Editorial: The necessary right of self-defense

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Editorial: The necessary right of self-defense

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From the <a href="http://www.californiapatriot.org/magazine/issue/8/8">May 2007 Print Edition</a>

Respectfully observing tragedy is never easy. Tempering a respect for the deceased and their families with a desire to draw upon lessons from the tragedy to prevent future occurrences is touchy. Indeed, allegations have already been levied that some have exploited the Virginia Tech shootings for political gain. Within hours of the attack, gun-control advocates began a full-fledged campaign against gun-rights politicians, as many in the media were quick to call for increased regulation of guns, ostensibly to prevent future tragedies.

We at the <em>Patriot</em> give our condolences to the families of the deceased, and pray for a quick recovery of those affected by the attack. At the same time, we take a firm stand against gun-control advocates who attempt to offensively use the recent tragedy to silence other voices.

The aftermath of Columbine was no different. Second Amendment advocates were branded "insensitive" and politicians seized the opportunity to put gun-control measures on the table. However, Virginia Tech bears little resemblance to Columbine.

Though the first two student deaths in the dormitory were unexpected, the subsequent slayings in Norris Hall could have been prevented with adequate campus security and warnings. The issue at question should be the shoddy campus security and an administration&#39;s apparent complacency in the face of red flags; campus officials issued only an e-mail warning to students after the first two victims were found murdered.

Virginia Tech&#39;s administration is not unique.

UC Berkeley&#39;s own stance on security is laughable, in the face of a locus of crime around People&#39;s Park. Vagrancy exists as a catalyst for crime, yet is permitted to continue. Admittedly, muggings and university shootings are on separate planes, but the complacency about student safety is the same. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy before bureaucratic and disconnected administrations get serious about student safety.

Despite the fact that the Virginia Tech administration could have done more to secure the campus, gun-control advocates nonetheless spuriously seized the opportunity to make the Second Amendment the primary culprit. However, existing gun-control laws outlawed the killer from having guns. Even <em>The New York Times</em> pointed out that existing laws "made the killer ineligible to purchase guns" since law "prohibits anyone who has been &#39;adjudicated as a mental defective ...&#39; from buying a gun." The killer slipped through existing statues because enforcement of such laws is spotty. Local mental-health records are often not synchronized with national records, which let killer Seung-Hui Cho slip through.

Gun-control advocates shouldn&#39;t be championing more legislation, but instead should be focusing their efforts on enforcing existing laws. Even if one philosophically supports additional gun-control laws, they would only serve to stretch existing enforcement budgets thinner, and result in a net decrease in enforcement.

Yet reasons to oppose gun control aren&#39;t just pragmatic. Freedom is often confused as the philosophical justification for the Second Amendment. However, the philosophical base for the right to bear arms is much more profound. Such a right empowers individuals to defend themselves, so they don&#39;t have to leap out of windows when threatened by mentally defective maniacs. It gives individuals the ability to defend themselves when a government or administration does not take the adequate steps to protect them. During the rampage, students were at the mercy of the killer and the Virginia Tech administration. Were even one mentally stable student, instructor, or janitor armed, the outcome would have likely been much different.

Far from demonstrating a need for extensive gun control, the Virginia Tech tragedy demonstrated the dangers of relying heavily on a bureaucratic entity for protection. It&#39;s true that enforcement of existing laws could have helped prevent the tragedy, and a more vigilant administration could have prevented two deaths from turning into 32. The underlying lesson to take from the tragedy, however, is markedly different. At the end of the day, neither a university administration nor government can ever be trusted to safeguard an individual&#39;s safety, because such amorphous bodies lack the direct accountability to do so.

The university president and security force may lose their jobs over the tragedy, and that may compel future officers to be vigilant. Yet the students who barricaded themselves into classrooms won&#39;t forget that they owe their lives to their own abilities to save themselves, not to a university administration, police force, or government.

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Original Source: California Patriot Online
<a href="http://californiapatriot.org/magazine/issue/8/8/editorial">http://californiapatriot.org/magazine/issue/8/8/editorial</a>

Licensed under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License</a>.

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California Patriot

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2007-08-05

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Brent Jesiek

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

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eng

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California Patriot, "Editorial: The necessary right of self-defense," in The April 16 Archive, Item #900, http://april16archive.org/items/show/900 (accessed September 2, 2014).