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Tragedies as Occasions for Discussing Ways To Prevent Repeat Tragedies:

The tragic shootings at Virginia Tech have already led some to ask whether more gun control — or more private gun carrying, including at universities — would help avoid such crimes in the future. They have also led some (for instance, Eric Muller (IsThatLegal?)) to fault those who are publicly discussing such policy responses so soon after the deaths.

It seems to me clear that such discussions are generally sound, even worthy. Using the attention created by a tragedy to try to prevent similar tragedies strikes me as in principle an eminently proper response, a way to allow at least some good to come from the evil. Preventing the tragedy from leading to unsound reactions likewise strikes me as an eminently proper response. (Complaints that legislative proposals triggered by the tragedies "politicize" the tragedies thus strike me as misguided, though of course complaints that particular proposals are practically or morally unsound may be eminently sensible.) But the question is whether we should pause before engaging in such discussions; in Eric Muller's words, "Let's wait at least a day before trying to score political points, shall we?"

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I thought I'd pose the question here (hoping that at least there's nothing wrong with using the tragedy as an occasion for asking this meta-question). I don't think the answer is clearly "yes, wait," the way it is as to critical obituaries of writers whose work one dislikes; responding to death using unpersonalized policy discussion is different from responding to death using personalized criticism of the dead person. On the other hand, I don't think the answer is clearly "no, go ahead," at least as a matter of first principles; perhaps we ought to have a social ritual of grief and condolences first, policy analysis (even of the most cerebral sort) later, and perhaps the very immediacy of the tragedy may lead to unsound first thoughts about the policy questions.

One extra piece of the puzzle: Even if we think that in the abstract the right approach would be to wait a day, should our analysis change because others will surely start talking about legislative responses right away?

The Brady Campaign, for instance, responded quickly (at the latest by 3:30 pm Eastern time the day of the murders) with condolences coupled with a call for more gun control. [UPDATE: So has the Violence Policy Center, as of 7 pm Eastern or earlier.] I first learned of the incident when I got a call from a French news agency that wanted to ask me all about American gun controls, and how the tragedy would likely affect the political debate; I expect that American news outlets will likewise discuss this in the coming hours.

Should this reality, coupled with the plausible expectation that there will be many pro-gun-control sentiments expressed even today, lead pro-gun-rights forces to speak up at the same time as the pro-gun-control forces are? Or would that just be practically counterproductive, as well as in bad taste (assuming that one thinks as a matter of first principles that talking about legislative responses right now is indeed in bad taste)? Two wrongs don't always make a right, but sometimes the right answer for one side is indeed altered by what the other side is doing. (That's why, for instance, advocates of campaign finance reform might both (1) prefer that all candidates fund their campaigns only using small donations, but (2) when their adversaries are getting big donations, conclude that it becomes proper for pro-reform candidates to seek out such big donations, too, at least until bilateral disarmament is achieved.)

In any event, I thought I'd pose this question, and see what our readers thought.

BobNSF (mail):

Two wrongs don't always make a right, but sometimes the right answer for one side is indeed altered by what the other side is doing.


People on both sides of the issue are remaining silent on the politics. People, again on both sides, are not. Would tracking down who started it really make any difference?

The question isn't whether you, as an individual, are one one side or the other of the political issue. The question to ask yourself is, "Am I civil and respectful or not?".
4.16.2007 6:51pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I think Prof. Muller engaged in a little bait-and-switch there. Of course we should wait some time before "trying to score some political points." (In fact, I think we ought to wait forever before doing that.) But discussion of policy proposals isn't the same as trying to score political points. At least one hopes it isn't.
4.16.2007 6:52pm
JosephSlater (mail):
As purely a matter of taste and decency, my instinct is to be on the "wait at least a day" side. But beyond that, while a policy debate is inevitable and might even be productive, at minimum both sides should wait until more facts are known before assuming that this particular event is yet more evidence for their side of the debate.
4.16.2007 6:55pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
Participants in discussions of the events at Virginia Tech. will be better served if they wait to see what facts can be gathered before shoe-horning the thing into their own political views about weapons. Trying to cast the events in a way that bolsters one's arguments can lead to an emotional commitment to particular characterizations of the facts that may begin to look silly if one tries to cling to them for too long after too many new (contrary) facts come out. Waiting to learn more will lead to more enlightening (and less eventually embarrassing) commentary.
4.16.2007 6:56pm
uh clem (mail):
The infortunate stark reality is that whoever frames the issue first gets the inside track to have their interpretation become the "conventional wisdom".

