I admit it! It’s become winter here in Maine, and I just despise the season. I despise snow, ice and bitter cold weather. It makes me irritable, cranky (maybe those are one in the same) short tempered and sleepy. It’s the time of year that I most fight my depression issues. Despite medications, depression can creep in and sabotage my days very easily unless I stay acutely aware and vigilant in my opposition to it.
This Christmas season has been soured by events beyond my control, too. The massacre of children attending a normal school day in their normally very safe community is at the top of the list of insane events happening to all of us in this country. It’s difficult to think of Christmas, laughing children and happy families gathered around dinner tables everywhere, when in my heart I grieve for those families in Connecticutt who are arranging and attending funerals for their own children. I grieve for those left behind with hurt, doubt, fear and rage over the incalculable actions of a deranged young man. I grieve for that man’s family, left ostracized and bewildered that one of their own could perpetrate such carnage upon a whole town – a whole country. Not only do I grieve, but it just pisses me off beyond believe when I hear stupid comments about how “guns don’t kill people” and that “people kill people”
Our country has been given a serious wake up call. Oh and it’s been one in a series of wake up calls about weaponry available to everyone here in the USA. While this is strictly my personal opinion, I believe it’s time for us to address gun control and weapons bans across our country.
In the days since that awful incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and 6 guardian angel adults lost their lives needlessly, brutally and suddenly, and in those days the sales of the EXACT same weapon used in the massacre have increased substantially. There are photos and videos of people cuddling their newly purchased Bushman 223’s…and sick minds thinking “oh! I have to buy mine before they are made illegal!” WHO thinks like that???
I am not against our 2nd amendment right to bear arms. I believe it’s any good citizen’s right to do so, but I am questioning the type of arms that the average citizens needs in his/her household. I am questioning the purpose for and the amount of high powered, deadly ammunition sold in this country.
One could suggest the complete shut down of American public education in our country, and receive less backlash for it than for suggesting a ban on assault style military arms here. It’s just a sad state of human affairs the little respect we have for these weapons and their ultimate purpose.
Owning a handgun or hunting rifles/shotguns is the right of every good, upstanding American, and I believe it should remain as such. But the manufacture, distribution and sales of military grade, semi or fully automatic weapons, and the sales of high powered, devastating ammunition for such weapons needs to be much more control, much more regulated and possibly even banned – in my opinion – in the United States. Where is the reasoning behind owning these weapons? And what do we most see them being used for here?
I am not a big fan of lawsuits, but I believe that the families of these recent child victims need to really raise hell and sue every body and anybody that was in the pipe line of the weapon used to perpetrate this unconscionable action. From the designer to the manufacturer, to the sales representatives and points of sale of these weapons….sue them all. Make them understand their part in the fact that this weapon ended up serving it’s ultimate purpose of maiming and killing as many as possible as fast as possible.
What if that young man had had to stop after each bullet was fired, to pull the trigger again? Could he have been stopped somehow much sooner? Would it made him have to have thought about each child before he pulled the trigger? Could it have saved the lives of some?
In our country certain types of less lethal weaponry are already banned or restricted. Knives of certain types, such as switch blades and those of extreme lengths. Brass knuckles, throwing stars, and other combat type weaponry is regulated. But the most lethal and dangerous of them all – automatic weapons, hollow point bullets and combat firearms are not nearly as regulated as they should be. You can own an M-16 look/function alike weapon, but get caught with that 8” switchblade and you can be arrested. Does this make sense? Not to me.
When an incident such as the Sandy Hook shootings takes place here in America it becomes a pure media circus. And the media gets so hyped up…they have a story! I heard one announcer states that the “body count” factor makes these stories even more newsworthy. Sick. Twisted. Wrong.
By glorifying the perpetrator I think that the media sends a signal out for those of like thinking to “one up” the guy and try to out-do him with a more violent act. Telling them a higher body count would make their act more newsworthy and noteworthy is just ludicrous.
We all know the name of the man who did the shooting in Connecticutt, but do you know the name of one single child? What he/she looked like? What his/her parents are going through today? It’s sad that the criminal receives attention, a sort of infamous glory, and we speak his name so fluently. When it’s the names of his victims that really we should consider and know.
It’s been said that our country is basically the murder capital of the world. With over 10,000 people dying from gun crimes last year alone here – the highest non-warkilling numbers in the world. What is it about American thought, procedure and attitude that puts us on this unbecoming pedestal ? We’re like 26th in education in the world, but #1 in civilian gun crime. Something is completely wrong with that picture – again in my opinion.
