UMSL's newspaper, The Current, is published weekly on Mondays, so today was the first tack of their editorial board to talk about the murders over at Virginia Tech. I've been unimpressed with The Current's editorial board in the year I've been at UMSL, and this issue pretty much tells me why.
First, we have the general editorial on learning lessons from the tragedy. The major premise here is that there were so many signs, somebody should have done "something" to prevent this. They don't really have any concrete suggestions. Have people "watch out" for each other. Maybe have professors send their students to "certified counselors" to deal with whatever makes them tick (or not).
Professionals had already examined the killer and found there to be no grounds for involuntary commitment to a mental ward. So, at this point, the question should be either, "Did those professionals miss something?" or "Is there something wrong with the rules on these matters?" Maybe involuntary commitment should have more relaxed rules. Maybe there should be more pressure on follow-up with potentially dangerous people. I don't know.
But The Current's suggestion of more counselors and watchful professors is, well, childish. I mean, the latter is reasonable and necessary, but obvious enough that it should go without saying. But more counselors? I don't think that was the problem here, and I doubt it's the right solution.
Ah, but then we have Adam Wiseman, who blames it all on "our murder nation." Yes, you see we are the ones at fault here. President Bush is the one at fault. You know why? Guns. Bad, bad guns. And television. Wicked, sinful television. If the government (evil and corrupt as it is) would just take away the guns and make everything on television happy unicorns and sunshiny rainbows, then life would be better and nobody would ever be able to hurt another person again!
Yeah. When I said that the previous opinion was childish, it seems like ageless wisdom in comparison to this incoherent ramble.
I hate to be the one to say it, but taking away guns from law abiding citizens won't keep them out of the hands of criminals. And even if you take a gun away from someone, if they want to find a way to hurt someone badly enough, they'll find a way. Boxcutters on an airplane killed people in NYC. Fertilizer on a truck killed people in Oklahoma City. I'm not going to pretend to have answers on how to prevent people from committing such horrible atrocities, but I certainly won't latch onto some infantile view of the world in the hopes that the placebo will make me feel better about it.