Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How many more massacres?

My prayers go out to all the victims of the VTech massacre.  It could have happened at any university in the US and the diversity of the victims stands testimony to that. It is a sad event and a reminder that society can never be a better or safe place with guns.

I have always had a fondness and admiration for VTech.  I was admitted to graduate program in Mechanical engineering at VTech in 1999, but chose to pursue other carer options.  VTech, a large public university in a small rural setting - very similar to what Penn State is.  The diversity and the people are similar, and that stirs up intense emotions of camaraderie fin me. 

In a country with strict gun control, a depressed loner immigrant student without guns could have done little but harm himself.  However, 2 days ago, a person with a similar profile managed to design the worst carnage in modern US history.  The media, lead by CNN, is focused more on figuring out the troubled man's past, while conveniently missing the broader perspective, that of gun control.  To some degree, it can be argued that the victims' families need to know why this massacre happened.  However can that be achieved through media focus on Cho's unknown almost dull past? What does one get by probing the mind of a mass murderer ? A new FBI case study? Does it help in preventing other such crimes? It is almost impossible to characterize mass murderers. Every instance there is a new character with a new agenda. Sometimes none. Sometimes confused. Sometimes derelict.

The sooner everyone understands that such crimes could have been prevented by tougher gun control laws the better.  As a society we have to give up some things to gain some things.  We have to give up our right to own guns to keep our kids and families safe.  there are more instances when people with guns have ended up killing innocent people than there are instances of self-defense, the logical purpose of owning guns by civilians.

How many more school massacres are required? How many more innocent kids have to die, before we realize that we have failed as a society?  How many more?

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