**In Lieu of Last Week’s Events, Writer Ryan Houssein verbalizes America’s concerns/strengths in this editorial.**
Two topics on everyone’s minds since last week’s disgusting school shooting are gun control and mental health. The pro-gun people say this has nothing to do with gun control and everything to do with mental healthcare and the anti-gun people say it is all about gun control. They’re both wrong. It has everything to do with both.
Let’s start at the beginning.
People these days think that it has been our fundamental American right to own a gun since the dawn of the country and they are wrong. The 2nd Amendment states, “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.” According to my research, the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia could not be infringed upon but individuals did not possess a constitutional right to own guns. This rule has been in existence for over one hundred years. The NRA, who for the most part used to not really get into politics, changed their tone in the 1970s. In 1977, the NRA started on the case to change the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to mean individual rights to own guns. Basically, in the 236 year history of America, the 2nd Amendment has been interpreted as giving individuals rights to own a gun for only 35 years.
The pro-gun people also like to pretend that this is an issue of the right to protect ourselves and for hunting. I personally have no problem with someone owning a hand gun for home protection or a shotgun or rifle for hunting but stop pretending we need assault rifles for home protection. Last time I checked, the 2 crack heads breaking into your house to steal your stereo equipment and TV aren’t from the movie the Italian Job; breaking into your house with the training of a covert ops team heavily armed ready to go to war. A hand gun will suffice.
The other issue is for hunting and I thought the point of it was patience and skill. Now I have never been hunting but I thought the pride of killing that huge buck was the skill of being a good shot and being able to take him out with your own superiority. If you’re running into the woods with an assault rifle firing off hundreds of bullets doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
What else? Pro-gun people like to say things like “well there is strong gun control in Norway and they still had a mass shooting!” Let’s look at the statistics. You‘ll see gun control accounts for something in Norway. It is not fair to compare Norway to the entire United States since it is no where near the size. However, let’s just compare it to a state of similar population.
Population- 5 million
Average Gun Deaths Per Year- 10
Population- 4.5 million
Average Gun Deaths Per Year- 450
I feel I must also mention loads of people in Norway own guns. The hunting culture is huge up there. But, it is the control they put on amount of ammunition allowed to be owned and the types of guns allowed to be owned that help control. Also the background checks that they perform. Federal law in the US only requires background checks to be performed from licensed gun dealers. A mental case can legally purchase a gun from a gun show or elsewhere. That needs to change. It also should be mentioned Norway has universal healthcare so access to the help needed to treat mental issues is a lot easier to obtain.
“Well if a criminal wants a gun he’ll find a way to get one!” According to a recent study by Mother Jones, 80% of mass killings are committed by people where the guns are obtained legally. If these dirt bags didn’t have the gun laying in their closet when they snapped would those killings have happened? Everyone always says the same thing about these killers, “they were quiet” and “I never would have expected this.” Do these seemingly normal people know where to go and obtain a gun on the black market just to carry out their crime? Criminals don’t normally use guns for mass shooting. They use them for robbery and protection on the streets in whatever gang they “roll” with.
Now on to my favorite pro-gun rally cry. “If we don’t have guns then what’s to stop the government from coming and killing us! We have guns to keep the government in check!” Really? That’s what you’re doing? Bet that will work just like a bomb shelter and some canned food will help you survive the apocalypse. Stop it you fucking alarmist freaks. The government isn’t going to come kill us all and put us in camps. And even if they were do you really think 20 rednecks in Michigan who have trained by playing capture the flag in the woods can stand down the entire US military? A few thousand weekend warriors who go down to the gun range are going to be able to hold off an advancing force of professionally trained government soldiers? Stop it. The Indians had guns after we gave them to them and that didn’t save their asses when the government came and it won’t save yours.
Mental health is also an issue and we need substantial healthcare reform to take place to make treatment more accessible to the deranged. And unfortunately as I am learning Obamacare isn’t that healthcare reform needed. It is true a crazy person can use anything to harm anyone, the point is it’s a lot harder to kill mass amounts of people with out an assault weapon. The types of guns used in these mass killings were designed solely for the purpose of killing people. There is no reason a civilian needs to own one. Take the case in China where a psychopath stabbed 22 kids with a knife. Horrible. The difference is no one died in that stabbing. People absolutely are what kill other people, but it is harder to kill mass amounts without a gun and that is a fact.
Gun death will never be stopped completely. The point is to lower it as much as possible and a serious look into controlling weapons and ammunition sales to civilians is crucial.
More important than all this shit no matter where you stand we can all agree 12/14/12 was one of the worst days this country has ever seen. Let’s remember those victims forever and do all we can to make sure something like this never happens again. Also, fuck the Westboro Baptist Church.
**Our hearts and thoughts at New York Social Status go out to those that have been affected by the unforeseen tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School.**