Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Pornography of Violence

How do you even begin to process what happened at Virginia Tech?

It's one of those horrific incidences that simply doesn't compute. A real-life Terminator strolls through a building like the movie Terminator walked through the LA police building, an invincible death dealer, lining people up against the wall and shooting them down with all the stress and drama of an afternoon plinking in front of a prairie dog town.

Except that in real-life, the Terminator isn't a late 21st Century cyborg...he's a 20-something college student with clinical depression and a crappy love life. He's not made of some magic metal that deflects bullets, with targeting computers and laser search-and-destroy machinery....he's a kid made of flesh and blood clothed in sweatshirt and jeans.

I don't have any answers for you. And maybe today isn't a day for answers, but a day for mourning the dead. And maybe a day for questions.

If monsters walk among us, do we create them?

Is a culture without shame, without responsibility, without honor, without consequences the place where we want to raise our children or where we want our parents to see their final days?

Do cameras, metal detectors, security guards, "gun-free zones," police sweeps, expanded government regulations make us safe or do they all simply blind us to the dangers that lurk of the darkness in men's hearts?

Are our lives so small and so worthless even to ourselves that we have decided we are not worth defending; that we can just "outsource" our protection to a university or a police department or a government?

Do we, can we, stand up?

I will not lie to you...the fight is upon us, and it will be the fight of our lives. I unconditionally believe in the inherent correctness,
the necessity, of our cause. Read the comments of Virginia Tech spokeman Larry Hincker when House Bill 1572, the Virginia bill which would have allowed Virginia college students to have their legal concealed carry guns on campus failed, "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." Then read the words of Bradford Wiles, a graduate student at Virginia Tech:
I would also like to point out that when I mentioned to a professor that I would feel safer with my gun, this is what she said to me, "I would feel safer if you had your gun."

I am qualified and capable of carrying a concealed handgun and urge you to work with me to allow my most basic right of self-defense, and eliminate my entrusting my safety and the safety of my classmates to the government.
The harsh reality is that the world is not a safe place, nor can it be rendered safe. When we choose "feeling safe" over accepting responsibility for our own safety, we step onto a path that is as old as human civilization itself, a path that is guaranteed — guaranteed! — to lead to disaster. Not "maybe;" not "sometime;" but always.

We are going to have to stand — you, me, all of us. And we are going to have to look the hard questions in the eyes.

But today we mourn the dead...and celebrate the life of a hero, Professor Liviu Librescu, the 76-year-old Holocaust survivor who died on Holocaust Remembrance Day saving his students. Professor Librescu blocked the doorway and eventually threw himself in front of the shooter, allowing his students to get away. I don't presume to know what was in the professor's mind in those moments, but I can't help believing that he knew what was outside his door, because he had heard that knocking before. And in that moment he knew he had to stand.

Can we do less?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least somebody knew when to make a stand.

Anonymous said...

I am a college faculty member.

I am also a police-certified CCW instructor for the state of Arkansas.

I am prohibited, by current state law, from being able to carry where I spend most of my day, which is on a college campus.

Current law demands that I remain a relatively defenseless victim in the face of a determined killer.

This is not right.

I deeply respect the heroism of the professor who died to save his students.

And I knew another professor killed in a campus shooting in Arkansas.

Heck, I spent a semester sitting two feet away from the man who shot and killed him, too.

But professors and instructors should not be forced to be mere targets for determined killers

Roy Hill

CoolCole said...

Very good words. Very true. I only fear that the other side of the table will use this event in the pursuit of removing the protections we hold dear to our own safety.

Take care.

-CoolCole

Joe in Memphis said...

Well said... And thank you for saying it. May God be with us all.

John said...

This just reinforces what we all should have learned after 9/11 and from flight 93. There are no more hostage situations, fight back with every means available!

My appeal is that these people have not died in vain. We must ever refuse to become victims.

Charles said...

I was lucky to grow up in the shadow of Virginia Tech and spent a great deal of time there. The sense of community there is indeed stronger than what the media today has repeatedly reported. From this heritage, I have had a strong interest in the press coverage from my home in Georgia and I today watched the coverage including a live broadcast of the services where President Bush spoke.

Michael I can say without a doubt that the words you expressed in your blog today are among your very best to date and the "pros" today on television had comments that did not hold a candle to yours.

The idea of whether or not we hold our very lives dear enough to take up our own defense rather than to "outsource" it to others is exactly the type of belief that would spring from a graduate of Virginia Tech. I do not know where you received any of your post secondary training but it is very evident that you are a Hokie in your heart.

Thank you for your comments today which made me more proud than ever to call you my friend.

