EDITORIAL

Gun violence goes to core of American values

Posted 6/7/22

Are you willing to live in a world where you need to be able to exercise lethal force at a moment’s notice in order to feel safe?

This question may very well be the only one that matters in …

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EDITORIAL

Gun violence goes to core of American values

Posted

Are you willing to live in a world where you need to be able to exercise lethal force at a moment’s notice in order to feel safe?

This question may very well be the only one that matters in the ongoing debate regarding gun culture and gun violence in America — a country reeling from its most recent unimaginable tragedy that unfolded at an elementary school in Texas, where 19 children and two adults were senselessly slain.

We would contend that the fact that mass shootings (incidents where four or more people are killed in one shooting) continue to occur at a mind-boggling rate of about 19 per year since 2009, and that over 110 people die from gun violence each day in this country, is no longer the symptom of some kind of undiagnosed problem — rather, it is the simple conclusion of the values and decisions we have chosen for decades and centuries leading up to this point.

The gun violence problem in America is not the result of too few regulations, or too many guns, or a failure of the federal government to prioritize mental health outcomes — it is a deadly combination of all of these factors, based in the very DNA of our country and pre-ordained from the moment we gained independence through a violent revolution.

We can debate until we’re blue in the face about how banning high-capacity magazines, assault rifles, and implementing better background checks, passing red flag laws (like Rhode Island has done), or increasing the age at which you can buy a firearm will solve the situation. While all of these measures may move the needle towards less death, particularly in domestic violence situations, to imagine that these measures will stop the needless carnage is nothing less than wishful thinking.

Pandora’s Box has been opened ever since 2008, when the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment was actually not written in order to ensure that people should be able to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a “well regulated Militia,” which the framers deemed “necessary to the security of a free State.” Instead, a conservative majority decided that the Second Amendment actually meant people should be allowed to carry firearms for personal protection, and we will continue to deal with the fallout from that expansive decision for decades to come.

Because at the end of the day, this argument hits a stopping point as soon as you get to the core philosophical difference between control advocates and opponents. Gun control advocates believe that the world is more dangerous when there are more guns, and opponents to gun control believe that safety is impossible without having access to guns.

How can we bridge such a wildly different philosophical gap? Our Congressional representatives certainly haven’t figured out the answer to that question. Studies that have clearly shown the “good guy with a gun” theory to be nothing more than a fantasy have certainly not mattered. Nor has the clear data that more guns lead to more deaths by gun violence, a causal relationship that should by no means be controversial.

This isn’t meant to be a defeatist position. Regulations to make guns harder to access — or impossible to access for those who have shown clear signs of being a danger to society — are the lowest hanging, most sensible fruit which should be implemented immediately at the federal level.

But beyond regulations, this problem is a deeply personal one. Individuals must decide what kind of country they want to live in, and what kind of world they want to leave behind. The world we are in now, the product of our decisions and beliefs, is one where kids and innocent people are slaughtered by military-grade weapons while simply trying to exist and thrive in what many believe is the greatest country in the world. Is there a way to fix this without turning every civilian, teacher, and bus driver into an armed vigilante?

Personally, we would contend that living in a world where you’re so scared of being hurt or killed that you must carry a deadly weapon on your hip to do something as trivial as running your weekend errands is not “living free” at all.

editorial, gun violence

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  • umpwuggly

    "Studies that have clearly shown the “good guy with a gun” theory to be nothing more than a fantasy have certainly not mattered." Strange I thought that's how the shooter in Texas was stopped. And this one was a good gal with a gun, https://www.wowktv.com/news/local/charleston-police-shooting-victim-pulled-assault-rifle-on-party/ Doesn't seem like fantasy.

    The Bill of Rights recognizes Rights and doesn't grant them. It places restrictions on Government not on the Citizen. The "well regulated" referred to "trained" and "Militia" was the general population. The Natural Right of self defense when being attack should is obvious, every animal on the planet will defend itself.

    This line in your editorial hits a point "is one where kids and innocent people are slaughtered by military-grade weapons". In the last century populations that had been disarmed are the ones that were slaughtered by their own Governments, Jews, Germans, Armenians, Chinese, and many others. I believe the estimate is over 50 million.

    "Is there a way to fix this without turning every civilian, teacher, and bus driver into an armed vigilante?"

    I haven't met any firearms owner that wants to force anyone to own a firearm. Let's be honest there are evil people in this world that will try to take advantage of those that are weaker. Russia isn't stomping on Ukraine 'cause Putin is a nice guy.

    I take objection the "scared" in the last line. Just 'cause someone wants to be responsible for their own safety. The police as much as I respect them, in Uvalde and Parkland they didn't protect. An armed teacher could have ended this much quicker.

    Murder is illegal, homicide still happens. Drugs are illegal, overdoses still happen. Theft is illegal, stories of shoplifting in your paper every week. You can't stop evil with tolerance and understanding.

    Tell me, is the person that wasn't supposed to have a gun, that shot the dog with the stolen gun in Cranston not too long ago, in prison?

    Saturday, June 11 Report this

  • umpwuggly

    Greenwood Park Mall good guy with a gun, stops a shooter (bad guy with gun) in 15 seconds. Tell me again how long it took the police to make entry at Uvalde? Oh that's right 77 minutes.

    Thursday, July 28 Report this