Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:33:12 AM
Seven days after the shattering events in Newtown, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA delivered a speech in which he attributed the tragedy to everything from music videos to President Obama. Many say this was to be expected from a man representative of a legion of gun lobbyists. His job was not to deliver condolences or to reassure our nation. Rather, he set out to reinforce gun policy in a time of indecision. He proposed the appointment of armed guards in each of our nation’s schools, stating that this would be the ultimate measure of safety. However, his postulates were met with a wide range of opposition from our nation’s parents, mourners, school officials and concerned citizens. Now is not the time for any groups to point the finger of blame or to hand off culpability. Conversely, our nation needs to take preventative measures instead of justifying the past.
While the horror in Newtown has been attributed to a wide range of factors, an apparent need for stricter gun control legislation is a commonly echoed issue. The United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. Our country’s gun control and possession laws make it relatively easy to obtain firearms. Moreover, we have the highest homicide rate among advanced countries. Our gun homicide ratings are comparable to those in many of our world’s most tumultuous, violent nations. Despite such alarming statistics, several common opinions place blame for gun tragedies on different factors, like violent video games, lack of religion in schools, and pop culture. It seems as if everyone has their own justification as to why gun tragedies are becoming increasingly prevalent. However, this wave of conflicting opinions seems to be provoking argumentation and slowing any establishment of preventative measures.
Seemingly, our nation is resolutely divided over the conflicts raised by Newtown. As a high school student with limited knowledge of politics, gun laws or legislation, this appears ridiculous and insensitive. Citizens are trying to justify the past, and such validations are unneeded. The events in Newtown should not be remembered as a spark to the flames of a fierce gun control debate. Rather, the lives of the victims should be celebrated, and the healing process occurring in the town should be supported. If our nation looks towards the future rather than designating blame, we can make progress as well as pay proper respect. We should consider each postulated issue with regards to public safety, rather than fighting over its correlation to the shooting. The events on December 14th will be forever remembered in an empathetic, sorrowful way. Such a tragedy should not be marred by arguments and rationalization. When our nation chooses to stop pointing the finger of blame and channel our ideas into a movement for protection, we will move forward in more ways than one.