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Aurora and Gun Control
The massacre in Aurora, Colorado has again brought up the issue of gun control. However, the issue is being largely ignored by the media and politicians because this is an election year. The NRA is the most powerful lobby in Washington, and their solution to any issue facing gun violence is to throw money at it.
The Second Amendment giving Americans the right to bear arms is always brought up by the NRA and gun owners in defense of having weapons. It is conveniently overlooked that when the Constitution was written mass shootings were not a problem. Muskets would not have been capable to mowing down dozens of people. The right to bear arms was meant to give the new America a kind of citizen army to defend itself. There was no way that people in the 18th century could have foreseen what the Second Amendment is protecting now. It seems that pro-gun activists want to protect the right of Americans to massacre each other. How can people say we live in a free country when we have to worry about someone randomly starting to shoot up malls, schools and movie theaters?
Some pro-gunners actually say that there should be more guns out there, in essence saying that if everyone had a gun the "bad guys" would be afraid to use theirs on us "good guys". This is utter nonsense. These advocates seem to have a Hollywood-esque idea of "good guys" and "bad guys". The scene in Aurora was one of complete panic and chaos, with people not even knowing where the shooting was coming from. It is hard to imagine that people in the audience with guns would have the presence of mind to heroically whip out their pistols and shoot the bad guy like in action movies. If everyone would have started shooting there would have been many more dead. Also, just because a civilian has a gun does not mean he'd be able to react well in such an unexpected situation. Trying to shot someone in full protective gear holding an assault rifle is quite different from shooting at inanimate bulls-eyes at the shooting range. Civilians are not SWAT team members. The first instinct people have when they are in danger is to run away. Having a pistol on you will not help in such a chaotic situation.
Controlling guns in the US could most likely only go into a damage control situation. There are more registered guns in the US than people, not to mention all of the illegal ones. Since 1968 it is estimated that around one million Americans have been killed due to firearms, and the US gun murder rate is 20 times higher than the next 22 richest countries in the world combined! These are staggering numbers. Sure, it's easy to say "guns don't kill people. People kill people." The guns certainly help though. It is a bit more difficult to carry out a massacre by stabbing with a knife than by spraying a room with high powered bullets. If people kill people, then why are people allowed to have guns? Just because someone has no criminal record does not mean they will never become a criminal. What possible use could a person have for an assault rife anyway? Not for hunting, not for self defense for sure. Just to fire at a firing range?
People are animals. People are unpredictable. When someone with a gun snaps for whatever reason they will be much deadlier than if they were to just punch someone. There are countless instances of people shooting up their workplace after being fired, or instances of road rage which turn into shootings. In most countries road rage involved yelling and making gestures, whereas in the US it has the very real potential to turn deadly if those involved have guns in the car.
Unfortunately this will most likely not be the last such event in this country. The media focuses on politicians saying that "we should all come together and pray for the victims". Unfortunately, praying for them is too late. Instead of praying the federal and state governments should do something about the availability of deadly firearms. I am sure most Americans would rather have freedom from worrying about gun violence, than the freedom to own guns.
Sadly, until politicians are being bought off by the NRA nothing will change. As long as policy makers pray to the dollar our prayers for the shooting victims will be of little practical use. There will be a few weeks of media coverage and outrage concerning the shooting, and then everything will go back to being as it has been. The way that pro-gun advocates and self proclaimed "Real Americans" want it. This is in effect holding the whole country hostage to gun violence, which can happen anywhere and at anytime. The best that people can apparently hope for is to have a prayer vigil in their honor if they become victims, which means precious little in the whole scheme of things.