By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 1/21/2020
Posted: 4/17/2006
Topics/Keywords: #Constitution #VirginiaTechShootings #CurrentEvents Page Views: 4140
We should ask themselves why the deaths of 33 students in Virginia should cause us to reconsider banning weapons, when the deaths of 300 blacks in Tulsa, or 300 Native Americans at Wounded Knee did not.
Headline: Massacre On Campus

As you must have heard by now, yesterday's tragic shootings at Virginia Technical Institute claimed the lives of 33, including the shooter. Unsurprisingly, some mainstream media pundits were already calling this the "worst mass shooting" in the history of the United States, although a few of those outlets qualified it as the worst mass civilian shooting, which conveniently brushes aside various massacres of Native Americans such as those at Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, and Marias (and others). In those massacres, the shooters were Army soldiers and the victims were people of color, and the media tends to ignore the entire act of genocide of this nation's first inhabitants, except for the occasional blockbuster movie.

Even so, this was not the worst mass civilian shooting, which could arguably describe the 1921 Tulsa Riots, in which white Oklahomans decided to rid their town of African Americans by the simple expedient of shooting them. At least 300 blacks died between May 31 and June 1 of that year. But, again, these are people of color and so don't get remembered by those whose job seems to be getting us riled up over every new thing that happens.

Not that I'm suggesting the Virginia Tech shootings aren't a tragedy. They are, of course, at least at the Earthly level where death exists and the grieving of those whose loved ones are abruptly taken is very, very real. I'm just saying that this is no less a tragedy than the Tulsa Riots, or Wounded Knee, or for that matter Columbine, or 9/11, or even Baghdad, where every day 46 people are killed, most of them non-combatants, fathers and mothers and babies whose only crime is being too poor to leave Baghdad now, and too trusting to have left it when the US occupation first began.

The mainstream media, which rarely echoes the left-leaning blogs, has joined them in declaring this tragedy the signal that guns must be outlawed. Clearly, the Virginia Tech shooter would have been unable to kill so many with, say, a crossbow.

I seldom side with the right-wingers, but a number of them have been pointing out the fact that Virginia law permits gun possession in the streets; in fact, everywhere but on school campuses, a prohibition fairly recently put in place. A blogger called AndrewsDad pointed out:

Just imagine if students were armed. We no longer need to imagine what will happen when they are not armed.

I, too, long for a world with no weapons—and no need for them. But there's no way to make the existing weapons go away, no matter what laws are passed. A war against weapons is as futile as a war against drugs or, for that matter, a war against terror. Until the cause of the problem (in all three cases, fear) is solved, no amount of legislation, entrance X-rays or bars on the windows will prevent shooting deaths, drug addiction, or terrorists such as the one in Virginia Tech yesterday. (And isn't the excuse for the Iraqi Occupation to keep terrorism away from our shores?)

It seems to me that liberals need to rethink why they believe law abiding citizens should be made defenseless, just as the conservatives need to rethink why AK-47s should continue to be manufactured legally.

And both sides should ask themselves why the deaths of 33 students in Virginia should cause us to reconsider banning weapons, when the deaths of 300 blacks in Tulsa, or 300 Native Americans at Wounded Knee did not. (That both events happened before last week is no excuse.)

If you want to talk tragedy, how about six million Jews in the Holocaust (not to mention three million additional members of unpopular groups, including 78,000 gays)? All of whom were dragged to their deaths, unable to protest, because law-abiding German citizens did not own guns.

If anything, the Virginia Tech shootings should be a warning to us all what can happen…will happen…to a population of unarmed sheep who share a world with well-armed wolves.

Think about it: The entire might of the United States military has descended upon the innocent people of Iraq, who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to us whatsoever—a fact even President Bush has admitted publicly—and turned the lives of its inhabitants into a living hell.

Do you really want to be defenseless should that might be turned on us here at home? Are you really that sure it will never be?

Remember, "No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition."