Government by martyrdom is not the way it should work


Government by martyrdom is not the way it should work


By: Guest Commentary |
Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Commentary

We must not let those who abuse our rights forsake our national belief in freedom above all else. If we do, then the victims of these shooters, these evil young men who have turned classrooms into firing ranges, will not only be those innocents slain in Blacksburg, Va. and other places where massacres have happened, but all who believe in American self-determination.

An editorial in The New York Times concluded that, "What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss."

But blaming guns is too easy.

This shooting was an act of insanity and we must treat it as such. The shooter's actions should not be given the power and legitimacy to change our laws governing civil liberties. That is government by martyrdom.

My belief, that guns and violence enjoy a marriage of convenience, was reaffirmed by news that the mayor of Nagasaki, Japan had been assassinated this week by a man with a handgun. He was shot point-blank in the back because of an unresolved dispute with a gangster over damage done to the gangster's car. Japan is a country where handguns are outlawed.

"But," a child in Nagasaki might ask, "if handguns are forbidden, then how could my mayor be killed by one?" I would tell that child that it is impossible to ban handguns; that it is impossible to ban anything.

Japan also knows that people die by means other than guns.

Multiple leaders have been stabbed to death in Japan - one was even killed by a man with a samurai sword. Atomic bombs have killed thousands there, too.

Hopefully, the Japanese do not decide to increase the scope of their bans, just as we should be hopeful that the United States does not increase the scope of its gun bans.

Because if we were to enact stricter gun laws, it would be an admittance of our uneasiness with the freedom we have been given. And then, before we know it, we are a fearful and retreating democracy called to action by hateful men wielding 9mm and .22-caliber pistols on college campuses.

So then what do we do when we are shocked and hurt by events such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech?

Let's try collectively standing up to hate and violence with our countrymen, becoming a people holding one another so tightly and with such conviction that we are as impenetrable as a great seawall. Let's disarm hateful and violent people before they arm themselves, by recognizing and resolving their personal crises.

But that is difficult and abstract.

We have yet to mourn and come to terms with our grief.

Perhaps we should not rush to judgment until our tempers have cooled and loved ones have had the opportunity to tell us about the people who found themselves in the shooter's path in Blacksburg, but not in the path of most of our lives.

Perhaps we should try to remember them completely.

And then? What do we do with those memories?

We never forget, that's what.

And we look to the people who we share this free and open country with and decide whether we will be the ones who let the self-righteous and insane run things or if we will be the ones who are brave, once the pain has subsided, and become that impenetrable seawall so that we may protect our right to self-determination and tranquility wherever we are.

It is not the guns of the world that should worry us, it is the shooters.

Dan Anderson is a University graduate student


Original Source: Daily Emerald
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Dan Anderson




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Dan Anderson, “Government by martyrdom is not the way it should work,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 25, 2024,