Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh Virginia

I awoke this morning to the news of another school massacre at Virginia Tech in America when a young bloke ran amok killing 32 people then himself, and I can only wonder at the pain that the families of the victims are going through.

Sitting here in Australia it is hard to imagine a culture where many people believe that the right to bear arms is sacrosanct. How anyone can believe that granting easy access to guns makes the world a safer place is beyond me.

When I was in the police force I came across a number of coppers who also believed that. I’ve heard all the arguments – “Guns don’t kill people, people do”, and “take the guns away from good people and only the crooks will have them” etc. Arguments that I have never accepted. The usual follow up argument is that we should then ban knives and any other implement that has the capacity to harm people and for the pro-gun lobby I expect we will continue to hear justification for the continuation of liberal gun laws in America. Thankfully those attitudes are in a minority in Australia.

It seems to me that if guns are harder to get then massacres like the Virginia Tech one would be far harder to commit. Had the offender been armed with a knife, or machete, or even a less powerful firearm there is a strong likelihood that some of the families whosehearts are breaking tonight would be weeping for other people rather than there own loved ones.

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