Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

Uncle Orson on gun control and prior restraint

Orson Scott Card has a very lucid and balanced analysis of the chatter that followed the Virginia Tech incident in his weekly column from last week. (His columns appear online a week after they're printed in the local paper.)

Those who already believed that America has too many guns felt completely justified; surely now people would see that guns need to be more tightly controlled so people like Cho could not have obtained any.

Those who already believed that America doesn't have enough guns likewise felt that their case had been made; surely now people would realize that if a significant number of Virginia Tech students had been packing heat, Cho would have been stopped much sooner.

There were plenty of commentators eager to blame the school administration for not having noticed Cho's mental problems and "warning signs" -- though not a one explained what legal process would be used to expel someone from school for crimes he had not yet committed.

Do we really want to have the machinery in place for officials to be able to impose severe penalties on people who have done nothing wrong except behave oddly? Any system that would have removed Cho from campus and confined him where he could harm no one would certainly be used against people whose only crime is having unpopular opinions or behaving in nonstandard ways.

Ironic that fabunobo and I were just talking about him shortly before the new column showed up via syndication in hatrack. Card's opinions and mine sometimes diverge, but I think there's a lot of true conservative in these words, as opposed to the "neo-conservative" that's appeared on the scene in recent years. This is not so far from the kind of conservative I'd call myself if the term hadn't been sadly misused to mean something else lately. For now, "Libertarian" does the trick.

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