Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Ripples of Hope against Violence

Many people have written about Sandy Hook and the massacre of 20 six and seven year old children in what they thought was their safe elementary school.  We know of the murder of 6 additional adults who were teachers and administrators and people there to serve the most vulnerable in our society. 

The shooter had mental health issues.  He watched violent video games.  But he used an AR-15 Bushmaster semi-automatic military-style assault weapon.  And he used large capacity clips and bullets that ripped through the flesh of these small children.

We are told that guns don't kill people.  But guns killed many of my heroes.  They killed John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and others.  America is a very violent society.  And yet what was the response to the shooting?  For some including President Obama, the response has been to work on gun regulation that includes universal background checks, limitation on the sale of certain large-capacity gun clips and certain assault-style weapons.   For other Americans, inspired by Fox and Rush Limbaugh and the NRA, the Sandy Hook massacre was just being exploited to advance the agenda of gun control.  These same people rushed to gun shows and gun stores and stocked up on the AR-15's that were likely to be restricted.  Sales went through the roof.

Reality is likely somewhere in the middle a place we often find truth.  America has a long love-affair with guns and it is likely that we shall never disarm nor shall any government ever attempt to disarm Americans.  However, certain type of assault-style weapons are not needed for hunting or self-defense.  Certain types of ammunition are not needed to shoot deer or ducks.  Certain gun magazines are not needed for anything except to create havoc.  And some restrictions will likely be enacted.

But I am disappointed with the degree of distrust in the gun crowd that doesn't seem to realize that we are all at risk if background checks are not required for gun purchases.  We do not need criminals or abusive individuals arming up.  We do not need potential 'terrorists' buying multiple rounds and aggressive arms.  We are not better for that.

We do need more mental health access for those who need such treatment.  We do need monitoring of video game playing by young, possibly unstable individuals.  And we do need to get violence out of our society, our movies, our games, our television shows and our daily lives. 

I hope that we can move forward in this direction and make a ripple a big wave of change for our future.


No comments: