Monday, December 17, 2012

One Friday Morning in December

On Friday, December 14th, a troubled young man opened fire in a Kindergarten classroom and killed 20 innocent, young, beautiful children. He also managed to assassinate several staff members including the school principal and the school psychologist. The entire nation and world knows about this incident. People all throughout the country are grieving with Newtown, CT. The quiet, close-knit community is having a hard time preparing for Christmas with the thick fog of loss hanging in the air.

This incident sparked major debates on mainstream media channels, social media outlets and even in little coffee shops. "We need more gun control. This violence has got to stop." "Do we really value guns over children?" "What is the point of having a gun anyway?" "It is just a tool to injure or kill people."

"According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did)."

If your recall some of the most tragic, senseless acts of violence involving mass shootings, you will remember that the majority have been carried out by white males with severe mental illness. Yes, most of these weapons of death have been purchased legally or borrowed/stolen from someone who purchased them legally. How many mass shootings have been carried out by young males of any other race who bought their firearm from some guy on the street?

My city has a really high homicide rate and small scale shootings are a daily occurrence. This is where gun control is needed. These teenagers who aren't even old enough to own a gun, buy them off the street and then pop the first person that pisses them off or says something negative on Facebook. That shit needs to be "controlled."

I'm sure our nation's gun policies could use revision. This senseless violence needs to come to an end. There is no good reason for innocent bloodshed because of a troubled or disturbed individual. Our mental health care system needs the biggest revision and our political figures need to take a closer look at THAT.

I get so frustrated when people say "no more guns! Get rid of guns! The 2nd Amendment doesn't matter anymore, that was for back in the day when you needed to protect yourself from others." We still need to protect ourselves from others and it is sad. The flip side to the gun control debate is: what if the principal was allowed to conceal carry? I know, its terrifying to think of your elementary school principal packing heat in the school, but think about it for a second.

It may come as a surprise to many, but I am a gun owner. I use my firearm for hunting whitetail deer, but I own a firearm. The thought of "getting rid of all firearms" makes me sad because I purchased my gun legally, I routinely go over safe handling procedures with my dad, and I know the ins and outs of my gun. Not everyone has the point of view of "get rid of all guns in America," but many people do.

THAT is why I'm on this side of the debate. Gun owners and gun activists are going to shake their fists at those who do not own a gun. The gun-less debaters wouldn't be effected if all of the guns were confiscated or taken off the streets. They'd feel safer, maybe, but they don't lose anything. Gun owners would lose something. I doubt our nation would resort to such an extreme measure, and the truth is, you could stop selling guns and people will still find ways to obtain them or carry out their tragic plans.

The trick is finding a way to control the sale and distribution of guns so that young teens can't get them illegally, the mentally ill are treated before they can gain access to them and the responsible gun owners can continue doing their thing. But you can't predict when someone will snap. That is part of the problem as well.

The bottom line is: gun control is tricky. But no matter what side of the debate you are on, it is going to be extremely difficult to coax someone from the other side to join yours. Gun-less individuals want guns gone. Gun owners want to maintain their Constitutional right. No matter how much you debate, you're going to stick to your side and refuse to see the other.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? What came first, the gun purchase/motive or the mental illness that made an individual crack and form a plan of massive violence? You decide.

Until Next Time....

If you'd like to help the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, you can donate money to their United Way fund. There are many ways to help, monetarily or otherwise. Please continue to keep their community in your thoughts and/or prayers. It is going to take them a very long time to recover and they could use all the good thoughts and peaceful wishes they can get.

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