A Futile Search for Answers at Virginia Tech Begins

By Adrian Duyzer
Published April 17, 2007

On September 13, 2006, a troubled young man named Kimveer Gill opened fire students in Montreal's Dawson College, killing a young woman named Anastasia De Sousa.

After police officers engaged him, he shot himself in the head. Another school shooting rampage had ended, and the search for answers - and the quest to assign blame - began.

Today we are back at the same tragic place. The terrible killings at Virginia Tech ended just hours ago, and already at least one "expert" is pointing to violent video games as the culprit, even though nothing is known about the shooter (or shooters) right now.

Violence on television, in film, and even on newscasts is also sure to be criticized once again, as the Ottawa Sun's Michael Harris did in the aftermath of Dawson, writing that "Hollywood is an island floating on a pool of blood" and that the pertinent question for video game players considering committing violent acts is not "why", but "why not?"

The gun industry will also come under increased scrutiny, although it has weathered these incidents many times before.

Some people are even arguing that if Virginia Tech was not a gun-free zone, that if students were allowed to carry weapons on campus, they would have been able to defend themselves and lives would have been saved.

And then there will be the endless examination of the perpetrator's psyche, his past, his motivations, his upbringing or lack thereof, and all of the other countless factors that go into creating a human being.

In the end there will only be more questions. The friends and family of the victims will have those too, and they will also have a terrible measure of pain and loss.

Soon we will think as little of this event as we do about Anastasia now. And then it will happen all over again, because nothing will have changed much in the meantime.

Even if definite answers are found, established interests will prevent action from being taken. It's a truism that every school shooting involves guns, but guns are a constitutionally-protected sacred cow in America, and Harper's Conservatives are dismantling the long gun registry in Canada.

Measures to limit violent entertainment will be equally controversial. In fact, I can't think of a single frequently-cited "reason" for these rampages that is likely to be implemented, or guaranteed to have success if it were.

Humans are imperfect and complex creatures. Human societies are even more imperfect and complex. People kill each other for a million different reasons, it seems.

If we were serious about fixing this problem, there's really only one way to do it: take all of the best, most-cited, most reasonable and most likely to work ideas and implement them all at once.

Meanwhile, we should tell our loved ones how much we appreciate them, and renew our determination to do whatever it takes to make the world a bit of a better place.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz


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By jason (registered) | Posted April 17, 2007 at 09:16:25

one of the reasons I got rid of cable TV (along with the fact that there is absolutely nothing good on anymore) is the nonstop parade of violence. i don't want my kids growing up thinking it's normal for people to run around with guns killing everyone in sight or raping every girl that comes along. that's just one aspect that affects the developing minds of kids and teenagers, and based on how many hours the average teen spends in front of the tube or video game/computer, it would seem to be a big one. remember when we were kids - video games consisted of PacMan and Frogger. PacMan never had the option of pulling over to pick up a hooker and 'do it' in the back of a car. Or kill a cop. The absence of proper families and parenting leads kids to find their own way these days. As we all know, kids have a tough time separating fiction from reality. It's one of the gripes against the corporate advertising industry which constantly bombards kids to buy their product no matter how horrible or unhealthy that product might be. Money is the new god and the toll in human health or lives doesn't really matter. Sadly, shootings like this will continue to increase and become more common, not less.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 17, 2007 at 12:54:31

The National interviewed an Anthropology Prof last night who said that he warned his students 2 years ago that they would see a rise in violent crime, and more specifically "rampage killings" as he calls them, as the Iraq war approaches its inevitable denoument. He sited a study showing rises in these types of crimes near the end of periods of war. Sorry can't remember the name of the Prof or the study he sited. Anyway, according to this guy, it ain't the fake wars on video games, it's the REAL war. Who'da thunk?

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By Al Rathbone (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2007 at 18:14:15

Something like this almost happened before but was stopped because some other students had guns and shot the killer.

Does that mean everyone should have a gun? NO!

But Registries are ineffective. First, criminals ignore gun laws anyways and won't register. Second, a registry will not stop this from happening.

The money would be better spent, screening gun buyers better.

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