In the US today 26 people were shot and killed in a school in Connecticut, 20 of the victims were kids. Meanwhile across the globe in China 22 kids were stabbed by a man wielding a knife. Ugh.
I read this news and get depressed. What's even more depressing is that gun sales go up in America after one of these shootings. Being from Canada this just seems confusing. Americans have a gun problem and in order to solve it they buy more guns to circulate around. One of the solutions that someone came up with was to give teachers firearms or have security in and around the schools. Trying to wrap my head around this I've talked to people that live in the States. Who watches the watchers? How can the country afford to employ this protectors when schools don't have enough money for education as it is?
There are people who are opposed to guns but i was more interested in people that were for guns. I wanted to see how they thought and wanted to see the basis for their beliefs in having guns.
The main argument that was made was that Americans have the right to defend themselves. This is outlined in the 2nd amendment to the constitution, the right to bear arms. Which when written probably made a lot of sense. The main way back then to take over a country was to send in an army of men with guns and armour. Now you can just nuke a place or use drones. Guns wouldn't be a very successful defence for either.
Some arguments have been brought up like "People can kill with cars, are you going to try to ban cars too?". WTF? I can't even believe someone is using this as an argument to keep using guns. People driving in cars can kill people? Yes they can, it's true!
I find it sadly odd that I have to explain to these people that cars have another purpose other than killing and that's for transportation. The primary function of a car is not to kill but to get a person from point A to point B. A gun on the other hand has only one purpose in it's design and that's to kill or maim. The comeback reply was that the gun can also be used for sport. I would like to add that the handle can also be used to crush walnuts or the barrel as a pencil holder but in the end the gun's main purpose hasn't changed. It is a weapon and it's capable of ending a life.
Other things to consider are little points like cars can't be concealed in your pocket and have a harder time getting into classrooms to kill children. How cars are even compared to guns really astounds me.
It's true that not all people that carry guns will kill another human or even fire at another human. This is a good thing. So it's fair to listen to these people complain about tougher gun laws or even worse gun bans. After all they didn't break the law. The person who used the gun on the kids should be punished. To them I say 'tough shit'.
My friend's kids can't bring peanut butter to school. Why? Because it has the potential to kill a small percentage of kids at the school. Since the peanut butter ban kids aren't dying in schools to allergic reactions due to peanuts. So the good of the many (or in this case a small percentage) out weighs the needs of the few (or possibly many). The end result is what ultimately counts, safer public schools.
When you look at stats numbers on how many people are killed in the USA by handguns the numbers are 8583 in last year alone. In Canada by comparison around 200 (there were 170 in 2010). There is no denying that the number of accessible guns has a relation to how many people are killed by them.
The banning of guns alone won't solve the problem. It will help and yes even if people have the urge to kill one another it can still be done but at least without guns. Another thing to consider is the education and ways we look at guns. You could argue it's because using guns is glamorized in movies, tv, heck even rap music. But if you look at the deaths in Canada by hand guns it's considerably lower. We share the same movies and TV shows and music.
I think the big difference here is the news. In Canada we have reputable news networks (for now). There is the CBC, Global, and CTV nationally and other news stations locally. SunTv would be the Canadian version of FOX or CNN, channels that are known for their repetitiveness and lack of quality unbiased news.
To test this watch your favourite station and see how much news is aired that is not celebrity gossip or sports related,modes the news mention places other than your local area? Does it include other states/provinces on a regular basis? What about other countries (that your country is not at war with)? If you get a chance watch an American channel then watch a channel from another country if you're travelling. Compare.
in my experience watching the news in America is pretty sensationalized. Any person watching the news can become easily paranoid. People are out to get me! I need to defend myself! I need a gun!
While I would love a gun ban in the USA and Canada I can see this not happening for a bunch of different reasons.
A) gun hobbyists - to throw away something that you enjoy and have invested a lot of time in (that would be like me throwing away my camera)
B) gun lobbyists - basically anyone that makes their living off selling guns. No one wants to lose money, after all America was built on going from poor to rich by selling stuff. Look at how long it took to get rid of smoking in restaurants? We'll probably get bombarded by ads with other criminals killing people without the use of guns just to sell the idea that guns aren't the problem. I think this will be one of the toughest obstacles as this group will attempt to control popular opinion for their own gains. They will fight tooth and nail to see that guns should be sold and available to anyone that wants them. I wish the solution were simple here like converting all the plants that made guns into factories that made air guns that shot plastic pellets or nerf guns. Something non-lethal but something the companies could still make a fortune on.
C) American mind set - the right to defend one self, Freedom has a price.... Blah blah blah. To this I say find another way to defend yourself. Maybe a knife or baseball bat? Better yet learn a martial art. If someone is pointing a gun at you are you really going to go for a gun to shoot the other guy? Will you have time before they shoot you? Maybe they miss, maybe not and if they do gun you down you have just given them another gun to use.
D) Laziness - Let's face it. How many people will actually get up from behind their computer screens and actually do something. Oh sure someone might post a photo of a candle or something and pray for the victims (which is nice) but will they call their local member of parliament? Probably not. They'll sit on their ass and hopes someone else will do it. I'll be honest I'll type up some angry email and this blog entry and that's about it. At least I have the luxury of living in another country. Good or bad, Canada being so close to the USA, we will feel the effects of whatever USA does in the end.
One of the other arguments made was that not having guns will make America look weak. I don't have an answer to this. I still support law enforcement and the army to have guns. I think that it comes down to the American people. Safety for everyone in the country from guns or not? How badly do they want it and what will they do to get it? It is possible to amend the constitution.
Obviously this won't be easy but it's not impossible. Heck, if we can learn that the Earth isn't flat, can stop burning "witches" at stakes, stop the identification of orphans as illegitimate citizens, we can learn how to live with guns (by living without them) in our society.
Thanks for reading this. I realize this blog entry is pretty heavy (and there is no photos) but needed to vent somewhere.