Tragedy In Virginia
Well, that didn't take long did it? Mere hours after a tragedy, every opportunistic wanker, left, right and centre is jumping on the Virginia Tech shooting as proof positive that their own particular political idea is right.
1. Dr. Phil seems to think violent video games are to blame.
2. The Gun Control crowd is screaming that the tragedy could have been averted if guns were banned
3. The Pro-Gun crowd is screaming that the tragedy could have been averted if guns were more plentiful.
4. Fox News is blaming anti-depressant drugs.
While I am loathe to link to some of the more sensational media on this, I think I need to, to make a point. And the point is this:
The shooter was a disturbed young man. He is to blame and no one or nothing else is. There may have been very little that could have been done in the immediate past or on the day of that could have prevented this.
It wasn't "video games" as Radley Balko points out:
"He's right, you know. Video games + psycho/sociopath _+ dose of rage = potential mass murderer. Here are some other recipes for potential mass murders:The shooter is an almost textbook example of the suicidal spree killer along the lines of Charles Whitman, Pierre Lebrun, and various postal workers as Prof. Elliot Leyton points out in his book "Hunting Humans".
Baseball card collecting + psycho/sociopath + dose of rage. Furry fetish + psycho/sociopath + dose of rage. Only eating orange foods + psycho/sociopath + dose of rage. Napping + psycho/sociopath + dose of rage.
School shootings haven't increased since the onset of violent video games. They're as exceedingly rare as ever. In fact, juvenile violent crime has dropped over the last 15 years (though there was very slight blip upward last year), the period over which we've seen the rise of violent video games."[emphasis mine].
This is a "school shooting" in so much as it happened to take place at a school. Given the shooter's pathology and seeming mental condition, it could easily have been a shopping mall or a place of employment. The setting is really irrelevant when dealing with a mentally unstable and violent person.
Would gun control have prevented it? Maybe, because the shooter may not have been able to get a gun. Of course, he may have resorted to other weapons, homemade explosives, knives or something else, in which case we would be referring to him as "the bomber" or "the attacker". Its seems likely he was going to kill himself and take people with him at any rate.
Would more armed students have prevented it? Maybe, as this has happened in the past, albeit under circumstances that would not be normal (one of the students was a police officer). Its just as likely that groups of scared, armed students flushed with adrenaline would have ended up shooting other scared, armed students flushed with adrenaline. Or innocent bystanders. Or themselves be shot by the first responding police. It could easily have been a much bigger tragedy.
Anti-depressants? There is no proof the shooter was even taking them. Just more of Fox News being fear mongering arseholes (what else is new).
In other words, mourn the terrible tragedy and try to learn what we can from it. Were there signs that could have led to an earlier intervention with the shooter, breaking him from his psychosis and getting treatment? Could Virginia Tech have handled their response differently to better protect students or reduce the number that were killed? These are the things that need to be learned from this.
Everything else - EVERYTHING else - is political opportunism and positioning and those that delve into this deserve not our attention, but our derision and disgust. They need to get the hell of their favourite hobby horses and concentrate on the real issues in this - how a young man's mental state deteriorated to the point that he wanted to kill and how the school's administration reacted to the tragic events when they occurred.
Everything else is self-serving bullshit. Ignore it.