There is no way to adequately address this until all the facts are known and people are able to regain control of their emotions.
But, if history is any guide, it seems clear that a MAJOR legislative assault on our right to self-defense will be one result of this atrocity.
I just don't understand.
100 years ago we had a lot more guns, per capita, a far lower standard of living, far greater poverty - than we do today, but we didn't have this kind of mass murder. I do not believe it is the case that we're just seeing this sort of thing reported more today than in past. I am convinced that it is happening more today than it did in past generations.
I don't know what's happened, but, America has changed. Her people have changed. Perhaps it is the case that today, in 2007 America, the majority of people are not capable of responsibly exercising their right to keep and bear arms. Even 50 years ago, if you felt wronged, you'd challenge those who wronged you - or you'd suck it up like a man and move on. 50 years ago, people did not indiscriminately kill 5, 10, 20 people because they got dumped by their girlfriend or they got fired from their job. At worst, they'd direct their rage at the one person perceived to be the source of their trouble. Not today. There are lots of theories, but nobody really knows why people today are so quick to resort to lethal violence or to do it in such a wide-spread fashion.
I just don't understand it.
230 years ago firearms were necessary to provide food for the table - and for defending one's rights against an overreaching government in London. 130 years ago firearms were still necessary to provide food for many people and they were necessary to defend oneself against outlaws and savages. They were considered tools; in fact, the most common place to buy a gun 100 years ago was in a hardware store. Today, it seems that they are necessary only to defend oneself against criminals and lunatics - and it is argued that if guns were properly "controlled", then those two groups wouldn't be dangerous enough to require their possession by the masses - and we'd all be perfectly safe. Some argue that they still are necessary to defend against an overreaching government - this time in Washington, D.C. - but that is an argument for another time.
It is completely true that if this mad scumbag hadn't been able to get a weapon, many now dead would still be alive. But it is also true that if just one of his victims had been armed, this might have been stopped before anyone died. When you boil it down, the end analysis is this: either nobody should be allowed to have weapons, or everyone (barring criminals and the mentally ill) should be allowed them. But, here's the rub: If you say that none may have them, unless you can get rid of every last one of them, the criminals and the mentally ill will still find them - and the "good" people will have no means of defense. Unless you can be absolutely certain that you can get rid of every last one of them, you cannot prevent another incident like today's.
The bottom line seems to be: what happened today is a matter of behavior - and thus, human nature. Despite our material progress, human nature has not changed in the last 10,000 years to the point where we can all get along without some of us resorting to violence. It seems plain to me then, that we are going to have to remain armed until America - or humanity itself - begins again to change for the better. We need to understand what it is about our society that creates the kind of violent rage in people which manifests itself in a Columbine, a U of Texas - and now a Virginia Tech.
My heart and my prayers go out to those - and the families of those - who today died or were wounded.