Why do we need so much access to guns?
Twenty children are dead. Twenty children will never grow up, will never learn to drive, will never date, go to a prom, will never graduate from high school or from college. Twenty children will never have a chance to have children of their own. Twenty children will never even make it to the second grade because a madman selfishly decided to take their lives before taking his own.
Why, oh why, could he have not just chosen to reverse the order? We may never know. And if we ever do discover the answers, we will still be unable to justify this horror, under any circumstances. All we will remember is that evil brought guns into an elementary school on a bright Friday morning, and now 20 children are dead.
I own a gun. It stays safely secured with a trigger lock intact; the key stays somewhere else. It belonged to my grandfather, which is the only reason it now belongs to me. I do not begrudge those who feel they need to own a firearm; in this ridiculous age, those of us who act most responsibly seem to be the ones most in need of defending ourselves against those least responsible. Still, nobody can ignore the fact that 20 (TWENTY!) innocent children died at the hands of a person.
There are those who will claim the gun didn’t kill these children; a person did. Yes, that’s true. And the extremists (not the responsible majority, merely the lunatic fringes) will howl with indignation that their rights are being trampled when someone dares to bring up gun control legislation.
Twenty children are dead. Six adults died that same day, in heroic acts protecting others. This is more than the total of individuals killed by guns in some countries in an entire year. Twenty-six people will not open their Christmas presents – this year, or any other year. What do you do with the gifts?
I don’t wish to limit access to guns by responsible, law-abiding citizens, but we need to eliminate the frequency of violence involving guns. Until we can rigidly enforce penalties in this country, we will continue to have individuals getting away, quite literally, with murder. There are mental health care issues that must be addressed and enforced. There are registration issues and background checks that are far too lax.
Our criminal justice system seems to put felons back on the streets far too quickly.
Why? If we need more prisons to ensure that people serve their full sentence, then build more prisons. I want you out of my neighborhood. And I don’t want you in anyone else’s neighborhood, either.
How do we start? I want to know what my elected officials are doing, and where they stand on this issue. How are our votes represented? How is our safety considered? We should require trigger locks to be sold along with every gun, and require that any gun not in use should be locked. When crimes are committed, I want real punishment, not slaps on the wrist. Any time a gun is used in any sort of crime, regardless of circumstance, a minimum 10-year non-negotiable sentence is warranted.
Or more – 10 just seemed like a good start. Non-negotiable. Plea all you want on the rest, but I want your sorry ass off my streets for at least that long. And assault rifles? Well, all I can say is, seriously?
I do not believe that there is any, ANY good reason to use an assault rifle unless you are serving in the armed forces. You do not need an assault rifle, period. Those of us who consider ourselves sportsmen respect the individual who can bring down his game with a single shot, not some bozo who has to shred a few trees in the pursuit of something he or she considers “hunting.”
Admittedly, these thoughts are not surefire solutions, but we need to address this issue. Now. Twenty-six souls have been added to the thousands lost to gun violence in this country; when will we listen to their voices? There is no way any of us can prevent somebody from unleashing such evil if they are truly set on doing it, but we can do more than simply weep and be thankful it didn’t happen to us. Because, next time, it could happen to us.
Twenty children are dead. Tell me again why we need unrestricted access to guns. Tell me what you are going to do about it.