For PR flacks on both sides it would be derelection of duty if they didn't have a plan in place for an agressive media strategy in the aftermath of an event like this. We all knew that another event like Columbine was coming at some point. Just as we all know that Va Tech is merely the latest, and unfortunately not the last. The talking points were all written years ago; this sad event just gives them a soapbox upon which to read them.

So, expect many unreflective essays from both sides of the issue explaining that "I was right about gun control all along, and this tragic event proves it. If only the other side could take off the blinders and draw the obvious conclusions."
4.16.2007 6:57pm
Sean M:
The trouble is, it seems, is not that people are out to score political points, but rather than people are making policy pronouncements before not just all the facts are in, but /any/ of the facts are in.

In other words:

I doubt the Brady Campaign knew anything about who the shooter was, how he got his guns, or anything else about the incident at 3:30 today, other than what news reports said. Yet they get to come out and make this an occasion for beating the drum. They, as another commenter said, made the tragedy fit their agenda without waiting to know the facts.

So for now, we can mourn. And once we know more, we can take a look at how to prevent another Va Tech.
4.16.2007 7:11pm
Steve Reuland (www):
The problem I have with people trying to score political points when we don't even have the full body count yet is not so much the callousness, it's the fact that they're trying to make sweeping policy proposals on the basis of one lone incident. And importantly, it's an incident for which we don't even have all the facts in yet. We don't know at this point what the shooter's motives were, how he got a hold of the gun, what the police did that was right or wrong in their response, etc. We could wake up tomorrow and find out that whatever political points people are trying to score today have been completely mooted by new facts.

I find it very unlikely, unless this shooting is highly unusual, that it would have been prevented or ameliorated by some facile policy of gun control. At the other end, we have the absurd argument that the tragedy might have been averted if only the victims had all been carrying their own guns. Both are silly arguments. These things happen for complex reasons for which there is no easy fix, and no matter how hard we try, we'll never be able to prevent them 100% of the time. That's what bothers me most about people trying to score political points -- this particular tragedy might not tell us <i>anything</i> other than the fact that human beings are sometimes capable of unspeakable cruelty.
4.16.2007 7:17pm
OK Lawyer:
Our culture has destroyed the ability to reflect and contemplate. We must have everything RIGHT NOW. From email to blogs, to you tube, everything is quickly promulgated without thought given to the ramifications. Don't misunderstand, I love these things and abuse them as much as the next person. This technology creates a habit and addiction that must be fed. This tragedy is news, and probably should be broadcast. Given that Imus is running out of steam, and Anna Nicole is still dead, this will be the flavor of the minute.

All of this leads to knee jerk policies, and politicians eager to be "doing something," usually to "protect the children." Slow down, think, gather all the evidence, consider the ramifications of any proposed policies, THEN go on Larry King.
4.16.2007 7:18pm
Adam K:
Apropos of nothing, an actual question asked of a Virginia Tech student by an actual Northern Virginia local news anchor:


What are you doing to make sense of this? Are you talking to other students? Are you blogging...?


There is something incredibly insipid about that question.
4.16.2007 7:19pm
Steve Reuland (www):
Looks like I just repeated what Sean M said 6 minutes earlier. Must be contagious...
4.16.2007 7:19pm
r78:
My favorite comment in the blogosphere so far is that this many deaths in a day would be a pretty quiet day in Bagdad.
4.16.2007 7:24pm
AF:
I don't know what the right PR strategies are for the movements. I'm just a caveman. I do know that if I talked to anyone at Virginia Tech this week I wouldn't bring up gun control.
4.16.2007 7:34pm
Steve P. (mail):
At another message board that I frequent, we created a separate thread for political discussions about the shooting, and kept the main one focused on getting the facts about what had happened (as well as having a central place for people to make the necessary "what a tragedy" comments).

If people would try to score political points about the situation in the main thread, we'd use social ostracization to get them into the appropriate thread. It worked pretty well.
4.16.2007 7:34pm
Cyrus (www):
I think you're off base here, professor. The blogs Prof. Muller quoted weren't saying, "Geeze, this is terrible, where did we go wrong and how do we fix it?" They were using it as a chance to harp on one of their pet issues, without any real analysis of the actual events, what caused them, or, most importantly, any seeming understanding of the tragedy as anything more than, well, the chance to score a few political points.

