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Letters to the Editor

Answering guns with more guns

“You can only respond.”As this event made so terribly clear, people enjoy such frail and brief existences that their only choice is to enjoy what little time they have.There is no guarantee that the tragedy at Virginia Tech will not happen again. There is no guarantee that people will live out the length of their natural lives.But while such attacks may be inevitable, USF can take University Police Chief Thomas Longo’s words to heart and respond with due diligence.Regrettably however, victims are not always afforded the luxury of waiting for an organized police response.As occurred Monday, the time it took officers to arrive at the scene of the second shooting and open the chained doors was more than enough time for the shooter to complete his deed and take his own life without hindrance.The only occurrence that could have possibly limited the extent of this tragedy, thereby saving precious lives, would have been an armed response by the murderer’s victims.Now, this is not a plea to arm every man, woman and child. Rather, it’s a plea that those adults who prove competent to bear arms be allowed to do so. It’s a plea that we don’t ignore how these things always tend to occur at schools and courthouses.It’s a plea that in today’s world, people would allrecognize the way that large, unarmed masses are perfect targets for those who wish to kill en masse.It’s a plea to respond.

Dan McKnight is a freshman majoring in political science.

Violence could prevent violence

What are the limits of civil disobedience? I’ll offer an answer that may seem strange but shouldn’t be, an idea not found at the limits of civil disobedience, but rather at its core. If one believes that no right is more fundamental than the right to exist, then certainly the right to defends oneself and others should be paramount. In a country born from disobedience to unjust rule, one wonders why Americans now live in a country where the right to defend oneself and others must be shed at the invisible boundary of a college campus. I do not own a handgun; I likely never will. Yet the notion that my right to defense has been abrogated by mandate either of legislators or of extremely well-educated and well-intentioned men and women at an institution of higher learning infuriates me.It should be obvious to anyone reading this letter that the source of my angst springs from the events of April 16, 2007 that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus. Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 and injured 15 more, and certainly no one can fathom why he did it. America may never know what might have happened had one or more Virginia Tech students violated the law by carrying a concealed firearm to class in Norris Hall that day. My only question is this: Had a student carried a concealed weapon on to Virginia Tech’s campus that day and shot dead the monster who killed 32 people and destroyed the lives of so many others, would that act of possession have been a crime or a life-affirming act of civil disobedience? Personally, I can’t say. I don’t know.

Richard Tomlinson is a senior majoring in psychology.