The United States of America’s Constitution gives its citizens the right to bear arms. The same document is then largely ignored when it’s time to decide if your ass should be strapped down in a chair while 2000 volts of electricity is shot through your body for pulling the trigger. I already have 2 passive aggressive parents, I don’t need another.
So, here we are again. Another mass shooting. My first reaction to the Newton, CT massacre was, “again?” One massacre should’ve been enough to tighten gun laws, but it’s not the first time a mass shooting has taken place in America. It’s not even the third. Or fifteenth. In 2012 alone, at least 18 shootings took place– that we have taken notice of or were reported extensively. According to the FBI’s definition of a mass shooting (4 or more) 19 mass shootings have taken place since April, 2007 or around one every four months.
The National Archive in Washington DC houses the 220 year old American constitution which was drafted and signed in 1787. Consider this: 220 or so years ago, there was a need for citizens to bear arms – there was no established militia. Last time I checked, in 2012, you had the CIA, the FBI, NSA, local and state police, a navy, an airforce, a marine corp, an army and the Department of Homeland Security. You also have amassed around 460 military bases around the world and an embassy or consulates in almost every major city in the world.
But the need for citizens to bear arms remains as strong as ever.
Many people I have asked own a gun for protection but if you ask them exactly what they’re protecting themselves from, the underlying answer is usually the same – protection from other people who own guns.
A funeral letter from a young survivor to his friend who was killed in Newton, CT
When murder is a normal occurrence
It made world wide news on November 29, 2012. BBC reported that New York City celebrated a day without a violent crime. More specifically, not a single murder, shooting, stabbing or other incident of violent crime was reported for a whole day. 24 hours without a shooting and its a cause for celebration, “No one died unnecessarily today.” The tag line of the article is “for the first time in living memory, New York has spent a day entirely without violent crime.”
This celebration should be a wake up call that the “normal” rate of violence in NYC is extraordinarily absurd and is now such an ingrained, expected part of NYC life that when it doesn’t happen for 24 hours it makes international news.
Some people will say, “people kill; not guns.” People can’t shoot someone if they don’t have access to a gun. The human mind determines whether or not the trigger is pulled, and if there are no guns, there are no triggers to pull.
Most mass shootings have happened due to the shooter having mental health issues. Peter Langman Ph.d has suggested most school shooters fall into one of these three categories – psychopathic, psychotic, or traumatised. He describes them as extremely narcissistic, with a disregard for the law and morality, having a lack of capacity for empathy, and they tend to take sadistic pleasure in killing. Psychotic shooters are most likely to kill family members and “adults who attacked elementary schools fit partly or fully within the psychotic category”. Psychotic shooters are often suffering from schizophrenia.
Guns are one of the tools the human mind uses to kill. We need to address the mental health system as well as the national gun laws. But without guns, a psychotic killer cannot kill 30 people in one morning. Get rid of the physical triggers then address the mental ones.
Stopping a massacre
“Australia, after their ’96 massacre, banned semi automatic weapons. They haven’t had a massacre since.” Mia Farrow (Twitter, 15 Dec 12)
In 1996, the largest gun massacre by a civilian – anywhere in the world – occurred in Tasmania, Australia. 35 people lay dead and 18 were wounded. Semi automatics – the type used in the massacre, were subsequently banned from civilian ownership and an excess of 640,000 were destroyed. Guns laws were tightened and qualifying for a gun became difficult. A universal registration was introduced and police gained access to all records of gun ownership. Since 1996, Australia has had no gun massacres. The total gun deaths have been reduced. In the early 90s, approximately 600 Australians died each year due to gun shots; now, it’s fewer than 250. Even better? Australian National University researchers estimates 200 deaths have been prevented since 1996 saving $500 million a year.
After the latest massacre, an 11 year old child has been reprimanded for taking a gun to school – not to shoot anyone, but just in case some one tries to shoot him. He feels so unsafe (at 11!), he’s taking a gun to school to protect himself. The fact an 11 year old feels so afraid of being killed or attacked at school is not enough for America to not just talk about gun laws but do something about them is terrifying. By not addressing the issue we are neglecting the lives of future victims and creating a whole new paranoid generation with new gun issues. 2013’s biggest trend won’t be some new Wii game or Channing Tatum’s kid, it’ll be a huge spike in home schooling.
I believe even though you have a constitutional right to own a gun does not mean you do not have a constitutional right to refuse to own one. The right to bear arms in the US constitution is considered more important than people’s right to live.
So here is a list of innocent victims from CT that died a week before Christmas as a result of a mental health system in need of a review and the absence of gun laws. My heart hurts for the parents who lost their children who were just learning the basics of life.
A 27 year old teacher Victoria Soto apparently heard shots and put her students into a cupboard. The gun man walked in and she told them the students were in the gym. The gunman shot her and left – all of her kids survived.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6.
Source: Connecticut State Police
This is my opinion only and you are entitled to your own. What do you think the US should do in regards to its gun issues?