Almost everyone on either side of the gun control debate who has made any kind of public statement about this delightfully divisive topic since the mass shooting at VA Tech yesterday morning has been wrong. Completely, profoundly wrong or subtly and deceptively wrong, depending on what it is they were saying, but wrong just the same. And, as time goes on and both the pro- and anti-gun control forces adopt "no more VA Techs" as a slogan, they are liable to get even wronger. Side 'A' is wrong that more gun control would have prevented this massacre; they are wrong that this signals any kind of proof of the necessity of gun control; they are wrong that this is a watershed moment in gun control history; they are wrong that this happened 'because of' guns; and they are wrong to suggest that this could not have been prevented with the aid of guns. Side 'B' is wrong that the shooting points to the need for less gun control; they are wrong that guns have nothing to do with it; they are wrong that a widely armed citizenry results in fewer deaths; they are wrong that relaxed gun laws would result in an end to school shootings; and they are wrong in blaming this on already-existing gun laws. The president was unbelievably wrong to include a big, obvious and incredibly off-key note about the need to preserve gun ownership in his first public statement after the killings, even if he really meant it, and people who are putting the blame for this on guns are as completely and totally wrong as the people putting the blame for it on video games, gangsta rap, or, I dunno, girls wearing belly shirts. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
And, since the gun control debate is the most highly charged, divisive, irrational issue going, since the voices dominating both sides of the argument tend to be the most extreme and unwilling to compromise, it's not going to get any less wrong. My ex once told me that one of the problems she had with Democrats in the abortion debate was that, since they had staked out the extreme argument ("abortions for all!") in opposition to the opposite extreme coming from the right ("no abortions for anyone!"), they tended to alienate any reasonable voices coming from the space in between ("abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!"); and boy, that's trebly true for gun control. The idea that we should have an earnest, realistic and rational debate over how many guns we're willing to tolerate under what conditions -- and, to be perfectly blunt, how many gun deaths under what circumstance we're willing to accept as a number we can live with -- will get you called a blood-soaked redneck by one side and a Nazi predator by the other, with the end result being that we live in a nation whose gun laws are even more of a dysfunctional, loophole-filled hash than its tax laws.
So, to recap: YOU'RE ALL WRONG. The end.