Important lessons never learned
By J.J. Jackson
One cowardly waste of human flesh terrorized the campus of Virginia Tech. Hoping to avoid being held accountable, Cho Seung-Hui eventually took his own life. Only he forgot that there is a higher power than any court of law to which he will answer. And as his special place in Hell was being warmed up, the bodies of his victims were being counted; over thirty people dead and many more were injured.
It is easy to lay the blame for the carnage at the feet of yet another lunatic. It was his actions, his choice, his evil that terrorized the campus after all. And for this act, yes he bears all responsibility.
But others are not blameless. Because there are others that created the situation in which this horrific event occurred. There are still others that perpetuated the situation once it began because they were more concerned about perceptions, feelings and even laying down their own rights than they were about protecting themselves, their fellow citizens, and the students in their charge.
There is plenty of blame to go around. Blame goes to the school administrators and elected officials who ignorantly thought that with the magical wave of a pen they could make criminals and evil people obey "codes of conduct" and create safe workplaces by mandate. Blame goes to every person that came face to face with this coward who themselves was not armed and laid down their rights hoping for someone else to save them.
Hundreds of people had the chance to end these tragic events and save lives. Hundreds of people stared into the face of evil and cowered or even fled rather than confront it. And because of their choices, actions and inactions thirty-some students and faculty lay dead.
That is not to say that the day was not without its heroes. Liviu Librescu, who survived the Holocaust, knew evil when he saw it. He sacrificed his own life to barricade the door to his class room as a coward shot him. He allowed his students a chance to flee. But sadly there were not many more heroes. Sadly there were far too few Librescu's.
All it would have taken was for one person to stand up and react to the warning signs given off by a troubled student that had a history of unfit conduct. All it would have taken was for one, just one, person to reject the belief that policy and pieces of paper can stop evil. All it would have taken was just one person to defy the insanity and refuse to lay down their own responsibility and their own rights. All it would have taken was one man or woman brave enough to embrace their own power and their own obligation to be armed as article I, Section 13 of the Virginia State Constitution so allows:
Where was that brave soul?
The State Constitution clearly says "shall not be infringed". However those words ring hollow with the documents of a state run and publicly funded university that expressly prohibited students and other law abiding citizens from carrying guns openly and freely to defend themselves and others. Those words ring hollow as thousands of students, faculty and visitors willfully laid down their rights because of the threats of punishment that would be levied against them should they defy these unconstitutional rules.
Certainly it has never been fashionable to blame victims of tragedy. But then again, I have never been one to be fashionable. Fashion has throughout history lead to the destruction of common sense and the rise of injustice after injustice and the needless suffering of innocents. I have always preferred reason and truth to whatever those that seek to deflect blame may claim as being "fashionable" in order to shield themselves from deserved scrutiny. It takes a lot more courage to prefer this to the comfort and convenience of "fashion".
It is a shame that so many are dead. But what is of equal shame is that many are dead because they and their fellow citizens never learned the important lessons. Instead they were taught and forced to learn the unimportant and the meaningless in pursuit of God only knows what goal.
They never learned that our rights as citizens are insoluble even by the arbitrary whims of public officials and bureaucrats. They never learned that our rights as citizens are to be embraced and carried in our hearts proudly and without fear of reprisal by those in power who would seek to erode them. They never learned that when one attempts to revoke their rights, it is their responsibility to stand up and defy those men who would be tyrants and defy them by force if necessary. They never learned that when they choose to wilt before unconstitutional infringements of their rights eventually good people get hurt or sadly even killed. They never learned that waiting for others to protect them is a fatal decision in many cases. They never learned that the lawless and the evil will not be assuaged by pieces of paper and talk of "feelings" of safety.
Instead they proudly tout to the criminal that they have no means of defending themselves and invite evil upon them. Instead they lie down like lambs to be slaughtered by wolves. Instead they allow their rights to be usurped. Instead they scratch their heads wondering how this madman got a gun on campus.
Didn't he read the policy?!? Didn't he understand that the campus had been decreed as "safe"?!? Why would he ignore that?!?
Because he was evil; that's why.
How much of the carnage must be put in hands of those that set such policies in motion? How much of the carnage must be laid at the feet of those that obeyed insane regulations and were unable to confront evil? And how much of the carnage that will happen in the future in similar and sadly tragic passion plays put on by the wicked will be placed in the laps of those that will continue to think that paper and words will stop the next massacre?
How many more criminals must break your precious decrees of "safety" before you realize that documents do not make you safe and that only strong and decisive action, vigilance and courage will succeed in securing your liberty and rights?
Many innocents and one lunatic are dead. Those who have as their motive controlling we the citizenry will say that it is because there were "too many" guns on campus the morning of April 16th, 2007. But the truth is that the reason so many are dead is because there were far, far too few.
Innocent lives could have been spared. But they could not have been spared by papers, policies and decrees. They could have been spared if only law-abiding and noble citizens would have embraced their liberties and defied unjust laws and rules.
How many lives would have been saved if but one courageous citizen would have had the valor to defy their abridgement of liberty? If it was but only one, it would have been worth it.
It would have been worth it to watch the politicos wringing their hands today over the horror that someone would have dared to defy their policy. It would have been worth it to watch these same people debate whether or not that brave soul should be thrown off campus for saving lives despite being against the glorious rules. It would have been worth it to try and watch them justify their own insanity in the face of the facts. Because in the end what stopped this horrible situation? It was a gun.
Yes, it was the lunatic's own gun, but it was a gun none-the-less. But it could have been the gun of a law-abiding citizen. That is, if there were any brave souls willing to defy their incompetent masters. In the lasting words of General John Stark, "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
That is the lesson that needs to be learned.