There seems to be a move towards praising the Northern Illinois University for its prompt action in informing students of the killer loose on the campus during its very own Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Tonight, NBC and a number of other news media organizations, said that following the Virginia Tech shootings last year, guidelines introduced in educational establishments had been adhered to, and NIU had used text messaging and its intranet to alert students to the potential danger.
Congratulations to Northern Illinois University for its quick response to this emergency.
It needn’t have bothered.
The guidelines adopted after Virginia Tech had no effect on the loss of life at NIU yesterday. The gunman was already in the building and killing people before anyone was aware what was happening.
The media skirt around the issue, looking for any loophole they can use to justify some cause other than the prevalence of firearms in this country, as the reason for incidents similar to yesterday’s massacre.
Whatever the sickness pervading this nation that creates assassins like Stephen Kazmierczak, the root cause of yesterday’s killings lies with the number of firearms on the loose in this country and the ease with which people like Kazmierczak can obtain them.
THERE CAN BE NO ARGUMENT AGAINST THAT FACT.
The general objection to gun control is that it is impossible to take guns off the streets. Opponents argue that criminals will always be able to obtain them illegally.
Today, I have read comments from those who declare that if only students were allowed to carry weapons on their persons, Kazmierczak would have been gunned down before he could perpetrate his crimes.
THIS IS TOTAL AND UTTER MADNESS!
Proponents of this crazy idea would turn America’s campuses into battlefields. The young are emotionally impetuous enough, without putting lethal firearms in their pockets.
Today, in Britain, an experiment is taking place in schools in the southern town of Southampton. Metal-detecting wands are being used to check-out pupils suspected of carrying knives into schools. Head teachers confirm there is not a problem with knives in their schools, but the local authority has introduced the measure as an added security, and as an additional tool for teachers, should it be necessary.
Had Stephen Kazmierczak only had the option of a knife, it is likely he could have been overpowered before inflicting any fatal injury. In fact, he probably would never have attempted his attack if his only weapon were a knife. Somehow, a knife does not carry the power and romanticism of a firearm.
And thereby hangs the crux of the matter. In America, guns are romantic. They hold an appeal that lights the eye of every ‘macho’ American male. It’s a false machismo; an indoctrinated delight; a sop to male insecurity.
As an outside observer, it’s not difficult to understand the allure of gun power in America. Getting Americans to understand it is a different matter altogether. Tell an American male the selection of firearms in his gun cabinet is nothing more than a sop to his masculine insecurity is likely to find one at the receiving end of his favorite .270 Winchester.
Yet, doesn’t that just prove my point?
Gun control begins with a period of amnesty followed by enforcement, with fines and jail sentences for offenders. The opponents are right, guns would not disappear off the streets overnight and criminals would be the last people to lose access to them. It would take ten years to lower the level of gun ownership in this country to an acceptable and relatively legal level. It is not impossible. Other countries have achieved it. Over that ten year period, incidents like the massacre at NIU would decline.
The last school shooting in Britain was in March 1996, twelve years ago. Following that massacre of sixteen children and one adult, the government introduced legislation bitterly opposed by gun clubs and rifle associations throughout the land.
That the legislation was effective, is proven by the total lack of similar incidents since that time, and the fact that Southampton schools are more concerned about possible, though unlikely, knife attacks.
Does America have the courage to enact similar legislation, or is the macho insecurity of the American male more important than the lives of young US students?
Filed under: Don’t tell me it can’t be done