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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don't Ask: Va. Tech. and all that

I haven't posted anything yet on the Virginia Tech shootings because...well, I don't feel the need to weigh in on everything. But something has been rolling around in my mind since then.

In the aftermath, hardly before the echo died from the last shot fired, certain people were insisting that this was not the time for considering the wisdom of such permissive gun laws. I am struck - and appalled - by the rhetoric of it: don't ask questions.

Of course, in the event, people have certainly weighed in on the issue of guns, both for and against. But we have generally followed this initial prescription, don't ask questions, with great rigour, it being made an opportunity to recite the same pious platitudes and repeat the same entrenched positions - both for and against - as at any other time.

Notably lacking is any propensity for thinking, any willingness to ask and entertain serious questions, questions such as 'why are we such a violent nation?' 'What about us makes guns so important in our imaginations?' 'How does such violence - and the capacity for more - fit with our profession of being (statistically, at least) a largely Christian land?'

I'm not saying that these are the only questions, but they are ones that I have not heard mooted or seriously considered to this point. They are certainly relevant. And it seems to me that the extent to which we are unable or unwilling to ask questions is just the extent to which we evade anything like wisdom. It's not that I'm upset that we shoot ourselves in the foot, I'm just concerned that we are always so quick to reload.

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