Thursday, January 10, 2013

Let's Talk Seriously About Guns and Gun-Control

Guns in America, An Emotional Subject
We've had tragedy after tragedy related to gun violence, with the horrible events in Connecticut making the issue one that can't be ignored. The problem is that no matter how many people die or get hurt due to gun violence, trying to control guns to any degree is something that just can't be discussed, for some reason. Well, finally it seems the idea is being discussed more with Vice President Biden due to submit proposals to President Obama to curb gun violence as of Tuesday at the latest. Just the thought of gun control stirs emotions though, so I'm going to stir some of those emotions right now with this post.

Gun control seems to be a touchy topic. You have those who want all guns banned except for those used by our military and law enforcement, and then you have folk like the NRA who think that if everyone had a gun the world would be a safer place. I'm somewhere in the mind-space that it is indeed a 2nd amendment right for someone to have a gun, but no one needs a huge automatic rifle such as an AR-15 in order to hunt or protect his/herself. When the founding fathers made our constitution they created an amazing document full of the intelligence and forethought that basically nothing has these days. They were genius men who had suffered under the tyranny of another nation and realized despite making a new free land there would be the risk that those in power would try to simply make America another dictatorship. Therefore, it made sense for people to own guns and rifles. That was the late 1700s however.

Nowadays, I am doubtful our government is secretly hoping to take away everyone's guns in order to create a, "New World Order,"  start genocide, or something else amazingly dumb I've heard people rambling inanely about. All the militias out there seem to feel differently along with the idiots who signed online petitions to secede from the United States because Obama got re-elected (that was the most stupid fad for a couple weeks ever). I also don't think a gun capable of piercing body-armor and firing off a 30-bullet clip in a matter of seconds is something needed for hunting or self-defense.
Oh yeah, it makes PERFECT sense for a random civilian to own one of these.

However, I also feel that just doing away with the 2nd amendment and completely banning guns is a bad idea because like it or not guns are a part of American culture. We were a nation born in violence and guns--the Revolutionary War--and we enjoy our hunting and feeling of security from a lethal weapon, no matter how true or false that sense of safety is.

What really agitates me however is the idea that all this gun violence can be blamed on something like violent movies or video-games. Watching people fake-die on your movie or television screen is nothing like someone in real life pulling the trigger against another human being. Playing a game where you shoot at people is nothing like the feeling of actually holding a gun, dealing with its weight, the recoil when you fire it, and the incredibly loud sound that is so stark it makes your ears ring if you aren't wearing proper auditory protection. A movie or game is soooooooo far removed from actually using a gun its absurd to think that violent-media is the sole problem behind our nation's gun-violence.

The NRA had a press conference where the organization made a total ass of itself saying that guns aren't the problem, we need more guns because, "The only thing stopping a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." To that statement I respond, why not just make it harder for the quote un quote, "bad guy," to get a gun? Better background checks, having guns registered, closing the gun-show loop, these are all things that could make gun violence even a bit less likely to occur.
The NRA, or "Not Registering Actuality."

One big factor that seems to not be getting enough discussion is how our nation needs to seriously do more about mental illness. A large amount of those in prison have a mental illness, and there often are so few options for the treatment of mental illness the only place people can get such care is within a prison. We like to ignore mental illness as it is a topic that makes us uncomfortable, but there are people out there who need help. Medicine, counseling, stopping a person who poses a clear threat to society before they act-out, all of these are things that better treatment for mental illness can provide.

I'm not offering any concrete ideas; I can't say what the exact solution is to dealing with the terrible number of deaths that occur within America every year due to gun violence. Looking seriously at our nation's gun-culture, failure at treating mental illness, and yes, even examining violent media too--all of these are things that should be done, together, not just alone. Let's see if anything good comes from all the tragedy, I hope so.

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