04/23/07 — What now? Virginia Tech is back to class; what should next step be?

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What now? Virginia Tech is back to class; what should next step be?

There will be lots of people with lots of ideas about what could have been done to prevent the massacre last week at Virginia Tech.

And, like always, there will be some who will call for extreme responses to this and other incidents like it. They will call for stricter checks and more rules when it comes to gun ownership and who can and can’t purchase a weapon.

And there is reason to look at gun use and regulation in this country — if not just to make sure that the proper precautions are being taken to keep us all safe. No one wants a gun in the hands of an irresponsible owner.

But don’t listen to those who see stricter legislation as the magic pill to stop another Virginia Tech, Columbine or other tragedy.

It would nice if it could, but evidence suggests otherwise.

The truth is, a sick, deranged person can get a gun anywhere he or she wants one. If you aren’t convinced, just check to see how many convicted felons are carrying weapons right now. Laws alone won’t stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.

There will be all kinds of discussion about what to do next in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting — and calls for immediate action. Some of those comments will be from people who really want to make the system safer. Others will come from those who see a chance to advance a political agenda.

There will be much we can learn from the Virginia Tech incident, especially when it comes to databases and communication among law enforcement officials. There are ways to take action to help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The trick will be making sure common sense and realistic objectives are part of that discussion.

Published in Editorials on April 23, 2007 11:01 AM