20 January 2010

Amoklauf in Appomattox?

The suspect in the killing of eight people and the downing of a police helicopter in Appomattox VA has surrendered to investigators, according to the latest report. His name is known but his relationship to the victims remains unclear. I'm not sure if this really counts as another amoklauf because it took place in a private home, but the body count should overwhelm most objections. I'm still waiting for the government to take decisive action to prevent mass shootings following several incidents that have already taken place this year. To be more accurate, I'm still waiting for Americans to demand action from the government like they've supposedly demanded action following a failed terrorist attack. The lack of public clamor confuses me. It can't be that everyone is too obsessed with their own concerns in a tough economy to care, since they supposedly cared about the threat of the underwear bomber. But maybe I'm reading this wrong. It could be that most people cared no more about the underwear bomber than they do about these mass shootings, but that certain media elements saw partisan advantage in complaining about security lapses in airports, but not in protesting against the casual empowerment of average Americans to kill each other.

For my part, I worry more about amoklaufers than I do about terrorists. For one thing, speaking selfishly, I haven't flown in fifteen years and have no plans to soon. Secondly, if we must have a "war on terror" the key to winning it will lie more in our ability to endure terrorist attacks than in our ability to prevent them. But there is no reason why Americans must endure regular reports of erstwhile law-abiders exercising their presumed right to preventive self-defense by killing their supposed enemies or oppressors in large numbers. We should strive to prevent amoklaufs and other massacres, and the point isn't that anyone thinks there'll be no crime without guns. Our object should be to minimize the damage whenever human nature malfunctions by limiting the tools available to murderous impulses whenever they might arise. This shouldn't be too much to ask -- so why are so few people asking for it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone needs to go "amoklauf" in the Fox headquarters...