Life and Death in a Gun-Free Zone – Observations on the Virginia Tech Massacre

(4/30/2007) The Virginia Tech atrocity has awakened the anti-Second Amendment propaganda machine. The recent editorial in my local paper followed the Gannett papers’ party line perfectly, with a good sample of the usual lies and canards in support of gun control. WND carried a link to a disturbing column on how to confiscate legally-owned firearms from American citizens.

I won’t even address those abuses of the truth. My reaction is personal, not political.

I worked  in a job that took me inside school buildings, all over the school district, to large and small buildings, filled with toddlers to teenagers. I have a state-issued carry permit, which means my background and criminal history have been checked, and the state and county have decided there is no compelling reason for me to be denied my right to carry a concealed handgun — except, of course, in or around a school building. School buildings are “gun-free zones.”

Virginia Tech’s administrators gave themselves a pat on the back in 2006, when they helped defeat a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would have allowed  those students and others who had a valid carry permit to carry their firearms on campus.

They congratulated themselves on making the campus safer.

In a fantasy world where everyone obeys the rules, they would have been right. A brutal lesson in reality, in the form of a mass murder, showed them how stupidly, criminally wrong they were. People who had done no wrong paid for this hideous lesson with their lives.

For years, I have asked myself, “What would you do, old man?” What would I do, if a killer came into the school building I happened to be working in, and started making his way to posthumous celebrity by harvesting the lives of innocents. The killer might be a loner with a grievance against the world, a zealot with a political point to make (Remember Beslan? The Russians do), or he might just be a monster fueled by the worship of evil and of himself, as the VT killer appeared to be. No matter.

He would be confident, because he is a well-armed killer, in a gun-free zone. He has time, as the VT killer had, to stroll the halls, and pick out targets, reloading when the mag runs dry, relishing the fear and pain he causes, basking in the screams, seeing the blood as impromptu art. Reconciled to his own death as the dramatic climax of the action thriller of which he is the star,  producer and director, he picks his targets, punches holes in them for the life to drain out, and moves on.

What would I do? I walk out of a room to the sounds of gunfire and screaming. I turn a corner, and see a man take careful aim with a firearm, and pull the trigger. A teacher, stepping between the killer and a student, winces and falls, a bullet in the stomach. Bodies are all around her; the students she couldn’t save.

The shooter’s back is to me. He wants to put another bullet into the teacher who is crying and writhing on the floor, but the hammer falls on an empty chamber. I know he is nearly deaf at the moment, because the shot I just witnessed was incredibly loud in this concrete-floored, high-ceilinged hallway, and it is not his first. I have a few seconds to — what?

Run out the nearest exit, leave the dead and dying, the killer, and his future victims to their fate? Can I live with myself if I survive that way? The screams will haunt my sleep; the regrets and self-recriminations will poison my every waking moment from now on.

Do I run quietly up behind this rabid animal, uttering a quick prayer, and hope to pick up a weapon on the way to bludgeon him with? Finding none, do I try to strike him with my bare hands? He is a young man, fueled on adrenaline and hate, at least, reconciled to his own death, the star of the show.

I am an aging, unarmed, nonathletic civilian, and I did not make up my mind this morning that this was my day to die.

Do I strike him? Where? Do I tackle him? Kick him? What if his hearing recovers just enough to detect me coming up behind him, just as the new magazine slides home, and the first round goes into the breach? Have I just made my wife a widow? Have I added her to the killer’s list of battered lives? Will I have time to regret choosing my livelihood over my right — my obligation — to defend myself and innocent others against harm, by carrying my legal handgun into a “gun-free zone”?

All of you who have supported the idea of “gun-free zones”: these are the choices your deluded idea of “safety” have left me with. Me, and anyone saddled with a conscience, and the quaint concept that the innocent deserve to be protected against evil, even at the cost of our own lives.

Thanks for the “gun-free zone.”

I feel safer already.

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3 Responses to “Life and Death in a Gun-Free Zone – Observations on the Virginia Tech Massacre”

  1. Beneath Contempt — the Left-Wing Jackals Feed on Tragedy « Center of Mass Says:

    […] every time the window of opportunity opens. They did it after Oklahoma City. They did it after the Virginia Tech massacre. And they are doing it now, in the wake of the Arizona shooting. They are as predictable as the […]

  2. Victor Barney Says:

    And, it’s really all about the destruction of America by those that hate u.s. and I’m afraid that there are many more of those than you may think! Judge them by their actions, not their words!

    • Tom Cox Says:

      I have no illusions about the numbers of people IN government whose life goal is the destruction of our country. There are more now than ever, but they have been there in some numbers since the beginning of the 20th century, or slightly before, patiently sowing the seeds of our dissolution. Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment. — TC

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