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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dancing on fresh graves

    Lila Burgoscolumnist
    Lila Burgos
    columnist

    The news of 32 people being killed in a suicide attack in Iraq has become despicably normal for me. But 32 students killed at Virginia Tech – making it the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history – was not news I was prepared to handle Monday morning.

    The fact that lawmakers were defending the Second Amendment right to bear arms before the identities of the deceased were even released was one of the most disrespectful, shocking and insensitive political moves I have ever seen.

    My stomach sank with disgust after hearing statements from our own Sen. John McCain defending the Second Amendment before the sun set on Monday. I would like to see his reaction to a politician defending the right to bear arms if it was one of his children at Virginia Tech or Columbine or the Pennsylvania Amish school.

    Apparently neither he nor some students on campus (see today’s Mailbag) felt any true sorrow over the tragedy. Perhaps if they did, they would have held their tongues about their precious right to bear arms until the initial shock of this incident has permeated the country.

    They seem to have failed to realize that 33 students are dead, and that maybe those affected could have used consoling words without politically motivated interjections.

    The lives of those students were ended in one violent second without warning. As of yesterday, bodies were still being identified. The fact that pro-gun politicians and supporters were already rallying their support shows their complete disconnect with the magnitude of the massacre that occurred.

    To try to gain political ground by attempting to save easy access to guns within a few hours of the largest mass shooting in the U.S. is appalling.

    The gun rights lobby began the stirring of the gun debate cauldron this time. I find it very interesting that the pro-gun lobby was immediately on the defense without any direct political attacks.

    The politicians, regardless of partisan lines, who have been asked for commentary but decided to decline have won my respect. In fact, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney released a statement through his campaign saying, “”We wanted to be careful that our statement wasn’t viewed as politicizing this tragedy. So we deferred to the president’s remarks to the nation before sending a statement.””

    To try to gain
    political ground by attempting to save easy access to guns within a few hours of the largest mass shooting in the U.S. is appalling.

    Perhaps these people have just never experienced the death of a loved one. The number of vocal people denouncing any kind of gun control (and proclaiming that if we all had guns these types of tragedies wouldn’t happen) convinces me of that. It is obvious that anyone having the audacity to verbalize such an idea right after the murders at Virginia Tech is barbaric in their lack of sensitivity.

    From a purely political standpoint, it’s detrimental to the gun rights cause to enter a pro-gun campaign right now. Gallup polling data shows that in October 2006, 56 percent of Americans favored stricter gun control; immediately after the Columbine incident the number was 66 percent. Tactless calls for gun deregulation right now would only further galvanize that 56 percent and win them sympathizers.

    I can only idealistically hope that this will be the very last time an atrocity like this has to happen in an American school, that this incident is the crux of school shootings and that a real solution (not band-aid metal detectors) are on the way.

    But, I must admit that inside of me lurks a fearful notion that these types of incidents are not over. There is a dire need for political discourse regarding gun control, but these first few days of mourning victims of this horrendous act is not the time.

    For the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech shootings: May your souls rest in peace, and may your families find comfort from their grief. For those that would politicize this tragedy: I’m mortified by your lack of shame.

    Lila Burgos is an international studies junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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