School was stopped when a student retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the shooter. Likewise, Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school's vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene. In February's Utah mall shooting, it was an off-duty police officer who happened to be on the scene and carrying a gun. Police can't be everywhere, and as incidents from Columbine to Virginia Tech demonstrate, by the time they show up at a mass shooting, it's usually too late. On the other hand, one group of people is, by definition, always on the scene: the victims. Only if they're armed, they may wind up not being victims at all.


Glenn has a very good point, but I bet that the radical left will attempt to use this as another excuse to disarm all of us, and leave us even more vulnerable to crazy guys like Cho. But it is not "Politically Correct" to point that out. Political correctness is running amoke. As James Toranto said in Best of the Web Today The Asian American Journalists Association, an association of journalists, has issued the following statement in response to the Virginia Tech massacre
As coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.
Reuters is listening, and they said
English Major Blamed for Virginia Tech Shooting.
. As James wrote, Where's the English Major Journalists Association when you need it?

Many MSM sites are calling this "the worst mass murder in U.S. history", but as Ragnar Danneskjold said Truth is, the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, while tragic, was not "the worst mass murder in U.S. history." It wasn't the "second worst mass murder in U.S. history," or even the third, or the fourth.

The 9/11 attacks (2,998 deaths), the Oklahoma City bombing (168 deaths), the HappyLand arson (87 deaths) and the Bath, Michigan bombing (45 deaths) all claimed more victims than the Virginia Tech shootings (32 deaths).

But, as Vinnie noted yesterday, those events don't fit neatly into the anti-gun political agenda, so they need to go down the memory hole, thereby leaving the Virginia Tech shootings as "the worst mass murder in U.S. history," with Charles Whitman's shooting rampage taking a close second.


I am very familiar with Charles Whitman's shooting rampage from the UT Austin Tower. Just east of the tower was the UT Computer Center, and I was working in that building as a computer operator when Charles Whitman was shooting people above me. We did not know about it at the time, and I am not sure why. Perhaps if someone had started outside they would have been told. But in the computer room itself, where I worked, the word was not spread until it was all over.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

The title says it all Don. Great post.