Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

Yes, it was a massacre. Because too many people were afraid to fight back. Or rather, they might have fought back but for the significant fact that they didn't have much to fight back with. It's easy to be brave when you at least have something that works, like a gun, rather than a wimpy laptop.

And now we know what happens when in a law abiding society with strict gun-control laws, somebody goes nuts, obtains a gun, and starts a killing spree. Nobody to stop the guy. Or at the very least, nothing to stop him with. At least until the police arrive. If they arrive, and are not out-gunned.

Furthermore, the perp was carrying two 9 mm handguns, with no other backup weapons. Granted, it makes rushing him while he was reloading a risky proposition, but any chance is better than waiting for him to walk up and place a double-tap into the head.

Let's think about it. Some crazy guy, perhaps even a jihadist from Jemaah Islamiya, gets his hands on say, an illegal M16 assault rifle, and two 9mm semi-auto pistols. Like all terror guys, he sets off to inflict as much mayhem and chaos as possible. He wants a place with lots of easy targets, high population density, but not so high that he might get swarmed. Schools, as we have seen many times before, at Columbine, Beslan, and now at VT, are ideal targets. Even more so when he is not likely to face any significant opposition if the area is a gun-free zone.

Not possible? Well, somebody at VT must have thought it was impossible too... but it happened. Could it happen here, in Singapore? I shudder at the thought. Our schools are terribly vulnerable. It only takes one gunman...

Hey, for Total Defence next year, instead of banal mottos and poster design contests, let's have a basic classroom defense course for students. At least they're learning something that might save their lives. The moment a gunman steps in, once they see it's no hoax, they throw everything they have at the intruder. Use desks as shields and charge the guy. Separate him from his weapons. Keep him pinned down. A few people might get hurt, even die, but better that than a whole room of people getting picked off one by one.

Another option, of course, would be to allow some volunteer teachers to be armed and serve as a emergency 'militia'. Of course, in paternalistic Singapore, this would never happen, but it's a nice thought. After all, most of the male teachers are already trained, and if we can be trusted to protect our country and friends in battle, surely they can trust us with the safety and protection of our charges? With this nanny state mindset, Total Defense is exactly what many of us think it is, a joke. When our weapons and ammunition are hours away, locked away in camp armories. What good are the guns to us then?

We always compare ourselves to Switzerland. Well, the Swiss have their guns and ammunition in their own homes. Perhaps because it's more difficult for them logistically(try to distribute ammunition in a mountainous region!), but it's still a telling point. What about Israel? Well, their teachers are armed too, and for good reason. Their schools are targets.

True enough, there's always the downside of teachers here going berserk... we do have the highest admission rates into the Institute of Mental Health... But it's worth it for us to think about.