April 17, 2007 - The Tragedy in Virginia

Like all Americans, the officers, directors and members of the Illinois State Rifle Association are shocked and saddened by the news coming out of Virginia.

At the moment, nobody knows too much about the perpetrator - other than that he was an angry young man who carefully planned to cause a maximum of carnage.

Naturally, there are a lot of questions that arise out of a tragedy like this. First and foremost, is, "Why?" Unfortunately, the answer to that question is known only to the young man that did the killing.

There are sociological questions that must be answered. We should be asking just how good of a job do our schools do in helping foreign students to adjust and adapt to American culture. It appears that this young man was distraught over a failed relationship with a girl. Breakups happen every day on our campuses - so we have to ask ourselves just how well equipped colleges are to help students through the emotional upheaval of a break-up.

Again, although all the facts are not in, it appears that there was a breakdown in the public safety mechanism at Virginia Tech. Certainly a thorough review of campus safety plans, nationwide, should be conducted in light of what happened yesterday.

In closing, I ask that you keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.

Richard A. Pearson
Executive Director
Illinois State Rifle Association