Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lessons to be learned from Blacksburg

Like most people, perhaps, when the full horror of the Blacksburg massacre was revealed, among my first thoughts was, “If this guy had not had access to firearms, this wouldn’t have happened.” But then, unlike most people, I kept thinking about it. A hundred years ago, fifty years ago, guns like the ones he used were available – far more available, in fact, than they are now. Yet, this sort of thing simply didn’t happen. It just didn’t. So there has to be some other primary cause.

As I watched Fox News yesterday, I heard a report about the shooter mentioning that he'd left behind a letter in which he blamed “rich kids, debauchery and deceitful charlatans”. He finished his letter by stating, “You made me do this.”

There it was - right there. That was my answer. “You made me do this.” That's it. That is everything we need to know in a nutshell. That is what is different today. One hundred or even fifty years ago, people took responsibility for themselves and their lives and situations. It was their duty to improve their situations if they didn’t like them. If they didn’t take responsibility, then their neighbors or the state forced them to take responsibility. Over the course of the last 75 years, in a laudable effort to "help" people, we have systematically removed the necessity for people to take responsibility for themselves. Indeed, our nation has soothingly whispered in the ears of all of us, “there, there – it’s not your fault.” If something is wrong in our lives today, it is “somebody else’s fault”. But here’s the problem: even if whatever is wrong in your life is actually somebody else’s fault, it’s still your responsibility to fix it! We have created a nationwide culture of entitlement – and when that to which we are entitled (defined by television and popular music, of course) is not delivered to us in a timely fashion, we fall back into the concomitant culture of victimhood. “I didn’t get accepted to Harvard, someone is to blame.” “I am entitled to be popular and a great writer. Since I’m not – someone (else) is to blame.” And of course, right after that last utterance comes, “…and someone will pay.”

Ours is a sick society. But what do we want to do? Ban guns. That’s like throwing away the thermometer because it’s told you you’re sick. It won't make you better, but, at least there's no more proof of how sick you are.

It is already commonly understood that short of banning the private ownership of handguns – and confiscating all of the ones already in private hands (an impossible task) – there is no way to prevent this sort of thing in future. Thus, since we seem hell bent on ignoring the sickness in our society, the only decent and fair thing to do is to let potential victims defend themselves. But, what does it say about a culture and society that has to arm its children to go to school?


Post a Comment

<< Home