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On Blaming the Shephard

I think one never quite knows what to say when something like this happens.   This one hit closer to home because Bitter has a cousin at VT that we hadn’t heard from for several hours after the event (We have now, and she’s fine.  A friend of hers was shot in the leg).  I’m always reluctant to make political hay out of a tragedy like this, but we can’t just remain silent about it either, because if we do, there are certainly others out there who will make hay out of it for us.

I am very angry at the whole situation, because I know blame will be making its way around, and there will be finger pointing.   It was VT’s fault.  It was the police’s fault for not acting quickly enough.  It was the fault of our gun laws.  No one will blame one deranged man who decided to get up one day and ruthlessly murder his fellow human beings because he wanted to feel powerful, and make a name for himself.   We want blame the system, because to blame someone, rather than the shooter, it means there are things we can do to provide absolute safety.   It means we can just change this one thing, and there will be no more wolves roaming the pastures, hungrily eying up the sheep.

It troubles me greatly that as a society, we are increasingly accepting these delusions that we can, and should, rely on others to take responsibility for our personal safety, and that when the wolves come, it has to have been someone else’s failing, because the system was supposed to take care of this type of thing.   Well, it doesn’t, and the last thing we should be talking about is finding ways to turn more and more people into sheep.

The only way that a deranged individual, like we have witnessed today, is going to be stopped, once the bullets start to fly, is accurate and sustained return fire, until the threat ceases.  It matters little whether that return fire comes from a police officer’s gun, a security guard, or someone close by that happened to be armed.  We’ve had numerous cases of these types of attacks being cut short by armed individuals acting on their own personal initiative.  I fail to see how the Brady Campaign expects that making sure there are less good people with guns at the scene of these tragedies is going to help save people’s lives.

I’m not saying that there’s any way tragedies like this could be absolutely prevented; they can’t be.  I’m also not saying we shouldn’t look at how the system can react better in the future.  But I am concerned that as a society we don’t let our emotions cloud our judgement, and start a mad rush to implement public policy based on sorrow and grief.  I also hope that we don’t decide to pretend we can legislate wolves out of existence.   We can’t do that either.  The only thing that will work, is more people accepting they are responsible for their own safety, and the safety of people around them, and taking appropriate measures to deal with those realities.

I’m not suggesting that everyone have a gun, but everyone should most certainly have a plan.  People have to decide for themselves what that plan involves, and that is going to be something very personal to each individual, and not something government or society ought to be meddling in, and dictating over.  Everyone has a right to decide how to provide for their own personal security.

One Response to “On Blaming the Shephard”

  1. Sebastian (Snowflakes in Hell) has a tremendous post up regarding his feelings on the situation, and the possible reactions. I echo his reluctance to make political hay out of a tragedy like this, and yet I also am not a fool – I remember that Columbine, North Hollywood, and every other mass shooting in my lifetime has been used as political leverage by someone.

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