Saddened, Sick & Disgusted

I was saddened when I learned of the tragic shooting at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute this past Monday. It had all the tragic earmarks in place and has turned out to be the worst single case of gun violence in US history. I add my thoughts to all of those grieving for lost friends and loved ones and pray that God gives them strength in their time of suffering.

And yet somehow, the midst of this shocking, horrific event, something even uglier has started to rear its head. The need by some, to blame the victims of this unspeakable tragedy for what happened. You heard me right, some people are now talking about how this could have been avoided if only the students and faculty at Virginia Tech had stood up to Cho Seung-Hui and pulled a “Let’s roll!” number on him.

I witnessed this conversation no less than twice today, and both times they came from local radio station 101.1 WZTK Talk Radio. The first was during the national broadcast of right-wing goon Neal Boortz who entertained the idea that state run institutions, and schools in general are teaching our kids that the government will “take care of you” in all things, and so there is no need to defend yourself. He said they should have rushed the shooter to take him down. If they had, Boortz and caller agreed, this bloodbath could have been avoided.

I think I feel sick.

The second time was during the Allan Handleman show when his guest, Ted Nugent, advocated that this massacre couldn’t possibly have happened if the campus had not been designated as a “gun-free zone”. Yep, Nugent argued that if only the general student populace was allowed to carry concealed weapons, someone undoubtedly would have shot this kid before he got as far as he did.

Boortz is an ass-hat of the highest order. He consistently chooses inflammatory positions, rails against progressives and rarely lets callers who disagree with him get a word in, so his comments don’t surprise me, they just continue to disgust me. When someone has broken into your classroom, killed your teacher and starts shooting wildly, I know my first instinct is to jump up, and rush the guy, not dive under the nearest desk. Yeah, that’s what I’d do, and I’m sure that’s what Boortz would do as well. Like I said, asshat!

As far as Handelman goes, I like him alot. He’s usually very fair and argues from a position of logic and reason. But not today. Today he was one step behind Nugent and his “let’s arm everyone!” agenda and it really, really bothered me. Shame on you Allan! Just for a moment, let’s pretend that Virgina Tech wasn’t a gun free zone and students could carry concealed handguns on their persons. How many parents do you think would send their kids to that college? Would you feel safer or more scared knowing that there could be a loaded weapon parked in the backpack of the person sitting in front of you? And please don’t tell me “accidental miss-firings never happen”. If the Secret Service has problems like these, what do you think the rate of accidents would be on a college campus?

In both of these cases, these people were railing against the victims of Virginia Tech. There is nothing that turns my stomach more than placing blame where it has NO BUSINESS BEING, especially to push an agenda. Common sense tells us that the students in harm’s way this past Monday did what they did out of survival. Who are we to judge them? Has Boortz, Nugent or Handelman walked a mile in their shoes? Have they crouched terrified on a stairwell while shots ring out all around them? We need to support these people, not second-guess them. They need to know that we approve of what they did and how they conducted themselves, and that we would have done the exact same thing in their place. All of us need to heal, and these men’s words are serving only to inflict further harm. Stop it. Now.

UPDATE – I’m not the only one asking people to stop blaming the victims of this tradegy. Keith Olberman has some pretty strong words for three such individuals on last night’s “World’s Worst” segment. And lest our right-wing friends think otherwise, Think Progress reminds us that even President Bush backed “gun-free” zones in the debates running up to the 2000 election. Why? Because they make sense for schools, plain and simple.

UPDATE II – Local talk radio hosts Brad & Britt have added their voices to those denouncing the comments of Neal Boortz, calling his tirade of blame against the victims “reprehensible” and “disgusting”. Bravo to you guys for standing up to him on this issue, and on your own radio station 101.1 WZTK Talk Radio no less. Well done guys.


  1. One person with a handgun could have stopped 32 people from being shot. How hard is that to understand?

  2. Arming *everyone* would result in raising the odds that someone who does NOT know how to use a gun properly might accidentally wound a friend or themselves. People need to learn how to handle stress in a more reasonable way than taking it out on groups of other humans. I may feel intense frustration at work regularly, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t wish physical harm on any of my co-workers. I just go home and find some other way to relieve my stress.

  3. Its not hard to understand at all, but what has to happen for this to occur? Given the huge number of students at Virginia Tech., in order for *one* person in those classrooms to have a gun out of all the classes on campus means that hundreds or thousands of kids would have to have been packing, statistically speaking. Is that desirable?

