It’s hard to begin to know where to start in expressing the profound sadness that the Virginia Tech shootings provoke in me. I’ve tried to stay away from the story for the most part, especially in the blog, because attracting people to my site with comments about this story seems somehow predatory. I realize most people who do post on the subject just want or even need to say something; I’m not questioning anyone’s motives, and I can fully appreciate the need to express our sadness. I’m just saying that I haven’t been able to so far.
But this MSNBC piece raises some old familiar questions for me which I regretfully feel the need to respond to. . . again. Or perhaps I feel better not responding directly to the tragedy, but rather politically, in the world I’m comfortable with.
Either way, this is an issue for which you will find no Liberalism on DFE:
Most expressed shock at the shooting but few said they were surprised — criticizing the availability of guns in the United States, lax gun controls and the number of Americans who cling to the constitutional right that allows them to bear arms.
Or maybe I am a liberal on this issue and it is the political establishment that has it’s wires crossed. I have generally leaned towards the Left on most issues primarily because I’ve always seen the Right’s penchant for locking things they don’t like (abortion, gays, minorities, whathaveyou) behind the door of law, pretending they don’t exist. The Left generally accepts and celebrates both the diversity and the frailty of humanity. The Right generally views such things as obstacles for which law provides relief and religion is required to provide a final salvation.
My personal philosophy, such as it is, has always been that you cannot uninvent the wheel, so you’d better have a rational way to deal with round things. What is made can be destroyed, but cannot be unmade; it will forever exist – if only as an idea – to return again when you least expect it. That doesn’t make me the most sensitive of Liberals, it’s true. It does make me a pragmatist.
The War on Drugs has been a dismal failure; most Liberals would agree. In fact, it’s put the drugs right square in the hands of the people who should least have them. But where guns are concerned, the political polls switch.
So I know that the talk will be – and perhaps there will even been laws passed in Congress, to my regret – that we need to find ways to crack down on the guns we have in this country.
Never mind, of course, that Canada has twice as many guns and a quarter of the murders (if that). Never mind that guns of all kinds are illegal in New York City and that prevents not so much as a single murder. Never mind that Israel exists as a perpetual police state but cannot control the passage of guns or bombs in and out of it’s most populace cities. .
We just need to crack down on guns, that’s all. Because we don’t like them; because it’s a dangerous world; because it will make us feel better; because what we need, simply, finally, is salvation.
I don’t pretend to have the answer for what happened in Virginia. There aren’t any.
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