Since the tragedy in Connecticut, new attention on this nation’s gun control policy has come into public scrutiny. First, to reassure everyone, the second amendment of the Constitution has been and will continue to be: “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.”
This will stand the test of time, as will all other Constitutional Rights. Second, there are already roughly over 300 federal and state laws on the possession, manufacturing and sale of guns, with new policies being enacted by the President and Congress.
Now, where do we place the blame? Is it the guns themselves? Is it the shop owners who make a living off the sales of firearms? Is it the people who own the guns? Is it the NRA? Are we ourselves to blame? Where can we point our fingers?
The cry of many has been to eradicate the most dangerous of these weapons and to minimize the amount of ammunition. The wanted solution has become to stop the snake from poisoning us, we will remove the poison from the snake. But there is a error in the solution: The snake can still bite. It can still bring about harm.
My personal viewpoint on the issue is that I can see the need and appropriate the use for a weapon in self defense, and for hunting game/sport. While I think it odd to own an arsenal of weaponry for personal use, I can still understand why people choose to have them. In most cases, the people who own these weapons are law abiding citizens. As sour as it is to accept, the National Rifle Association has it right when they blatantly state that “guns do not kill people, people kill people.”
It is the person behind the weapon. It is the evil they succumb to that results in the tragedies we witness: A duality that will be hard to escape, for there are just as many people out there who choose to do good as there are who choose to inflict pain and harm.
So again, our fingers are amiss at who to blame. How can we protect ourselves from the myriad people? How can we overcome the evil that lurks in our society? The answer that has been chosen thus far is to arm: to police the public places we live in and around. We will prepare against the unexpected. We will have police and security to help us go about our days protected.
But this still does not solve our snake problem; there is a similarity between each occurrence. It has been noted that many of the attackers suffered from a mental illness and showed signs early on in life. My question is: Why do we still choose to ignore this?
Mental illness is not something that should be shameful, or mocked, or gossiped about. It is like any other illness, and it needs attention; it needs remedied; it needs to be cared for. It all stems from everyone of us: When we interact as a society, our ripples will turn into waves.
We as a people need to learn and understand our actions and how they affect others. We need to learn how our inaction can do just as much harm. So as we do this, we will understand. We will know when our interaction is important; when the people around us need help; that we’ll know this before the snake can bite.
To learn more about mental illness and its warning signs, please contact the National Institute for Mental Health at nimh.nih.gov. Counseling services can also be found for students with any issue ranging from grief to anger management, and is located in Simmons Hall 306.