Inspired by this article on the Huffington Post
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 elementary schoolers and 6 adults were killed is all over the news currently, and it will be for the next few weeks because mass murders capture America’s attention well.
And as with the other shootings this year, the protests over gun laws are everywhere, and people keep blaming the government for not having stricter regulations on gun laws. However, I feel like there are many things to consider when changing the laws.
As a disclaimer, I believe that the shootings are a horrible thing, and that these killings wouldn’t happen in an ideal world. However, we live in anything but an ideal world where humans aren’t the most moral creatures, and there are many aspects to every problem.
First off, these shootings are caused by an extreme minority of the population that is uncontrollable and will always exist no matter what the laws are Five or six people out of the 314 million people in America go crazy every year and decide to go on a shooting rampage. From the point of view of a policymaker, that’s not significant enough to change the laws to adapt to an unpredictable 0.000001% of the population.
This might seem cruel, but the government currently has other priorities like the fiscal cliff, and those impacts affect more than just a few people and are more definite than trying to prevent the actions of a few people. (Actually never mind that, since the fiscal cliff is a supposedly a huge distraction by Congress as well.)
Then again, America faced a similar controversial problem that was recently solved: airport security. When the new airport screening laws were passed a few months ago, there were tons of outrages about the invasive scanners. However, the government believed the scanners were necessary to prevent future terrorists from bringing a bomb onto a plane.
Gun control laws are slightly different in the way that they prevent a person from obtaining a weapon instead of carrying a bomb on a plane, but the same principle applies. The laws would be an inconvenience to the average person, but in the long run, they would prevent many deaths and conflicts. And have you heard any airport security protests recently? Once the media stops making a big deal about an issue, the public stops caring as well.
But there’s another difference with airport security. Telling if someone is carrying a bomb is relatively straightforward. Predicting if a person will be a potential murderer is not. So how would the standards for gun laws be set? Americans would always protest with the 2nd amendment (right to bear arms) no matter what the standards were and claim that the laws are unconstitutional.
|A meme I saw after the Aurora shootings that is completely relevant.|
It’s easy to blame Congress for not having more gun control laws and causing these shootings, but in reality, there’s really more to consider, including the impracticality of enforcing the laws, indefinite standards, and the small probability of a shooting actually happening. The public won’t be satisfied unless there are absolutely no murders at all, since the debate over gun laws will arise after every shooting, as proven by the past.
When gun laws become restraining to that point though, there will be other problems regarding civil liberties and the second amendment, which then becomes a much more complicated debate. Add in the emotional aspect of causing grief to an entire nation, especially the families directly affected, and everything just becomes a mess.
I’m not one for writing sentimental messages, but I can’t believe that a few days ago, these families were living their normal lives, and then because of one person with no specific motives, all these kids and teachers are…gone, and the families are missing in a sense.
The shootings definitely wouldn’t have happened if the shooter didn’t have a gun, but the right to bear arms is one of the freedoms in America, and that’s one of the major sacrifices we make. I’m not sure what my opinion on this issue is yet, since it’s so complicated, and I don’t think I have the whole picture yet.
If any of you have an opinion you’d like to share or point out an aspect I hadn’t looked at, go ahead and say it in the comments!