Less than an hour after reading about the slaughter of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday, I read a post by conservative writer blaming the shooting and others like it on a liberal conspiracy to undo the Second Amendment and take away our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Actually, it was a re-post of a post, shared by a woman who found it credible enough to share it with her circle of friends.
And so it is with America. We have become a nation of people so willfully paranoid, ignorant and politically divided that large numbers of us accept that so-called liberals are so godless, evil, and hellbent on destroying the United States they’re willing to hire madmen to to create chaos and then use that chaos to usher in a new world order. A world order without our precious handguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons, which have somehow gotten weirdly linked to patriotism and Jesus, as if Jesus would’ve waived the Stars and Stripes and handed out handguns along with bread and fish at the Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are the peacemakers — the 9mm Berettas and Glocks — for they shall guard the children of the kingdom of God.”
It was such a ludicrous thought that I would’ve laughed if I hadn’t been troubled with sorrow about the deaths of the victims, especially the children. I wanted to comment on the post — angrily type “YOU FUCKING IDIOT” or “WHY IS IT THAT MORONS LIKE YOU NEVER GET SHOT AND CLEANSE THE GENETIC POOL?” But I held back, sticking to a vow I made about a year ago to remain silent for 24 hours whenever a shooting takes place, partly out of respect for the victims, and partly so I don’t go off half-cocked — pardon the expression — and say something I regret.
There are many causes for what happened at Sandy Hook, including untreated or poorly treated mental illness and American’s morbid fascination with guns, violence and celebrity. The shooter apparently was obsessed with guns and put a bullet in the head of his own mother, who was a gun enthusiast herself.
But I also blame our lack of gun control for the magnitude of the slaughter.
Yes, I agree with conservatives that there will always be violent, angry criminals in the world who can’t be controlled by the rule of law. I also agree that we need to focus much more of our time and tax dollars on improving our nation’s mental health services to help prevent these enraged and often deranged people from going on killing sprees.
But I disagree that a reasonable solution is to put armed guards in every school, mall or public building. Nor is it to arm ourselves in self-defense. I don’t want teachers wearing sidearms. I don’t want Santa to have to move his pistol out of the way before kids sit on his lap at the mall. I don’t want to have to carry a concealed weapon under my jacket when I drive to the grocery store at midnight to get ice cream.
Gun advocates argue that it’s people who kill people and not guns, and that if we take make guns illegal, then only criminals will have guns, creating terror for the rest of us.
But they’re wrong. Laughably so.
Adding more guns to the mix would only make the problem worse, because gun statistics are almost irrefutable: Guns create far more problems than they solve. Guns do little more than turn us into super-efficient murdering machines, whether it means accidentally shooting your little brother, deliberately shooting your estranged wife or turning the weapon on yourself. Claim what you want about how guns make us safer, but it’s hard to kill or wound 13, 49 or 70 people with a knife or a single-shot firearm. That sort of mayhem takes a military-grade weapon.
Consider what happened in a little-publicized attack at a school in central China just a day before the school shooting in Connecticut, for example. There, 22 school children and an elderly woman were hurt by a mentally ill, knife-wielding man.
Hurt, not killed.
Nobody died. Some people were badly wounded, but those kids get to live. The kids in Connecticut don’t, and the only difference between them is the weapon used. The gun.
I believe we need to follow Europe’s lead and implement strict gun controls, especially on handguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons. I would support a Constitutional amendment if that what it takes. We’ve amended the Constitution before, and it’s generally worked out very well for America despite initial resistance.
The Sandy Hook shootings, like the recent shootings in Aurora, brought tears of sorrow to my eyes. All those kids killed, and their poor families left with such sorrow. All those Christmas gifts under the trees that will go unopened.
I hope this latest incident leads to change. I’m tired of the killing. I’ve had enough. I want it to stop.