A Time for Mourning, Not Politics

The gun control movement has a face again — 32 of them in fact. The tragedy at Virginia Tech where student Seung-Hui Cho fatally shot 32 people, then killed himself, has pushed this issue to the forefront once again.

In the wake of this tragedy, the Violence Policy Center hastened to attribute the incident to "the easy access to increasingly lethal firearms." Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, tipped his hand as well, saying "… a re-evaluation of our overly permissive attitude toward firearms is long overdue."

Some individuals also are using the victims' faces as a platform for required reporting of erratic behavior among students, or even the general populous. Then there's my personal favorite, where some are claiming the massacre points to the need for immigration control. The idea behind this: If we hadn't let Cho's family into the country in the first place, the tragedy wouldn't have taken place — at least not here.

But now is not the time to start shouting, "Annie put your gun away" or to promote other hasty repairs. Sound legislation does not arise from knee-jerk fixes based on a single, isolated incident.

Yes, Cho was anti-social and alienated from other students. It's true he spent a short stint in a mental institution before a judge set him free. And he did stalk two women on campus. But do these incidents in and of themselves attest that the 23-year-old student might someday use the picturesque campus as a shooting gallery?

When an atrocity of this magnitude is committed, it should not be viewed as a springboard for making a political statement. Thirty-three people lost their lives in the April 16 tragedy. The loss of these lives, so full of hope and promise, should not be a basis for anything but mourning.

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