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Susan Estrich
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The Blame Game

Comment

Here we go again. Assume your positions.

Guns kill.

No, guns don't kill. People kill.

No, people don't kill. Asians/aliens/others kill.

No, it's not who people are; it's what they watch and "play."

People don't kill. It's people who play video games and watch television who kill.

Video games kill. They teach kids to kill. They do it without forcing them to really learn how to use a gun or face the consequences of killing. Kids need to be trained to use real guns, not conditioned by the use of phony ones. Kids need more guns. Or fewer video games.

In 2002, an armed gunman was killed by armed students at Appalachia Law School. Or maybe he was unarmed or his gun was empty or he had put it down by the time he was shot dead. The congressman from the district that includes Virginia Tech has been sponsoring legislation every year to expand the right to carry concealed weapons, allowing for reciprocity between states.

No, we need more regulation.

We license drivers, insisting on training, the ability to pass a test, clear proof that the individual is capable of handling a car. My 16-year-old got her permit, did not pass the road test on the first try (more than that I cannot say), took more lessons and now has a license, but is subject for the first year to a curfew and can't take passengers. We take it one step at a time. Why not also with guns?

No, we need better policing on campus, better security for students. How long will it take before the first lawsuit is filed against the University, claiming that it acted in a grossly negligent fashion in failing to take action after the first shooting to warn students and secure the campus? The first two students to be shot would have been the only ones had the University not erred so completely in assessing the situation.

No, it didn't err so completely, except in hindsight.

The University was reasonable in its judgments and should enjoy at least qualified immunity from suit when a reasonable judgment turns out to be wrong. Otherwise, taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

No, we need more community. Here was this clearly troubled kid living in the middle of this dormitory, a student who was sufficiently "troubled" that the English department at one point intervened, a kid who simply didn't speak to anyone, and no one did anything/enough to get him the help/attention/expulsion he so clearly needed.

No, if he was so troubled, it was his parents who should have known — they raised him; they sent him into the world. Why didn't they know or do something? Control him? Warn the rest of us?

No, it's the culture that did it, that created his anger. It was the way he felt about "rich kids" and the way they behaved, and there was some/no reason/excuse for that.

Everyone will find someone to blame. Most people will find more than one person or thing. The person who is obviously most to blame is dead, leaving us to search for other scapegoats. The lawyers will find a way to sue. The screamers will have much to say.

So we'll take to our usual corners and try to impose rationality, and even if no one changes anyone else's mind, at least it is an exercise that feels like doing something. So long as we're arguing, we can almost convince ourselves that we have control, the capacity to protect our children, to offer them the safety we all crave in a world that, on some days, feels like a very scary place to send your children into.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
Politicians don't learn because they (a) don't know history, (b) if they do know it, don't think it applies to today's situations, (c) care more about party politics than the nation's well-being, (d) are in it for themselves, (e) a,b,c, and d.

The answer, of course, is (e). We need term limits and we need them now. We need to clean out the House and Senate of all the entrenched, self-serving buffoons in both parties. We need the American people to be able to choose new blood. For too long the fox has been guarding the hen house.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Robert Neville
Wed May 13, 2009 6:42 AM
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