Ordinarily, I refrain from subjecting readers to my personal beliefs respecting controversial issues and political preferences. What’s the point? To do otherwise would be to write with absolutely no credibility. And besides, who am I to criticize?

But yesterday’s tragic events in southwestern Virginia, an area I consider home, struck me at the core. And although I don’t know with any certainty, some of the students killed could have easily been sons or daughters of my friends from days gone by. Today, family and acquaintances of mine work at local area hospitals and are no doubt treating the wounded as they, themselves, come to grips with yet another senseless school shooting, the worst in our nation’s history.

I live on campus at a state university here in North Carolina. Often, I walk my dog around its manicured grounds, passing students, whose only care in the world seems to be making it to their next class. And even though I am well beyond the age of most students, I’ve roamed the halls of university buildings to participate in homeowner’s meetings or to attend special events and lectures. Like most colleges and universities, it’s a free and open place to live and learn, probably purposefully so, to foster creativity and a sense of community. And this, it does.

I can’t imagine how my university would ever go about “locking down” its expansive campus or immediately contacting the students and faculty in the event of an emergency. And to be honest, I am angered that any university would ever need to do so—especially under circumstances like the one Virginia Tech faced yesterday.

In the coming weeks, we will hear a lot of blame being placed on law enforcement and the Virginia Tech administration because of poor judgment in assuming the campus was secure and failing to notify faculty and students of impending danger. Perhaps, this criticism will be well placed. But still, at least as I see it, the heart of this problem goes to the ease and availability of guns in this country--that anyone could so get his hands on even one handgun and rounds of ammunition so easily. I can’t imagine that this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the 2nd Amendment.

As you walk your local neighborhood, know that chances are some of the homes (upwards of 40 percent nationwide) contain at least one gun. And while I respect a homeowner’s right to protect his household, as well as the local sportsman’s right to hunt his prey, I can’t but feel my right to feel safe and secure is being infringed upon every time stricter gun control laws (such as extending background checks to all gun sales or stopping the large volume sales of guns) come under fire.

Columbine, Paducah, Virginia Tech--How many more school massacres do we need to see before we start to ask the hard questions regarding the gun culture in this country?


Bluepaintred said...

the person to blame is the shooter. not the school. this was horrible. they say there was no motive? who wakes up one morning and thinks, well, today is a good day to commit suicide, but I think, just for shits and giggles, I will kill a bunch of others as well.

its disgisting and its scary

kenju said...

YOu are right, Diane. But gun control is such an iffy situation, and I just heard that his guns were illegal. They had had the serial numbers filed off.

Dan-E said...

unfortunately, the blame is always going to go directly to the largest targets, those being guns and the school, while the gunman might get painted as a misunderstood character, which is utter crap.

politics and emotions aside, the only that deserves any blame is the guy that woke up that morning and decided to kill over 30 people.

zerodoll said...

it IS the guns and their availability. yeah, the shooter was f'ed up, but if it weren't so goddamned easy to get a gun, maybe we wouldn't have 30+ people dead. it's ridiculous. no waiting period, buy a handgun every 30 days if you want and on and on. who NEEDS that?

running42k said...

Gun control is indeed a solution as is proper medical care. Perhaps the shooter went undiagnosed or untreated for his mental conditions.

evercurious said...

I agree with you Diane. I know people think Micheal Moore is full of shit, but maybe his video, Bowling for Columbine needs to be seen by my viewers not focused on his"political agenda".

utenzi said...

Amen to that, Diane. I've worked at universities all my life and there's just no realistic way for them to control a situation like that quickly. Maybe way back when all the students were in dorms nearby but today most students are "non traditional" and come in from off campus--how do you notify everyone?

And you're right about the gun situation. Just silly as Hell that anyone can buy one so easily. Especially emotionally disturbed kids!