These are the topics that I really hate to write about, but given that it’s a huge news story, something needs to be said. We all know about the terrible tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as all of the rash judgments that have followed.
First, let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with all those involved. Regardless of any political background, no sane individual is ever anything but sickened by what occurred here.
I don’t want to talk about the specifics of this case. I’d rather discuss the topics of gun ownership and violent crime in general.
There’s always been a debate about the legality of gun ownership: who should be able to own them, what types should be owned, and how many should be owned. Whenever any tragedy occurs, the anti-gun groups and individuals come out in full force, arguing that if there were stricter guns laws, the tragedy would have never occurred. It’s frustrating. They look at those who support gun ownership as accessories to the crime.
First, let us remember, that it’s usually not legal to bring firearms (or almost any other weapon) into a school. When someone snaps and decides to go on a murderous rampage, those laws don’t matter one bit.
So what happens if all guns are banned? Would that put an end to crimes committed with guns?
Remember, we didn’t always have guns. There were still crimes and murders before guns were ever invented. Cain murdered Abel with what he had at his disposal. It could have been a rock, a stick, or his bare hands. When someone gets to the point where they want to kill someone, they will use whatever tools are available to them. If it’s a gun, they’ll use it. If they can only use a knife, they’ll use that too. Or maybe they’ll just hire someone to make the hit.
Furthermore, banning guns doesn’t guarantee that they would no longer be available for criminals to use. Many drugs are illegal, but purchasing those illegal drugs isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do. They can’t even keep hard drugs out of prisons! What makes anyone think that banning guns would actually keep guns out of the hands of criminals?
But let’s say that somehow we could eliminate guns from existence. Would that prevent disasters like the ones we’ve seen recently? Like the comparison with drugs, what have we seen with the crackdown on known illegal drugs? People have been coming up with other methods to produce narcotics. Bath salts have become the latest “hit” and have proven to be extremely dangerous, more so than the drugs they were intended to replace. If you eliminate one outlet, they’ll simply come up with another one. And maybe the next method is even worse than the first.
In 1927, Andrew Kehoe decided that he was going to go on a murderous rampage. He first killed his wife, and then he killed 44 more people, including 38 children in a school and finally himself. This is known as the Bath School Disaster. It was the worst mass murder in a school in United States history. But Kehoe didn’t fire a single shot. He used bombs.
There’s no reason why someone who wants to commit mass murder couldn’t use explosive devices or some sort of gas attack or poisoning (as well as any other method). It’s not necessarily too difficult to purchase a gun, but all you need to build homemade bombs are some household chemicals and an internet connection.
And please don’t forget that the September 11th attacks were carried out using box cutters.
Unfortunately, evil exists in the world. And for reasons unknown to any of us, there are some people out there who will commit random acts of violence against innocent people. It’s happened all throughout history and it will continue to happen so long as humans continue to exist here on Earth.
We could of course solve the problem of these attacks by depriving everyone of anything that could be used as a weapon and having some people placed in charge of each of us to watch our every move. Or we could all be placed in some sort of solitary confinement so there would be no way for anyone to do any physical harm to anyone else. These methods could achieve the goals, but who would ever want to live in worlds like those?
I’m not suggesting anyone is pushing that sort of extreme measure, but that’s not the point. We can agree, though, that while the outcome achieved through those methods (no aggression against innocent people) is desirable, the means that which we employ to get there are pretty bad. Why then should be employ a measure that has any level of bad, i.e. evil? The vast majority of people aren’t going to kill anyone else. It is not just to restrict the freedom of good people in order to prevent possible actions of bad people who will ignore any laws or rules that you created in the first place.