Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 4:58:27 AM
Every time our nation faces a tragedy, people are understandably shocked. In the aftermath, an outpouring of grief and anger at the perpetrators of such unspeakable acts emerge. As these visceral emotions of horror and outrage subside, people start to look for answers. What did we do wrong or what could be done better for the future? Eventually these questions linger unanswered and are pushed to the side. While people still regard the event as a horrible tragedy, its importance in the national discussion diminishes as people move on with their lives as if it never happened. As such, the status quo goes on preserved. Let this time be different then. Let this shooting serve as an impetus for reform so as to help prevent another potential tragedy.
For far too long the issue of gun control has been swept under the rug. Those in opposition to gun control simply incite Americans’ innate distrust in the government by saying “big government is here to take your guns and your rights”. This is categorically untrue and is the basest form of demagoguery. The government and proponents of gun control are not out to infringe upon the freedom of its citizens; they are instead acting in a way that maximizes the safety of the people and thereby affording a greater degree of freedom to live life with a greater sense that one is more safe. Among others, a study by Mark Dugan in 2000 found that guns increase and foster, rather than deter criminal activity. Simply put: more guns equals more homicides.
Furthermore, the constitutionality of gun control proposals is too often disregarded. The 2nd Amendment is clearly prefaced with the understanding that the use of those weapons should be in a militia. Therefore the use and possession of said weapons can be subject to control if not for a militia. Furthermore, the rights afforded to us are all restrained to some extent. For example, while an American does possess freedom of speech, that American cannot use that freedom in a way that harms another, be it through libel or crying fire in a crowded movie theater. Similarly, the right to bear arms should not be considered unconditional. The typical gun owner does not need a military grade assault rifle. We as Americans live in a civil society and as such, we must all make the proper sacrifices and concessions to contribute to its improvement.
For too long, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been cowed into submitting to the wishes of the powerful gun lobby. No more can this go on. We must seriously reflect upon where we have gone wrong and how we can fix it. This is not a time for partisan bickering and strife. Let it be that those young and innocent children will not have died in vain. Let us come together as a nation to address and change the fundamental wrongs that plague our system. We owe nothing less to the bereaved in Newtown.