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The death of innocents-- from Iraq to Blacksburg page 2
We need clear heads and cooperation to stem the horrible violence of our times.

 Amid tragic losses in Iraq and catastrophe at Virginia Tech, is it time for a new spirit of cooperation in America?
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Date published: 6/17/2007

By Richard Amrhine


It's not far-fetched to consider that America's aggressive military foray into Iraq fits the pattern. We had no more reason, as it turns out, to attack Iraq than we did any other murderous, dictatorial regime. Had Iraq actually been linked to Sept. 11, or hoarded weapons of mass destruction, a counterattack would be viewed as fair retribution. Instead, we attacked another nation out of anger, a need to pay back a perceived slight in a misguided desire for satisfaction.

How many innocent lives have been shattered--on all sides? This war is little more than road rage on a global and much more costly scale.

Missing in every case is basic human integrity. When the history of the Iraq War is written, deception and shortsightedness by the Bush administration will form its foundation. Caught up in a desire to avenge Sept. 11, too many Americans, some of the nation's best and brightest, were snookered into offering support.

It is a misconceived "truth" as well that convinces mass killers to find satisfaction in destroying the lives of others.

To counter the violence, our thinking needs to be clear and logical. To have prevented Seung-Hui Cho's actions at Virginia Tech, we needed to have denied him easy access to guns. It is absurd that his history of mental illness would not be reported in a background check for a gun purchase. We need to keep plugging the loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands--preferably before rather than after the fact.

Some other "truths": We need to acknowledge that expecting to halt gun violence via blanket gun controls is a pipe dream. And we'll remain stalemated if such controls impinge on the rights of lawful gun owners.

For their part, it's up to gun-rights advocates to prove their distaste for gun violence by agreeing to tougher registration standards that will separate the good guys from the bad. Stupidly contrived "gun giveaways" are counterproductive, as is Virginia's reputation as a national gun supplier.

For progress to be made, these must be shared goals. Achieving any level of societal sanity begins with common sense, vision, and compromise. Let's start working together on that as soon as possible.

Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.

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