More Guns = Peace? No Way!

The NRA has made its statement about the Newton shooting. A few good things were said, but for the most part it sounded like an effort to sell more guns and services that the NRA is eager to provide. Why am I not surprised?

All blame was placed on everything but guns and current levels of gun control. Are guns to blame? Not really, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the problem. Society certainly does need to focus on life rather than death and violence, but at the same time, a balance must be struck between portraying reality and glamorizing violence. Kids don’t need to be totally sheltered from what happens in the world, including violence. Death is a naturally occurring things that we will have to accept and experience one day. There is a difference between that and stylizing crime and violent deaths. Do kids need to be aware of criminals and what they can do? Yes! How can you avoid something if you don’t know what it is? Ignoring crimes is not going to prepare us for what we will face in our lives.

Why do civilians need assault weapons? What good can come of owning guns that can fire off powerful rounds in rapid succession? Unless you’re planning to overthrow the government… you don’t need assault weapons as a civilian. Even if there were trained, armed security personnel in every school, what chance would they stand against psychopaths with assault weapons and a death wish? The security personnel could have assault weapons too, you might say. Sure. And then what? We must push to always have the biggest baddest gun? What will it look like for the little kindergartners who walk into school every day and past the guy with the big gun? How is it healthy? How will the presence of big guns and lots of security personnel affect the atmosphere of schools? Schools are supposed to be places of safety, where learning and friendships can blossom. America is not a war zone. This is not the Middle East or some other part of the world full of conflict.

Mental health cannot be forgotten, of course. Mental health problems are cause for embarrassment and shame in many parts of the USA. Many religious people push that the issues are proof of sin. What is actually going on is not well understood. We must change this. We must raise awareness of what is going on and how we can help those who suffer. We must work to make access to help easy, affordable, and without stigma. This requires a culture of love, not “survival of the fittest.” It seems reasonable for people to undergo a psych evaluation before being allowed to purchase a gun. Of course, in the case of the Newton shooter, he stole his mother’s guns and then shot her with them. In regards to that, then, it would seem that we need to talk more about how to keep the guns we own in a safe, secure place, particularly for those who have children or family members with mental health problems.

More guns is not the answer. Escalating the presence of big guns and armed guards is not the answer. How will this help us become a more peaceful society? We’re better than this, or at least we should be. We must push the value of life, the beauty of humanity, and the happiness found by living in peace and harmony with each other. The day that we move away from promoting violence as the solution to our problems, from stylizing violence, glorifying unnecessary death and crime, then we will be making progress.

These are my brief thoughts on the matter for now.

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