Let’s not jump the gun on Virginia Tech

I bought The Beatles’ White Album recently. One of my favourite songs is “Dear Prudence”. Makes me wish I had a girlfriend of that name:)

They also sing “Happiness is a warm gun.” Whatever were they thinking?
Maybe the thoughts of the madmen who take to killing innocent civilians, like at the college campus in the US. The lyrics include the verse: “Mother Superior jumped the gun…”

Another piece of music came to mind when I read the report in the Mail&Guardian cataloguing the major shootings in the US:

“January 1979: In San Diego, California Brenda Spencer (17) killed two adults and injured eight children, famously saying she did it because “I don’t like Mondays.”

That is the inspiration for the song by the group led by Bob Geldof, ain’t it?

In the same report, the gun lobbyists said:

Advocates of gun ownership rights saw Monday’s massacre as evidence of the need to relax gun laws rather than tighten them.

“All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last 10 years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen — a potential victim — had a gun,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America.

“The latest school shooting at Virginia Tech demands an immediate end to the gun-free zone law which leaves the nation’s schools at the mercy of madmen.”

I could be persuaded by this. But then I think of that great argument (was it by Socrates:)? which asks,
“What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

If there were no guns available, then crazy gunmen would not get access to them, right?
But that is naive, I suppose. Yet it is where the argument must start, right?

The other extreme of everyone carrying a gun, like we all carry cellphones, (Maybe Nokia should start partnering with Smith& Wesson.) does not prevent shootings. In that case, the gunman would be stopped sooner. So they get to kill 4 people before they are shot. But wouldn’t they just get smarter about how they go about killing people? Instead of just walking into a room shooting, they plant a bomb.

Either way, I don’t think there is a way to stop crazy people from killing.

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