Thursday, April 4, 2013

Closing the barn door after the horse is already gone...

Ever notice how whenever something tragic happens, people often react with making more laws?  Case in point, Connecticut just passed tough new gun laws in response to the Sandy Hook school shootings that left twenty elementary school students and six educators dead.  The new law adds over a hundred firearms to the state's banned weapons list, creates a dangerous weapon offender registry, creates eligibility rules for buying ammunition, and would require background checks for anyone wishing to buy a firearm.  The new law will do nothing to bring back the young children and educators who died on December 14, 2012, but they might make it harder for citizens of Connecticut to buy weapons and ammunition.  And maybe that will cut down on violence...  and maybe it won't.  What's to stop a crazy person from New York City from running amok in Connecticut?

Our society is pretty gun crazy.  Being around military folks and having grown up in a rural county in Virginia, I've been around guns all my life.  I've never owned one, but like everyone else in my school system in the 1980s, I had to take a hunter safety course, where we were taught very basic gun safety.  A lot of people I went to school with were avid hunters.  In our day, it wasn't uncommon to see guys driving big pickup trucks to school with loaded gun racks on their rear windows.

I have fired pistols before.  My husband had a friend who had a few weapons and we all went to the shooting range one day, where we proceeded to have target practice.  It was actually a lot of fun.  He had a shotgun, a small revolver, and a 9 millimeter handgun-- the same kind soldiers in Iraq carried.  I have a cousin who has guns.  Last time I saw him, he let me fire a pistol he called "The Judge".  It was quite sexy.

I'm not much of a markswoman, though.  The one weapon I had the easiest time with was the shotgun, but it was also the scariest.  My husband has been looking into purchasing a couple of weapons for us.  It's not because we're scary right wingers, though.  It's because shooting is kind of fun... if you are aiming for a target, that is.  Texas has very gun friendly laws, too.

I don't know that we'll buy any weapons, though.  I'd rather spend the money to travel to Europe.  Besides, guns are kind of frightening.  I would hate to be responsible for the death of another person, especially a child.  And while it's fun to go to the range to shoot guns, I see no reason to develop that particular skill.

Anyway, I'm not really a big fan of more legislation.  I think most people who would do what Adam Lanza did have no respect for laws anyway...  and they would find a way to be violent regardless.  Maybe they wouldn't use assault weapons, but they might resort to something else.  Passing new gun laws makes people feel better, but I don't think they address the real problem.  I think one of the biggest problems we have is the fact that it's so difficult to access mental health care... and we have so many people who are alone, alienated, and angry.
It's easy to be isolated in our culture and that can lead to depression.  Depression can lead to suicidal and homicidal thoughts.  Those thoughts can lead to violence.

The new gun laws may curb the ability of people to get their hands on assault weapons and that might be a good thing.  But will it stop people from being violent?  I don't think so.  9/11 should have taught us that one doesn't need guns to kill masses of people.  Those who are creative and crazy enough will find a way to kill others if that's what they want to do.  Maybe our focus should be more on intervening when we see someone who is hostile and alienated than controlling peoples' access to guns.  


  1. Did I hear correctly that the DA and his wife in Texas were murdered by a white supremacist?

  2. Probably. I think I heard something about that, but to be honest, I've been preoccupied by other stuff.


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