In light of yesterday's terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I wanted to take a break from my daily sports commentary that I enjoy providing on twitter (@cip23) and sometimes at this blog. Social networks and even the news stations were inundated with outrage and calls for immediate changes to our gun laws.
There were experts on both sides of the argument screaming at each other on
the Piers Morgan Tonight show last night. I think that many were
losing sight of the fact that 20 families had just lost their small children
just before Christmas and countless families are dealing with the loss of their
children’s' innocence forever. Couldn't we all grieve together for at least one day instead of taking sides?
The point that the debate for gun violence needs to move forward is a valid
one. I just question whether it was yesterday, in the middle of the fact
finding, grief filled moments immediately following the events. I also think
that those who just point to stats and say there are too many guns are naive in
thinking that this is a solvable problem overnight. What do you think the
answer is, get rid of all guns? It just isn't realistic. Come to the table with
I, for one, think that the media coverage of these types of events is as
much to blame that tragedies like these keep happening as any other
contributing factor. I commend Anderson Cooper, of CNN, for purposely not
mentioning the suspects name and for covering him as little as possible. I
think that other potential killers see the 24/7 coverage that these attacks get
and possibly crave that 7-10 days of coverage on countless cable stations.
But the real discussion is guns. Why do we have so many darn guns is the question people keep asking? I will
disclose that I am a gun owner. I sleep within 5 feet of a loaded gun. It is
locked in a safe where only I can access. I also have long guns that I use
to hunt. I believe in responsible gun ownership. When my kids get older, I plan
to teach them about gun safety and how to shoot.
I am; however, open to some changes in federal laws. I do think that there
can be some common sense changes that everyone should be able to agree. The
government let the federal ban on assault weapons expire in 2004. I am not
opposed to some form of that ban being reinstated. A limit on size of magazine
clips would also be something I would support. I don't, however, think that these
will have a major impact on the reduction of gun violence.
The number one thing I am in favor, and do think could have an effect, is
the requirement of all States to impose background checks on those trying to
purchase firearms. I also think they need to be done even more detailed then
are done now. It seems to me that all of these mass killers have some sort of
mental history in their past. I would think there could be easily be a link
between the databases of the agencies handling the gun permits and those of the
medical field that could prevent patients with a questionable mental history
from obtaining such permits. I know on the NJ firearm ID card, there are mental
health questions but it is easy for anyone to just check "no
history". If, during the background check, a doctor had put a red flag in
the system, it wouldn't matter what the applicant checked.
There is also the issue of carrying hand guns. Some states allow it, even
openly, and others don't. When incidents like the one that happened at Sandy
Hook School occur, there is discussion about what if there were someone that
was armed, wouldn't it have been better? The opposition to carrying laws say there are
studies that say it enrages the killer and more will die. Well I would like to
see those studies. Why then are there armed air marshals on most of our
airplanes since 9/11? Is that marshal not going to engage a terrorist or other
armed person? I think responsible people, who go through training and
background checks to become licensed gun carriers are not the issue and to go
after that aspect of gun controls is to have a different agenda in my opinion.
Gun control is a complicated issue. If it weren't for the troubled economy
over the last 6 or so years, it probably would have been more hotly debated
during the last two presidential elections. I don't think any of us have all of
the answers. I fall somewhere in the middle of the issue as someone who is a
gun owner, believes in gun rights but is in favor of some common sense changes
to our laws. I also believe that we need to think outside the box on these mass
killings and look at the media coverage and medical fields and find a way to link
them into the discussion. We are the greatest country in the world with the
offer of the greatest dream. But too many of those dreams are being dashed in
an instant and we must make it stop.