Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Virginia Tech remembered

Yesterday was an emotional day for those involved in last year's shooting, and it was remembered by folks nationwide. One of the activities that took place on campus was the reading aloud of the accomplishments of the victims, among them Professor Liviu Librescu, who used his body to barricade the door to his classroom, delaying the shooter while his class escaped through a window.

An internationally renowned aeronautical engineering educator and researcher, with a host of honors from many countries, he embodied profound courage throughout his life, even in its final moments.

Among the honors he received is the Grand Cross of Romania, for his heroism, awarded to his wife at his funeral in Israel.

It's hard to imagine anyone arguing against the selfless sacrifice offered up by Prof. Librescu, or its efficacy in saving the lives of some of his students. It's unconscionable to disagree with his courageous actions.

Unfortunately, for many, that's where the thought stops. But let's put our thinking caps on and go for a ride on the logic train, shall we?

1) Prof. Librescu embodied profound courage
2) That courage demonstrably saved lives by delaying the shooter
3) The actions of courageous people on the scene of a shooting can save lives
4) Deploying self-sacrificial courage to save lives is an action to be praised & encouraged, not condemned
5) More effective actions by those courageous people can be more effective in saving lives
6) If Prof. Librescu could have delayed him longer, more lives would have been saved
7) Stopping the shooter is the most effective form of delaying him - effectively "delaying" him infinitely
8) The most effective means to stop the shooter is to render him unable or unwilling to shoot
9) The most efficient and reliable way to render him unable to shoot is to shoot him
10) Ergo, logic forces one to wonder, how many more lives could have been saved had Prof. Librescu, who we all agree is to be counted among humanity's bravest souls, been armed?

Folks that don't (or refuse to) take this path from "Prof. Librescu was a great man" through "what he did that was great" to "how could he have been even greater" seem to me to be just willfully short-sighted. Why would we deny the Prof. Librescus of the world the ability to save more lives than they would if they're empty-handed?

Change the name in that logic train to "Jeanne Assam" and the location to "New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO" and the situation moves from hypothesis to empirical evidence. Through Prof. Librescu's heroic effort at Virginia Tech, some number of lives were demonstrably saved, but 32 people still fell victim to the shooter, over a time span covering over two hours. Through Jeanne Assam's heroic effort at New Life Church, some number of lives were likewise saved, but the shooter only had a matter of minutes to do his damage and as a result only 2 victims were killed. The difference is stark and undeniable.


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