Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:06:20 PM
Newtown and every other school shooting that has taken the lives of innocent people are unimaginable tragedies. They are something the country will always look back on, remembering the victims with somber thoughts. I believe that these tragedies could have been prevented, but dwelling on that does nothing to help the situation our country finds itself in.
There have been 60 school shootings in the US since 1990 (www.pcs.org), that’s 60 incidents where people were killed by gun wielding madmen at a place they’re supposed to find safe. So, what’s the answer? Ban guns, firearms, and explosives? No, because in our current environment there are too many weapons out there to possibly confiscate every firearm. The right to bear arms is in our constitution for a reason: so people can take action if the government ever infringes on their rights. What no one seems to understand is that stricter gun laws do not mean the government is taking away our right to bear arms. It simply means the government is trying to prevent access to the kind of military style weapons so often used in these massacres. Assault weapons, semi-automatic rifles, and high capacity magazines-none of these weapons have any purpose outside the military. Why are they available to the public? So a hunter can shoot up a dear?
Furthermore, why is it so easy to get a firearm in this country? The purchase of a gun should come with extensive background checks and competency tests to make sure that the people who own guns are people who can handle a weapon responsibly. Citizens who own firearms should have to hold and renew permits for all their weapons and there should be a limit on how many weapons one person can have. Jared Lee Loughner, the man who shot congressman Gabrielle Giffords, was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. He should not be able to get his hands on a gun. Anyone with a serious mental illness should not be permitted to own a firearm.
However, taking steps to better help those with mental disorders does not necessarily mean isolating and disenfranchising them. On the contrary, a greater understanding of mental illness needs to be asserted in this country. There should be an open dialogue that helps people understand why the mentally ill react the way they do in certain situations and more funding for research so they can live comfortably without the tribulations of their illness.
All these measures cannot fix the innate violence of the human race. It cannot prevent every tragedy, save every life, and stop the inevitable suffering that will come to so many, but they can help. All we really can do is help. We can take away the weapons that are used in these crimes, stop unstable people from purchasing firearms, learn how to help those who suffer from terrible mental illness, and more than anything we can honor and respect the victims and their families affected by these preventable crimes. We can help.