Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, April 16, 2007

My Prayers Go Out to Blacksburg

I grew up about 25 miles away from the small university town of Blacksburg, Virginia. Today, Blacksburg was the scene of a horrific massacre that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech. At least 30 students were murdered in a senseless shooting rampage. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims' friends and families. This incident has hit close to home for me.

As I told Scotty on The PES a short while ago, those in our community that constantly criticize the WSU and Pullman police departments for harrassing students, inappropriate e-mails, use of tasers, etc., etc., would do well to remember one thing: If, God forbid, something like that should ever happen here, it is those same police officers that would go running towards the sound of gunfire to save lives.

Logo courtesy of www.cougster.com


Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Having several friends that went to VT and my son who has friends that are there now I can only send out my prayers. It was such a senseless and cowardly act.

voiceofthemajority said...

I know some you guys won't agree wtih me, but I think it needs to be said. With that being said lets all send our prayers and thoughts to all the students and Staff down at VT and the families and friends of those who lost their lives today. We can only hope and pray for the best.

Second, this whole incident should bring to the forefront how ridiculous it is for a school to have gun free zones. One of these students could have ended this incident with minimal deaths, but since they are not allowed to have a gun on them, tragedy struck. Gun free zones disarm the innocent and give terrorist and who ever this shooter was a leg up on the innocent. I have yet to meet or hear of a criminal who entered a gun free zone and left his gun at the entrance. Either we have security checkpoints if we are going to continue to have gun free zones or allow the innocent to protect himself/herself. When are we going to learn gun control does not lead to less deaths occurring. People first reaction to allowing people to bring guns to school is someone might die because they had a gun at the heat of passion, but in all reality what is stopping the person from going home and coming back with their gun and carrying it out anyways. With the gun free zone, the person can return and kill 32 people and injure contless others because he faces no opposition. When England and Australia band guns, death by guns went up. In Washington D.C. they have the most stick handgun laws in the nation, but they have one of the highest amount of death by guns. This death trap situation should never be allowed to happen again. I by no means want to advocate that this situation was 100% avoidable or preventable because tragedy will occur regardless. But I do want to advocate that people could at least had the chance to protect themselves and they were denied their 2nd amendment right.

Truth said...

Voice, before I start I too want to offer my absolute shock at what happened and my deepest condolences to all those who were affected, physically and spiritually.

However I'm afraid that I must disagree with you on removing gun-free zones, though I definetly understand the sentiment. The idea that a student or teacher may have been able to fight back and stop some of this from happening is appealing. And so is the idea of allowing greater 2nd ammendment rights.

Yet I guess from my perspective this also could lead to a situation where someone who is carrying a gun, and had no intention of shooting anybody, may lose their temper or may have a bad day and decide to take it out on someone else...or multiple other people. And of course there is also the possibility that had students, often with less gun training than police, tried to fight back they may have hit other students on accident.

I think the rather sad realization is that our schools are very vulnerable places for anyone who is deranged and has a gun, and I doubt that any amount of increased or decreased gun restrictions will change that anytime soon.

voiceofthemajority said...

While I disagree with you, there are some good concerns you raise. It is like I previously stated, if someone wanted to use a gun on someone it takes another jump in your mental state. However, even if the person makes that jump, whether the gun is on them or not, they will pull the trigger, look at Columbine. They can go get their gun from the black market or from legitimate sources and come back and know everyone is disarmed. The only people who obey the no gun zone are the ones being fired upon.

Most gun control laws are put in place because the government doesn't trust us especially with our money, i.e. social security and tax laws. Yes all those extremes you listed out could happen, but wouldn't you feel better that at least someone tried and had the ability to defend themselves. The second amendment made no distinction of when you can bear arms and if we were to apply the standard in the language of an amendment as set by the first amendment, gun free zones should be look upon as a joke.

I am willing to be more of moderate on this issue though, requiring stricter permits to carry guns at all time and gun safety courses. I think today everyone should have to take a state ran gun course to buy a gun. The facts have shown that stricter gun laws lead to more deaths, end of story.

Tom Forbes said...

This story appeared in the January 31, 2006 edition of my old home town paper, the Roanoke Times:

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn't get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill's defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

Del. Dave Nutter, R-Christiansburg, would not comment Monday because he was not part of the subcommittee that discussed the bill.

Most universities in Virginia require students and employees, other than police, to check their guns with police or campus security upon entering campus. The legislation was designed to prohibit public universities from making "rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit ... from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun."

The legislation allowed for exceptions for participants in athletic events, storage of guns in residence halls and military training programs.

Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university's authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus.

In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities.

This is yet another example of feel-good legislation that accomplishes nothing. "...this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." Do you think parents, students, faculty and visitors at Virginia Tech feel safe today?

The fact remains, if a faculty member or student had been carrying a gun, they could have stopped this psycho before he killed even more people.

Adam J. Niehenke said...

Thanks for finding some supporting facts for me Tom, but it just makes me feel sick to my stomach that they had a chance to stop to pass something before this occurred and did not. People fail to realize that accidental death by guns are way less than murder deaths by guns. They would rather have certainty of no accidental death over less over all death. One of people's fatal flaws is the need for certainty and failure to recognize base rates. Similar to smoking band, “my business will be destroyed,” when in all actuality their business goes up because more people who can’t stand smoking come out than those who smoke. Oh by the way I wanted to reveal who I actually am since I no longer need to hide my identity.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Adam: "Oh by the way I wanted to reveal who I actually am since I no longer need to hide my identity."

Why did you need to in the first place? Employment?

Adam J. Niehenke said...

I lost one job offer last semester after the whole fence thing and was not going to risk it with the one I accepted. After my name was brought in connection with it, I won't name which major acccounting firm, but its one of the big four drop their offer they had given me.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Adam -

Wow... that sucks. Sounds a bit like my experience with trying to get jobs on campus after I put my veteran status on my master application. After I did that, all of my applications simply went unanswered. I don't know for certain if the two are related, but it does strike me as odd, given that I used to at least get calls for interviews.

Truth said...

Adam, were you formally voice of the majority?