One week since the horrific events that took place right here in CT. Too many children laid to rest this week. Too many lives cut short much too soon. A nation rocked by the events which unfolded and questions of what now?
How do we keep this from happening again? There has been a lot of buzz about this. Our own town has been having meetings trying to figure out how to at least make schools safer. Police patrol has been stepped up. The way the children enter the building has changed. The doors are always locked.
Locked doors did not help 20 children and 6 educators last Friday. Which begs the question, will we just talk about what should be done until the media frenzy on this dies down, or will we actually do something about it? Of course me personally I’m hoping we can learn something from this and actually take action.
Everyone has something to say. Even the conspiracy theorists have thrown their hat in the game with the government did this. But the big topic on everyone’s mind seems to be gun control. People are either far left with take away all of the guns of the world or far right with arm everyone. Then there are the middle of the road people like myself.
Gun Control Failed In CT
I need to make one thing perfectly clear here, gun control was unable to stop what happened in CT and not because the laws aren’t strong enough, but because some crazy person broke the law and in edition to being a murder was also a thief.
And I know this sounds a lot like the extreme right of the argument. The criminals are going to have the guns and the law abiding citizens will be left with nothing. No way of protecting themselves.
But here’s what makes me middle of the road, no one needs assault weapons. My husband, who’s a gun guy, has had them all of his life, says you don’t need an assault weapon. Yes, you can hunt with them. They are pretty cool to own, but it is NOT a home defense weapon according to my husband because the bullets can go through walls. You do not want something like that for home defense because in the process of killing an intruder you could inadvertently kill one of your family members.
But the one thing I have not heard from people in this argument is that CT does have an assault weapon ban. According to the NRA if you owned an assault weapon prior to October 1993 and obtained a permit for the assault weapon prior to July 1994, then you can legally own an assault weapon in CT. If you move into CT you have 90 days to turn in your assault weapon. So for Nancy Lanza to have legally owned this weapon she has to have had it for about 20 years. And in that time all was fine.
Adam Lanza even tried to purchase his own firearms in the state of CT just days before this. But because he refused a background check and the waiting period he was denied. So in this particular case I don’t see what more could have been done to stop this incident as far as gun control goes.
That Doesn’t Mean We Abandon Gun Control
It is very clear when you look at the numbers that gun control does have a positive effect on the number of deaths that occur. CT is in the top 5 of lowest per capita gun related deaths. All five states on the list which have this ranking have strong gun control regulation.
Conversely the states with the most gun related deaths have the bear minimum in gun control laws. Gun control really works best if all states of similar laws though. While CT is surrounded by states which also have strong gun control laws if it didn’t people would likely just cross the border to get their guns. And of course the criminals are always going to find a way.
It is impossible to gather up all of the guns. That was why what happened in CT was able to happen. Even if every state institutes a ban on assault weapons they won’t be able to take them out of the hands of those who already have them.
However, that does not mean that the answer is to arm everyone. That’s a knee jerk reaction. That was my husband’s reaction. Not too surprising since he’s a gun guy. But I have a way of bringing him down from his paranoia I guess because I said that wouldn’t be safe having teachers carry a gun on them. There would be too many accidental shootings that way. What about some of the children with disabilities who are impulsive. What if they grab the teacher’s gun? Teachers are just not trained for this and honestly I think many teachers would argue that if they wanted to carry a gun on their job, then they wouldn’t have become a teacher.
We Can’t Stop Discussing This Though
It was just in July that I wrote about gun control. Even then the CO movie theater shooting had me saying it was too close to home and something needs to be done. In that case I was on the gun control bandwagon. I still am. I still say it works. You can’t deny the numbers. It definitely helps. More guns is not the answer. That just makes more accidents. More access for the criminals.
In addition to the guns in all of these situations there has always been the element of mental illness. And that is something that needs to be fixed in this country too. The access to mental health services. We shouldn’t have to prove that someone is a danger to himself or others by their actions alone for a person to be committed. How many times have we heard the shooter had never been in trouble with the law? He was a good kid, but a little off. And his first act to prove he’s a danger to himself and others is to shoot up a school full of elementary school children. We need to stop it before it happens.
Adam Lanza planned and calculated this whole thing. He would have gotten himself a gun whether his mother owned them or not. He would have found a way. Gun control is really only part in parcel the problem and therefore only part of the answer.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again though, if you’re a law abiding citizen you shouldn’t be bothered by having to wait a little longer, or go through a background check. The argument that the criminals will still get the guns is truly irresponsible. It doesn’t mean we don’t try to stop it. We have locks on our doors to stop people from stealing our stuff, but criminals can bypass locks. That doesn’t mean we don’t stop using them or stop finding a way to stop it from happening. Many times we’ll add a security system. We have to do what we can to deter the criminals. Gun control does help that. We’ll never get gun related deaths down to zero, but we definitely can make them fewer.
How many more mass murders will there be that hit too close to home before we say what we’re doing isn’t working? Not even just say it because we are saying it. But we aren’t acting on it. No knee jerk reactions. Well thought out and planned ideas in place to protect people from destroying lives.
As I am getting ready for Christmas and to travel to Newtown, CT because that’s where I celebrate Christmas every year I know that I am going to get a huge reminder. Newtown is not the quiet town I once remembered. Media has swarmed it. Roads are closed. Traffic is unbearable. The whole town is one huge reminder of what happened a week ago. As we get further out from this the media will move onto something else. People will move on. Some faster than others, but Newtown will not forget. I will not forget. And we cannot let those lives be in vane. Something has to be done. It’s time for action.
Where do you stand on gun control after what happened in Sandy Hook, CT?