“Violence is seldom predictable with any certainty; its precise
timing and location are even less so. Thus when it comes
to rare but catastrophic events such as campus rampages,
preventing violence is more important than foreseeing it.”
~Helen de Haven, associate professor, John Marshall Law School
The Chinese characters that make up the word “crisis” include one that may be translated as “opportunity.” We are a nation in crisis—a gun violence crisis—and the opportunity to do something about it is now. If the murder of 20 beautiful elementary school children and their teachers, in Newtown, Connecticut is not enough to spur action to address the crisis, then what is? If the cold-blooded murder of two volunteer firemen in western New York by a man who did what he liked doing best, killing people, is not enough to take action, then what is?
From Columbine, to the Appalachian School of Law, to Virginia Tech, to Northern Illinois University, to a Sheikh temple in Wisconsin, to a Connecticut elementary school, the bodies pile up. On and on it goes, the unabated gun violence. The self-proclaimed greatest nation on the earth appears paralyzed in the face of this murderous rampage. The gun-related deaths are so frequent that they have become as American as apple pie. The United States has become the laughing stock of the world if for no other reason than it has appeared incapable or unwilling to take tough measures to prevent these slaughters.
Some naively argue the shootings are God’s will. Others contend that we will never be able to stop these killings; we are not responsible for what others do. The National Rifle Association insists that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But in a fit of rage or drunken stupor, a good guy with a gun is just one pull of the trigger away from being a bad guy. More guns will probably lead to more carnage, not less. It is just common sense: if you don’t have access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines, you cannot use them to kill people.
Others suggest that what is needed is armed guards or police at all of our schools. Maybe it is. But remember, there was an armed guard at Columbine; Ft. Hood is a military base with armed personnel everywhere; and Virginia Tech had armed police on the campus. The presence of armed personnel prevented none of those shootings.
Still others insist that guns don’t kill; that banning assault weapons or high capacity magazines will not stop the killings. Well, as a matter fact, guns do kill, and banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines would greatly reduce the chances and probability of mass killings. If you buy the argument that guns don’t kill, then why do we license other inanimate objects as well as their owners? Cars in the hands of people addicted to alcohol or drugs or dangerously mentally ill individuals kill, and we have taken steps to keep cars out of the hands of people in both categories. Guns kill in the hands of addicts and dangerously mentally ill people and we need to do the same; we need to keep these weapons out of their hands. Yet we do nothing, and doing nothing is no longer an option. (To be continued)