Wednesday, April 18, 2007


What I'm not going to say: what a senseless tragedy.
It may be horrible, but it was not, unfortunately, senseless.
It is perfectly sensible given what we know about both suicide and homicide in our culture, that this happened. Moreover, it's going to happen again.
Unless - as the lorax said.
There is an unless:
The media needs to stop reporting so thoroughly on such murders as these: if we want, its fine to talk about the victims, but say nothing about the killer. If you must, mention the name of the suspect or whatever- but don't talk about his (and so far it's been all "his," which doesn't mean it will continue that way - but again, it may), neighbors, his family( who are most probably not to blame for his psychopathic actions - they may be, but in any case, at this point it's unlikely to do any good, but most often, they're not), his depression, his this, his that. That's what the murderer wants, and worse, it's what prompts copycats.
At most, maybe a mention of how sad and pathetic this mentally unstable loser is. Perhaps being pitying and superior will encourage fewer copycats. Certainly what's been done so far is not good, and only encourages others.

Second, yes, gun availability does make a difference. As Australia pointed out: when this started happening there, they passed laws that tightly controlled guns - and guess what, it hasn't happened again there - not in 30-odd years, anyway. Not saying it won't again, but that's a lot less than us.
And for all the nuts out there who rant about the right to bear arms, let's face it, even the legal right to own automatic weapons wouldn't do you much good if the government decided to turn the army against us. My friends, they have tanks. Not to mention - bigger things. SO that argument doesn't much cut it with me. As for "self-defense": turns out in the majority of cases, an intruder is more likely to turn the gun on you. Or will turn out not to be an intruder, but your wife, boyfriend, or cat. Oops. Sorry about that George.

As a colleague of mine, Rabbi Shamai Kanter, noted:

"a noted american jurist (was it Oliver Wendell Holmes?) once declared,
'the constitution is not a suicide pact.'

but thanks to second amendment absolutists, it appears that our
constitution has indeed become a suicide pact."

SO, I feel deeply for the students of VT, and wish that none of them would have to wake up tomorrow missing their friends. I wish that someone had had the foresight to do something about this profoundly deranged individual. But if we are to make this mean anything, the only thing we can do is to act to curtail it happening again, and most of us are not willing to do that.
Are you?

1 comment:

Reb Barry said...

You cite Australia as an example of the efficacy of gun control laws. Not that gun control is a bad thing, but on the other hand, Australia has the population of California, not the population of the US. Of the major massacres we think of -- Austin, Columbine, VT -- none were in California. One reason America has more of these is the population is much greater.