[Posted 4:39 PM by Roger Kimball]
Of the many things that can be said about the horrible shooting at Virginia Tech today, one thing that we have already heard too often is that the shooting is offers a compelling argument against citizens owning guns. Right on cue, Jim Sollo, representing Virginians Against Handgun Violence, told reporters that "We live in a society where guns are pretty well accepted. There are 200 million guns in this society and obviously some in the wrong hands." Well, yes. And that means? That we should concentrate all instruments of violence in the hands of an increasingly bureaucratic and meddlesome state, thus rendering ordinary citizens even more defenseless? I don’t think so, but that is what well meaning people like Mr. Sollo, appropriately horrified by such slaughter as we have seen today, conclude. My own feeling is that if a few responsible students and faculty had been in possession of the requisite firearms they might have made the death toll a lot lower, or even--had they been especially alert--eliminated it altogether, or at least reduced it to the gratifying number of one, that of the perpetrator. A famous Roman military historian noted that si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war. Good advice, that. And if you want domestic tranquility, an armed and responsible citizenry ready and able to protect life and property is not a bad way to start.