alien & sedition.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As you might expect, the conservative noise machine barely paused to catch its breath before beginning its effort to spin the horrible events at Virginia Tech into political gold. Instapundit was among the first out of the gate, as this DKos diary noted. The New York Sun, to nobody's surprise, takes up the same talking points, couching them on a fluffy layer of righteous talk about how America caught "a glimpse of evil" yesterday. There's a certain kind of conservative who loves nothing more than an opportunity to crow about Evil. It allows him to trumpet his own Moral Clarity, the primary purpose of which is to aid in the process of simplifying and personalizing some difficult issue, and demonizing all those who point out that, by simplifying and personalizing it, the conservative has guaranteed that he will never do anything effectively to resolve it. Talking about "Evil," for this kind of conservative, is a ticket to a cartoon universe whose bright colors and vivid characters might just be enough to distract folks from noticing that such conservatives tend to be disastrously incompetent at dealing with problems in the real world. As for that Moral Clarity, count on it to be discarded the first time it becomes the least bit inconvenient.

But I digress. The Sun shines its dim light on the shootings in hopes of illuminating its argument about the actions of New York's own Mayor Bloomberg, who has continued Rudy Giuliani's strategy of cracking down on illegal guns. It's a strategy that has helped make New York the safest big city in America, but the balls-to-the-wall gun crowd, of course, don't care about that. The NRA has been demonizing Bloomberg for a while now, and the Sun's editors eagerly use the Va. Tech shootings as an opportunity to pile on:
The shooting erupted as a little noticed legal war was gathering between Virginia and New York over our city's legal maneuvering to stem the sale of what Mayor Bloomberg calls illegal guns. The smell of cordite hadn't cleared from the Virginia Tech campus when the declared candidates for president began addressing the shooting, ending, as Mr. Hope put it, "what had been seen as an unwillingness to fully address gun issues so far in the campaign."
And here the Sun goes on to make the utterly predictable, and mouth-frothingly insane, argument that the problem was about not enough people having guns. Virginia's legislature recently refused to overturn a ban on guns at college campuses. This, we're told, is why the death toll was so bad:
Today, however, the question hanging over this tragedy is whether the legislature acted wisely or whether, in fact, the campus would have been safer had the students and others been permitted to keep and bear arms in the dorms and on the greenswards. It's not a theoretical question. In 2002, according to a report on, a disgruntled student at the Appalachian Law School, Peter Odighizuwa, allegedly shot and killed the school's dean, a professor, and a student on campus. He was subdued, CNSNews.comreported, only when two students reportedly ran to their cars to fetch their own guns and returned to confront the killer, who surrendered.
The Appalachian Law School shooting is a favorite canard of the all-guns-all-the-time people, who insist it proves their case that an armed society is a polite society, since the gunman was ultimately subdued by a pair of students with their own weapons. What goes unmentioned is the fact that he was only subdued after he had finished shooting and run out of ammunition, and that the students had not been armed at the time of the shootings, but had run over a hundred yards to retrieve their weapons, which begs the question of why the real lesson of Appalachian Law shouldn't be about the need for more effective policing.

The Virginia Tech shootings could have been limited to two victims if the university and its police force had effectively secured the campus during the two-hour gap between the first and second rounds of killing. But that's not the lesson gun extremists want you to draw. They want us to believe that our world would be a better place if everyone went to German class with a loaded handgun. If there are German classes in Somalia, I'm sure that's how they're conducted.

Personally I'm sort of a Federalist on gun laws. I see no need whatsoever to take away anybody's hunting rifle, and if a state doesn't think it can provide for adequate law enforcement and feels that somehow people are safer when everyone is armed to the teeth, that's their business. In New York City, though, that's a recipe for disaster, and every honest person knows it. Everybody but the editors of the New York Sun, for whom yesterday's events were nothing more than another twist in the plot for their cartoon world.

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