To put it another way, go ahead and ask what we did wrong on the day of the tragedy. At least wait a day before you try to say you've found the answer.
4.16.2007 7:35pm
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
We need more facts. And for once I'm not blaming MSM, it takes time for investigation and sorting truth from rumour.
4.16.2007 7:48pm
whit:
"I find it very unlikely, unless this shooting is highly unusual, that it would have been prevented or ameliorated by some facile policy of gun control. At the other end, we have the absurd argument that the tragedy might have been averted if only the victims had all been carrying their own guns. Both are silly arguments"

averted? no

but would it have been less severe IF the victims had been ALLOWED to carry guns on campus.

most likely, yes.

campus' are great places if you want to do some mass murder. places like this college that ban the carrying of handguns insure a nice population of unarmed victims in waiting.

sorry, but that's the facts. if u disarm a population, you make them easy targets for somebody with a gun
4.16.2007 7:50pm
Clark Goble (mail):
"At the other end, we have the absurd argument that the tragedy might have been averted if only the victims had all been carrying their own guns. Both are silly arguments"

I'm not sure why this is a silly argument. The Salt Lake City shooting from a month and a half ago completely had the potential to have been as bad as this. There were several restaurants on a second floor with few exits that the gunman was heading towards. Had he not been kept in a hallway by an off duty police officer who had his fire arm with him then the killer would almost certainly have killed many, many more people. I have no doubt over 20. (A crowded Spaghetti Factory with lots of families in it that night? Do we really doubt a guy with a shotgun and semi-automatic pistol couldn't have killed dozens)

I don't say this to come down on one side or the other of the gun control issue since I think the way the debate is framed (in terms of single events and anecdotes) is unfortunate. The decision should be based upon debates about human rights and then aggregate consequences to various limits or relaxations of controls. That, unfortunately, is rarely done.
4.16.2007 8:04pm
Shangui (mail):
It might be worth waiting until we know something about the facts. 90% of what was said about Columbine in the first few WEEKS ended up being incorrect. Real policy discussions (as opposed to just cheap political points like "See, we must ban guns" or "If the whole class had been armed this would never have happened") need facts on which to base their arguments. I imagine we won't know these for a bit.
4.16.2007 8:17pm
Bob_R (mail):
My name is Bob Rogers. I am a math professor at Virginia Tech. I work in McBryde Hall, a few doors down from Norris. I was on the fifth floor watching as the swat teams moved in. And as the bodies were carried out.

You callous, unfeeling assholes on both sides can have your precious intellectual discussions before the blood has dried. I'll just sit hear and wait to hear which of my friends has been killed. If you pass a jagged 5mm kidney stone some time tonight, please let me know.
4.16.2007 8:32pm
ronbo:

[P]erhaps the very immediacy of the tragedy may lead to unsound first thoughts about the policy questions.

I think that's right, and by itself a good reason to pause. Also, I think that policy statements made "before the bodies are cold" are likely to be taken as political grandstanding by a (rationally) cynical public even if they actually merit serious consideration.
4.16.2007 8:39pm
Adam K:

You callous, unfeeling assholes on both sides can have your precious intellectual discussions before the blood has dried.


No one is forcing you to read it.
4.16.2007 8:49pm
r78:
Yes, they were all heroes.
4.16.2007 8:51pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I was willing to not say a whole lot about the tragedy from a policy point of view, but once the Brady's jumped on it, there wasn't much choice. As long as the other side is going to be entering into the debate surrounding the tragedy, we can't allow them to be the only voices out there.

I don't think there's much hope for delay in talking about the public policy implications of the tragedy, because in all likelihood neither side would be willing to remain silent on the issue. Given this inevitability, I'm not sure either side can be condemned either.
4.16.2007 8:53pm
Eric Muller (www):
Sebastian, Michelle Malkin blamed the murders on the campus ban on self-defense in a posting at 1:52 p.m. Looks like it wasn't "the Brady's" that jumped on it first.

