While reflecting on the almost unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech on Monday, I couldn't help but wonder if our country's obsession with gun possession wasn't a major problem.
A disgruntled senior at the school has been identified as the killer, according to a report this morning by The Associated Press. Possessed with an inexplicable fury, the gunman killed 32 people at the school before turning the weapon on himself.
Here's a particularly chilling line from that story: "One law enforcement official said Cho (Seung-Hui) was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol."
I must admit, I'm nothing of an expert on guns (or much anything else), but a cursory Internet search shows that Glocks are most often used by cops or hunters trying to fend off large dangerous animals. For what reason would anyone without a badge ever need such a weapon?
Around the globe, many people today are rightfully questioning our country's gun culture, from the lax controls to the unfathomable availability of guns to some groups' unrelenting quest to arm seemingly every able-bodied adult.
For once, maybe we - as a country - should listen to reason from other, safer corners of the world.
Example: Britain, with about 53 million people and a place where handguns are illegal, recorded only 46 homicides in 2006. By comparison, New York City - a city of roughly 8 million - had 579 homicides.
The difference, at least to me, seems apparent. No one should be able to buy a gun as easily as they can purchase a car or a stereo or a cell phone. If certain drugs are off-limits to our citizens for their own protection, why wouldn't guns merit the same sort of restrictions?
We apparently need to protect ourselves from ourselves more than ever. Rolling back some of our gun rights would be a good place to start. How much tragedy could be averted throughout our country, let alone Virginia Tech, if we prohibited gun ownership?
For starters, maybe Cho Seung-Hui would never have had his chance to pick up a Glock.