As I stare at the empty white page on my computer screen, my thoughts turn to the biggest news story of the week, the 26 empty beds in Newtown Connecticut.
With Aurora, the Oregon Mall, and too many others these stories of mass shooting are becoming all too familiar in our repeating cycles of news.
Who is to blame for these tragedies?
Seems like after everyone of these mass shootings the news outlets, talking heads and politicians are trying to figure out who is to blame.
One politician will come on and proclaim that tighter gun laws will stop the killings. Another will come on and say if we all had more guns we’d be able to stop the shooters quicker.
I really don’t know. I’m a gun owner. I have a cut little breakdown rifle that will fire 15 rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger. And it’s not my only one. I added it up one day and I think I figured I could fire 57 rounds before I’d have to stop to reload.
Why do I have all these weapons? I don’t know. Two are for hunting, but I haven’t hunted in years. I’m a pretty good shot so I guess if 20 or 30 troublesome individuals attack the farm, I’m armed about right.
I don’t know why I have them, but I do know I don’t really want the federal government telling me I can’t have them. Someday 20-30 troublesome individuals may show up at my house.
However, I don’t know that I need anything with a 100-round clip, and a couple semiautomatic pistols to boot. If I’m living in a neighborhood where I need that much ammo for home defense, it’s probably time to just move.
We limit the number of rounds you can have in your gun to hunt ducks or deer or pheasant, but there’s no capacity law on hunting people. I know, my brothers in the NRA are all screaming, “But if you take away my Bushmaster assault rifle, next thing you know I’ll be hunting ducks with a slingshot.”
There’s got to be some middle ground.
Would having a gun locked up in the principal’s office cut down on the number of deaths at Sandy Hook, maybe so. Would a theater full of gun-toting movie goers cut down on casualties in Aurora? I doubt it. Having 20 or 30 law-abiding citizens stand up and open fire in a dark theater as people are running for their lives would probably have led to many more casualties.
Banning large capacity clips won’t stop the problem. Anyone proficient that type of weapon can dump and pump in a new clip very quickly. You can tote more guns, bring homemade explosives, drive your car through a crowded crosswalk.
Guns don’t kill people, people do. Guns just make it a whole lot easier. And cooler in this society of “going viral.”
I think there is plenty of blame to go around from the producers of video games depicting mass shootings or gunning down law enforcement officers, to the politicians that spend so much time bickering over whatever issue is on their political party’s agenda they don’t have time to deal with compromise on other important issues. Family, friends, social workers, physiologist any number of people that may have came in contact with the shooter and never took the time or effort to notice there was a person in need of help share the blame. Social networking sites that make it so easy to anonymously bash and bully people share some blame, but we as individuals also share some of the blame.
The NRA says the right to bear arms is guaranteed so the public will always be the largest armed force in the nation.
I think we already are. We just don’t use the weapons we have.
Whether it be guns, video games, movies, social media or some imbalance in our mental facilities, we all share in the blame of ignoring the situation until it hits as some big news cycle. We wring our hands, we make grand speeches, we try to find blame.
About the only thing I am sure of is, the only ones not to blame for Friday’s horrific act are the occupants of those 20 small empty beds in Newtown Connecticut.
Terry Spradley is the editor of the St. John News, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org