    And if carrying concealed weapons deters “mass shootings” then, visible carrying of weapons has to be even more so right? Why not let every student at Virginia Tech carry a visible sidearm? Or better yet, an assault weapon since that would have taken out Seung-Hui even quicker. What’s the problem with that if they are law abiding citizens?

    Do you start to see the other side of the argument?

  4. I think the politicizing and posturing on both sides is despicable. A few thoughts…

    First, this guy was obviously seriously loopy. Should gun sellers be able to access the medical records of potential buyers? I mean, you could be a seriously paranoid person with a long record of bizzare actions, and all that would be hidden from a gun seller. Should the HIPAA laws have an exception here?

    Second, to “blame” the deaths on the students is just stupid, though I do wish one person on the hall had had a weapon so as to drop the dude right away. I think all of our instincts tell us to hide, duck, run, even though quite possibly, with a group, a charge is actually more strategic. You may lose 2-3 people and save dozens. But it is SO against our instinctive reactions that it would have to be very intentionally taught to groups, and to imagine teaching children and groups how to handle a gunman – well, that’s just really sad, though maybe at some point necessary.

    Third, I still can’t understand why some alarm did not go out given that a gunman who had killed two people was on the loose. I don’t want to second guess, I just don’t understand. I would imagine lots of lawsuits are coming.

    Fourth, as incredibly immature as I am learning college students are (I have three who report back), and given the amount of drunkenness, the meanness, the violent love triangles, the depression and anxiety issues, the unbelievable number of kids wired on Adderall, etc., the thought of an armed student population would not thrill me as father one bit.

  5. Joe, your points are all extremely well taken. The last paragraph is especially true. Having been through college, I know from personal experience that I would not want to attend a kegger party where any or all of the participants could be toting guns. And this says nothing of all of the other situations where being armed could also end up being a bad thing as well.

    Seems that parents want colleges to protect their children when they get their educations, not that they should have to defend themselves by carring concealed weapons. Something’s gotta change.

  6. I am a moderatly gun positive person. I happen to own 5 actually. I’m ex-military and trained in the use of them. I am also pro gun control. I have zero problem with certain places and events being free zones adn schools are definately one of them.

    My point is this really. Using a weapon properly, gun, knife, what have you, takes training. Being able to do so “under fire” takes a lot more traing, adn it’s different than what you get at your local range. Let’s face it, that’s what these kids wer…under fire. We have cops who freeze up when they are under fire, soldiers can do the same thing. Hell, I know my first instinct was to duck and cover and I had more and bigger firepower. These are highly trained people. If we can’t train the “duck and cover” instinct out of them completely what do you think would happen with these kids? That isn’t a dig on them. It’s reality, and quite honestly I’m glad we’re wired that way.

    Is it possible that someone could have shot him? Sure, but I think it’s far more probable that they would bave been running for the exits just like everyone else. It’s far more probable that there would be more accidental shooting all over the US, or more drunken shooting, or more suicide shooting, or…college is rough enough w/o throwing guns into the mix too. People this was an isolated incident, though sadly not unique. Let try to not overreact in either direction. I do find it very telling that while the RW talking heads were yacking about oh now thw “gun grabbers are going to come for your guns” the Left was far more interested in figuring out what happend, why, and making sure the students, and the community at large, was taken care of. The first thing I heard from the Left about gun control was when someone, and I apologize for forgetting who, said something like “now is not the time to use this to push an agenda”

    On a differnt note, WZTK is an interesting mix bag. The morning guys are great, but then you get Bortz. Allen in the afternoon, but he is a bit more RW than I remember him from his previous late night Sunday gig. After Allen is that smeg head Savage. I catch the last hour of the morning guys, flip over to 1680 AM for the Stephanie Miller show followed by Ed Schultz. Can’t stand Randi Rhodes most days so I flip to Allan at 4:00 or occassionally over to 680 AM and catch Bill Lumaye, the local RW nutjob out of Raleigh, if Allen is talking about nothing of interest.

  7. Lost, I’m with you all the way on this. I think your thoughts about “duck and cover” are right on. No matter what, do we really want teenagers running around with firearms in their backpacks and such at college? I’m pretty sure the answer to that is no.

    Regarding the radio stuff, I had no idea we could get Ed Schultz here in Greensboro!! I’ve been jonsing to take a listen to him for a while since I’ve heard he’s pretty good. I’ll have to flip my car radio over to AM and see what I can hear. Thanks for the tip!

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