In the early morning light six years ago today, on April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho loaded his Glock 19 and Walther P22 and started his cold, deadly massacre on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA. As the day unfolded, 32 students and staff were murdered, as well as 17 others who were injured by the gunfire. In addition, Cho took his own life and 6 other students were injured when trying to jump from windows in an escape attempt. Known as the second deadliest shooting in America, this event left the world stunned.
In a knee jerk reaction, demands for more gun control swept the country. Virginia Tech tightened up their gun laws so that it’s now illegal (and has the force of law) for anyone to carry a gun to any Virginia Tech event on campus or inside any campus buildings. Is Virginia Tech any safer because of these new laws? Would ink and paper have prevented Cho, were April 16th, 2007 to happen again? If Cho had no respect for laws against murder, why would gun-free zones matter to him?
Gun control is not a new issue, but it is rife with new fervor. It is the ‘Global Warming’ movement and debate of today. The Iraq War. The 99%. The issue of the moment.
As with other issues, our nation is divided into polar opposite gun beliefs. One side holds to the tenet of suppression. This says that if we as a nation can crack down on gun proliferation and prevent these guns from circulating through the populous, then we can keep them out of the hands of those people who would do us harm.
The other side of the fence holds to the tenet of protectionism. This says that if we as people can effectively and freely arm ourselves, we can effectively and freely protect ourselves by stopping those who would do us harm before they could act.
The American media speaks for the suppression side. Most of those in the media are very anti-gun, and news stories are rhetorically framed by presenting the facts through the “guns are bad” lens. One effective technique to this end is projecting the anti-gun philosophy onto the victims of mass shootings. These families and survivors are frequently set up to speak to the ills of gun ownership in terms of their losses.
Not everyone in the victim population is such an easy tool to grease, however. There are those who refuse to give in to the suppressionist mindset. People like Holly Adams, the mother of a Virginia Tech fatality, has been a strong force for the rights of gun owners, actively speaking out in favor of conceal and carry, public carry, and campus carry laws nationwide.
“Would the other parents of victims be forever thankful if a professor or student was allowed to carry a firearm and could have stopped Seung-Hui Cho before their loved one was injured or killed? I would be.“ Holly further explained her reasoning for carrying weapons on campus to stop a future massacre. Would the outcome not have been much different had law-abiding citizens been armed during the Virginia Tech massacre? Holly Adams fervently believes so. “I also suspect that the tragedy may not have occurred at all if Cho knew that either faculty members or students were permitted to carry their own weapons on campus.”
Sadly, Holly and those like her are largely shunned by the media. For example, after Newtown, the news show panels’ pro-gun participants were largely crackpots who weren’t capable of speaking anything other than NRA talking points – utterly incapable of explaining those talking points past the statements themselves. Educated individuals like Adams, who would have provided just as powerful a pro-gun argument as the Newtown parents’ anti-gun argument, are never included.
The gun debate will forever favor the suppressionists thanks to the media. Holly Adams’ viewpoint will not be heard, and steps taken by campuses like Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, who recently passed measures allowing professors and students’ campus carry rights, will seldom be reported.
Carrie is an avid 2nd Amendment gal who believes her right to self defense aren’t just granted in the Constitution, but merely as a human. Beyond target practicing at the range, biking or hiking, Carrie works for RYP Marketing, a web design and internet marketing company.