I don’t mean to trivialize the injuries suffered in the knife attack perpetrated by a high school sophomore at a high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. It’s another in a long and seemingly endless line of incidents of mass violence at American schools. Of the 20 students and one teacher stabbed by teenaged loony Alex Hribal, at least four have serious wounds.
But all are expected to survive.
Imagine if instead of two large knives, Hribal had been packing a bolt-action rifle like his brother-in-arms, Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut? Or how about if Hribal’s weapons of choice were semi-automatic handguns, like Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 and injured 17 in his rampage on the Virginia Tech University campus a few years back?
Just imagine if Hribal were toting a semi-automatic. The injuries would have been much worse than what he perpetrated with two knifes. There most assuredly would have been several if not many deaths. And the attack would have lasted much longer, because the teacher who tackled Hribal would not have been able to do it—he would have been shot—maybe dead—before he got close enough to touch the maniac.
As tragic as the knife attack was, I’m fairly sure that the parents of at least some of the victims are muttering quietly to themselves how relieved they are that the nut didn’t have a gun.
Those who say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” only have it half right: guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people, which is why society has a right and an obligation to keep guns out of the hands of potential killers. Nothing in the Constitution bans regulation of firearms.
And it’s easy to do: toughen gun control laws so that it’s harder for mentally ill or unstable people to get them. Make sure that all gun sales have a three-day wait for a background check on the purchaser that includes going through the national registry, including all sales at guns shows. Ban all Internet gun sales. Beef up the national and state gun registries. Absolutely forbid concealed or unconcealed guns in schools, on university campuses, at airports and in restaurants. Limit the number of guns and amount of bullets someone can buy at one time. Limit the number of guns anyone can own.
Unfortunately state legislators haven’t learned yet that their job is to serve the people, and not to line their campaign coffers with contributions from the National Rifle Association. In the first year after the Newtown shootings, states passed 70 laws loosening gun controls, compared to a mere 39 tightening restrictions on gun purchase and ownership. Nothing demonstrates the power of crony capitalism than the disgraceful way that states across the country are putting their citizens in harm’s way by making it easier to buy guns and carry them in the streets.
I figure that if we strengthened our gun control laws so that they match other westernized countries, we would end up with more knife fights and knife attacks. And that’s a good thing. We can’t totally eliminate the crazies, the angry and the haters. But we can minimize the possibility of them getting hold of weapons that can cause serious damage to multiple people in seconds.