Here’s what I hope comes from this truly tragic event:
We stop glorifying the criminal. This would require the rethinking of how media presents these idiots to the world. Perhaps not publicizing the name and background of these people who do these kinds of things, but treating them as the outcasts and piriahs that they ARE by not naming them, by not giving them “air time” on television, radio and internet – would decrease their desire to be “known” for their horrible crimes; to be some sort of anti-hero in their own minds.
We need to seriously open conversation about assault weapons ownership in America. Yes NRA, I know this makes you nervous, but I’m not speaking of taking your “arms” just making sure that you keep your right to bear suitable arms, and not ones simply used to cause mass casualties and carnage. Again, our media outlets glorify these super weapons, displaying them in movies, videos and making kids think that every household needs a Mac-10 or an AR-15. When if we would focus more on a safe, non-violent way of being there would be no desire to own these weapons of multiple firing abilities. You don’t carry one to use in self defense, nor do you hunt with them…they have simply ONE purpose, to delete human life.
Another thing we could look at regulating would be the sales and ownership of mass quantities of ammunition for such weapons. It should be illegal to own or possess hundreds of rounds of ammo for weapons such as the Mac 10, or AR-15, or Bushman .223….period. If one did not have such easy access to the ammunition for these deady weapons perhaps we could prevent – or deter – just one more incident like Columbine, VA Tech, or Sandy Hook.
America needs to have serious conversation about the state of mental health and wellness care in this country. The man who killed all those kids is a prime example of the complete and utter failure of our system in this area. We have murdered our own mental health care system, often when one is mentally ill here in this country we do not offer them the facilities, programs or ability to address their issues. We do not protect families or our children from the crazies of this world with any type of safety net in mental health care. Our prisons are our mental health care system, so to speak. We wait for the insane to commit atrocious acts, then we lock them up in prisons – where they are often made worse by association with others equally or more insane – and we do not treat them or rehabilitate them in any kind of even adequate ways – let alone successful or rational! And we let them free in droves when our prisons are over-crowded – which is normally just because half of the occupants belong in a different type of facility – a mental health institution. Yes, I say bring back the asylums and let’s once again take mental health seriously.
Teaching more non-violent action, personal responsibility, temper control and simplistically good ethics and morals to our young minds in America could also go a long way toward possibly preventing more death and destruction in the future. Perhaps we also need to take a long look at our media outlets. Perhaps Hollywood should take some ownership of what they produce and consider the audience they reach. Do more movies about the impact of violence, not about how glorifying it is. Maybe it’s time to stop showing so much violence – and so many guns – during hours when young minds wander through the channels of the television. Sure, there are parental controls, but I want to make sure that when there is an irresponsible parent involved that we as a community take notice and are not showing by example that carrying a gun, using a gun or weapon, is the “cool” thing to do. Hell, even soap operas are rife with guns, shootings and violence now! We have regulated things like smoking and alcohol consumption on screen (for shows and movies) to a great extent because they are not behaviors that we want to perpetuate, let’s do the same for weapons. Hollywood could have a serious impact on this, and they should step up to the plate and think about their contribution to the increase in violence on screen that could be copied or replicated by some person who may not have the mental maturity or aptitude to discern fiction from reality, thinking they could – or will – do what is shown by example in our media outlets, to be something that brings notoriety and fame.
Our country is a great and strong one. We focus on homeland security (in the wake of 9/11) and now it’s time to focus on citizen responsibility, teaching non-violence and peaceable conflict resolution in the wake of Sandy Hook’s tragic reality. The answer is not more weapons but dealing with those that are already made and ready for purchase; with watching our family members, being able to get help for those who are so disturbed as to be thinking about mass destruction like this. Yes, gun control, mental health observation/treatment, ammunition regulation, media action, and personal responsibility….perhaps I am delusional, but I believe with a combination of diligent and attentive actions we could possibly evolve beyond being known as the country with the most civilian gun related deaths, to one of peace, prosperity and safety for our people – especially our innocent children.
So these are simply MY thoughts on all of the recent events. I am sure there are a million arguments of opposite – and equally valid – views and ideas. I respect that everyone has their own take on this, and this is just one person’s ideas…so as you comment, take it easy on the hate and just let me know your view and perhaps you can say something that may even change my thoughts!