Monday, December 17, 2012
The political storm taking place in the aftermath of the tragic school shooting in Newtown (CT) is unprecedented. The Internet is ablaze with demands for stricter gun laws, the banning of all guns, and even for killing gun owners. The issue of gun rights has just become much more heated.
It's normal to react emotionally to such an awful event, especially when we can relate to the victims. This shooting hit home for me much more so than others in the past. One, because I'm from a small town in Connecticut and, second, because the principal killed was my son's Kindergarten principal before we decided to homeschool. So I deeply understand the grief.
However, we must do our best to not react out of emotion, and try to maintain some of our logical sensibilities. Even gun rights advocates don't know how to respond because the usual arguments like self-defense or that guns don't kill people without someone pulling the trigger are lost to those grieving.
What's most disturbing is that some gun control advocates seem to be equating the right to own a gun with the right to commit violence. These are two very different things. No one has the right to commit violence or kill. The right to own a gun is not a license to kill, it's a right to self-defense. I believe self-defense to be a God-given right, maybe even an obligation to preserve ourselves. The "devil" is in the details, however.
Possessing a gun should not be a crime; misuse of the gun against another is a crime. In a sense it's like drug prohibition. Drug possession should not be a crime because they may only cause the user harm, but if the addict violates someone else's rights (theft, assault, etc.) while on drugs or to get drugs, then they broke the law.
Speaking of prohibition, were fully-automatic Tommy guns to blame for Al Capone's violence or was it the policy of alcohol prohibition? Additionally, do gun control advocates believe they will get rid of guns by prohibiting ownership of them? Has drug use gone down since prohibiting drugs? Even limited prohibition of guns will not solve anything or bring back the deceased from this atrocious act.
Tragedies and accidents will happen and they will cause pain, but no amount of "gun control" or Nerfing the world will prevent them. It is also unlikely that even a very limited right to purchase a firearm would slow the pace and severity of these tragedies. These tragedies are shocking because they are not the norm.
Some argue that the 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms for defense is outdated. Is the right for a citizen in Afghanistan to own a gun outdated? Is it in Israel? Or Chicago? America is no different. Perhaps because there are so many guns in the hands of street thugs it's even more vital to protect our right to self-defense in the United States.
I agree that there should be limitations on firepower, but citizens should be able to possess equal force of anyone that they may have to defend against, including law enforcement. Therefore, if there are any legal limitations on guns, it should extend to all possible aggressors. In other words, cops should not be able to have fully automatic assault rifles if citizens aren't allowed to have them. The government should not have a different set of laws than the people.
Of course, no citizen should have advanced military weapons like rocket launchers because they aren't used in law enforcement in the US, yet. So I don't condone the right of personal ownership of nukes, but I also don't condone it for our military either.
It is shameful that the US has 12K gun homicides per year. Yet over 75% are gang-related (Wiki). In other words they're heavily influenced by social policies like illegal drugs and the desperation of poverty. Even more shameful are 17.5K suicides by guns each year. We have a problem much deeper than guns...and I wish that was the focus of all the outrage.
The motivation behind the seemingly random acts of violence against innocent people in Connecticut and Aurora is much more difficult to determine than Al Capone's violence. Yet, it is just as important because the guns did not cause the violence, mentally unstable people did.
Everyone who is hurting over this incident is clamoring for a quick fix to prevent this type of tragedy in the future. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix because this is a deep morality problem and maybe a psychiatric drug problem, not a gun problem. And, in that regard, we have a long way to go.
When the people at the highest levels of our "leadership" condone killing innocent children in other countries, how can we expect that mentality to not trickle down into society? When our first reaction to difficult children is to drug them with chemicals proven to cause suicidal/homicidal tendencies, why are we continually surprised when that is the outcome?
These are just two of the many questions that should be asked by those who wonder why this happened beyond the choice of what type of tool was used during this massacre.
It seems the long-term solution is creating a more loving and compassionate society, but judging from the hatred directed at innocent and lawful gun owners the last few days, this too is a long way off.
PS: I am not a gun owner because I believe in peace and love and all that hippie shit, but I don't want to lose my right to own one should I feel it's necessary to defend myself.
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