Guest Opinion: Sandy Hook and Gun Control. Can Lawmakers Stop the Killings?
The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were only a symptom
If we truly want to prevent further school shootings in this nation, we need to stop fooling ourselves with utopian "feel good" solutions like passing some more anti-gun legislation. We need to look inward and see that, as Pogo famously said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
RICHMOND, VA (Catholic Online) - The scenario is all too familiar. The nation is aghast over a psychopathic 20-year old who entered a school and systematically killed some 28 people, including himself. The usual group of anti-gun advocates followed the admonition of one of their leaders, Rahm Emmanuel, not to "waste a crisis" and were calling for stricter gun control laws before the assailant's guns had cooled. A teary eyed President said he felt "overwhelming grief" at the tragedy and promised "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this". Could this have been a reference to his own anti-gun agenda to which the horror in Connecticut will add considerable fuel?
But let us look for a moment at the underlying logic of the anti-gun position, which is that guns equal killing; if you own a gun, you will go on a rampage and kill innocent people. Estimates vary on the number of guns and gun owners in the United States, but a rough average would be approximately 80 million people in the US own about 250 million guns. So, although one person went on a rampage Friday, another 80 million people did not. The odds, therefore, of a gun owner committing an atrocity like the one in Connecticut are actually rather small.
Gun sales are currently at an all-time high, and the message of the anti-gunners is that with more guns there will be more crime. The facts, however, do not support this basic assumption. In fact, US violent crime rates that soared for 30 years from the early 1960s have decreased markedly since 1993. Last December the FBI reported that murder and other violent crime rates fell again by 6.4% during the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. It would appear that increased gun ownership does not lead to increased crime, and in fact the reverse may be true.
Still, it is reasonable to try to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, which should be the purpose of gun regulation. Criminals and individuals with mental problems clearly should be denied access to guns. The problem, however, is that criminals, by definition, do not abide by laws. The Connecticut shooter is a clear case in point. He was 20 years old, so legally too young to buy a gun. No problem, he stole the guns from his mother and then murdered her as his first victim. There was no lack of "gun control" laws involved. Connecticut has very stringent gun control laws, but the shooter simply bypassed them by stealing the guns, as criminals do every day. His mother could not report this theft or his activities to the authorities because she was dead. So much for anything that legislation could possibly have accomplished.
The problem with gun control is that it does not address the real problem. As the well-known cliché says, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people". Interestingly, the same day the attack was carried out in Connecticut, a knife-wielding man attacked 22 students and a teacher at a school in central China in another of a series of similar assaults which killed 18 children in 2010. Clearly the problem is not restricted to the use of guns, nor is it restricted to the US.
So what is the problem? Gun control is, like most of the liberal ideology, a fantasy world solution to a real world problem. It is like raising the debt ceiling to solve our problem of deficit spending. If we could only get rid of guns we would have no killing, goes the anti-gun line. Ask the parents of the dead and wounded children in China if this is the case. Quixotic jousting at windmills has not proven to be an effective solution to many problems in the past, and depriving the good people of the US, the vast overwhelming majority of whom use their guns in a responsible way, of their only chance to defend themselves against a crazed attacker like the Connecticut shooter, is not likely to stop the carnage.
At this point, the anti-gun Left wants a "dialogue" about this problem. That dialogue must begin with the recognition of the real cause of the problem - evil, the evil that is associated with and caused by the culture of death that has taken over our nation. Pontificating by politicians who vote for pro-abortion legislation about the "terror" of the Connecticut killings is hypocritical at best. Why is a nation that legally kills over a million of its children annually concerned about another 28 people? How can a President who voted multiple times to continue even the most barbarous and unnecessary type of abortion, partial birth abortion, claim to experience "overwhelming grief" over the carnage in Connecticut and yet be unmoved by that which goes on daily in the Planned Parenthood facilities all over the nation that he funds with our tax dollars?
The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were only a symptom of the larger problem that afflicts us today, and afflicts most of the world - a loss of our moral compass due to our abandonment of God. Oh sure, people will ...
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