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The Day After Death

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It's the evening after the morning that sent us reeling in disgust and horror as I write this. We've had a bit of time — not nearly enough — to come to grips with the fact that the unfathomable happened… again. We know who pulled the trigger so many times, and we can put faces to the victims. There are plenty of stories that go along with each of those faces, all of them tragic. It should be a time of mourning and respect, shouldn't it?

One would think.

Sadly, what has happened instead is the horror that happened at Virginia Tech has become a springboard in some quarters to relaunch political agendas across the board. Certainly a disaster of this magnitude warrants a reexamination of our core values. It's even understandable to ask how could we as a society allow this to happen — it's part of the grieving process.

The short answer, of course, is we didn't allow it to happen, and we could never have prevented it. No matter how much we wring our hands and wail in retrospect, there is no way anybody could have seen this coming. Even though we know now the shooter wrote some terribly constructed, plotless, and very twisted fiction, that's hardly enough to lock him away before he could have the opportunity to possibly kill.

Advocates on both sides of the gun issue have attempted to weigh in on the tragedy with a "see-told-ya-so" rhetoric that makes proponents on either side of the fence sound like schoolyard rivals. This is not a Second Amendment issue, any more than the "constitutional right" not to wear seat belts is. To suggest if students and faculty had been armed, they could have cut the shooter down before he ever got off a round is ludicrous. By the same token, banning handguns outright as a preventative measure is also a pipe dream. I will say, however, a restriction on how much ammunition anybody can buy at a given time might not be a bad idea. After all, nobody's had a problem with Sudafed purchasing restrictions.

We've gone beyond denial and shock at this point. We're at the anger stage, and we're grasping at straws to make sense of it all. It will never make sense. Madness is not something that can be rationalized. We'll feel the pain in some part of our hearts forever, and in that part of our hearts, it will never subside. But this is not a time to advocate knee-jerk responses.

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