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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Settle Down?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NPH wants to relatavise the value of "calm" and "objectivity" in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings on Monday. Starting with a White House spokesperson, then proceeding to Senate Majority Leader Reid, and now fully permeating the blogosphere, the assertion that the country needs to avoid a rush to judgment and a fresh battle on gun control makes NPH a little sick.

Consider this quote from the uber-blogger, Atrios: " if people want to kill people and don't care if they get killed or caught they're going to kill people."

Yes, but the elephant in the middle of the university is that, without the easily availability of firearms, those people aren't going to be able to kill people as easily. NPH wonders if he's the only one who thinks the existence of the debate itself points to the need for an un-objective solution. I mean, how many times does a public have to endure the same kind of tragedy before it stops treating the nature of that tragedy as a debating point and instead FIXES THE DAMNED PROBLEM.

Blacksburgh, Columbine, Nickel Mines, Paducah . . .

The list goes on and on, and it's only going to grow. And that despite the assertion of another blogger that mass killings, given the availability of weaponry in this country, are "blissfully rare." Sorry? What was that? Blissfully rare? Forget for a moment the leap required to place "mass killing" and "blissful" in the same sentence and try to answer the question the assertion begs: how often would these incidents have to happen for it to be an actual problem? This is the second one in about six months.

And do we need to observe that, for the friends and relatives of those dead and for those survivors who leapt from windows and played dead, it's not "rare" at all. It will recur for them every day for the rest of their life.

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people." What other industry, what other lobby, what other interest would be allowed to simply explain away the cause of killing so glibly without some kind of public outcry or legislative avalanche? What other product has to defend itself against the connection between itself and lots and lots of killing?

Can anyone imagine the auto industry suggesting that since, "cars don't kill people; people kill people," everybody ought to be legally allowed to drive a car, regardless of age?

NPH thinks that to posture for "objectivity" and "cool heads" right now is stupid, stupid, stupid. Further, we suspect that it's self-interested (every politician knows that gun control is a no-win election issue). How would the FAA appear if it made such appeals in the wake of the 9/11 attacks? We didn't hear anybody calling for "cool heads" as the airport security protocol got completely overhauled.

Here's where our rambling lands: now is the time to act. In the wake of tragedy, when emotions are at their most raw, when we are most horrified, is the time to attack the horror. Trust the rage. Trust the disgust. That reaction is the most reliable guide in deciding how to fix this. Once cooler heads prevail, then the people who died are simply names on a list and the country simply shrugs its shoulders--until the next time.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 5:14 AM


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