A Catastrophic Cocktail : Mixing Guns And Mental Illness

2016 Words May 5th, 2015 9 Pages
Darryian Shover
Professor Harrington
Eng 121
11 May 2015
A Catastrophic Cocktail: Mixing Guns and Mental Illness Imagine a scene of unimaginable terror: several college students are lined up against a wall and shot, sirens are blaring in the background, and people are seen crouching on floors in classrooms and dormitories in a futile attempt to escape the wrath of a crazed gunman, who also happens to be a fellow student. By mid-afternoon, even the sidewalks are stained with blood and the atmosphere is desolate and aberrantly quiet. Students gather in small groups, some crying while still others make an effort to console each other. Such was the scene on April 16th, 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia when Seung-Hui Cho went on a mass killing spree. In slightly under three hours, Cho managed to gun down thirty-three students and faculty members, injuring seventeen others in the process, before finally turning the gun on himself. It has been described as the deadliest shooting rampage in American history. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective,” as well as those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, from buying a gun (Hauser 1). Thus, under said federal law, Cho should have been denied from buying a gun after a Virginia court declared him to be an “imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness” in late 2005 and sent him for psychiatric treatment (Hauser 1). “The…

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