How to Stop Another Virginia Tech

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society on

I’m glad I waited a day to write this up, now there’s a little more to talk about.  We now know a little bit more.  Apparently, a South Korean born legal resident, undergraduate of Virginia Tech, was the shooter.

I said I was going to talk about the mind of a killer, but I think everyone knows why he did it.  Simple enough, he had serious problems.  Teachers have said he wrote rather violent stories in English class.  Then he left a rather depressing note before he went off to do his deeds yesterday.  And it makes sense.  In all the recent situations where people have done mass killings, there seems to be a mental component to the reason they did it.  Whether they don’t know right or wrong, or are depressed and suicidal (as seems to be the case here), I think it can only take a person who has serious mental issues to do something like this.  Whether it’s Timothy McVeigh, this guy, or Saddam Hussein, they all have to be sick in the mind to ever contemplate this.  The same is also true of serial killers.  They may not kill many at once, but they do kill many, whether because they like it or otherwise.

I’m not saying all killers have serious problems.  Certainly there are enough that are motivated by simple jealousy or anger. Yet, those people don’t seem to go around killing anybody they can find; those murders are usually limited to a few.  However, I think yesterday has shown that there is a real problem here in America.  I’m not saying we should legislate an outright ban on guns.  I don’t take advantage of my second amendment right by buying a gun, but I also don’t think it should be gotten rid of entirely.  However, more can be done.

First, we need to make it more difficult to get a gun.  That said, a mere background check for prior violent crimes alone just isn’t going to do it.  I got some ire out of the American crowd at the last place I suggested this, but I think we need a way for our medical professionals to determine who is really a threat to others/themselves, and then let the authorities know this.  Now, I know that the doctor-patient privacy laws are something that we cherish.  I’m not saying that the person with a learning disability or ADD should be marked.  Nor am I saying that all the details of a patient’s case should be revealed.  What I’m saying is that we need some way to let a weapons seller know that a potential buyer may have an ongoing mental problem or some sort, whether it be a long standing, well documented case of depression or suicidal thoughts, or whether somebody has admitted to a shrink that they’ve thought about killing people.

Now, I know the liberals are going to scream “taking away my rights!”  However, I think it is necessary that the authorities and weapons sellers know to whom they are selling.  If there is not an issue, then fine, they can get a gun.  But, if there is, checking for a problem after the person has already killed somebody does little to help.  It’s basically 20/20 hindsight and saying, “Oops, maybe they shouldn’t have gotten a gun.”  America needs a pro-active way to eliminate gun crimes, without resorting to ending the right to own one.

Not that my idea is without problems.  Some people simply cannot afford health care, so their mental problems may never become known.  Others may never visit the psychiatrist to figure out their issues.  So, it is true that people will fall through the cracks.  However, I think some is better than none.  Take what we have already, such as background check for prior crimes, and augment that with a non-invasive way of figuring out if a buyer is a problem before they go around killing somebody.  That may not stop all gun crimes completely, but I think that it would stop a lot of the mass shootings that happen.

Of course, there is more that we can do to stop gun crimes.  We need to do more to eliminate poverty, and other conditions that are breeding grounds for crime.  We need to restructure a system that ostracizes the poor for being that way, instead of helping them up from their condition.  That way, hopefully those stricken by poverty won’t have to resort to crime or joining a gang in order to make money.  There’s a lot we can do to stop gun crimes.  My idea is not perfect, and I admit it.  But, it is an idea, rather than sitting around with the same old system, just because we value our second amendment and our privacy so damn much.

Wow, that was much longer than I intended, but I’m happy I got it out.  Please, I invite you to comment with your opinions and comments on the Virgina Tech shootings, and the issue of gun control.  And please don’t worry about disagreeing with me.  As long as your comment is civil, it will appear.

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