Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Guns and School Shootings

In all the coverage of the recent and horrific school shootings, it seems to me there's been a huge failure to ask an obvious question that we ought to be able to answer: where did these killers get their guns from? I'm relieved to find that at least the editors at the Washington Post are wondering the same thing:

Yesterday marked the third time in less than a week that a school was the site of a fatal shooting. In Colorado, on Sept. 27, a man armed with two handguns sexually assaulted some of the six girls he held hostage before killing one of them and himself. In Wisconsin, just two days later, a 15-year-old student fatally shot a principal. Like yesterday's shootings, each incident was tragic and certainly each had unique circumstances, but all -- including near-tragedies in Florida, North Carolina and Nevada that barely made headlines -- shared the fact of the far-too-easy availability of guns.

They're not saying it's time to crack down on guns, and neither am I. I have yet to read an article which says whether or not any of the guns used in these shootings were legally or illegally obtained. But that's just it. Shouldn't we be at least wondering how it is that these psychos got their hands on these weapons? Why aren't we at least curious about this? If they got them legally, how is it a nut can get his hands on a gun and then shoot children with it? If they got them illegally, how can it be that easy to get an illegal weapon?

I understand that in our country, where many believe the right to own a gun was divested in us by God at birth, it can be controversial to even ask these questions, as some interpret it as an attempt to make a case against even the legal ownership of guns. But how can we be so comfortable with nuts shooting up schools/post offices/restaurants/courts with guns both legally and illegally obtained, that we don't even wonder?

It's past time to start asking these questions, and start thinking seriously about what we need to do to put an end to what's become an all too familiar tragedy.


Nat-Wu said...

But guns don't kill people; people kill people! Obviously if he didn't have access to guns he would have built a bomb, or developed some sarin to take out the children all at once! And if he couldn't do that, he would have attacked them with sticks and knives and killed just as many anyway!

Xanthippas said...

That's pretty much the response I'd be expecting if any pro-gun commentator visiting our blog, so thanks for filling in.

Nat-Wu said...

Yep. Always a pleasure. The difference, of course, is that they'd mean what they say.