Sandy Hook Mass Shooting: How Can We Not Talk About Guns?

This is a debate we’ll have a lot more of in the coming weeks. It’s an all too familiar one in the wake of domestic mass murders.

But I’ll just say this for now: we cannot ignore the unique nature of guns and the role they play in mass killings where anger is a motivating factor. Firing a shotgun, handgun, or assault rifle is far different than swinging a machete or lighting dynamite.

Guns aren't the most lethal mass murder weapon but they are the most common. It is part of the reason why gun regulations are completely fair game to discuss, especially when tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting occur.

Most domestic mass murders tend to have this in common: the perpetrator is around long enough to see the destruction they cause, even when it ends with their suicide. Being able to experience the death may be part of why they do it in the first place - to inflict the horror on others that they probably feel has been inflicted on them.

Building a bomb is not that hard if you have an internet connection and a home improvement store nearby but building one that is remotely detonated is much harder. It takes a lot more skill than mixing some chemicals with a match (bomb makers blow themselves up often enough) and is a lot more removed.

A bomb explosion or knife attack is a different form of aggression than the kind that comes pouring out of the barrel of a gun.

We cannot deny that guns remain the preferred method of destruction for domestic mass murders. Whether it is Columbine, the Aurora “Batman” shooting, or Sandy Hook elementary, guns are present in every situation.

The response is not that more people should carry guns. Should the teachers at Sandy Hook have guns? Should the kids? You don’t want guns in schools, period.

Better gun regulation has to be a part of the solution, along with better mental health counseling, addressing the role of media, and others. But yes, gun regulation is fair game.

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Michael McCutcheon

Michael was formerly special projects editor at Mic. Prior to that, he worked at the Open Society Foundations on electoral reform. A native Seattleite, he's still mad about the SuperSonics.

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