4.25.2007

Here comes the gun control....

I normally don't read the Daily Cardinal, but for some reason I did today and what I read absolutely astounded me.

This gem from opinion writer Kathryn Minnick is not only poorly written, but riddled with factual errors and faulty logic. One of my favorite statements from the column is:

The legality and ready availability of guns in the United States is a fundamental cause of Cho’s shootings and tens of thousands of ordinary homicides. Without guns, Cho would have had to resort to less efficient means or terrorist-grade mayhem to wreak vengeance. The former method probably would have left far fewer victims; the latter method would have required greater sophistication and should have tripped the radar of agencies looking for terrorist behavior. Cho—mirroring the story of The Three Bears—found in guns an easy, incredibly lethal tool that was “just right.”

Despite the painfully bad Goldilocks reference, it is absolutely absurd to say that Cho would not have killed anyone without a gun. Not to sound morbid, but there are many, many more effective ways in which to kill a large amount of people in an enclosed space such as a lecture hall. Apparently Ms. Minnick has never heard of pipe-bombs and other homemade explosives. Also, I cannot believe that someone would imply that "terrorist-grade mayhem" would kill fewer people than handguns. Has she been living under a rock for the last 6 years? I won't even touch the phrase "terrorist-grade."

Of course, for Minnick, the villain at VT was not Cho, of course not. The villain in this case is the NRA. That's right, the NRA. Apparently, as David Lapidus so eloquently pointed out yesterday, the over 99% of gun owners who are safe and law-abiding are just as culpable in the deaths of 32 innocent lives as the deranged psychopath that pulled the trigger.
The NRA has created a propaganda cloud around guns—similar in effect to the Bush Administration’s fog of lies surrounding the Iraq War. Just as the Bush Administration created a broadly accepted public belief that Saddam and 9/11 were linked, the NRA has manufactured a perception, also widely accepted, that guns can’t be blamed for gun violence.

Gosh, I guess that means that the two handguns waltzed into the lecture hall at Virginia Tech, chained the doors shut and opened fire on a class all by themselves! It would have happened without Cho's actions. It all makes perfect sense now. Also, where did the Iraq reference come from? Is Bush responsible for this too?

Please. Cho was the one who decided that he was going to kill innocent people. He decided that he was going to do anything it took to take as many people down with him. If it hadn't been guns, he would have found another way and the death toll could have been higher. Anyone who knows something about explosives knows it too.

Minnick's misunderstanding of Supreme Court rulings is on display as well. She cites two cases that allow congress to regulate firearms as an excuse to take away guns from law-abiding citizens. Not exactly. The cases give congress the power to regulate the sale of firearms but say nothing about taking them away. In fact, a recent Federal Appeals court ruling in Washington, DC asserted that there is a constitutional right to own a gun. It's hardly settled law.

Despite the many problems in this article, Minnick's conclusion is the worst.

The 32 bright, vivacious people tragically killed in Virginia deserve our best effort to change America’s gun laws and culture. If the pro-gun lobby silences or diverts our outrage, their deaths will have been for nothing.

I know that we all want to find some greater meaning in the tragedy of Virginia Tech, but sometimes the greatest tragedy is that innocent people do die in vain. The 32 people gunned down because of one man's rage died not because there are too many guns available, but because he decided that he was going to kill as many people as he could.

Although sad, preventing a future shooting is in recognizing the warning signs of the killer and doing something about it, not in taking all guns away.