As with the rest of country and the world, we read the news on Friday and the days that followed, as the details from Newtown, CT were revealed. The innocent lives lost. The brave teachers who chose their life over the lives of those they were dedicated to teach and protect. The horror of yet another disturbed individual who armed himself and stormed into a school and injected a permanent havoc with a community of citizens.
Since January 2011 in Arizona [and obviously before], my heart has been heavy each time I read about another senseless act of violence from a lone person strapped with semi-automatic and automatic guns with the intent to kill. Just in the last ten days, we’ve had three such events unfold, with another thwarted and stopped in the planning stages.
As the President has said in several of his speeches since Friday, something has to be done. But what? I think I have some suggestions as well as my positions on all of this.
Ban On Assault Guns
Since 2004, when the ban expired on the assault guns, gun sales of semi-automatic and automatic weapons has gone up. And while those who really wanted them went underground to obtain them during their 9 year ban, I’m sure the stopping of the legal sale of such firearms reduced the numbers.
I don’t care what reason you think you need one of these weapons for, you don’t need them. Their purpose is one fold: to kill. Period. They need to be made illegal again in this country. You can disagree with me all you want. If you are an avid collector of them and use them on a regular basis, I don’t have much to say other than: why? Are you planning to take out a large number of people in a single trigger pull? Training yourself to take out the bad guy that has one in your next trip to the mall or movie theater? Please. No argument is great enough to justify the use and ownership of these weapons.
Legal Gun Use
To all of those that are so afraid we are going to ban all guns, calm yourself. If you are that fearful of having your legal right to pack heat revoked, then you have bigger problems. No one, not even those who are for gun control, are advocating a total ban of all guns. Of those that are advocating such nonesense, then they have bigger problems. Legal gun use and ownership is and should always be a freedom in this country. I have never been and never will be against an individual who wishes to legally purchase a gun that is not of the semi-automatic or automatic type for use to protect themselves or their family or to use for any other purpose, like hunting, target practice, range or skeet. I also do not lump in those responsible gun owners with those who have committed these killings of innocent people. Your responsible use of a firearm is appreciated and welcomed in those cases where you are able to stop such acts of violence without adding to the carnage.
Just like adding more vehicles on the highways doesn’t help traffic, adding more guns will not help reduce these violent acts. While I agree that some of these violent crimes has reduced the number of those killed when there is a responsible gun owner in the right place at the right time, it’s not the logical answer. Arming every store employee in the mall seems out of place. Assigning each school teacher a gun takes a classroom and turns it into a waiting room of an uncertain state. You want a gun? Fine, but evangelizing the mass arming of society isn’t the solution.
Somewhere, deep down inside the last few of these killers lurked a level of mental state that had them thinking gun use against others and themselves was the answer. At some point, these issues need to be properly addressed. While it’s not possible to reach each and every person in a fragile state of mind, thought and body. awareness and treatment need to be very high on the list of everyone. Help those who are in this state of their lives. Bullying and shunning because the person isn’t “normal” needs to stop. The division in this country over many things like politics and religion have made excluding others because they are different more common. Those are can and are equipped to, reach out to those who are obviously struggling with these disorders. Parents need to embrace and listen to their children’s needs and thoughts. While the relationship between kids and their parents will never be a smooth ride, there needs to be a level of trust. Too many families are fragmented and don’t spend enough time with their children.
Our love affair with having all of these guns needs to be questioned. Protect yourself, train yourself and be of a stable mind. I’m all for that. But when you are defending the use and ownership of a firearm that can expel 30 rounds with a single trigger pull, then that scares the shit out of me. And it should to anyone. Being the hometown vigilante shopper or school principal with your loaded AR-15 could actually take out more lives and make you less of an advocate.
While there is no guarantee that every act like what happened in Newtown, CT will stop, we can take actions to change our mindsets about the need for more weapons. And the embracing of those types of weapons that have only a single purpose. Why, after decades and centuries of the “kill or be killed” mentality, is this mantra still with us, I don’t know why. You would think we could have evolved as a people. We are smart enough to carry smartphones. Let’s be smarter and think more along the lines of civility and properly treating those who have thoughts and plans of doing harm to others. Changing the way we live and think is the biggest step towards reducing these senseless acts of life-ending tragedies.