Gun Laws: I’m About To Give Up

Honestly, I’m just about to give up.

Every time a tragedy occurs involving a mass shooting in America, the gun laws conversation gets started again. And every time, people start pretending that gun control equates to an all-out ban on guns, that gun control is never going to stop all murders anyway so why bother, that gun control leads to more violence/murder even though that is not even remotely true in any of the first world countries that are remotely comparable to America.

But all those comparisons really don’t matter because America is its own country and, frankly, we won’t know what stricter gun laws will actually accomplish until we try them out.

Ultimately, I know one thing: Doing absolutely nothing, which is what we’ve been doing for the past many many years, has done absolutely nothing.

Honestly, I don’t know if stricter gun laws or more accessible mental health care (which is definitely related to lowering crime in America) would have helped prevent 20 dead children in Connecticut. But our strategy of doing nothing certainly did nothing to stop it.

America has become on of the world leaders in violence. We have some of the highest rates of mass murders, school shootings and gun crimes in the world, particularly among first world countries. And yet so many seem content to just say, “Eh. Whatever. It’s fine.” And seem to enjoy calling people that think something should change, that we should do everything in our power to stop the headlines tomorrow being 20 more dead children, or people of any age, anti-American, taking away Americans’ rights to own any and every firearm in the world.

It’s frustrating. It’s so immensely frustrating because the conversation ends before it can begin. Because people that are pro-gun rights refuse to admit that maybe, just maybe, we have a problem. That maybe we shouldn’t accept that our current situation is the best situation, especially when statistics have shown that America is far and beyond the norm for gun violence and mass shootings.

Yes, there are crazy people. Evil people. No, we’ll never be able to stop them all. But if the person in Newtown had, say, a chamber with 10 or 20 less bullets in it, instead the 100 or more it had, would there maybe be one more child left alive today?

Maybe. It’s possible. But as long as we do nothing, nothing’s possible but more of the same. And I’m too sickened by that to want it to continue on. But I’m also feeling beaten down. I don’t know what we can do when Americans seem so intensely divided on this issue and politicians cower and refuse to take action. There is some hope, after this most recent incident, that President Barack Obama will step up and force a political conversation. But who knows. So I’m going to try to bow out of the conversation for a time. I know what’s right, and I know what “rights” people should have, and that certainly isn’t free and unabated access to any and every single firearm and weapon on the planet. Mutually assured destruction just doesn’t work.

But I think I’m just going to shut up for a while. Until the politicians start bringing real changes to the discussion table, there just doesn’t seem to be a point.

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One thought on “Gun Laws: I’m About To Give Up

  1. mharper says:

    I’ll comment here because I don’t feel like bringing this up on the Facebook (at least, not yet).

    There have been several articles talking about the shooter, Adam Lanza–comments from neighbors and high school classmates. They talk about how he was an awkward loner. No one has come forward to say, “Yeah, we were good friends.”

    Out of an entire school, no one was friends with this kid? Maybe the media just hasn’t dug around enough, but the picture is starting to appear of a young man who was ignored and shunned by his peers. (Best quote–“Yeah, maybe people teased him, but there wasn’t physical bullying.”)

    We’ll have the gun control debate, and we’ll have the mental health debate, but we’re not going to have a national debate on how perhaps we as individuals should do more to reach out to our fellow man. Apparently, that’s too much work. (It also means a reckoning with our high-school selves, which no one wants to do anyway.)

    It’s easy to talk about stricter gun control, but I don’t see anyone talking about joining a police force to help enforce these laws.

    It’s easy to talk about improving mental health care, but I don’t see anyone talking about going into counseling or clinical psychology to help those who are troubled. (Nor do I see anyone talking about going into drug R & D.)

    Apparently, it’s too difficult to talk about how we might be more sensitive to the emotional needs of other people in our community, but it’s the easiest thing. It doesn’t require a medical degree, or training from a police academy. It’s actually something you were probably born with, nature vs. nurture debate aside. When you were a baby, you got stressed out when the people around you were stressed and hurting. As an adult, you ignore them.

    Perhaps this is a fundamentally religious argument being made here…in which case, one has to ask, where were the Christians, or the Jews, or the Muslims, whose faiths all require or encourage charity, material and otherwise? I see a lot of people on the FB who are devout (in varying degrees) talking about gun control, mental health, and the need for Jesus and/or prayer to be put back in schools. I haven’t seen these believers calling for redoubled efforts on the part of other believers to act with love and acceptance or to reach out to the troubled.

    And one last thing, though this isn’t directly related to the issue at hand:
    I’ve seen so many people talking about holding their children close, and being extra-thankful for their health and well-being.

    I did a little research. According to UNICEF, in 2011, about 19,000 children (5 years old and under) died each day, world-wide. The majority of these deaths were in Africa and Asia, and were caused by hunger/malnutrition and diseases that are easily treated here in the US. It’s a tragedy that we don’t see and one that isn’t reported on. We won’t have a national debate on it either, probably, about whether the US should cut its military budget to provide more foreign aid, or whether we as individuals should take a more-proactive charitable stance. (And then there’s the whole “If Palestine joins certain UN agencies, the US will automatically pull funding for said agencies”…but that’s for another day.)

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