Last night, ten miles from my home, a disturbed young man walked into a movie theater and started shooting into a crowd. As of now, 12 people are dead and 38 are wounded. While it was not in my neighborhood, it is one I know well. I have seen movies at the Century 16 Theater in the past and it is across the street from my Dad’s office.
Like in 1999, when two kids walked into their high school and started shooting students and teachers in the lunch room and library, murdering 13 innocent people, the first thing we asked is why.
Why did someone find it necessary to murder 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, and why did someone find it necessary to murder 12 people last night? Why did someone think it was their right to take an innocent life? Why did someone think it is their last resort? Why did someone think it was the right thing to do? Why the pointless killings?
As angry as I am at the individuals responsible, this country’s asinine gun control laws certainly make it easier for someone to kill.
I could walk into a store and buy an M-16 automatic assault rifle. For only $729, I can walk into Cabela’s and buy an AR-15. The popular M4 variation fires .233 caliber bullets faster than one every second.
You don’t need an automatic murder rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need to fire more than one bullet every second to hunt deer. You don’t need an AR-15 assault rifle to hunt deer. You don’t need an M-4, M-16, AK-47, Tech 9, or any other automatic weapon to hunt deer. Those weapons were designed for one thing, to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The Second Amendment
The next person that brings up the Second Amendment when discussing this deserves to be punched in the face. The Second Amendment was written long before these murderous weapons were designed that can kill so many people so quickly.
The intent of the amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That was a relevant fear at the time, as the Bill of Rights was signed on the heels of the Revolutionary War, a war uprising against a tyrannical ruling king on the other side of the world.
Today, however, things have changed. As much as many of you may hate Barack Obama, he is not going to oppress you and enslave you. As much as I hated George W. Bush as president, I was not concerned for my safety and well-being, nor that of any fellow law abiding American citizens.
Time for Change
Need I remind you that at the time the Second Amendment was written, slavery was legal. Women could not vote. Unless you were a white, property owning male, you were a second class citizen.
As repulsive as those cultural norms were at that time, our antiquated gun laws are today.
I do not propose banning all firearms. While I do not believe in it, I do not wish to prevent people from going hunting. I see no reason a mentally healthy, law abiding Americans shouldn’t be able to buy a single action rifle for hunting and “self-defense” purposes, though it is statistically more likely for that weapon to cause an injury at home than successfully defend you against an intruder.
The only reason automatic weapons exist is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those should be illegal. Handguns that can be easily concealed in a pocket or waistband are not necessary either, outside of law enforcement.
We need to move on from our old, violent ways toward a future that can be safer and better for all of us.
I know there are detractors that say a bad guy can get a gun anyway. Maybe that’s true, but we don’t have to make it easy on them.
If you are as sickened by these events as I am, please join me in taking action. Don’t just complain on the internet, contact your senators and house representatives in Washington or your state legislators and implore them to take action against dangerous gun ownership.
We should pause and think about the victims and their families, and do everything we can to support them. But don’t let them die in vain. Let’s use this moment as one for action to make America better tomorrow.
Image by Marcin Wichary / flickr