19 April, 2007

Killing Sprees 'R' Us

John Markell, the owner of Roanoke Firearms, half an hour's drive from Virginia Tech where, yesterday, thirty people were shot dead, appears quite happy with his decision to spend his life selling weapons to deranged people. If you like the feeling of icy chills going up your spine, you should read one of the interviews that he gave after the massacre.

Of course, we can all justify the stupid or wicked things we do. If I didn't pay the taxes that equip the troops that occupy Iraq, they'd throw me in gaol. There's no public transport for fifteen kilometres in any direction from where I live so I have to drive a car. Etc., etc.. But selling guns to people? There really isn't any excuse.

Markell seems to think that because, before the Virginia Tech slaughter, only four people have been murdered using weapons he's sold, it is somehow alright to arm potential murderers. Maybe the four dead people and their families would disagree with him. Now that the number has risen to thirty-four, he seems just as complacent. In fact, he thinks if the students that were shot had been allowed to carry guns on campus, they might have been able to protect themselves! (If it ever happens, knock loudly and announce yourself before you go barging into a classroom. You wouldn't want a bunch of startled kiddies diving into their backpacks for their Glock automatics.)

Of course, it is perfectly true that it is the person who shoots people, not the gun. But the people who say this don't seem to get it. A person without a gun, simply couldn't shoot someone, even if they wanted to. In a perfect world, people would not be crazed idiots with insane longings to die surrounded by their dead and wounded fellows. Sadly, it isn't a perfect world and there are an awful lot of warped and twisted people out there. So, is it really such a great idea to sell them guns, Mr. Markell?

No, it isn't. And to give you a tiny insight into why not, you should note that Mr. Markell himself sells his guns from behind a reinforced glass screen and his own daughter has a concealed weapons licence. I'm glad I don't live in Mr. Markell's world.

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