Good pro gun editorial......


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April 18, 2007, 07:04 PM
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This is a good editorial in the Daily Nebraskan re: Virginia Tech.

Guest Editorial:
People, Not External Causes, Can Stop Tragedies
by Amy Thompson
Over the next days, weeks and months, experts and laymen will try to make some sort of sense out of the largest massacre in U.S. history. One cable newsman said Monday that it happened in a place that one would never expect.

It's something people seem to automatically say after such tragedies, but it allows people in beautiful, peaceful, quiet towns everywhere to return to a false sense of security when the story falls out of media headlines. The underlying message of this innocent statement is that it is rare to happen in a beautiful, peaceful town.

So go back to your class, your job, your family. Forget the ugliness you saw, the grief you feel. It probably won't happen here.

There's nothing really wrong with that. It is human nature to grieve and then go on. It is human nature to walk through our lives as though in an impregnable bubble until the sharpened dart of someone else's pain or anger or depression or hatred or obsession or evil breaks through once again.

And then the bubble is reborn to be torn again, always unwittingly and always with the same questions.

Why me?

Why here?

Why didn't we see this coming?

How can we prevent this from happening again?

These horrendous tragedies would not be solved if everyone found religion. While some may argue that it would, godly people sometimes do bad things as well.

Gun control would not have stopped the deaths of more than 30 people. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Of course it is cliché, but that makes it no less true. A gun is but a lump of metal without a purposeful digit at the trigger. This fact will not cause gun control advocates a moment's pause over the coming weeks.

Last week, CBS's "The Unit" was called in to help control a hostage situation at a prominent Virginia school. That television show did not cause Monday's mass murder. A human, who may or may not have seen that show, perpetrated a crime out of whatever emotion he may have been having. Filling television screens with "The Cosby Show" and "7th Heaven" would not end mass murder.

So why do these terrible things keep happening?

The only answer is a simple answer: people.

People are fallible and unpredictable. Some people are evil. Some people snap.

So where do we go from here?

The first lesson we must know today is that it can happen again: anywhere and at any time. Pain, anger, depression, hatred, obsession and evil exist anywhere people do. No, this does not mean you should walk around in fear with bulletproof notebooks. It just means you should be aware of your surroundings, your friends and your family. When your gut tells you something may be a warning sign, don't squash the feeling; explore it within yourself or with a professional to determine whether there is reason to be concerned.

The second lesson is that the assigning of external causes is frivolous and irresponsible. The blame lies with the individual, though some may be shared with friends, family or associates who may come forward and say, "I knew he was depressed (or angry or obsessed) but I didn't know it was this bad."

Therein lies the third lesson. We must inform ourselves as to what might signal danger in the people we know. Mood swings, changing habits, all of these will come forward in articles written by smarter people than I in the coming weeks. Read them, learn them and recognize the signs in others.

When necessary, talk to those people you are concerned about. If you feel uncomfortable confronting people about their issues, do whatever you can to find someone who might help them.

No offense to Capt. Carl Oestmann of the University Police Department, whom I've heard commented that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an emergency plan in place for such events. Monday's shooter apparently had two handguns that could release dozens of shots in mere seconds and then be reloaded with dozens more in just two seconds more. There is no plan in the world that can prevent such mass harm when the mind behind it is intent.

So what can we do then?

Sadly, there is little to do but attempt to identify those who may perpetrate such heinous acts and then attempt to "fix" them. This is a terrifically difficult task in that many times, such events as we saw this week are planned and carried out in short periods of time and well before friends or relatives or coworkers can intervene.

It is a sad truth that with all the discussions that will be had in the coming weeks to try and answer the same questions we asked after Columbine just eight years ago this week, we will not find any new answers. The responsibility will still lie with the individual.

And, thus, the final lesson will hopefully reach a young man or woman reading this piece who may be experiencing a pain, depression, obsession or any other passionate, overwhelming emotion that they feel is controlling them: There is no shame in getting help.

Let them know we agree with her comments regarding gun control!
Comment Here! (http://media.www.dailynebraskan.com/media/storage/paper857/news/2007/04/18/Opinion/Guest.Editorial.People.Not.External.Causes.Can.Stop.Tragedies-2848028.shtml)

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