P22 Walther (One of the guns used in the Virginia Massacre)
“Action, fun, sport, speed, high velocity – catchwords for modern leisure activities. Now we are bringing fun into target shooting – the P22 makes fun shooting an experience.
The compact design and style of a modern defense pistol in caliber .22 l.r. with all the advantages of a large caliber allow for very reasonable practice firing or just to enjoy shooting. Based on a modular assembly concept the P22 makes it possible to vary the equipment. The barrel can be rapidly changed or by means of the mounting base, a point sight can be fitted.”
I don’t think I’ll ever understand the culture of owning guns in the United States for either pleasure or for self defense. The Dawson College shooting that took place in Montreal on September 13th, 2006 had prompted a lot of profound internal thought about school shootings, gun control and depressed and lonely individuals. Last week’s massacre at Virginia Polytechnic Institute has prompted even further deep thought on the issue.
Two things have come out of this massacre that are particularly unsettling to me (On top of the obvious one that these inexcusable actions actually took place).
The first issue is a no-brainer. There is an issue with sharing information between law enforcement agencies, the courts and the mental hospital. Cho’s mental state wasn’t recognized during his background check while purchasing his guns. This is a political and technology problem that can be improved with some coordination between agencies if it is set forth as a priority to do so. The same thing happened on September 11th between the U.S. intelligence agencies prior to 9/11 and there was also poor communication between the agencies involved after the attack had begun. A multi-million dollar review was done after these events, and measures have been taken to improve the communication between these agencies. The same thing should be done with gun purchases; communication should flow freely between the institutions when acquiring information about a person purchasing a firearm.
The second issue I have is with the media. NBC and the rest of the world’s media agencies have effectively made this individual a martyr. By posting his propaganda to the entire world, the media has made him famous. He wanted to be in the spotlight, and that is exactly what NBC has done by releasing the videos and photos.
When a famous artist like John Lennon is assassinated, people will always remember John Lennon. Fewer people will remember the name Mark David Chapman, the man who put the bullet in John Lennon in Manhattan on December 8th, 1980. But when is comes to mass murderers, few will ever forget the names Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, and now Seung-Hui Cho. Sadly, both Kimveer Gill, the Dawson shooter and Seung-Hui Cho had both praised Harris and Klebold before committing their school shootings. The media has made these names infamous for hatred and revenge.
Perhaps the saddest part other than the poor innocent victims and their families who died so suddenly is the fact that this individual showed many signs that he needed help, and he wasn’t able to get the help that he needed. He was injected into a society that he couldn’t cope with and he probably went numb after many years and it would seem that he didn’t get the attention he needed and unfortunately he must have felt that this was the only way for him to get attention. It’s extremely sad that so many had to suffer because of one person’s problems.
It’s also sad to see the pro-gun activists pushing to allow students to carry concealed weapons, saying that the massacre could have been prevented if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons for self-defense. I won’t scruitinize any further than to say that I think this logic is preposterous and the pro-gun activists are missing the entire root cause of the issue. This man shouldn’t have been allowed to legally purchase a weapon. Having a school full of students carrying loaded weapons is a ridiculous solution in my mind.