Preventing another massacre

Mike Gallagher
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Posted: Apr 20, 2007 7:18 AM
Preventing another massacre

Walking around the campus of Virginia Tech this week, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been there before. I knew I had never been to Blacksburg, Virginia. So why did I have that unmistakable feeling of familiarity?

Suddenly it hit me. I had been there before. It was 1999. And the place wasn’t Blacksburg; it was actually Littleton, Colorado.

This was the “college Columbine.”

Like the last time I broadcast my radio show from the scene of a mass killing, the expressions of prayer, grief, anguish and confusion were all demonstrated by the people who lived in this community.

Notable, perhaps, was the absence of total bewilderment over what had happened. I suppose the Columbine massacre was the first in the “instant information” age, so this time around, people sort of knew what to expect, in a morbid kind of way. Hundreds of satellite trucks, the candlelight vigils, the palpable sense of a peaceful little community shattered by ridiculously needless violence.

Tragically, we had all been there before.

Incidentally, I will not say the Virginia Tech killer’s name. He was obviously someone who craved notoriety. The media stupidly anointed his videotaped death message a “manifesto” and, thanks to NBC’s lack of taste and ethics, force-fed his rambling, evil insanity for hours and hours on end. When I showed up to do my radio show this week, my producer attempted to convince me to play the audio cuts from the horrific video. Sorry, but that just wasn’t going to happen. I refused to air one syllable of this vile human being’s ramblings.

Did you notice something about the videotape that NBC enthusiastically played over and over again in order to achieve their ratings victory Wednesday night on the Nightly News? The NBC logo, complete with the familiar peacock, was superimposed over the mass murderer’s image in the upper left hand corner so that every single media outlet that played it or printed it on the front page of the newspaper would be sure to give NBC a nice, juicy plug.

How ghastly.

Perhaps NBC could offer the next mass-killer-to-be a free NBC baseball cap or t-shirt that he can wear while videotaping himself killing a bunch of innocent people. That would be a promotional bonanza, too, eh?

I wonder how many Virginia Techs and Columbines are going to have to happen before America wakes up and recognizes that the most effective way to prevent this from happening is right under our noses.

I’ve heard all the same analysis you have: we need campus lockdowns; let’s install air raid sirens; perhaps a couple of armed guards would suffice.

I don’t wish to dismiss the well-meaning people who struggle to find a way to make sense of a senseless crime like a madman executing dozens of people. I’m sure their hearts are in the right place.

But I wonder why all these good folks have such a mental block about something as vital as The Bill of Rights?

You see, there is only one way that a evil monster who is intent on killing as many people as he can will be stopped.

He will only stop when he is killed. And the only way to kill him is for an ordinary citizen, someone who is licensed and trained to carry and handle a weapon, to take aim and fire.

It’s called the Second Amendment.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of allowing people to have this fundamental right. The very reason people desperately want to protect the right to keep and bear arms is so they can continue to defend and protect themselves – and others.

Can you picture how many lives would have been saved if a faculty member or administrator or even a janitor who is licensed to carry a gun would have been able to take the killer out?

That wasn’t going to happen because Virginia Tech is a self-proclaimed, “Gun-free zone.” In fact, two years ago, almost two years to the date of this week’s killings, a young college student at Virginia Tech was found to have a handgun on campus.

One would have thought he was hiding a nuclear bomb.

Despite having every legal right to carry, and therefore not facing any criminal the charges, Virginia Tech nonetheless disciplined him. In fact, the same school spokesman who had to preside over the grim press conferences this week in Blacksburg was the man who told reporters, “We don’t feel that the campus is an environment where people should be able to carry guns.”

As Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that working for you?”

I was on a panel this week on Fox News Channel which included one of the other guests suggesting that this is “not the time to debate gun control or having guns on campus, this is a time to talk about campus security.” I wondered aloud why he didn’t understand that having legal guns on campus is precisely the way to improve campus security.

No siren or email campaign or lockdown is going to stop a mass murderer. Just like Columbine, not a single police officer was able to engage this week’s killer. He only ended when he was ready to end it. Everything was on his terms.

Let’s bring it back to our terms again. Let’s embrace the U.S. Constitution, not ignore it. Let’s fight evil with might and force.

We have to shoot back.