4/18/2007

Call It By Its Name

In Ursula LeGuin's wonderful Wizard of Earthsea books, the secret of the wizards is that they know the true names of things. This gives them the ability and power to affect the world around them. The apprentice wizards go to school primarily to learn and memorize true names. We need to send our news media and political leaders to such a school. It would greatly increase our power to respond to events like the Virginia Tech massacre.

First of all, it isn't a tragedy. Yes, it is tragic. I cannot imagine the pain and grief of the families of those who were killed. But what happened was a crime. It was a heinous act of murderous evil. There is no meaningful response to tragedy outside of faith, but there is a meaningful response to evil that is concrete.

And it didn't happen because of guns. The New York Times in a fatuous editorial I'm not even going to bother linking because it doesn't deserve it said that the availability of guns "caused" this waste of life. Baloney. The evil in a human heart caused this. As the bumper sticker says, Guns kill people the same way spoons made Rosie O'Donnell fat.

In fact if anything, too much gun control is the problem. Virginia Tech is a "weapons-free" zone. Students and faculty, even if they are licensed to carry concealed weapons are not allowed to have them on campus. Of course that didn't stop Cho did it? All it did was stop those who might have been able to bring his rampage to a halt. Carrying weapons is not a panacea...but it does provide at least a chance to fight back more effectively.

And can we please stop talking about healing? I don't fault the President of the School for failing to lock the place down after the first shooting...that's hindsight talking. But I hold in complete contempt his remarks on the day of the massacre that they needed to start healing. No, they need to grieve. They need to mourn and lament. They need to be angry. They need to deal with the real and understandable emotions rather than stuffing them into a new age box called healing. That's a crock.

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