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How to Prevent the Next Massacre

Like most Americans, I had the TV on from the moment the Virginia Tech slaughter broke.

After the death toll was established at 33, the focus of reporting and analysis shifted to the how and the why of this national tragedy.

I heard the following questions and statements raised: How can we prevent this from taking place on another campus? Why is it that these massacres seem to be happening more frequently at schools and colleges?

There is little more we can do in an open society and on an open campus to prevent this kind of violence. Nothing can stop a determined, lone gunman from wreaking this kind of mayhem.

We need to get serious about strengthening our gun laws in this country.

That, I’m afraid to say, is what passes for free and open debate in our free and open society on our free and open airwaves.

Either no one dared say what I am about to say, or no one who believes what I am about to say was invited to participate in the free-for-all on 24-hour tragedy TV.

There is a way to stop this. There is a way to prevent this. We’ve followed this simple recipe in the past with good success. All it takes is common sense and the guts to implement tried-and-true policies.

Here it is: It’s time to abandon the totally failed plans of turning our schools and campuses into "gun-free zones," which, when they are invaded like Virginia Tech was invaded yesterday, become shooting galleries with live, captive, helpless, human targets.

Here is a simple fact to consider: All of the school shooting sprees that ended quickly, without massive losses of life, did so because one responsible person had a gun and used it.

Is there any doubt in your mind that one student or one faculty member with a gun could have ended this carnage yesterday with a greatly reduced death toll?

In fact, simply the knowledge that any student or any faculty member could be armed might have prevented the assailant from hatching his deadly scheme of mass murder on campus.

As my friend Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America points out, "Isn’t it interesting that Utah and Oregon are the only two states that allow faculty to carry guns on campus?"

As WND pointed out hours after the shooting yesterday, just last year the Virginia legislature killed a bill to enable those with concealed carry permits to keep their guns with them at schools. Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said then: "I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

I hope those words are haunting Hincker today. I pray there are members of the Virginia legislature who recognize now how unwise that vote was. I trust that other legislators around the country finally have learned this hard lesson.

We must stop our houses of learning from becoming slaughterhouses.

There are only two ways we can go: One is to hire many more policemen, have them work around the clock, install metal detectors and institute frisking policies, as some public school districts have done. That’s the wrong way.

The other way is to permit faculty members and students who have carry permits to carry their weapons just as they do in other venues — venues, I might add, that seem considerably safer than the sanity-free zones we have created on campus.

Written By

Mr. Farah is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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