Acts of bravery amid the horror

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Acts of bravery amid the horror

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<b>Wednesday April 18, 2007</b>
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/">The Guardian</a>

We have heard the arguments for years regarding the modern-day relevance or not of the second amendment, which engrains the right to bears arms into the American constitution and psyche, and they need not be rehashed now. I am sure all readers are intelligent and well-informed enough to realise and accept that although they may have strong views on the rights of people to own guns, many others do not share that view.

But this argument should not be the focus of today&#39;s editorials, columns and letters. Nathaniel Hawthorne said that "A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world", so let us today for once become a world that celebrates heroism rather than focusing on the acts of the wicked few. The bravery of students to carry their friends, their classmates and people they didn&#39;t even know to safety and help while under fire shows the acts of heroism that are still required in our world. Today it is them and their fallen colleagues that we should be focusing on, not the evil act of one person. We will focus on how to turn heroic acts into unnecessary acts tomorrow, but for today let&#39;s celebrate the lives of those who have once again been taken by the winds of fate and those who were willing to risk their lives simply because it was the right thing to do.

Let us tomorrow reignite the debate over gun ownership, and this time have a full and frank debate rather than the shouting match that has developed in past decades and led to a stalemate which only allows further acts of terror to plague our society, but just for one day we can put our differences aside and immortalise the all too soon forgotten heroes of our world.
<b>Michael Hunter</b>
Glasgow

It&#39;s really very simple. If you permit people to buy firearms they will buy firearms. If a person owns any kind of tool they are likely to use that tool for the purpose intended. Firearms have only one use: they are designed to shoot and to kill.

Don&#39;t quote in defence "the constitutional right to bear arms"; the constitution was written centuries ago, in a different world with different values. What about the constitutional right not to be murdered?

If an individual has a breakdown in response to the pressures they find themselves under, they could kill themselves. Give that person a gun and time after time we see a trail of corpses - Dunblane, Columbine, Hungerford, Pennsylvania, etc, and now Virginia Tech.

Personal ownership of lethal weapons has no place in a civilised society.
<b>Andrew Harris</b>
Hitchin, Hertfordshire

The second amendment reads: "Congress must not deny the states a militia. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The context was the "critical period" when the states were concerned over the possible tyranny of the federal government.
<b>Eric Liggett</b>
Carnforth, Lancashire

Neither the president of Virginia Tech nor President Bush even mentioned unrestricted gun ownership as a factor in this carnage in their public statements. The latter suggested prayer as a remedy instead. Maybe there is no connection between the availability and the use of weapons in Virginia.
<b>Laurence Mann</b>
London

Jackie Ashley would not have wanted her thesis on the media numbing-down of the daily carnage in Iraq (What matters is the blood in the sand, not Des Browne, April 16) to have been instantly proved in such a stark fashion. But the blanket media coverage of the killing of 32 students on a Virginia university campus does, by contrast, demonstrate perfectly her cry of pain for Iraq, where the daily death toll surpasses that of the American tragedy. What is, in the 21st century, the insane pioneer attitude to carrying and using guns - to protect yourself in a wild, unknown world - has also been translated to Iraq, where young, frightened American soldiers have been, on average, responsible for up to a third of Iraqi civilian deaths daily, according to Iraq&#39;s ministry of health.
<b>Dr David Lowry</b>
Stoneleigh, Surrey

<b>Special report</b>
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/0,,759893,00.html">United States</a>

<b>Related articles</b>
25.10.2002: <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,819054,00.html">Captured in their sniper&#39;s nest</a>
25.10.2002: <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,818956,00.html">Dropped clues that led police to sniper</a>
25.10.2002: <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,819087,00.html">Rifle costs just $800</a>

<b>Useful links</b>
<a href="http://www.nra.org/">National Rifle Association</a>
<a href="http://www.vpc.org/">Violence Policy Centre</a>
<a href="http://www.handguncontrol.org/">Brady Campaign</a>
<a href="http://www.atf.treas.gov/">Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms</a>

Copyright Guardian News & Media Ltd 2007.
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Original Source: Guardian Unlimited
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/usguns/Story/0,,2059479,00.html">http://www.guardian.co.uk/usguns/Story/0,,2059479,00.html</a>

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Guardian News & Media Limited

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2007-08-09

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Adriana Seagle

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Eve Thompson-Acting Permissions Executive Syndication;permissions.syndication@guardian.co.uk

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eng

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Guardian News & Media Limited, "Acts of bravery amid the horror," in The April 16 Archive, Item #968, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/968 (accessed August 30, 2014).