26 innocent lives, taken too soon.
After this week, how can we deny that society needs to change?
It seems like every time a shooting massacre like this occurs, we repeat this same mantra that "today is not the day" to discuss gun control, for fear of politicizing a tragedy. But if we aren't willing to have an honest discussion about guns now, when will we? It is a greater disservice to ignore the reality of violence than to address it head on and prevent it from happening again. I appreciate bloggers out there taking a “day of silence” for the Newton shootings, but I’d rather speak up.
We as a country lose thousands of people each year to gun violence (more in six months than all the casualties of terrorism and the wars in ). But, with each tragedy, we are quickly warned by gun supporters that we can't have that discussion. To even bring it up is to be accused of “politicizing a tragedy” or “infringing on gun owners' freedoms.”
We’re not talking about banning guns completely, simply putting in place some reasonable restrictions that would provide a line of defense against mass killings like the one in Newtown without infringing on so-called “reasonable” uses for guns. Assault rifles aren't meant for hunting or sport. They are specifically designed to do as much damage as possible to the human body. These need eliminated.
And there are certain people, specifically felons and those with mental illness, who should not be allowed access to gun. The main aversions to gun control seem to be:
When we, as a public, choose to make something illegal, we are making a statement that the item in question is dangerous and doesn't belong in our society. Doing so makes it harder (not impossible, but harder) for people to get the item, and it provides law enforcement with an opportunity to act. We don't make things illegal with the expectation that in so doing we will completely obliterate the underlying problem. We make the thing illegal to help cut down on the problem the best we can.
Few argue we should legalize heroin and meth, but they are readily obtained by those who want them. Same with counterfeit bills, insider trading, and stealing cable television. They all still exist, but that doesn't mean we would want to make these things legal.
Yes, eliminating weapons that don't need reloading as often would not have made Newtown impossible to happen. But that is a straw argument. The real question is would a ban on certain types of guns make it harder for disturbed individuals to get their hands on these devastating weapons and engage in mass killings. And the answer is unquestionably yes.
Yes, but people kill people a lot more effectively with guns.
How is having a gun the symbol of freedom? The "freedoms" argument is nothing more than a rhetorical smoke screen. It is, again, irrational. If the federal government were to enact a ban on assault rifles, the only people who would have their freedoms infringed would be those trying to carry out a Newtown-like attacks.
The vast majority of gun control advocates are asking for common sense measures to help make it harder for someone like Lanza to brutally murder 26 people, 20 of whom were between 5 and 10 years of age, to limit access to especially destructive weapons, especially by those most likely to use them to kill
What would “meaningful action” look like?
If you are compelled to act, there are a number of ways to make your voice heard:
· Sign your name to this White House petition in support of gun control reform, including measures to restrict access to semi-automatic weapons and to require background checks as part of the process of buying a gun
· Tweet at President Obama: #todayistheday that our country needs to start a conversation about gun control and violence, @BarackObama
· Share these stats: 60% of Americans support background checks for every gun sale and bans on both extended ammunition clips and semi-automatic weapons
Today is that day.