Saturday, December 15, 2012

Beautifully written by my amazing sister.

President Obama was criticized yesterday for saying that at the time the national conversation should be about the victims, not politics. He was right. I’m not certain why the laws of basic human decency seem to be suspended over the Internet but let’s pretend that your world has just been destroyed. Because no one needs to actually lose one of their children to know what the impact must feel like. Would you want someone to turn your child’s funeral into a bully pulpit for their cause? Instead of remembering your loved one, and letting you deal with your grief, would you want them standing over that tiny little casket screaming “See what guns and video games do???” Don’t be a hypocrite. If it sickens you to see Ann Coulter on Hannity talking about the Second Amendment three hours after 20 children and 6 adults were murdered, then it should equally sicken you to see someone you respect on TV talking about gun control while footage of crying kids air. President Obama was just asking that for now, we as a nation let the families grieve, but it’s hard to stop the Internet machine and even he's now talking so I guess I’ll hop on.

In the last 24 hours since the tragedy in Newton, a flurry of suggestions has hit the social media world regarding how to handle it. Ban all guns like they do in Australia, eliminate First Person Shooter games, post armed sentries outside of oh, pretty much every public place now. Regardless of the personal opinions, everyone is essentially saying the same thing: We’re sick of this. Do something.

First off, let’s start with the obvious: gun control. No, I am in no way saying that guns cause mass shootings. But even the stupidest person can see that they can’t take place without them. It’s much easier to kill 30 people with an automatic handgun or assault rifle than it is to build a homemade bomb and transport it or wield a knife in a crowd. I’m not jumping on the ban all guns mass hysteria bandwagon, but can’t we at least make it a tad bit harder for the psychos to get weapons that can kill a bunch of people? Should people really be able to buy thousands of rounds of ammo on the Internet? Or an assault rifle at a gun show? We’re so fucking entitled as a society that we think our “rights” should always come easily and without consequences. Stop throwing the Second Amendment around for God’s sake. It was written in a time when people lived by themselves in log cabins, in fear of Indians and redcoats and bears. It took a full minute to load your musket with pellets and gunpowder, and after all that effort you got one shot or something then had to do that shit all over again. The Founding Fathers couldn’t have even conceptualized of assault rifles, extended ammo clips, hundreds of rounds being fired off in seconds. Do you really think George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were sitting around saying “Make sure you write that amendment as generally as possible because we need to make sure that hundreds of years from now, citizens can collect guns, fire off SAWs in their backyards, play Chuck Norris at the grocery, and go hunting for sport not survival.” I wasn't there but I can tell you they weren't.

Incidentally, hunting is stupid. It’s a human with an enormous advantage in the gun he or she is holding, versus an animal that can’t shoot back. You want to impress me, go kill a grizzly bear with a slingshot.

Also, unless you are regularly attacked by teams of trained counter-intelligence soldiers turned mercenaries, all you really need to protect your home against intruders is a revolver.

All that being said, our gun laws make the problem worse but they are not what cause the actual problem. Plenty of countries enable its citizens to own guns. In Iraq, every household can legally own an AK. But those countries' citizens are not shooting down innocent people to the frequency and extent that American citizens are. We have a problem in this country in how we deal with the mentally ill. Better minds than mine need to figure out how to address this but we can’t go on pretending it’s not an issue. Every single time there is a story like this in the media there are always people who knew there was something off about that person, a history of mental illness, warning signs, something. I don’t have any answers here but I do know that the mentally ill community is an underserved one. As an example, OCD affects one in every four children but as a cause receives very little funding, from the government and privately. We need to change that. In addition, parents, pay attention to your kids. I'm not blaming the parents of these monsters since I don’t know anything about them and how they were raised. I do know however, that as parents we are more attuned to what’s going on with them and we have more influence over them than anyone else in their lives starting from the cradle. I don’t consider it just my responsibility to feed, clothe, and shelter my kids into adulthood. I consider it my responsibility to make sure they grow up to be compassionate, conscientious, engaged, and well-rounded adults who contribute positively to society.

Lastly, you know how they don’t name rape victims or minors who are victims in the media? Let’s start doing that with people who commit sensational crimes like this one. You don’t need to know his name or what he looked like. Let’s stop glorifying them and giving young, unstable, psychotic people a way to make themselves immortal.

There’s something wrong, guys. We're broken. I for one am more than willing to try someone else’s idea out even if I don’t agree with it. Our debate over these issues is breeding inaction. We need to start making changes now. The true definition of idiocy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.