Monday, April 23, 2007


I'm furious.  I'm bilious.  I'm tee-ohed.  You've heard the NRA mantra: take away all the guns and then only the criminals will have them.  In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre they've taken that axiom to a new level.  Somehow the extent of the massacre, the number of people killed, was the result of the fact that there were too few guns on campus, or that the campus banned guns entirely.  Apparently the NRA believes that having college students all packing heat is the answer to the Cho Seung-Huis of this world.  That seems to me to be a recipe for utter mayhem.  There are a number of things we can do to minimize the damage these killers inflict short of arming everyone. 

First, mental health.  As a society we need to spot those in need of treatment for antisocial or violent tendencies.  Apparently, when Cho "agreed" to treatment after being judged a danger to himself and others, he went into the medical system and at the same time, left the judicial system.  Which as a practical matter meant that he was covered by the medical system's privacy laws.  That loophole needs to be removed pronto.  The consequences for antisocial or violent psychopathology must be at least equal to drunk driving!

Training.  Colleges should start offering training on how to deal with situations such as these--how to deal with urban terrorist attacks.  When it is best to try to flee, when to hide, when to try to mount a counterattack.  What kinds of strategies kids can use to try to disarm a gunman.  (I suppose as soon as you train them in that, the gunmen switch to suicide bombs).

Make desks out of lightweight, bullet proof material that can be used as shields when rushing a gunman.

Have a dedicated alarm system for gunmen/terrorist installed in every campus building, or worked into every fire alarm in every building. 

One Seattle PI letter writer pointed to the Salt Lake City mall shooter as an example of a killer who was taken out by a passerby with a handgun in a "gun free" zone.  This particular individual was an off-duty cop who took his hand gun into the mall with him against the rules.  But he was a trained professional. 

As a moderate, I agree with the idea that all reasonable, rational people should have access to firearms.  But I don't think that the answer is to simply arm the populace.  I don't mean to sound, well, mean, but a lot of college students are really stupid (immature), and they can be depended upon to do stupid, immature things with (or without) guns.  And there will be some people who won't want guns.  Hard to imagine, but true.

I just don't get these gung-ho Rambo fetishists with their "guns are a solution to America's problems" mind-set.  Neanderthals. 

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