Second Amendment kills dozens in attack

Fewer guns equals more lives. Period.

Adri Mehra

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, drafted in 1789, reads:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

But what happens when the very “security of a free State” is directly infringed by “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms?”

That, my friends, is known as a contradiction in terms, and in the science of logic, a statement that goes on to deny itself becomes inherently false.

Case in point:

Last month, Virginia Tech senior Cho Seung-Hui spent a month’s rent or so ($571) on an entirely legal 9mm-caliber Glock 19 handgun at Roanoke Firearms in Roanoke, Va., about 40 minutes east of the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.

Just what kind of deadly weapon did an angry young English major like Mr. Cho have at his disposal?

The slightly larger Glock 22 – so named for the number of bullets that its magazine can contain – is the single most popular police sidearm used in the United States, according to years of national survey data.

Glock’s Web site states that their pistols are “in use by over 65 percent of law enforcement,” and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issues every one of its agents a Glock 22 or 23 upon graduation from its academy. American security patrols in Iraq also favor similar Glocks.

While at Roanoke Firearms last month, Cho also picked up 50 rounds of ammunition. Fortunately for him, 9mm cartridges are inexpensive and great for target practice, which he intended to get on the fly, one supposes.

See, what’s great about America is that if you want to go on a killing spree, all you need are three forms of identification – a state I.D., a bank check and a phone bill, for example – and, after a minute-long instant background check, you’re good to go, son.

Voila! A mass murderer is newly minted! You don’t even have to tell the gun shop dude (much less the state of Virginia) why you need the 9mm, or 50 bullets! Let the bodies hit the floor, right?

Thirty-three of those bodies, including that of Mr. Cho himself, were found dead in at least four buildings on the Virginia Tech campus Monday morning.

“There wasn’t a shooting victim that didn’t have less than three bullet wounds in them,” said Dr. Joseph Cacioppo of Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg.

Authorities also found a Walther .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun at the scene – another totally legal firearm known for its accuracy and ease of operation.

Did the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protect the 32 innocent Americans gunned down this week? Or did the long-since-antiquated law fail them, and render them nothing more than breathing target practice for a pissed-off civilian?

As we sift through the complexities of the human response to such a monstrous act, there appear to be three fundamental conclusions most of us reach.

The first and simplest reaction is that such inconceivable acts of violence are, sadly, impossible to prevent or predict with any degree of certainty. This, I feel, is the least constructive perspective to have, and is frighteningly defeatist.

The second reaction is that the shootings could have been prevented by more stringent gun control laws, i.e. the banning of nonservice civilian handguns. This is to me the most sensible and inevitable conclusion one can make in the wake of such a bloodbath.

The third and most dangerous reaction is the pseudo-libertarian response that a more-armed citizenry could have better defended themselves against such an attack.

The first and third reactions are immediate gratification models that defer the confrontation of reality in order to serve Freud’s pleasure principle – the drive to feel good now instead of feeling even better later by avoiding a little concept called foresight.

Sure, it feels great to think that if only one of the students had been packing heat, he or she could have saved the day by taking out the gunman before he unleashed his torrent of carnage upon so many helpless victims.

But not everyone is John McClane from “Die Hard,” nor should they be in an open, free, peaceable society.

The fact is, last time I checked, we weren’t (yet) living in a police state, yet we are apparently a nation of laws, although one of them regularly kills nearly 30,000 of its own people (roughly half are homicides and half suicides) every year, compared to only 163 firearm-related deaths in the United Kingdom in 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and British government figures.

Why do we have tens of thousands needlessly die each year from guns, and the Brits lose less than two hundred?

The answer: Handguns have been banned in the UK since 1997, while there are more than 200 million guns in America, according to Reuters and the National Rifle Association.

In a culture where 34 percent of Americans own firearms, men, women and children will continue to die facing the barrel of a gun.

It is sad that the innocent majority have to brutally suffer for the trigger-happy minority’s mindless “right to bear arms.”

Thirty-two bright young college kids are dead because of two devices that were designed to kill them. It’s time we shot down the Second Amendment. Our lives depend on it, just as theirs did.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected]