Friday, December 14, 2012

Right to Bear Arms: The Newtown Connecticut Shooting

Watching the news on any given day can make me a bit sick to my stomach. I guess when I stop to think about it, it's not the news' fault that all they report is the bad shit that's happening in the world. After all, they couldn't report it if it wasn't happening.

But today, when I sat in my family's home with my 2 nephews and daughter, all under 5 years old, and watched the breaking news report of the elementart school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the sick to my stomach feeling was elevated to a higher degree.

Decades ago Buffalo Springfield sang, "There's something happening here and what it is ain't exactly clear." There IS something happening and it's time that we stop and take a good look at how we start to solve these problems instead of waiting for the next time it happens.

For those of you not familiar with today's events I'll sum it up quickly. Another madman with an all too easy to get weapon, opened fire onto an elementary school. He was shot dead but as of earlier today, no one knew what set off this series of events, how many were wounded, or how many fatalities there were.

This is the third shooting in the last year (that we've heard of) of someone opening fire in a public area and wounding or killing innocent civilians. And the only thing that I can think to ask is why is this so easily happening? Why are we not doing something about our gun laws that prevent this from happening? In a Chris Rock special he joked about his version of gun control... bullet control. He jokes that each bullet should cost $5000 cause you best believe that then there'd be no innocent bystanders.

I include this NOT because I find this to be a laughing matter but because as ridiculous as he makes it sound, at least it's a plan, some kind of solution.

The right to bear arms is a constitutional right - I get it, people who are using the constitution to keep your shiny guns. I should also add that the constitution has been changed or amended 27 times and at some point said that only white men over the age of 21 were allowed the right to vote. There's a reason it's called "a living document" and that is so that as we grow as a nation, as our climate as a society changes, so does the document. Maybe it's time we rethink this "right to bear arms" thing.

We are not living in a state of anarchy. We are not in a civil war. And if ever that point should come again in our history we could revisit this idea. For now, the only stories I hear about gun control involve someone shooting up a movie theater, a mall, a school, or other public space. I never hear the story of Ben Jones defending his home from an armed assailant with his registered Smith & Wesson. The stories of guns taking lives far outweigh the stories of guns saving lives.

Never has this been as serious as today's events. Again, I will admit to not having the full story, however, I'm confident that I don't need it. There is nothing you can tell me about a 3rd grader that would warrant a spray down of bullets to befall any elementary school. I can't find rationalizations for any other shooting stories either, but there's something about opening fire at an elementary school that brings this string of gun stories to an even more dire place in our nation.

If this reveals anything it's that there's no place that's sacred and no place that's safe. And until we can prove that we can handle the kind of responsibility that comes with the power of a weapon, we shouldn't be allowed to possess one. I can understand why some people might fight for their right to bear arms. I just don't think this right stands up against the price we're paying for it.

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