STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

My Thoughts on Newtown: Something's gotta give

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 210
I work nights at a PR firm in Maryland. When I sleep during the day, I leave my phone on in case of emergency. On the morning of December 14th, I received a slew of texts from my friends all sharing the same sentiment, “Oh my god, someone just killed twenty children. I can’t believe this.” The vibrations from my phone woke me up, but the sick feeling in my gut kept me awake.

I’m not sure if there’s one “correct” answer to how our nation should proceed following the horrendous incident at Newtown. All I know is: “pro-gun” activists have had their way for over two hundred years, and it just got twenty five-year-olds killed. Clearly, something’s gotta give.

That being said, I don’t think taking away all guns is the answer. I have family and friends who are responsible gun owners. They collect guns as hobbies, go to shooting ranges for fun, and care for their weapons like members of their family. They are law abiding, responsible citizens who wouldn’t think twice about using their gun to take another life. I imagine this description embodies most of the gun owning citizens of America. And it doesn’t seem fair to punish these people who simply enjoy guns as a hobby.

But here’s where my sympathy for gun owners swiftly ends.

In America, gay people can’t get married, women shouldn’t be able to have abortions or access to free birth control, and healthcare is a privilege. But you’re telling me it’s your human right to own a semi-automatic rifle?

I also take issue when people argue, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” No kidding. Or, “Gun control laws wouldn’t stop criminals from getting guns.” Well in that case, let’s not have any laws at all, right?

I refer you to this quote from Nicholas Kristof:

“As with guns, some auto deaths are caused by people who break laws or behave irresponsibly. But we don’t shrug and say, “Cars don’t kill people, drunks do.” Instead, we have required seat belts, air bags, child seats and crash safety standards. We have introduced limited licenses for young drivers and tried to curb the use of mobile phones while driving. All this has reduced America’s traffic fatality rate per mile driven by nearly 90 percent since the 1950s. Some of you are alive today because of those auto safety regulations. And if we don’t treat guns in the same serious way, some of you and some of your children will die because of our failure.”

I also don’t think arming more people is the answer, either. I don’t want to carry a gun. I don’t want a gun in my house. I don’t want guns in kindergarten classrooms, or in the pockets of people who’ve had too much to drink after a long night at the bar. It wouldn’t make me feel safer. And you can’t tell me that if that kindergarten teacher in Newton was packing a pistol, she would have been able to stop the gunman. In reality, the pistol would have been in her purse or desk drawer and the gunman still would’ve gotten her. People don’t react that quickly.

Saying that mental illness is the root of all (or most) gun violence is inherently ableist and generally incorrect. Mentally ill people are more likely to have violence committed against them than commit violence. It’s unfortunate that mental healthcare in this country is still in its infancy. Most medicines take 6-8 weeks to work, if they even work at all. We don’t even know why some mental illnesses occur. There’s a strong stigma against the mentally ill in this country; we call them “crazy” and demand they get institutionalized. Maybe we should focus on efforts on treating them like human beings and getting them the help they need (which, by the way, is really hard for most people to do because the healthcare costs in this country are outrageous. America is number one in the world for cost, number 34 in the world for care).

I understand that these last few big tragedies have occurred because of people who were mentally ill. But let’s talk about the 34 other gun deaths that happened on December 14th—or every other day in America (on average… this number is subject to fluctuation). This handy infographic from shows that over 600 people have been murdered by guns since Newtown. Were all those people mentally ill? Statistics tell me no, probably not.

Over 600 sounds like a lot in three weeks, but America has annually over 30,000 gun deaths. That’s over 8 times higher than other industrialized countries in this world. Why is that? These other countries have stricter gun rules. We have a rampant, stubborn gun culture.

What’s gun culture mean? It means that we as a nation glorify the use and purpose of guns. We celebrate guns as champions of peace and necessary to our future. The outspoken, self-proclaimed libertarian radio host Alex Jones recently claimed on the Piers Morgan Show that more guns means less violence and fewer deaths. But if that were really the case, no one would die in war, right?

This sentiment is primarily because of the second amendment. We have organizations like the NRA, who, for some reason, have a really loud voice in politics. Owning a gun is a right, they say, for self-protection.

I didn’t hear the NRA saying that black teenagers should arm themselves for protection after Trayvon Martin was undeservedly gunned down.

The Founding Fathers, if alive now, definitely wouldn’t know what to say about America today. They’d probably be really distracted by cars and airplanes and skyscrapers; they’d poop their pants when you’d tell them about germs. They drafted the Constitution in a very different time period. Their needs for guns, and the guns they used, were much different than the needs we have and the machines we produce today. They would fire one bullet, at a much slower speed, and then chill out for a few minutes while waiting to reload. They had a tyrannical government knocking on their front doors, shooting their kids, invading their homes, and stripping away their basic human rights for no reason at all. None of that is the case today. It’s not fair or realistic to compare then with now.

I know what you’re thinking: this essay took a really anti-gun turn. But honestly, I’ve seen more evidence of guns doing harm than good. But what about all those times when guns saved lives? They fail to mention the fact that someone probably died during the “saving.”

I really struggle with the idea that some people deserve to die. It’s unfortunate that we are so quick to categorize people like Adam Lanza as “bad guys” and say his suicide was warranted or deserved. That line of thinking is troubling to me and leads to shallow justification for murder. I again refer to Trayvon Martin—according to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Martin was a “bad guy” and deserved to die. Really, evidence shows that he was some 17-year-old black kid who went out for Skittles and got gunned down by some racist white guy because the black kid looked “suspicious.”

We still have a lot of social issues we need to work on in America. Racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia come to mind. I bet if we work on these issues, we’d see a lot fewer senseless murders. I wonder, then, if gun violence would correspondingly decrease?

Contrary to popular belief, though, I’m not gonna come knockin’ on your front door with my BFF Obama and snatch up your firearms. I believe that you are a responsible gun owner. I just wish there was a legitimate way to prove the rest of this nation’s gun owners are.
Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us: is a free blogging and writing community for singles that allows those living on their own the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Explore our blogging contests for singles, statistics about being single, quotes about being single, and other resources about the single life here on  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a teacher - review our Creative Writing and Language Arts Resources.

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable


Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g., and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy