When the heart breaks, oh how we want simple answers.
And yes, I was horrified when both John McCain and George W. Bush immediately used the tragedy at Blacksburg to reiterate that great American "right to bear arms". I was horrified not least because this President has seen fit to let the ban on assault weapons expire.
And yet, and yet, if only it were so easy as gun control. I say this as someone who has always fought for gun control. Who wants to see far more of it. And who would like to see some acknowledgement from the proponents of the "right to bear arms" that they themselves don't really mean it. For if they did mean what they say about my right to bear arms, then how come I can't have my own atom bomb?
What's that you say? There have to be some limits? But the right to bear arms is in the U. S. Constitution as a protection for the average person from a corrupt state, so that a corrupt government can be overthrown. What an irony that with the guns we are currently allowed, there's no way any corrupt government could be overthrown, but horrible pain and devastating loss can be inflicted day after day after day, Blacksburg after Columbine. And my own government's email and web page reading programs will probably see enough words in this simple blog entry to register me for surveillance.
Truth is, of course, sadly and alas, even gun control, while it would assuredly have minimized today's damage in Virginia, would not prevents the cascades of human violence on this earth of ours. If you think it would, just refer to England, where it's not guns, but knives, that are killing young adults, teens, even children week in and week out.
Fragmented societies in which people feel rootless, powerless, with nowhere to take their anger, and often, no one to listen to it ... crossed with societies which have taught people from their earliest breathing moments to want it all (for what else are all those TV ads about) ... hard stuff to legislate ... but surely also part of the picture.
Damn I wish I knew the answers to all this, but the thing about true tragedy is, it just sits there, and you have to just sit with it.