10 April 2013

Amoklauf News: with and without a gun

In Serbia a war veteran snaps. Guns are readily available there, the news says, and he had his own. Thirteen people in his village are dead. In Texas a college kid had a knife fetish. He can be the poster boy for all those who say that taking guns away won't stop "evil" from expressing itself violently. But while two of the fourteen victims of his rampage are still in a bad way in the hospital -- and we wish them the best -- as I write none of them are dead. The Serbian shot himself, though he still survives for the moment -- the usual end to the classic amoklauf. The Texan was brought down, and taken alive, not by guns, concealed or otherwise, but by someone (or some people) tackling him. An easier proposition than if he'd been packing, yes, but we've had gun-toting amoklaufers taken down the same way, while reloading -- which is why people want limits on magazine capacity determined by public-safety rather than self-defense imperatives. In any event, the Texas story doesn't prove that no guns always equals no killing -- people elsewhere have done more damage with more formidable bladed weapons -- but it should have been self-evident before this that someone with a blade is more easily subdued than someone with a gun. In America, of course, most people have made their minds up so unalterably that no new data will make a difference. I just wonder what kind of debate over gun violence Serbia will have now.

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