I feel guilty that those children are dead and I’m alive.
We can’t all together stop these horrible things from happening, but we can make them harder to happen. We could, as a society, make it very difficult for a person to buy an assault weapon that is made solely to kill people. Some believe that, because we can’t out-right stop it, we should do nothing. I am not one of those people. Every part of our society was created because of its need. People died from car accidents, so we invented seat belts. People died from car accidents, so we created speed limits. People died from drinking and driving, so we made drinking and driving illegal. You can’t tell me, with a straight face, that we can’t solve the problem of mass killings. We can. We are human beings. We can do anything.
There are certain groups of people that believe we shouldn’t regulate anything, and those people are the root of the crisis. Gun ownership is their fundamental right, they say. They use a few talking points to back up their argument.
1) If you take guns away from the people, criminals will have access to them, putting the people at risk.
2) Take away our guns, and we will have no protection if/when the government decides to take over.
3) You can’t punish everyone because of the action of a few or one.
4) If you arm everyone, it will allow him or her to protect themselves from attacks.
5) The root of the problem isn’t the gun; it’s our violent culture, for example, violent movies, violent video games.
6) It’s not a gun issue. It’s a mental health issue.
I’d like to address all those.
1) Criminals have guns anyway, and it doesn’t matter if the populace has more or less guns. And, last I check, we don’t have gangs of criminals running up and down our streets murdering people, even if the news would make it seem that way.
2) We have no way of protecting ourselves from the government now. If the government wanted to murder us all, they easily could. Besides, we are the very government that we’re afraid of.
3) Yes, we can punish everyone for the action of a few. We do it all the time.
4) If we arm everyone, we’ll have shoot-outs in malls when two people fight over a sale item.
5) True, we have a violent culture and that needs to be addressed. But getting rid of action movies and replacing them with Disney classics won’t stop an insane man from murdering children when his medication runs out.
6) Mental health is an issue, and we should address that. That doesn’t mean that we can’t address gun violence or regulate guns. Increasing our ability to help the mentally ill is part of the solution. The other part is making it almost impossible for a mentally ill person to buy a gun.
We should all prepare for the very real fact that nothing will get done. There will be a lot of talking. There will be yelling and crying and Senators and the President saying words. But, don’t be disappointed when, after six months or so, nothing has changed. This is the world we live in. We are slowly accepting that bad things happen and there’s nothing we can do about it. We accept this because we are a very lazy, listing society that thinks a post on Facebook or an angry reply on Twitter will save us all from the many, many mistakes we make as a society. This blog post isn’t the answer, either, nor am I arrogant or naive to think it will. Trust me when I say that my writing is more of a release of frustration at my inability to make the world better, not an attempt to correct our institutional flaws with sentences.
We are the reason those children are dead in Newtown. We are, all of us, to blame.