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In The News: Gun Control and Ignorance



Joined: 1/31/2013
Posts: 2
ghong10
Blame the politicians. It seems to be the common refrain amongst Americans across the country. Anytime there a problem, our gridlocked and often dysfunctional government takes the blame. Last week serves as a prime example of this as Senate blocked a watered-down version of the original proposed gun control bill, making it seem that the politicians are at fault; after all, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings polls indicated overwhelming support for such measures. However, while it is easy to blame politicians for this failure, the American public must first look upon itself as the party at fault.
Despite easy access to current events, there is an epidemic lack of knowledge and interest in current affairs amongst the American population. For the average American, this means that when it comes to issues that directly affect them and their loved ones, they are left uninformed and consequently dangerously apathetic as evidenced by the ever diminishing support for further gun control. The politicians who voted down the legislation did so not only because the numbers of people in support of such legislation are dwindling, but most supporters of gun control do not feel strongly about it.
If the American people were to fully utilize the abundant resources at their disposal and actually learn about current events, more of our politicians would willingly throw their support behind what is a step towards reductions in violence and an overall increase in societal welfare. Though the NRA and similar gun lobbies have significant pull and influence in our political system and our policies this need not be the case. A well informed population is not likely to be swayed by such blatantly false and demagogic statements as those often uttered by the uneducated and irrational such as: “big government is here to take your guns and your rights”. To the contrary: by limiting access to over-powered guns to those fit to own them, the government is better able to protect individual rights and uphold our freedoms. There is no better example of the effectiveness of gun control than Australia, a country politically and culturally similar to our own. After a mass killing in 1996, the government, led by a politically conservative prime minister, quickly passed restrictive gun laws. Since then, homicide rates in the country have declined 59 percent and we have yet to hear of any Australian tyranny.
Asinine and uninformed statements would be easy to laugh off if not for the fact that an embarrassingly high percentage of Americans believe such preposterous things. The first step towards fixing what is clearly a systemic problem is informing the population and thereby rallying support for beneficial policies. No more should we sit passively as our fellow Americans are dying because of our indifference to the important events that affect our lives and the lives of those whom we care about. Before indulging our urge to put the blame on others, we as a nation must first work to fix our social ills.
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