Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts on a tragedy

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Amendment II US Constitution.

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life," Robert A. Heinlein.

After the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday I started thinking, what might have happened had a student other than Cho Seung Hui had a gun.

Earlier this year the Virginia General Assembly failed to act on House Bill 1572. The citizens of Virginia are permitted to carry concealed weapons if they get a proper permit from the state government --- unless you are on a college campus. This bill would have allowed college students and employees to carry handguns on campus --- with appropriate permits, of course. It died in subcommittee. (Source: Neal Boortz)

If that bill had passed and if a student had been strapped yesterday morning, perhaps the devastating attack would have been stopped much earlier. Ordinarily even though I am a staunch gun advocate I wouldn't be quite so eagerly espousing such measures. However I can't believe the tragedy wouldn't have been dramatically lessened if the students at Va. Tech weren't just sitting ducks.

I posted the quote from Heinlein at the beginning of the blog because I feel like it perfectly illustrates my greater point. Anti-gun types all wail and moan about gun advocates wishing for a return to the "Wild West" well a little research into the supposed Wild West would show a demonstrably lower crime rate than in most major US Cities.

The Second Amendment Foundation notes that firearms are used defensively an estimated 2.5 million times every year, four times more than criminal uses. This represents some 2,575 lives protected and saved for every life lost to a gun. According to the national Safety Council, the loss of life to accidental firearm death is at its lowest point since records were begun nearly a hundred years ago. (Alan Caruba).

Maybe I am just getting cranky in my old age or impending fatherhood, but it seems to me that an armed citizenry could have prevented or lessened the tragic events of yesterday.