Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The rest of the world reacts

WaPo - Va. Killings Widely Seen as Reflecting a Violent Society
Officials, newspaper columnists and citizens around the world Tuesday described the Virginia Tech massacre as the tragic reflection of an America that fosters violence at home and abroad, even as it attempts to dictate behavior to the rest of the world.

From European countries with strict gun-control laws to war-ravaged Iraq, where dozens of people are killed in shootings and bombings each day, foreigners and their news media used the university attack to condemn what they depicted as U.S. policies to arm friends, attack enemies and rely on violence rather than dialogue to settle disputes.
It is difficult to know how to react to such reactions. On the one hand, it gives some insight into how the citizens of other countries feel about the U.S., that their condolences are tempered with a dose of "but it was your own fault." But to some degree I have to agree. Our culture is awfully violent and some of the blogospheric reaction to Monday's events shows that our view of reality has become skewed by exposure to movie violence (Poliblog has some good commentary on the subject with links to examples). And I personally am in favor of stricter gun laws.

However, on the other hand, the article quotes an Iraqi who makes a good point, but not the point that I think he intended to make:
"We did not have this violence in the Saddam era because the law was so tough on guns."
No, they didn't have that violence, they had a ruthless dictator. And although I do not believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution should be interpreted as broadly as it currently is, I think it was designed to defend against situations exactly like what existed in Iraq under Saddam.

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