This past week one in a string of many armed attacks took place. While any one of them is a heinous act this one was especially cruel in it's scope, its victims, and its utter savageness.
Sarah and I have been praying all afternoon, and our hearts are broken. We hope the families of each and every victim will, in time, be able to recover. Our sincerest condolences go out to them all along with our love and understanding.
Of a very distant secondary concern I find myself in great fear for our Second Amendment rights. Always in the past I have jumped in to any conversation and defended those rights. It has taught me some valuable lessons. Gun ownership is one of the few arguments in America where there is no middle ground. The pro-gun people simply plant their hands on their hips, stick out their chins, and tell us, "No! You aren't taking MY guns!". The anti gun people assume the same posture and state, "There should be NO guns!". Could the tighter laws I believe in change things? Yes. Would it stop these tragedies all together? No. Look to China and the recent attacks on schools, where the man used a knife. It's a sad fact but it's a fact...when a member of the human race makes up his or her mind to take many lives they do not need a gun to do so.
I am very certain I am about the only vocal American who argues for middle ground.
I spent a good deal of time trying to write this yesterday but did not get far. I knew the line I wanted to follow but was having a hard time with it. Sarah was reading the news this morning and found an article that tipped me in the right direction. It was a quote from an actor (unconfirmed so I shall not name him) and it hit the nail on the head so perfectly it drove that nail home in one strike.
The answer is not banning guns it is forcing the media to act responsibly for the first time in over sixty years.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am a realistic and intelligent gun owner, and I can admit there are flaws in gun purchasing and other laws. I've preached for years that we need uniform federal laws on gun storage. People toss a gun in a closet and think it's safe enough. The shooter in Connecticut had easy access to his mothers firearms. I am a gun owner who feels purchasing a gun must be harder. If you've ever bought a gun you've filled out that yellow form on which is a question, "Have you ever been diagnosed with, or are you under treatment for a mental illness of depression?". While it's a felony to lie on the form, who in their right (or wrong) mind who was buying a gun to commit a crime would answer yes? It is my firm belief that the privacy act must be altered to allow a persons mental health records to be available during the criminal back round check.
There is a bigger problem though. It can only be solved if every American who reads or watches the news stops doing so until changes are made. I blame the media for these crimes nearly as much as the shooters themselves. They sensationalize these stories, they plaster the pictures of these animals all over, so much so that I guarantee every, single one of you knows their name...but can you name one, single victim? They get glossed over. They become statistics like it's the score of a football game.
There are two kinds of people who commit these crimes. The first would be less effected. They go out and kill, then take their own lives. They are not what I am addressing here. Those are the type we need to deal with through the mental health system and making it more difficult to buy that gun in the first place. Still, though, this applies to them for, in part, they do it for the same reason.
They want to be famous, and mainstream media is playing their game for nothing more than ratings!
They commit these God awful crimes and we keep them in the news for weeks. The ones that do not kill themselves see themselves, and in their twisted little minds they are heroes, and the media is helping them live their twisted little fantasy. Even those who take their own lives do so with the knowledge they will be sensationalized. Immortalized. They do not care if they will be remembered as monsters...only that they will be remembered.
I had the opportunity many years ago to write for a major newspaper. I turned it down because of what I saw it all becoming. There is only one way to make them see that they are part of the problem. STOP watching. STOP reading. We need to tell them, through refusal to use their products, that we will not allow them to perpetuate this cycle any longer. When their ratings drop, when they stop selling newspapers, perhaps they will realize that the society they purport to serve is tired of this. If we loose the appetite they will cease to feed us. Am I foolish and idealistic enough to believe it all would stop? No. Unfortunately...no. It will sound harsh, but if we stop making these people famous we would more than likely find the majority of them hanging from the rafters in the garage. Sad, still, but far better than what they are doing now.
While I agree that certain laws regarding gun ownership need to change, there is something else far more fundamental that needs to change.