Friday, April 20, 2007

One good thing about the V-Tech shooting

We haven't heard any stories about the shooter hating on religion. Thus, we will be spared endless reiterations of the classic Columbine refrain:

"She died because she said she believed in God." (Untrue anyway.)

"If someone held a gun to your face and asked you if you believed in God, would you say no and live in shame? Or say yes and die standing up for God?" (I actually received this once in an e-mail forward.)

Personally, I would say whatever I thought wouldn't get me shot.

I mention this because a lot of people have, of late, taken the stance that they would have been the hero in these shootings. That they would have eagerly taken the sniper down with whatever weapons were at their disposal, assuming the New World Order hadn't taken away their right to pack heat in the classroom. Short of that, they would die proudly knowing that they stood up for what they believed in.

This talk gets so old. Because all it is, is talk. Talk from people who were not there and whose understanding of the reality is, at best, minimal. Not that my own concept is so great either; but at least I admit to it. I'm not making grand pretensions about what I would have done to stem this bloodbath. More than likely, I would have wet my pants, tried to escape or attempted to hide. Not exactly what I would do in principle, sure, but things are different with a gun to your head. Self-preservation kicks in heavily at that point, with steadfastness taking a stretch-limo-length back seat. And more people would subscribe to this reaction than would ever admit it.

We cannot let this (and similar tragedies) bring forth reactionary solutions. Much like with 9/11, the Virginia Tech shooting has put a gun to collective face of America. And the nation is being asked, "What do you believe?" Even some progressives tend to drop their principles at that point, saying that maybe what we need is a little more armor and a little less freedom. Which is exactly the sort of panicky thing one would say when staring down a barrel.

Events such as 9/11 and school shootings give the far right the ammo they need to justify their reactionary measures. Most Americans accept ideas such as the PATRIOT Act and concealed weapons only because they're scared. But ultimately, solutions borne of fear and passion are not effective, either in principle or in practice. The only thing they succeed in doing is further undermining the American ideal--the ideal that, no matter what crises bear down on us, we will continue to be a nation of laws and of general faith in the goodness of humankind.

America should never base its society on how it reacts with a gun to its head. While that may bring some immediate psychological comfort, it's no way to live in the long run. And it speaks poorly of most GOP-endorsed security measures that it takes something this serious for people to even consider them.

Just something to keep in mind at this vulnerable time.

1 comment:

Hathor said...

The wannabees have so many scenarios in which they are the hero. In discussions I have seen,
there has been no one personally involved in a situation where having a gun has saved them or they have saved someone else. I think those that have done so, do not talk as if it is something to brag about.

Quite a few Americans, look at this reactionary response to Columbine, VT and other nationally publicized shootings and think they certainly don't live in my neighborhood or city. The outrage is different for 32 murders at one time than for 32 murders in a month (many involving small children)