Charles Bond

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Michael.
As usual, very well put.

Regarding Professor Librescu:
"because he had heard that knocking before. And in that moment he knew he had to stand."

God Bless that man.

kmitch200

Damy said...

Your words were indeed the most level-headed and inspiring I've heard all day. This was a terrible tragedy, but it cannot be blamed on Americans owning guns, as some people want to. In fact, honest people must own and carry guns to defend against this sort of thing. Whenever I feel like I'm overwhelmed by irrational anti-gun media, I can always turn to your blog to lift my spirits and restrengthen my clear-minded resolve.

Anonymous said...

MB--well said--Very moving words--
As we say in our Jewish tradition--"Words that come from the Heart enter directly into the Heart" Very well said again--Thank you for expressing our thoughts so eloquently--DMD

Ted said...

Well said , Michael. I see your remarks published elsewhere already.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bane, your words on this are very well written and right on the mark.

Mark R.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Well said. Best to ya.

Scott Linden

Aaron said...

Great commentary, can we quote you?

DirtCrashr said...

We learned nothing from Beslan, either.

Anonymous said...

Michael- GREAT post. Thanks.
Sol
www.gunsamerica.com

ppppino said...

Michael,
I'm curious..if Babara Boxer and others like her in government were sitting in a Virginia Tech classroom on that fateful day and knew that a gunman was about to enter that classroom and start shooting people would she:
a. Use a gun to protect herself and the other students? or
b. Resign herself and the others to a date with death?

Jim w. said...

May I consider that if Professor Librescu's students had been worthy of his sacrifice, they would have taken the time he gained to mob the killer instead of bailing out?

The solution is not (just) wearing a gun to class, it is the combat mindset. As J. Cooper said "The proper response to aggression is anger."

Remember Flight 93.

Anonymous said...

thank you mike.
my condolences to their family and friends

Anonymous said...

Just like to add another "well put". MRJ.

Anonymous said...

The NRA doesn't want guns on school grounds.

If you support the NRA, you need only look in the mirror to see how the setup to this tragedy was allowed.

Anonymous said...

I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I ALSO AM
CONSIDERING GETTING A CONCEALED WEAPONS LICENSE. I AM 62 AND HAVE A VERY RATIONAL MIND. I WORKED FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH DEPT IN THIS AREA AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THE REASON THIS BOY WAS ON THE STREET IS BECAUSE "SOMEONE IN THEIR INFANITE WISDOM" IN THE MENTAL HEALTH DECIDED THAT THESE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE INCARCERATED OR PUT IN A MENTAL INSTUTION. CHECK AND YOU WILL FIND THE AVERAGE LENGTH IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL IS 3-4 DAYS. THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE SO MANY HOMELESS PEOPLE ON THE STREET. THEY FIGURED THAT THEY WOULD BE BETTER OFF LIVING ON THE STREET THEN GETTING THE CARE THEY NEEDED IN THE HOSPITAL. THIS BOY THAT KILLED THOSE STUDENTS - I WOULD BE WILLING TO GUESS THAT IN HIS FILE SOMEWHERE IS HOW DANGEROUS HE WAS
AND THEY COULD DO NOTHING ABOUT IT----OR WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
I HAVE SEEN PEDIFILES TURNED LOOSE ON THE STREETS. GET YOURSELF A GUN----TRUST ME--WE ARE ALL GOING TO NEED ONE--------

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments. The best commentary I have read thus far.

smokin45 said...

Amen!

Predictably, the libs will try to use the blood of the victims of this horrible incident to write new gun control laws. We all know that due to the law of supply and demand, these laws will prevent gun violence and illegal gun trafficking to felons and lunatics the same way that drug laws have prevented drug abuse - They will not! The only ones to suffer will be law-abiding gun owners who will be forced to be helpless, unarmed victims.

Interestingly, the day after the shootings I saw a televised interview with several members of the VT gun club who were in the area at the time. They all agreed that had the university allowed them to carry on campus, they could have done something about it and narrowed the scope of the tragedy!

Kelly Pennington said...

AMEN my friend... and very well written I must say!!! Publicola was right, you are well spoken and make a very convincing point.

WELL DONE!!!

Anonymous said...


The Mary Carpenter Story and the
Valor of a Nine year old child


May you stand before God and man as my two precious grandchildren's killer if you pass any more gun legislation that will make me a felon should I own a handgun or any other gun for that matter.
Sincerely,


Mary Carpenter




http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7CCB40F421ED4819



http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/2nd_Amend/deaths_in_merced.htm


http://www.grnc.org/mary_carpenter_letter.htm