Even more reason for decent people to impose a brief moratorium on themselves and just quit flogging their favorite policy proposals for a few hours.
4.16.2007 9:07pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The problem is that on both sides, a lot of policy is made based on leveraging on just this sort of thing. There is often a rush to solve the problem based on one incident, long before a legislature can do adequate research. In short, heat of the moment legislating. Of course, the Brady people are jumping all over this - some of their greatest legislative achievements have been in the immediate wake of such a tragedy.
4.16.2007 9:08pm
LM (mail):
I'll tell you tomorrow.
4.16.2007 9:09pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Ah... my mistake. I don't read Michelle.
4.16.2007 9:41pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Of course, even if I had known about Michelle's post, I wouldn't have said anything in response to her. It's mostly the pro gun-control groups that I pay attention to, given the subject of my blog. I'm not sure who's first matters, so much as soon as people start talking about it, it's out there, and naturally people are going to want a voice in the debate.

I agree with you in principle, that we ought to wait. But the debate will go on regardless, and I'm not sure I can blame people for wanting a say in it.
4.16.2007 9:50pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Eugene, having lived in Louisiana through Katrina, I can tell you that it does indeed feel very frustrating to watch a bunch of political yammering and posturing and finger-pointing before all the bodies have even been identified. It feels exactly like what it is, victims of a terrible tragedy being used for cheap political ammo. Yes, there are reasonable policy arguments to be made on both sides, but those policy arguments do not actually depend upon the day's body count. Using the events to "spark the debate" is simply using the victims to score political points. Count me as among those who beg the policy discussions to wait a day or two.
4.16.2007 10:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
One dynamic which we saw in Katrina is that, having staked out a position which is later contradicted by facts, the party in question is committed to the wrong facts. And will insist on them indefinitely.
4.16.2007 10:13pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Eric: First, do you know when the Brady Campaign posted their page? I know it was by 3:30 Eastern, but I'm not sure exactly when.

Second, my point (I can't speak for Sebastian) isn't precisely about who moved first by an hour or two. Rather, it's that we can all be pretty sure that people will be making the policy arguments quickly, within hours. Given this reality, does it make sense for others to forbear? Or does it make sense for them to say that even if one's first-best solution is "no-one makes policy arguments based on a tragedy for 24 hours," so long as lots of people -- including many on the other side (perhaps even disproportionately so) -- are sure to make such arguments quickly, the second-best solution is for everyone to make the arguments quickly, rather than for some groups to unilaterally disarm?
4.16.2007 10:21pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
In an ideal world, people would keep their mouths shunt until
a) Next of kin was notified and
b) Facts were in hand.

Clearly, we live a less than idea world.

I have sympathy for Bob_R. When those involved are known and dear to you, the personal facets are what matter most. To others, particularly those tasked with dealing with the emergency, emotions have to be put on hold, not action.

We do live in a world that is doubly damned with an insatiable need for instant information and slash-and-burn politics. As nature abhors a vacuum, the news media abhors a lack of facts. If there are no facts forthcoming, the danger is that they'll be invented, built up out of what scraps can be gathered.

I've had to deal with crises that were complicated, involving life-and-death issues, and in which there was intense media interest. It's hard to get reporters (at least the new or lazy ones) to realize that it takes time for facts to be gathered, never mind analyzed. You have to gather what you can; assemble it; sort out conflicting information, overlapping information; see if you can make coherent sense out of it. Then see if it matches up with the next bit or flood of information that comes in.

You have to be cautious not to spread mistaken information, but you can't be so slow that invented information gets out there instead. You spend a lot of time calling people back and telling them, 'No, that's not what I said! That's what you heard.' You try to keep reporters on line with the facts, but they're picking up rumors or misinformation that never crossed your path. And they're putting it together with things that may be right, but not quite in that way. Too often, the mistakes get through and on the air before much (any) fact-checking has gone on. But the beast must be fed.

Emotional issues like gun control have the proponents of both sides of the argument on hair triggers (no pun intended). At the first sniff of pertinence, the gun goes off both to mark one's presence (frame the argument) and to make the other guy duck (preventing him from framing the argument). Sometimes, only people's jobs and reputations are at risk. Sometimes, it people's lives, either now or in the future.

The only way those arguments would not be launched is if the person making them had direct emotional involvement in the event that superseded the politics.

I'd love to live in an ideal world. Unfortunately, that's not the one my entry ticket was for. Nor most of us, I suspect. We have to deal with the one we've got, complete with all its callousness, cheap shots, and political point making.
4.16.2007 10:28pm
tsotha:
We've seen these policy arguments made over and over after every tragedy in the last few years. This is one of those issues where the political concrete is pretty set, so I don't expect the fact that one side or the other was the first to the fax machines will make much difference in the long run.

