Media Spins Va.-Tech Tragedy for Gun Control

Gun-control advocates at the New York Times and in Congress moved immediately to use the tragedy of the Monday, April 16, shooting massacre on the campus of Virginia Tech as a way to push their liberal agenda.

In the New York Times lead editorial last Tuesday, which was likely written mere hours after one of the nation’s worst gun rampages in history and before the bodies had cooled, the paper called for more gun control. (Actually, the editorial was probably written a long time ago and held for just the right moment when they had the “where,” “when” and number of victims.)

Tasteless Move

The Times didn’t have the good taste to wait even 24 hours before calling for more gun control. Here’s part of the editorial titled (not surprisingly) “Eight Years After Columbine”:

“Yesterday’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech — the worst in American history — is another horrifying reminder that some of the gravest dangers Americans face come from killers at home armed with guns that are frighteningly easy to obtain. Not much is known about the gunman, who killed himself, or about his motives or how he got his weapons, so it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy. But it seems a safe bet that in one way or another, this will turn out to be another instance in which an unstable or criminally minded individual had no trouble arming himself and harming defenseless people. […]

“Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.”

Besides the grotesqueness of using this tragedy to immediately push their liberal agenda, the Times editorialists failed to mentioned that there is a complete gun ban on the campus of Virginia Tech, and that ban didn’t stop the shooter.

In fact, the VT gun ban was the subject of an excellent op-ed by Bradford Wiles, a Virginia Tech graduate student, in the Roanoke Times last year. Wiles, who had been evacuated Aug. 21, 2006, from the VT Squires Student Center with several other students when the campus was shut down as police searched for an escaped inmate who had reportedly killed a sheriff’s deputy and a hospital guard, pleaded with readers “to work with me to allow my most basic right of self-defense, and eliminate my entrusting my safety and the safety of my classmates to the government.”

And lest you think the New York Times is the only perpetrator of this offense, Seth Stern of Congressional Quarterly reported — the night of the shootings — on gun-control proponents in Congress who see this tragedy as their chance: “Gun control advocates in Congress quickly cited the Virginia Tech shootings as evidence of the need for tighter firearm restrictions. ‘I believe this will reignite the dormant effort to pass common-sense gun regulations in this nation,’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D.-Calif.] said Monday. The California Democrat has led efforts to renew the expired ban on so-called assault weapons (PL 103-322).”

Liberals Optimistic

Stern also reported that “even Congress’s leading gun-control advocate, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D.-N.Y.) conceded that efforts to renew the assault weapons ban and limit high-capacity ammunition clips stood little chance of passage,” but Stern went on to say that “on Monday, McCarthy and her staff were more optimistic.”

The CQ article further reported: “‘We’re going to be stepping it up in light of this,’ said George Burke, a spokesman for McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son was severely wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993. McCarthy introduced legislation in February (HR 1022) that would reauthorize the assault weapons ban.

“‘It has been more than a decade since meaningful legislation that would prevent gun violence has been signed into law,’ McCarthy said in a statement Monday. ‘This pattern must change. For too long Congress has stood idle while gun violence continues to take its toll. The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby.’”

There’s time for these debates the in days and weeks to come — and rest assured, those debates will happen. But the anti-gun crowd in the media and the Democratic Party should not be “more optimistic” in the wake of such a tragedy.

They ought to be heartbroken like the rest of America they claim to represent.