Gun violence and psycho killers


April 18, 2007 9:18 PM
Cho Seung Hui, Virginia Tech mass murderer

The news broke early yesterday morning and it felt surreal. The impact did not hit me until a while later: 33 people dead. I was morbidly fascinated by the story that unfolded when more was revealed about the killer and his possible motives.

Jealous boyfriend guns down 32 – World – smh.com.au

He was a loner, depressed and no one understood him. Isn’t that always the case with psychotic killers?

Killer known as Question Mark kid – World – smh.com.au

Later, after the initial shock of the deaths had surpassed I began to wonder about the gun control laws in the US. You couldn’t avoid hearing about it and both sides of the argument are compelling.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is the oft-repeated phrase from those who are pro-gun. Gun control laws were not to be blamed and could not have prevented this incident. Cho Seung-Hui legally purchased one of the guns which he would later used to kill 32 people and himself.

Martin Bryant, Port Arthur mass murderer

Even if a gun buyer was sane and well-adjusted when they bought a gun, there’s nothing to say that something wouldn’t snap one day and the gun is used for murder. After all, guns are highly restricted here in Australia, but Martin Bryant still managed to kill 35 people with them in the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. So obviously, psychotics will kill regardless of what the laws are right?

On the other hand, if psychotics could not get their hands on guns could they had performed their mass murders so easily? Knives are slow and messy. Maybe they could have build a bomb or two but that takes more knowledge, skill and effort, and would have been harder to conceal.

Guns are infinitely easier. From this point of view, restricting gun ownership makes sense. But we go back to the scenario where a law-abiding and mentally sound person has the potential to become the opposite and go out and kill people with their legally purchased weapons.

So while both sides of the spectrum present good reasons for and against gun control, and assuming that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution would never be repealed (it’s so ingrained into their psyche), I humbly proposed a compromise. Restrict automatic weapons, and high-impact and high-capacity ammunition to only law enforcement and the military*. If the general populace must have guns, then let them have the manual and slow-ass versions.

Psychos would still be able to get guns if they wanted to, but at least they won’t be able to kill with such terrifying speed and efficiency.

*Yes, I know psychos exist in law enforcement and the military too but they are a smaller number than the psychos in the general public.

ADDED 11:29pm – Global reactions to incident and US gun culture:
Shootings draw global condemnation – Massacre at Virginia Tech – MSNBC.com

10 thoughts on “Gun violence and psycho killers

  1. Fird

    I was having dinner when I saw this on the news. Was really a shocking news to me (and being Asian myself, I completely felt uncomfortable of the after-effects that this incident will cause)

    Reply
  2. shelly rayedeane

    I agree with the ban on semi-automatics, but I can never agree with not having the right to bear arms in some form or another here in America. The thought of giving up this much control to my government is frightening as hell. After all, look at the mess we’ve already made in places like Iraq. Could you imagine that same mess over here, without us being able to defend ourselves? My government would completely take over. There are just way too many greedy people in positions of power (in the U.S.) whose only intentions are to take care of number one. I think I’ll take my chances when it comes to a possible encounter with civilian with a gun. It beats the hell out of the thought of an army of men controlling my every move.

    Reply
  3. mooiness Post author

    Cherisher: yes it is.

    Fird: Although it has the potential to have ugly racial effects, I never think much of it. People can see that this is the actions of a very disturbed individual. He could have been white, black, brown or yellow and it wouldn’t have mattered.

    shelly: after reading up about the second amendment, I understand the reason for it which is what you have said. But yeah, automatic weapons should not be in the hands of civilians.

    van: you really thought a university campus is the safest place in the world? It’s merely a microcosm of the outside world, with all its inherent flaws.

    Campus shootings have happened in Australia too, albeit at a smaller scale.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monash_University_shooting

    Lupin: anytime innocent people die, it’s saddening. But let us remember that a lot of innocent people are dying everywhere else on the planet too.

    Reply
  4. Rob

    reading some of the information about this guy. stalking, harrassment of women, violent fantasies. kinda reminds me of a guy I knew at uni. thankfully guns aren’t readily available in Australia.
    interesting statistic that’s always dragged up by the gun lobby during the gun argument. In Switzerland every male adult is required to keep a gun and Switerland has one of the world’s lowest gun related crime stats. I was talking to a Swiss mate of mine and the difference between there and the US is that they keep their guns from military service so they are trained to use and respect their weapons. He actually prefers not to have one in case his kids accidentally get hold of it.

    Reply
  5. juji

    note:

    though Martin Bryant did kill all those people in Port Arthur in 1996, by the following year all semi-automatic rifles were officially banned under legislation passed by the federal government. since then, Australia has not experienced any other similar incidents.

    in this way, i wonder whether if action like this was taken by the US government whether things would ‘improve’.

    of course, i doubt there would ever be any kind of ban on guns in the states.

    Reply
  6. mooiness Post author

    juji: my point was that, even before the Port Arthur Massacre, Australia’s gun laws were quite restricted already as compared to the USA and still the massacre was committed. So in that point of view, laws alone aren’t enough.

    Guns would never be banned in the USA because of the Second Amendment but restrictions should definitely be placed on automatic weapons with high-impact and high-capacity ammunition.

    Reply

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