I think we can afford to wait a day or two out of respect for the dead.
4.16.2007 10:32pm
Eric Muller (www):
Eugene, I'm not sure when the Brady Campaign first spoke; the earliest news story citing Brady that I can find in the google news archives is time-stamped 7 hours ago (and it's now 10:00 p.m. Eastern). Brady's press release on its webpage is not time-stamped.

I now see, by the way, that Glenn Reynolds posted this at 12:50 p.m.: "THIS IS AWFUL: 'At least 20 people were killed this morning at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University after a shooting spree at two buildings on the campus." Nobody seems to know much yet on what happened. These things do seem to take place in locations where it's not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns, though, and I believe that's the case where the Virginia Tech campus is concerned. I certainly wish that someone had been in a position to shoot this guy at the outset.'"

I mention this -- and mentioned Malkin -- not because I think it relevant to determine who started spouting policy first, but because a commenter here suggested that it was gun control advocates who made the first move. I don't think we really know who made the first move.

What I do think, instead, is that while thirty-some dead bodies are being wheeled from a campus building in Virginia and families and friends haven't yet been notified and people all over the country are reeling from the initial apprehension of the horror of what has taken place, policy advocates should just pipe down for a day. They should do this even if the result is strategically disadvantageous to "their side" because "the other side" is not piping down. I just feel it is the right -- the respectful -- the decent -- thing to do.
4.16.2007 11:13pm
Cecil Kirksey (mail):
Anyone care to speculate on the potential blood bath if everyone in Norris Hall was packing heat when the SWAT team started breaking doors down...
4.16.2007 11:53pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Cecil: Since SWAT teams generally are shouting "Drop your guns", my guess would be a very small bloodbath.

Even if one didn't have direct training on point, there are enough films out that demonstrate that you don't want to be holding a firearm when the rescuers come busting through a door. You don't even want it under you.
4.17.2007 12:25am
Sebastian (mail) (www):
It doesn't work that way Cecil. After you stop the threat and assess your environment for other threats, you holster the weapon.

Police officers face this problem as well. I know of an off duty officer who got into a problem with officers in another town because he took a suspect at gunpoint, and the officers, not being familiar with the out of town cop, arrived on the scene not knowing the guy with the gun was a cop. It all ended without anyone getting hurt. But it does show police aren't immune from this danger as well.
4.17.2007 12:39am
Eliza (mail):
"perhaps we ought to have a social ritual of grief"

No. Let's not indulge in a phoney outpouring of public "grief" on this one. Let's especially not be led by politicians in doing so. There are people in our country tonight who are genuinely mourning the loss of someone they loved; their grief is real. No one here has been bereaved by this tragedy, and pretending to share their pain makes only mocks their suffering. Sympathy, yes; social rituals of grief, no.
4.17.2007 12:50am
Neal R.:
Bob Rogers,
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire Virginia Tech community.
4.17.2007 1:04am
Daniel DiRito (mail) (www):
Is This A Symptom of our "Chain Letter Society"?

Read an analysis of the influences in our "Chain Letter Society" that may be precipitating events like the tragedy at Virginia Tech and how our focus on winning and being number one may be fostering a generation of children with fully inadequate coping skills who have a misguided sense of self-worth...here:

www.thoughttheater.com
4.17.2007 1:07am
Bill in New Hampshire:
Maybe what we need is a federal law against FOREIGN STUDENTS HERE ON A VISA from owning handguns.

Oops there already is a federal law that forbids foreigners who are not permanent residents from possessing firearms. In other words this Chinese exchange student did was a lawbreaker from the outset.
4.17.2007 8:33am
Jeek:
Yeah, given that the killer no doubt broke dozens of laws already, I am sure that putting a few more on the books would have stopped him cold!
4.17.2007 8:55am
Andrew Frechtling (mail):
Professor Volokh might want to consider two points:

1. This issue has been contentious for years, and so the rapid response from both pro- and anti-self-defense forces is not unexpected. Many jurisdictions prohibit CCW permit holders from carrying on campus, and many schools have their own regulations to that effect. VT had such a policy itself, whcih guaranteed students and faculty would be defenseless, and did nothing to stop the attacker.

