Why, not How

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and all those affected by the tragic school shooting in Newport, Connecticut. It is commonly said nothing is more tragic than the death of a young child, the cutting down of such innocence. In the aftermath, emotions run wild. Shock turns to grief, to fear, to anger. People demand justice. Someone has to be held accountable for this; someone has to pay. How could this ever be allowed to happen? Something must be done. This cannot be forgiven. Things must change.

I agree, something has to be done. Children should be safe at school. They should be able to retain their precious innocence for as long as possible, and most certainly should not be worried about getting gunned down at school. Yes, this is a common event in other parts of the world – and frequency does nothing to change that fact. It is inexcusable in Connecticut; it is inexcusable in Afghanistan and Uganda and everywhere else in the world. Just because this particular incident was on US soil does not mean it is any more tragic than similar events elsewhere.

The points of this rant – because let’s face it, this is a rant even if I try to keep it on the intellectual side of the precipe – are two in number and simple. One, remind the world this event is not a solo occurrence in the United States. Two, tell people to focus on the real issue at hand.

One: Remind the world this event is not a solo occurrence in the United States.

Yes, that is right – in other parts of the world children are regularly killed at or en route to school. In some places, it is a common occurrence. Do you see that making the headline news every time? I think not. Why? Because it is not in the US or another “civilized” nation – so people just do not care. Just because something terrible happens all the time does not mean it is any less terrible each and every time it happens. “A single event is a travesty, but many are a statistic.” Why is this? Because we let it be this way. Stop. Those children are no different than these children except that they had the “misfortune” of being born in another part of the world, amidst conflict and strife. That is not their fault and if you want to say all life is precious, look past your own and to the rest of the world. There is life out there too; stop ignoring it.

Two: Focus on the real issue at hand.

At first, this was going to be my topic, but then I got started and added the other one. So pay close attention to this point. STOP YAPPING ABOUT GUNS AND LOOK AT THE REAL ISSUE. Whenever there is a shooting, people immediately start yelling back and forth about gun laws and gun control. Most call for more restrictions, others argue they would make no difference. Either way, this is where all the focus is. This is where all the energy goes. This is all anyone thinks about, talks about, or cares about. This is not the real issue. This will solve nothing! (Okay, that’s not true, stricter gun laws are a good thing and will lower gun violence, but not in this context).

People need to stop arguing, climb out of their trenches, and take a good hard look at the situation. What is the real issue here? Is it the access people have to firearms? Is it the access people have to children? No, not really. While these are important, they are not the fundamental, crucial, underlying issue here. What is, you may wonder? WHY DO PEOLE FEEL THE NEED TO KILL THE CHILDREN IN THE FIRST PLACE? Oh, did not think of that, did you? Well I did. If someone has it in their head to kill the children or an alternative target, access to a gun is the least of your concerns. Take away all guns and they will just find another way to do it. Guns are merely tools – it is the person behind the trigger that is the problem. You can take everything away from a person leaving them with just their naked body and they could still kill someone. Yes, they would not be able to kill twenty people so easily, but they could still kill someone.

The fact that someone is so enraged they plan to kill is the problem. That should be the focus. We look at America and wonder why they seem to have so many school shootings. Gun laws are always blamed – but honestly, even if guns were impossible to get, dedicated people would just find another method. A bomb, perhaps. And those are banned already. So do you see what I mean? We should be focusing less on the HOW of the situation and more on the WHY. Only then do we stand a chance at understanding the depth of the situation and figuring out how to fix things so this does not happen again.

That being said, gun laws and gun control are important. Normally I would say common sense is the best law, but people are stupid. Hence, we need to protect them from themselves – and protect ourselves from them. This is why we have gun laws. This is why people should need a licence to own a firearm so that everyone who has a gun at least knows what they are doing. In Canada, it is not hard to get a licence and a gun – and yet I still feel safe because I know they had to prove themselves first. I have been through the course; I know what it entails. And I am not scared even though I live next to an elementary school.

Just to recap quickly – one: care about the other children too; two: focus on the WHY not the HOW. And most of all, do not be stupid.

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