I generally like Robert Herold's (The Inlander) opinions on any number of topics. I do reserve judgment when his opinions turn to guns. Apparently, according to the gun debate, you can only be pro or con. In a complete agreement that the Second Amendment grants a personal right to your toys, or you are all for gun bans, gun control. I think that both sides miss the point. 300,000 people who have died from gun violence over more than 12 years, since 9/11/2001, is not something to be so easily dismissed. That's 4.33 people on a daily basis; friends, neighbors, coworkers, children, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins; who die senselessly and tragically. That's just since 9/11/2001. Yeah, I guess that this many people who have died from these kinds of tragedies apparently can't be factored into the equation of why we have so many deaths by gun violence. Why that violence may even have risen sharply over this more than a decade since that terrorist attack. What are the factors for it. What was the trigger that could produce that kind of violence at all. If "we" are unwilling to discuss this, then no pro or anti-gun debate will solve the problem of criminal violence. The personal ownership of a gun, conceal/carry laws, won't prevent a hoodlum from taking a legally armed man out during the course of a drive by shooting. Nor will banning the manufacture of AR 15 types of weapons, prevent a criminal malcontent from manufacturing something to kill an innocent party with.
We have plenty of churches, plenty of people who go to those churches. With so many churches and people who are religious adherents, why do we have the gun violence that we do? Can we blame it on emotional or mental instability? No. Can we blame it on violent movies or video games? No. Can we scapegoat the news media for showing us “Breaking news,” the aftermath of the latest in senseless killings? No. How about if we fault the killer for his decision? That wouldn’t do, huh? Actually holding a young man responsible for buying an AR15 style weapon on line and afterwards, going into a movie theater to mow down a bunch of movie goers in a senseless act of carnage, that wouldn’t do. The NRA, we want to shove the blame on Hollywood. The gun ban people, there is too much easy access to guns. What isn’t asked, is why this even happened.
So, maybe we don’t want to know the “whys” as we take sides over toys. Maybe we aren’t interested in discussing the victims and the grieving survivors those victims leave behind. Maybe we are simply too cold, callous to put a human face on where this actual debate should go. After that Sandy Hook, elementary school shooting; there was quite the run on “dangerous weapons,” wasn’t there? The news media was all about reporting how fearful people were, to the idea that gun control measures would go through, and they wouldn’t have another toy to buy in the near future. 20 first grade school children died, along with 6 adults, and the gun buyers were more afraid of loosing access to their favorite toys. That would definitely suggest a moral sickness in this society that no gun debate will ever come close to addressing or curing.
Can we scapegoat, feminism? Legal aborticide? Gays being able to marry? Secular Humanism? Political correctness? Multi-culturalism being taught in the schools? Ecology, global warming, environmental protection? Or can we ask the pastors and priests of their respective churches, why politics matters more than reminding people that murder is a sin? There are penalties for sinful acts, not only can it put you in prison here on Earth, it can condemn you to Hell in the hereafter. Why don’t these preachers and priests inform their congregations and parishes about the positive decisions people could make in their lives that don’t lead to senseless acts of brutality? Of what parents could be teaching their children in their younger and more impressionable ages? There are no external scapegoats to be found to justify these criminal acts. In the absence of an AR15, anyone who decides to commit a criminal act can always find ways to kill others. The rest of society needs to reflect on why it happened. To finally address the moral lack that already exists for this kind of violence to occur at all.
Many of us are poor. Many of us grew up in bad, truly tragic circumstances. Many of us can be considered certifiable nut cases. Many of us were exposed to violent video games, TV shows, and movies. Many of us personally experienced some form of violence in our lives. Most of us however, make a conscious choice to not engage in such acts of violence ourselves. Then how do we explain the people who make the conscious choice to engage in horrible acts? Maybe we can’t. But we can set aside the debate over toys, I’m sure, to grieve as a nation for those who were lost. And ask of ourselves, can we do something that reduces the likelihood of such acts of violence occurring again? Even if it means restricting people who should not have them, from obtaining these guns.