Yesterday morning the news spoke of another shooting at a school in the US. Several hours later, I watched a video about one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre last year. I shed tears as I watched and as I thought about the loss suffered by her parents. The video ends on a note of hope and optimism, which is sadly poignant, but also encouraging.
I sat and thought for some time, thinking about the horror and the violence and the devastation of so many lost lives, and then I read a bit more of the news. The next article I read, speculated about the possible effects of this latest tragedy on US gun control laws.
For many of us who live in Australia, the gun culture of the US is almost incomprehensible. We have strong gun control laws, and although gun related crime still occurs here, the idea of wanting to own my own gun has never really been “a thing.” I understand farmers having guns to control vermin and feral animals, but to have one in my own house? I’ve never seen the need.
I’ve chatted with friends from the US about gun ownership, and we usually end up having to agree to disagree because our points of view are so far apart. We’ve discussed concealed carry permits and assault rates, along with automatic firearms and licensing of weapons. And I’ve tried very hard to get my head around the idea of feeling the need to carry a gun for personal protection, and I just can’t. And therein lies the division.
I just can’t comprehend the need (as my American friends describe it) to carry a gun. Or to have one in the house – I mean, what would I do with it? We live in a rural area, but we don’t live on property, so there’s no feral animals to control, and the rats and mice that might wander in are taken care of by the two dogs and two cats. I walk regularly and jog in the mornings, (alone) but I can’t imagine needing a gun to do either. It’s a puzzle.
Apparently it’s all tied up in “the right to bear arms” in the US constitution, and I’ve even heard that some people think that it might be necessary to rise up against the government, so they need guns just in case, but as an Australian, I struggle with that concept as well.
In many ways our cultures are similar, but there are times when I realise how far apart some of our core beliefs actually are, and this is one of those times.
I’ve read the arguments that state “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” but then I have another think and my mind says, but it’s much easier to kill more people if you have access to automatic and semi automatic weapons, and for some reason have the warped inclination to do so. Obviously, someone with the desire to kill, and the ability to plan has the potential to do all kinds of horrendous things, but limiting their access to weaponry seems only sensible to me.
And now I realise that I’ve written yet another political/social commentary type post on a blog that’s theoretically about my writing! Apparently if you give me a soapbox, then I’ll use it.
More than anything, and controversies aside, all I can do right now, is to feel desperately sad for the victims of the massacres, and their families, and hope and pray that some kind of good might come their way. I can also hope that common sense will prevail, and that society can make changes that help prevent these kinds of events.
- Here’s How Americans Really Feel About Gun Control (businessinsider.com)
- When will the US learn from Australia? Stricter gun control laws save lives | Rebecca Peters – #WorldNews (execdaily.wordpress.com)
- Sandy Hook: One Year on, Campaigners Prepare for New Push on Gun Control (readersupportednews.org)