Our Time Press

View From Here: Sandy Hook and Gun Control

It’s been a week since Adam Lanza walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton Connecticut and using popular assault rifle, put at least 3 bullets in each child of 20 children and six adults, before killing himself as police closed in.

Many wonder why the massacre at Sandy Hook occurred. Into this quiet  town, (except for the gun range),  city, state and federal forces are investigating all aspects of the crime,

The answers we find say more about how who we are than about the killer.  The crime that all call senseless, was the choice made by the  person at the instant they pulled the trigger.  The gun enthusiasts say it was  mental illness that did the killing, not the gun.  Others look to the ease that guns are acquired and call for banning weapons meant for war and not recreation.  Some say,  ‘that’s that white boy” when there is a domestic terrorist attack or mass killing.   If it’s black youth in the city, it’s self- hate and despair and the dying is one by one.   Others look to the desensitizing of a generation exposed to the endlessly  mesmerizing stream of violence from video games, and the way the brain can selfishly rewire itself to want more of the thing that gives it pleasure.  Maybe it’s the movies with Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger.   Or the remnants of the primal beast, the “monsters from the Id” brought to life on “The Forbidden Planet”.

The roaring call to ban assault rifles in civilian hands is a good start and beyond that to the pistols that are killing black youth.    The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  This was written at a time when, as one blogger put it, “a musket ball took 15 seconds to load.”  Now in a nation with  a $633 billion defense budget, I would bet  a Founding Father would wonder why his neighbor needed a regiment’s amount of firepower quickly at hand.   Perhaps he might tell the patriot who wants to add his gun to the struggle for freedom for a secure state, “we pay people to do that work, you can stand down”.   The state is made secure at the ballot box.  You don’t need that gun.

But since there are already hundreds of thousands of legally-owned assault rifles getting hot on the range and millions of hand guns hidden under beds and in closets, then retroactively require each owner to have the weapon password-secured and a penalty if it is not.   According to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms.   That doesn’t make me feel safe at all.

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