Listen, everyone is right here. The second amendment is clear, but so too is the abuse of the amendment. Innocent children – their futures, the future of our society – along with their heroic teachers, shamefully become the latest victims of this abuse on Friday – taken away from us and our communities at far too young an age in the most brutal, horrific and incomprehensible way imaginable. Unless we want this slaughter to continue and repeat itself in the months and years ahead, we can’t continue on the current path … but we can’t ban all guns as some would like either. These are the two conclusions we seem to be left with, but the only way to make any progress – as in any situation with more than one viewpoint – is via compromise. Of course nothing we do can completely prevent the ill and the disturbed from inflicting damage on others, on any sort of scale, but if we can reduce the violence, if we can reduce the amount of murders, if we can reduce – and how sad it is this has to be put into words – the slaughter in our elementary schools, then action has to be taken if we want to continue as a civilized society.
I am certainly not a gun expert. They make me nauseous just thinking about them because they are – at their very essence – violent in nature. They are instruments designed and created to kill. Yet I do understand their usefulness to an extent. The first time I ever saw a gun was in the 80’s, snooping around my grandmother’s house in White Plains, NY where she lived alone, and coming across a rifle she stored in the closet of my Dad’s old bedroom. I felt then at that moment being scared, frightened and even disgusted as it sat there propped up in the corner of this dark tiny closet. I also understood however that it made her feel safer, and that comforted me, and so I never said anything about seeing it to either her or my parents.
I’m reading comments from a lot of people who are trying to say this ever increasing bloodshed is just simply a result of mental health issues in our country (“guns don’t kill people, people kill people”) which, while true, I find to be a way of dodging the important conversation that needs to be had about guns, as they are certainly not helping. Sure, mental sickness is the root, but guns are the tool. These killers chose guns for a reason. They are easy to get, quick to use, and kill as many targets as possible. Yes, you can kill with your hands, or with a fork (nice argument, simpleton) but the murderers in Newtown and Aurora and countless others didn’t choose to go in with fists blazing, but guns blazing, because it’s the easiest method at their disposal. Having these military grade weapons so easily obtainable even makes it tempting to carry something out – practically inviting them to go on a rampage. “Well, I thought about stabbing everyone but I’d probably only get a few of them so what’s the point? But an AR-15? Now that’s worth my time.” So in the very least, let’s make it less easy. Yes, mental illness is a major aspect that needs to be dealt with, however it is NEVER going away, and in this country it seems, neither are guns. But we can make concessions. Making it much more restrictive to obtain guns, to make it harder than going to Walmart (or even their website for that matter) to buy military grade weaponry, is not too much to ask if we claim we truly care about human life, including the most innocent amongst us. People will ultimately say that this can’t be done and its “big government” and unconstitutional and all this, but ask yourself, and the president echoed my sentiment from last week in his speech at the Newtown vigil – what’s the highest price we are willing to pay? Would 50 kids next time be our limit? How about 75? Or 100? Apparently there IS a price we are willing to pay before something is done – which is the sickest part of all this. What about your loved ones? Would losing them – being shot multiple times point blank in the head – be an acceptable price to pay for no restrictions on military grade weapons? I know none of the victims of these horrific crimes, but my gut reaction is – especially after Newtown – that I would give up my right completely if it means these people could still be with us – if these twenty beautiful young kids could still be with us. But a compromise of something less than a full on ban is certainly reasonable, like tough restrictions on certain types of weapons, the most deadly – the ones that can kill dozens in a few seconds time. Allow pistols and rifles or whatever these basic type guns are referred to as these days (pistols? haha), but we need to adopt like what is done in Israel for example when it comes to semi-automatic weapons, which is one needs to provide a legitimate reason to the permitting authority to own such a gun, and if you get one, then you go back every six months to have your reason and circumstances re-evaluated. Psychological tests, registration, the works. Sure, this wouldn’t solve all the gun violence here. No approach will solve the problem. But it will surely improve the situation. Everybody gives in a little, and yet the gun-owning community can still have their basic guns, and we can reduce down the chances of events like Newtown from happening again. It could be a big step, or a small step, but it’s one that has to be taken. As Americans, we may have the right to own a gun, but above all else we also have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, and it is our duty to do what we can to not just honor those words, but make sure the most innocent and vulnerable amongst us are protected to the best of our abilities. If still it is really so necessary for you to own a gun that is designed for nothing more than to kill dozens upon dozens of people in the blink of an eye, then join the military. They and the country could use you and your passion now more than ever.
So many people rightfully admire the bravery of those teachers who gave up their lives to try and protect the victims and survivors. Now, let US put that admiration into action instead of empty rhetoric and give up a little something in order to help prevent our neighbors, our children, from being massacred. If you knew in advance it would save the life of any one of your loved ones, I think you would do as such. If we continue to let these weapons be so readily available, these massacres WILL continue. We are not a true community or society or civilization if we do nothing to, of all things, protect our own children. That would be failing them, miserably.