As facts and figures start to fill in the gaps after another mass shooting, the cultural problem of gun-related violence will be politely raised by the mass media, and firmly denied by the NRA’s affiliated politicians. People like Trump and Cruz will offer their prayers and their condolences, and neither will do anything to solve the real issues at hand.
Then, at some point, we’ll inevitably hear that mental illness is an issue that needs to be dealt with in order to stop the violence (or some variation of this argument), and that the availability of automatic weapons is not a problem in this country.
And it’ll all be one, free-flowing waterfall of bullshit from there.
Mass murder is a complex animal, and there are two bleeding questions that spiral into countless others:
1) What is pushing people to the brink of reason, to a point where they think that violence on this scale is a solution to their problems?
2) Why is access to automatic weapons not an issue for people in question 1?
Because you cannot go on a mass-murdering spree with a knife or a baseball bat. The cops have those covered.
Question 1 is more pertinent, but it requires a much longer process to answer, which leaves number 2 awkwardly standing in the doorway.
There is a problem: according to the Washington Post there have been more mass shootings in 2015 than days in the year so far. That’s not a small problem we can sweep under the rug.
At some point, we all need to ask: could those responsible for these mass killings could have been prevented from amassing their collection of deadly weapons if there were some sensible gun regulations in place.
Because as it stands, there aren’t.
For example, I just Googled “buy assault weapon AK47” and was presented with a plethora of options to buy online. That’s insanity. What sort of irresponsible madman sells an AK47 to a perfect stranger?
Mention of the words “gun control” has pro-gun people automatically assuming you mean a ban on the purchase of weapons.
Nobody is suggesting that guns be banned from the public. That’s not a reasonable argument, nor is it fair or sensible. What about hunters, farmers, collectors? It takes all kinds of people to make a community, and I respect the fact that guns have their place.
But surely a system needs to be put in place, where people will have to prove some level of competency before getting their hands on an automatic weapon?
It’s not an invasion of human rights, nor is it a denial of the constitution, to think that very large, automatic weapons should only be used by very responsible people. This is the same line of thinking that led the USA into a witch-hunt for WMD’s after 9/11. With large weapons comes large responsibility, and the proof we’re seeing is that not all assault rifle owners are using them down at the range on weekends.
Taking a step back, you could view this in a more accessible sense. Consider the automobile industry – you need to take a driving test (written and practical) to drive and own a car: why doesn’t the same apply to guns?
The knock-on effect of this type of violence is eerie and strange. Anyone who has been to the cinema recently will no doubt have watched this very unsettling preview, warning everyone to report suspicious characters.
Is this how we’re going to keep going? I don’t want to be scared of going to cinema, or to a shopping mall, or to a clinic, all because people think that their second amendment right is greater than the right to have a sensible conversation about gun ownership.