Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bang! You're Dead.

I really don't like doing serious posts, I would much rather make people laugh, or at least try, but I feel like I have to put my two cents-worth in about the university shootings that occurred on Monday in Virginia. I actually didn't find out about it until yesterday when I read Diesel's post over at Mattress Police, and I was shocked to hear such monstrous news. I don't watch the news every day, because it's usually just one atrocity after another, I try to keep up without becoming overloaded with so much depressing information.
My heart goes out to all the victims and their families, and it makes me even sadder to think that this might have been prevented. Living in a country where these kinds of shooting sprees are virtually unheard of, because very few people have access to firearms, makes me realize how I lived before I moved here. When I was growing up in California we were always afraid someone would break into our house with a gun, we were always warned never to make eye contact with anyone on the freeway because they might shoot you, and we lived in a generalized state of paranoia.
Spain has its share of crime and we have a serious terrorist problem, but we know our kids are safe at school and out on the streets. People don't live in fear that some psychopath with a gun is going come along and start shooting at the first thing that moves. How many times does something like this have to happen before America comes to its senses? I can't understand that there are so many people out there that think everyone should have the right to carry a gun. "We need them to protect ourselves", they say. But, if there were no guns, then that need wouldn't exist. For every gun out there, the risk increases that someone could be killed by it. "Things like this happen because the wrong people have guns", they insist. The waiting period and background checks are supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff, and anyone with a history of mental problems can't buy a gun. Well, who's to say that a perfectly normal person today won't suddenly snap in the future? There are people who pass all the "tests" and are able to buy a gun, but something pushes them over the edge, and what do we have? A potentially dangerous individual armed with a deadly weapon.
So, what will change after all this? Probably nothing, or perhaps gun laws may be strengthened, but will it make any difference? That's been done before, but it hasn't seemed to reduce the number shootings that take place in the U.S. every year. I vote for imposing the strongest gun law of all - No Guns. However, I understand the need for people in certain professions to carry a gun, military personnel, police officers, bodyguards, and I'm sure there are more I haven't mentioned here. I'm just saying that I don't believe that every Tom, Dick, and Harry should have the right to own a gun. If America ever does take the road to eliminating firearms, it will be a long and arduous one, but well worth the trouble.


  1. Good point and a very European perspective, I must say.
    Gosh, the American constitution is just THAT old, the right to protect yourself and your property made sense wya back when Police officers lived a train ride and two days by horse I can´t possibly figure out why Joe and John need guns, except to inflict death in a moment of anxiety or over-reatcion.
    I like you take on it.

    On a totally different note: you love Pratchett! *celebrates*
    Am currently reading the first Tiffany Aching Story. here is cheers to Pratchett!

    and also: thanks for swinging by my blog!

  2. Thanks for your supportive comment. I wasn't sure about doing this post, because people get all riled up on this subject. But I truly believe there is a better way of dealing with this problem in America.

    About Pratchett, he's brilliant. I loved "We Free Men" and "A Hat Full of Sky", but I think my all-time favorite is "Mort". It's about Death taking an apprentice - only Pratchett could make you laugh about such a sombre subject.

  3. Well, I'm not sure that gun control is the answer -- there are a lot of guns out there already, and guess who aren't going to be the first ones to disarm? But I would agree that the rationale for the 2nd amendment doesn't really exist any more. I'm very much against this sort of incremental repealing of the 2nd amendment that's going on though; if you want to change the constitution, there's a proper way to go about doing that.

    Anyway, thanks for the mention. I don't generally watch the news either (as you can gather from my post). And do you know how many times I've thought to myself, "Gosh, I wish I'd have watched the news so that I'd have known about that train wreck/shooting/child molestation yesterday"? Never.

  4. theresa...I have read all of teh Discworld series and Death is one of my favourite characters, apart from Granny Weatherwax and the Patrician. Pratchett´s humor gets me every time!

  5. Yes, a very sad incident. And living here in Virginia, wow, this really hit my entire area hard. Tonight, is a vigil of sorts to remember the victims, with all activities canceled. I can't imagine what the families are going through.

    As for the gun laws, something must be done. It is out of hand but is a very long way to ever having resolution.

  6. You guys are right that there's no easy way to solve this problem. I'm not so naive to think that passing a law to outlaw guns is going to fix it all overnight. I do think that they could be gradually eliminated. Change doesn't come easy, and it would probably take many years before America could be a gun free nation. I'll never give up hope though, after all I have a two-year-old nephew over there, and I want him to have a future where he doesn't need to live in fear.

    Minka, thanks for your link :-)

    Pratchett is truly brilliant, isn't he. I think we should celebrate a worldwide Terry Pratchett Day. I think I'll come dressed as Agnes Nutter.

  7. Yes, it was a terrible, terrible thing. For a long time I avoided the news, but now we get a news paper because I feel like my reaction time is better for not continuing with horrific stories. However, some headlines you just can't avoid, and this was one of them. I didn't mention anything about it on my blog, because I feel like the media is just going crazy, and using it to their best advantage. Also, as of yesterday there were at least 5 bomb threats at Universities (One of them was Jim's, and his building was evacuated) around the country that were probably related to this. Sometimes it feels like if you don't talk about it, maybe the next kid won't feel 'inspired.' It is so horrible, and actually this stuff is so much worse than it was when we were growing up (there have been several school shootings in the last year in the U.S.) How did it come to this?