The Virginia Tech shootings this week made more than just gruesome headlines. It has resurrected the issue of gun control laws in the U.S. and, no doubt, there will be ongoing debate of this heated issue on both sides of government policy.
I’m a self-professed news junkie (occupational hazard) when it comes to plane crashes, school shootings or mass destruction of any kind. You name it -- I have an insatiable appetite for getting all the facts. For me, it’s about understanding how this can happen (I still don’t comprehend murder-suicide school shootings) and, more importantly, how we can prevent this from ever happening again. As a parent, a school massacre like this hits home to me in a very personal way.
The next night, I watched hours of television coverage from various stations including CNN, CBS, ABC and BBC World News. I flipped constantly to gather as much data as I could. When I turned to CBS, I saw Katie Couric interviewing President Bush and the First Lady. “Well,” I thought to myself, “this should be interesting.” I had just watched the President’s address to the university that he gave earlier that day and thought he did a fine job in his attempt to console a grieving community. His speech was eloquent and had some strong faith messages which is what I think that community needed to hear from the President at that moment.
Couric asked a few questions to the President about his message to the university and then, out of nowhere, she tried to goad the President into a discussion about gun control. Huh? What? Thirty-two innocent victims lost their lives and left thousands grieving the world over, and you want to spark a debate about gun control the next day after the shootings? I was floored! Not only was it neither time nor place for that question, but it was clearly inappropriate to bring up a gun policy discussion when there is so much healing to be done.
This horrific crime will no doubt spur a debate about the second amendment (as did Columbine) and it’s probably happening right now in every corner of the United States. But the next day was clearly a day of mourning and it fell to the President to act as the nation’s consoler, not an arbiter on gun laws.
I like Katie Couric and think she has found a home as anchor on CBS News. But I would have liked to see a more soulful dialogue between her and the President and the First Lady without her having to resort to a tactless question about gun control. Obviously, even the most rigid gun laws would not have prevented a lunatic assassin from carrying out his rampage this week.
Bush declined to answer the gun policy question. And rightfully so.
Let us mourn and remember these innocent victims and honour them the best way we can.
We can dispute the second amendment another day.