In light of the recent events in our country involving school related shootings, I am writing a brief post on the subject. I am a parent, and I am concerned about the state of things and the future my children will inherit.
Mass shootings have become a plague in our social fabric. However, the precise reasons for why these events occur remain to be fully understood – perhaps due to the complex nature of our society. What is at the root of these events? Guns? Mental health? Video games? Financial challenges? Social inequities? Our free society? Society? The answer could be one, all, some or none of the above. One thing is clear: our society, the very roots and our foundation are founded in violent bloodshed. In response to the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Tariffs of 1767 and the Tea Act of 1773, many in the colonies decided to fight for fair taxation and representation – this sparked bloody and violent period and ultimately led Declaration of Independence and the revolutionary war. France was simultaneously going through its own revolution – led by the people and a Corsican named Bonaparte. After that turbulent period the thirteen colonies drafted the US. Constitution. And then the great social experiment began. The ratification of the U.S. Constitution included the Second Amendment which reads as follows:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The idea behind this amendment is somewhat clear – that the people had the right to organize as a militia and to take up arms to defend themselves or to defend themselves against a tyrannical government.
This is where much of the attention is going. That in order to prevent mass shootings, the tools that enable these shootings should be more difficult to acquire by those who seek to do harm. Such questions as: Do we really need assault weapons? Or should more stringent background checks be conducted prior to gun ownership? Or how do we know who seeks to do harm? Or perhaps we should arm teachers?
Laws are there to protect law abiding people. More gun restrictions can minimize gun violence through the decreased availability of guns, but they don’t eliminate that risk. These restrictions would also place an unfair burden on law abiding citizens, and would not apply to those who procure guns by an illegal means. How do we regulate guns as a nation with the presence of the Second Amendment? Nations very in the manner they regulate guns. Evidence suggests that gun regulation may improve on the incidence gun related deaths. The US has the most guns per 100 people – so it is not surprising when the US exhibits the highest rate of deaths related to gun violence. Nations that have included gun regulation seem to demonstrate fewer deaths from gun violence. But the rate of non-violent deaths seems to remain high. The Second Amendment, which is a right, makes this issue a very complex issue. Gun regulation, by itself, is not going to solve the problem – but it may reduce the number of deaths resulting from guns. More must be understood in order to determine the best treatment for the ailment our country currently suffers from. Additionally, there are things that we need to learn from the totality of data that is out there with regard to mass shootings and those who do those acts. We also need to spend time as a nation talking about this issue and debating, and ultimately determining how to proceed. There is also evidence about the trends and behaviors that are associated with gun related violence including propensity towards physical violence, drug or alcohol use. However, we really need to examine the role of culture in the gun violence debate. Our society, for better or worse, has a long history of bloodshed. It is part of our fabric. How can we do better as a nation? As a State? As a City? As a people? As a person? How are we failing a particular group of individuals who perpetrate these acts? What programs can be put in place to “leave no person behind?” How can we protect our kids while in the classroom? Do we arm teachers? Should teachers get training? Do teachers want training? Should we have permanent police presence at every school? This was my first piece of writing on this subject. Guns are the tool. People are using that tool. Any tool can be a weapon under the right circumstances and with the right training. But I guess the conversation continues. I, for one, need to understand more. But I know that our first job begins with the lessons we provide to our kinds at home. Thank you for reading. Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel. “Live long and prosper!”