This will be a minority report. Take it for what it is worth.

Principles: Guns do not kill. Individual human beings, who choose to use weapons of whatever kind irresponsibly or incompetently, do kill. Automobiles kill some 50,000 people in the United States alone each year. Automobiles do not kill. Individual human beings, who drive recklessly or drunkenly, do. Drugs do not kill. Individuals who use drugs unwisely do the killing, usually of themselves. Knives do not kill. Individuals who use them carelessly or deliberately do the killing.

A parable: Suppose that on the morning of the killings in Colorado, a young man in the same high school — let's call him Zeke — had heard rumors that two kids were planning to kill some students. Zeke's father, uncles and grandfathers loved to hunt. They taught the sons in the family all about guns, how to clean them, how to take them apart, how to aim them, how to lock them, how to carry them. Zeke and his brothers were, by the time they were 13, expert shots with both pistols and rifles.

When Zeke heard this rumor, he first thought it was another joke. But he thought, “Well, maybe….” So, just in case, he put in his bag a small loaded pistolwith a secure safety lock on it.

Someone had told him that these two characters planned to raid the school from the ball field about 11:30 a.m. So he strolled over by the ball field. Sure enough, about 11:30, he spotted two young men crawling along. Suddenly, they got up and headed for the back door of the school. They had weapons. He followed them, unbelieving. Before they shot anyone, however, just as they threatened the students, Zeke pulled out his pistol and shot them both dead.

Question: Was Zeke a hero? Since neither the public nor the police could imagine what would have happened in reality when the 15 or so students were killed, everyone would immediately assume that Zeke's gun was the problem. The parents of the two boys who planned the actual killing would have testified that their boys were good boys. They were only playing a prank. Some lawyer would have talked them into filing a multimillion-dollar suit against Zeke's hapless, guntoting parents. Zeke would have been accused at least of second-degree murder. His story about the intentions of the two boys would have been called baloney. He would have gotten 30 years in jail.

After the incident, the advocates of gun control would have been on C-Span for two solid weeks railing against guns, demanding more control. The poll-driven President and Congress would move to legislate against guns. No one would have seen Zeke as the hero he was for preventing a slaughter. And when the next slaughter happened, cries would come for whatever-the-weapon control.

A second parable: Suppose, again, that early in the morning of the incident, the two Colorado boys had decided against using guns. They figured that they were too cumbersome and would be easily spotted. They heard a kid named Zeke, a good shot, was onto them. In the meantime, they had learned in their chemistry class, in books and on the Internet how to make and detonate explosives. They had already planted several chemical bombs around the school. The bombs would cause much more damage than the guns anyhow.

So, at precisely 11:30, they set off a detonator blowing up the building. They killed 230 students and teachers, including themselves. They left notes detailing their actions and motives.

For the next three weeks, C-Span runs continuous programming on the need to control chemical information. The crime, leading authorities say, was caused by the easy availability of “knowledge” about explosives in chemistry class and in the school library. The President and Congress, following popular outcries and polls, take steps to restrict information on chemistry.

A parable from a cartoon: I once saw a cave-almost-human-man cartoon in the New Yorker. Most of the cave-men and cave-lady persons were sitting around armed to the teeth with clubs and stones. But over at the side, there was a very satisfied, sly looking cave-man person. He had just invented something. By his side was a long rodlike stick, across the ends of which he had stretched a thin piece of hide. Nearby on the ground were also some long sticks with pointed stone heads. Many pronounced themselves afraid that this newfangled, long-range weapon was going to change the nature of warfare and the theory of just war. It could only increase the killing. Therefore, to stop the killing, they formed “The International Committee to Abolish Bows and Arrows.”

Conclusions: 1. The only gun control is human control. 2. If you abolish one weapon, another will take its place. If you abolish guns, watch out for bombs, knives, small nuclear weapons, poison, and especially bows and arrows. 3. The origin of evil is in the human will. No outside control of weapons will prevent the mind's inventive choices for killing others. Cave-men persons killed with rocks. Abolish rocks? 4. Before talking about controlling guns, talk about virtue, how it is acquired and why we don't speak of it much any more.

Father James V. Schall teaches philosophy at Georgetown. His most recent book is At the Limits of Political Philosophy from The Catholic University of America Press.