2. A rapid change in public policy is required now to get armed citizens on campus quickly, to stave off potential copycat crimes. This is particularly urgent in the light of the terrorsit threat. Terrorists must be now very appreciative of how legislatures and school administrators have made campuses some of the safest places to commit a mass shooting....unlike other venues, where there are more likely to be armed defenders.
4.17.2007 9:43am
uh clem (mail):
given that the killer no doubt broke dozens of laws already, I am sure that putting a few more on the books would have stopped him cold!

Thank you for this morning's dose of nihilism.

Why have any laws at all if criminals don't obey them?
4.17.2007 10:28am
fontbleau (mail):
Thank you for this morning's dose of nihilism.

Why have any laws at all if criminals don't obey them?


The contention isn't that we need to eliminate all gun laws; it's that laws alone can't stop this sort of behavior, and it's futile to push additional laws thinking that somehow those will.
4.17.2007 10:46am
Mindsteps:
It has been noted how gun rights and gun control proponents have quickly jumped onto the Viginia Tech tragedy as an opportunity to push their agenda (Glenn
Reynolds included a comment suggesting that the massacre could have been minimized, if Va. Tech was not a gun free zone). I was uncomfortable with individuals advancing their agendas (both pro and anti-gun rights) so soon after the tragedy.

In an email a few months ago, I challenged Glenn Reynolds and his efforts to promote gun rights, in part based on his contention that it would make the U.S. a safer, less crime ridden country.

My review of the violence literature (while not complete) suggests that there is no good evidence that conclusively supports one position over another. That is, both
gun rights advocates and gun control proponents provide correlational data that is so complex and fraught with so many confounding variables as to make their conclusions shaky at best. Moreover, there may not be a linear relationship between guns and violence in one direction or another (i.e. positive or negative relationship between guns and crime). Rather the relationship is probably complex and moderated by a number of other
variables (e.g. gender, age, use of alcohol, etc).

Gun rights advocates like to present correlational data that suggests that the loosening of gun control laws in an area is associated with reduced crime, while gun
control proponents point out that the U.S. has higher murder rates related to firearms than any other country in the world not involved in a war.

Now, here is where I challenged Mr. Reynolds. I provided him with the above argument and suggested that it should not matter to a 'libertarian' and 'supporter of the constitution' such as himself that gun rights might lower,
have no effect on, or raise the rates of gun crime. I argued that Mr. Reynolds should have the courage to support it on ideological grounds, even if it were to cause an upsurge in violence.

He never responded to my email.

Personally, I would love to be able to have good data on the complicated impact of arming a heterogeneous society such as ours with firearms. If it turns out
that it produces a safer, more open and free society, I would support gun rights. If it turns out to produce more fear, less freedom, and/or more danger I would be
against it (If only it would turn out to be so simple!). I would imagine that the kinds of studies that would be able to provide interpretable and sound conclusions (controlling for all kinds of bias and extranous variables) would be hard to do. I also suspect that both gun control and unfettered access to guns are likely to be associated with many and complex unintended and unpredicted consequences for
our society.

Since Mr. Reynolds is casting about looking for data that says that greater access to guns leads to less crime does this mean that he has some doubts about his libertarian philosoply and/or his belief in our constitutional right to bear arms?
4.17.2007 7:23pm
Purple Avenger (mail) (www):
Why have any laws at all if criminals don't obey them?

So you can arrest and sentence them after they break the law?
4.17.2007 8:56pm
Mike Rosenberg (mail) (www):
What's the question? Is it "How do we sell our shtick?" or "How do we find the lessons that can be learned, if any?"

The rush to offer solutions following a tragedy -- especially solutions that require more knowledge of what happened than is usually available immediately following the tragedy, is the sign of a flack, not a scholar.
4.17.2007 9:26pm
res (mail) (www):


Many feelings, including the ones of outrage, can be expressed, following upon this tragedy, in Virginia.

It is my hope that this raises the issues of Security, and our gun laws.

What should we do now? Remember: And do all we can to make love &respect, for all men &women, a life-long goal.

This above link, is my own statement upon this terrible instance of inhumanity...it is, a posted message to the students, professors, mentors, and the families of Virginia Tech.

With Love, William H. Balzac ("Res"~~my blog nic)
4.18.2007 2:27pm