I’ve been quite reluctant to post about the recent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Like many, I was horrified and disgusted that someone could murder children. The fact that he started with his own mother denotes the level of mental instability at work here.
That being said, I find it discouraging that so many people are urging for stricter gun control. I’ve overheard some people arguing that the government should just confiscate all the guns. Frankly this is ridiculous. But gun control of a serious nature is a real possibility considering the current state of the country and how people are feeling right now.
Tragedies like the one in Newtown are not the result of firearms, they are the result of psychosis. I strongly believe that if this young man did not have access to firearms, we would have heard about a serial-stabbing, a bombing, or arson. A sociopath who is unable to control his urge to hurt people is simply that – unable to control his urge to hurt people. He is going to hurt people by any means available to him.
From what I’ve read, the weapon used was semi-automatic tactical sporting rifle – .223-caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. It looks something like this:
This weapon is certainly intimidating, but it is no more powerful or deadly than this rifle, the Browing BAR Mark II.
Both rifles shoot very similar rounds and are semi-automatic. The first rifle is just styled differently, providing options for a mounted flashlight, laser, or other optics.
What I’ve seen people do is plaster up pictures of rifles that look like the first picture and cry about assault rifles. They’re military-inspired with all the gadgets but at the end of the day are a fancy-looking hunting rifle that most people don’t even hunt with. They just use it for target practice. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about here.
What I want to do is get at the heart of the issue. Like a kitchen knife, a baseball bat, or even a pen, a firearm is a tool. If I had a revolver and bullets, I could load the cylinder to capacity, close the cylinder, pull the hammer back and place it on the table in front of you. All it would do is sit there. It would sit there and rust. It can only harm someone when a person decides to pick it up and hurt someone. It’s really as simple as that.
Now I know that firearm management in a nation as large and diverse as our own is a complicated thing, but the fact remains that firearms are not at fault anymore than knives are to be blamed for stabbing people. It is the people who use these tools.
I mourn for those families who lost a child. Personally, I can’t imagine anything worse, but hindering the rights of law-abiding citizens is not going to stop someone from driving a bus into a school or placing a bomb in a busy shopping center.
As someone who grew up around firearms, owns firearms, and enjoys recreational shooting, my experience is likely different from many 20-somethings, especially in more urban areas, but that just means it’s my job to show those whose only experience of firearms is from Hollywood that guns are not inherently bad. They are hunks of metal.
Personally, I don’t have it all worked out. I don’t know how to fix these problems. I just know that the world is not a place free of violence. And if it’s possible (and I think it is), that someone suffering from a mental illness is compelled to harm me or my family, then I want the means with which to defend myself and my family.
We need to temper or reactionary nature and approach this problem of violence from a standpoint that aims at the core of the problem, not the means by which the consequences manifest themselves.