There's enough in the papers, on TV, and even in the blogosphere about the massacre at Virginia Tech that no one needs to hear from me. Or at least that's what I thought until I read this statement in this morning's New York Times: "This brutal attack was not caused by nor should it lead to restrictions n the Second Amendment, which guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms." God, no. If you're running for president, your first reaction should be not to stop massacres, but to toady to the NRA, right? I don't know if John McCain made that statement from his bus, "The Straight Talk Express" or not, but it still makes me angry. Rudy Giuliani who in the past had stood for federal registration of handgun owners, now says, "People have the right to keep and bear arms and the Constitution says this right will not be infringed.'' Don't think this is a Democrat-Republican issue. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said, "I hope there's not a rush to do anything" in response to the Blacksburg massacre. A plague on both your houses!
When I worked on anti-terrorism for the Senate, I helped get a bill going that would place inert markers in gunpowder and other explosives. In case of a terrorist bomb made with a substance that contained the markers, the government would be able to trace where the explosive was manufactured. The National Rifle Association opposed the bill because some hobbyists made their own bullets from black powder. The markers would not have stopped them from doing so, but that didn't matter. The bill never had a chance.
Should people have the right to have assault weapons? Should the perpetrator of the horror in Blacksburg have been able to get his hands on ammo clips that held more than ten bullets? Why? Does anybody doubt that if it were put up to a national plebiscite, we would have greater control over firearms? Last October an ABC/Washington Post poll showed 61% in favor of stricter laws. I want a president with morals beyond those required to get elected, one who will not toady, but will lead. Sigh.
Finally this. Do you know what broke my heart? That Liviu Librescu, a 76-year old survivor of the Holocaust teaching at Virginia Tech, died while blocking the door to his classroom so his students could escape from the mass killer. And that the massacre occured on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.