The terrible events on April 16 on the campus of Virginia Tech University have been recorded, reported and debated ad nausea in all media outlets for the past few weeks and when everything was said and done, they started all over again by looking at different angles etc. We do not intend to contribute here. Instead we want to focus on the recommendations and suggestions of those who allegedly ‘want to prevent these acts of terrors in the future’. As it shapes up, there are two clear fronts of attack: The liberals want more gun control laws and the conservatives suggest cutting back on political correctness.
It was amazing to see the reactions to the massacre at Virginia Tech within days if not even hours after it had occurred. The European press (liberal) blamed the massacre on the proliferation of guns in America, on the NRA and Charlton Heston while our American liberals decried the fact that there were just not enough laws controlling guns. In fact, MSNBC’s Keith Olberman in his blind hate for the President found a way to blame the VT massacre on President Bush and Republicans for not renewing a gun law a few years back. On the opposite side of the spectrum, conservatives argued that ‘Political Correctness’ had gone too far and was to be blamed for the massacre.
We here at Back to Common Sense believe that both sides have it, if not wrong at least partially incorrect. Common sense should tell us that we will never in this country do away with guns, we will never abolish the Second Amendment in our Constitution. On the other hand, Political Correctness is a reality in America that can also never be abolished or totally rescinded. Where does that leave us? Let’s not talk in terms of extremes but concentrate on the middle by asking the following questions:
Is it acceptable that political correctness prevents parents who pay for their children’s education to obtain any scholastic information including grades about their kids from a University or College without the written permission of the children? Had this crazy gunman’s parents known more about their son and his demeanor/behavior on V.T.’s campus, would they not have been able to do something about it by possibly taking him out of V.T. or attempted to provide him with proper mental health care and treatments?
Should we continue to have a “wall” preventing information sharing between the medical/mental health doctors or institutions and law enforcement agencies? From what is known in this case, complaints from other students and faculty members about this gunman went to a judge in a Virginia court but did not get shared with law enforcement agencies that could have possibly posted such incident on his record prior to obtaining the guns he bought?
Is the overwhelming concern about not ‘impairing a person’s record’ so strong that the complaints about this fellow’s behavior and demeanor where simply considered not serious enough to put this in his criminal record or to at least keep an eye on him? Possible to even have procedures for follow-up interviews or counseling etc?
From what we have heard and read, this guy did not act even remotely normal when he was on campus and even before that time when he attended high school. He shared a room in his dorm with other students but reportedly never spoke to them, never made eye contact, never participated in any group activities, even refused at times to speak up in classes he attended. The question is: Was it more important “not to crowd him and invade his space of privacy” than to maybe question him about it? If his behavior was not weird enough, what would constitute weird behavior in the eyes of school officials, be they faculty, administration or student organizations? This guy’s statements on video and in writing cite his objections to the behavior of ‘rich kids and their debaucheries’ among other things. From what we understand, this fellow was NOT bullied by other students; nor was he excluded from group activities in high school or at V.T.; he wanted it that way! He acted weird and the others left him alone. He was a loner and political correctness allowed him to become so isolated and to become so extreme that it would result in him going totally off the deep end.
Which brings us to gun control:
Does the Constitution guarantee everybody the right to buy any and as many handguns that are commercially available in a gun shop or elsewhere? Is it perfectly proper to sell handguns with clips that hold 30 bullets and buy as many of these clips as desirable? Reportedly, this murderer fired off over 200 shots in a very short time frame, this means that he bought many of those clips that can be easily ejected once emptied and replaced with loaded clips.
Why is it that law makers at the federal and state levels pass gun laws and then put a time limit on them, in other words, why feel strong enough about this type of legislation but then allow it to lapse after five or ten years? If these lawmakers think that any type of gun control law is necessary, do not put a time limit on it! If in the future, other lawmakers write other legislation that either strengthens or weakens that particular law, they can include a clause that the existing law is “herewith superceded”. But why pass a law for a limited time only? It is absolutely absurd!
Why can databases for background checks by gun shop owners not include anything pertaining to existing medical/mental health issues involving an individual? Poor eyesight (a medical condition), for instance, does not get you a driver’s license without wearing glasses. Should it be easier to buy a gun or as many guns as one wants to possess than to obtain a driver’s license? Why can these databases for gun purchases not be expanded to include any previous gun purchases by an applicant as well as data pertaining to mental health? We do this with driving violations and we record speeding tickets and other such incidents so that insurance companies know who is applying for insurance before providing insurance.
The constitutionally guaranteed “right to bear arms” (in order to defend oneselves or pursue the hobby of hunting since nobody has to hunt for food anymore) does not put a limit on gun purchases, but does anybody need multiple guns with 30-clip ammunition for these purposes?
These are questions that reasonable people should be able to discuss and debate in a search for recommendations for change together with other actions that can be taken without severely infringing on individual freedoms. To be realistic, we will never be able to prevent these kinds of atrocities or massacres in the future but let us also not fall into the trap of making major revisions in our society as a reaction to such events. Let us definitely not change our Constitution. We can make amends in our lives without changing the foundation of our country!
This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation. It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material. We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.