Monday, December 17, 2012

Will We Finally Come to Our Senses on Gun Control?

As you would expect, there has been no shortage of insensitive, offensive and downright ridiculous statements from conservative pundits regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Anyone who says that those children died because there wasn’t a Bible in the classroom or a cross hanging on the wall should be involuntarily committed. However, the most Orwellian war-is-peace claim is one we’ve heard before after tragedies like this; if teachers had guns, the murderer could have been stopped sooner.

More guns would have helped. Right. On the surface this is a genuinely illogical argument. But let’s go just a step deeper. Police carry guns, but they also have extensive training in how to use these weapons, and perhaps more importantly, they have training and experience in how to react in stressful situations. Showing a teacher where the safety is and how to aim a weapon is only one part of the equation. Are they also going to go through training on how to react in the event someone enters their classroom and begins shooting? Will they be confident and calm enough to NOT start spraying the room with bullets? Expecting teachers to act rationally and with restraint in an irrational, highly emotional, life and death situation is a fantasy.

More guns in the hands of more people is absolutely not the answer. And I am guardedly optimistic that the horror of Sandy Hook may actually motivate our leaders to start implementing some common sense gun laws in this country. We are, unfortunately, a violent country when compared to other first world nations. We need to do a far better job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

Just one related note. On the same day that Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults in Connecticut, a man in China attacked school children with a knife. There were 23 injuries, but no deaths. The Chinese children will be scarred for life, both mentally and physically, but they are still here to grow up, have families, find rewarding careers and live long lives. The 20 Sandy Hook children are gone forever because instead of a knife, Adam Lanza had a gun. 


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