“Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that “honor” of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free?”
— The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting and American Gun Culture | The New Yorker
I think this is a nice quote. In all honesty, sometimes I do think “the fact we give these people guns scares me.” But there are massive holes in this logic.
Is a gun required to kill someone? No. It never has been and it never will be. You can kill with a butter knife, an Xbox controller, or your hands. I’m sure an amputee could kill someone somehow, too.
The problem is not arming the populace. In fact, one could argue that is one of the only real ways a large country can avoid becoming totalitarian. Do I think it’s good that Redneck McHillbilly can shoot me off his property? No, honestly it pisses me off. But Mr. McHillbilly could hide in his brush and kill me with whatever he wants to if he doesn’t have a gun.
Part of the problem is the violence inherent in our culture. The fact a genre of movie is nicknamed “torture porn” is really enough to explain what I mean by this; a lot of really crazy shit is put out there and often is glamorized. Shooting innocent brown people in the desert and dying when they (inevitably) shoot back is somehow regarded as “honorable.” That scares me.
But violence is something real in the world and simply the portrayal of it is not conducive to creating this behavior - and while glamorizing it no doubt DOES contribute, it’s really not the main problem.
The main problem is not recognizing disturbed individuals during the 12 years teachers have to recognize them. Or maybe they do and just don’t want to say anything. The main problem is that the guy at the movie theatre was 24. He’d experienced 24 years of life before he came to the conclusion he could, should, or would do what he did. I’m not calling him a victim - it’s really impossible to do that when someone kills innocent people.
But what if 8 years ago, when he was 16 and most likely had a pattern of bad behavior, some kind of evident but less-dangerous-in-nature problems… what if someone cared to do something then? You can’t tell me he woke up one day and decided to do this. People are not like that; we all exhibit patterns of behavior. It is in my nature to try to make jokes, to avoid the serious way of addressing something, and also to forget almost everything on a regular basis.
Tomorrow, I will not wake up and solve math equations. I will not deem video games to be a waste of my time. I will not prepare a speech on the differences in tribal language in Africa to give to an audience at UCLA. I will continue my pattern of behavior and I won’t think about it.
Yes, someone put a gun in his hand. It may have been Nutty Gunshopownersmith down at SHOOT-N-SAVE. It may have been the Walmart cashier. Why did they do that? Because its not THEIR responsibility. I am not accountable for your actions and you are not for mine. That isn’t how the world works. Otherwise everyone would be imprisoned at random everytime anything happened.
Yes, people should be more concerned about things around them. Yes, there should be a waiting period and a background check. Yes, a lot of things from the gun control movement make sense, and yes, a lot of things from the gun owners make sense.
A lot of yes.
The one real ANSWER is doing anything and everything possible to identify mental illness or behavioral problems during the time we are supposed to be trying to prepare people for the world. No, it will never be perfect and we will never identify everyone. No, we will never end violence.
A lot of no, too.
The issue will never be resolved on a political level. There are too many legitimate reasons to allow guns andtoo many legitimate reasons not to. What this falls down to is the single issue that could radically change the future in every single way: education. Education is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING PERIOD. The educational system is not just what makes a person ready for the world. In being that, it is what defines tomorrows world.
School should be so much more than what it is in 2012. It is the problem and the solution to almost everything.