Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 2:15:26 PM
After the tragedy of the shooting in Newtown, CT, there has been a lot of focus on the need for laws to be changed and gun rights to be more controlled. Even though these things are important concerns, I believe that gun rights are not the problem. I believe the real problem, when it comes right down to it, is people.
When looking at shootings, such as the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and the shooting in Newtown, it is clear to me that the shooters had some sort of mental illness. Whether it was clinical or not, these people felt the need to cry out in some violent way. This may have been caused by something in their pasts, such as being bullied, or simply feeling as if they were never listened to. It is so easy for people in our society to want to “reach out” to those who are wealthy, successful, or attractive. We want to be friends with those types of people, because it is easy for us. However, shouldn’t it be just as important to reach out to the homeless? The drug addicts? The poor? I see kids in school every day, judging and being judged, just because they are “different” than the social norm. These are the types of kids who may very well grow up feeling as if they have been ignored or isolated from society, for whatever reason, and develop mental illnesses, or simply just become bitter people, just as the Newtown shooter had.
As individuals and as a nation, we need to put emphasis on the value of individual people and life itself, and not just the lives of those who seem to be thriving. Think about those people who are addicted to drugs, have mental problems, or the people we personally see in our lives and could help, but don’t. They were probably not that way their entire lives, but since there was no one present in their lives to care about and value them, they felt neglected and turned to things that made them feel better.
Often, we write people off before we give ourselves a chance to get to know them. If we can all begin to see that every person, no matter what social status they may have, what clothes they wear, or how many friends they have, is important, we will start to see a kind of change in our society that gun laws and gun rights will not be able to produce.