Friday’s Newton, Connecticut, shooting is undoubtedly horrifying. To say that 2012 has been wrought with shootings is an understatement. In December ALONE, we’ve had four shootings: a man was shot on 58th street in Manhattan; the shooting in the Oregon mall; the murder by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker; and now — kindergarteners. The thought of execution-style killing of helpless kindergarteners insights such a visceral reaction, it renders me speechless. Did it really have to take this senseless act to finally bring about change? Or is this not even enough?
Looking back at this year, I am personally horrified. Every shooting, I keep asking — when is enough going to FINALLY be enough to bring about change? These shootings are the loudest cry for help and change that I could imagine from our country. Yet December has been dominated by fiscal cliff talks, not the outrage of random shootings. Our economy is certainly important, but the lack of coverage of the recent Oregon and Midtown Manhattan shooting, and our lack of change in response, largely brings to question this country’s priorities.
Gun control is a pressing issue, now more than ever. Most of the recent shootings describe guns getting into the wrong hands of unstable individuals. It has scarily almost become normalized to expect that mentally unstable or emotionally perturbed individuals will respond by random shootings. While there are larger questions of how to catch emotionally disturbed children before they turn into isolated and angry adults, or to properly treat mentally ill adults, there are tangible steps we can take to drastically reduce their chances of taking up a gun.
Some oppose gun control as a solution, recommending the use of education or religion instead. While such programs are often integral to addressing worrisome behavior, we can’t just hope those efforts are enough. There is no better way to prevent shootings than to actually remove guns. How could gun control actually be harmful? I can only see net positives. This does not mean all problems are fixed, it can't certainly be the ONLY step we take as a society, but it is a serious step that legislatures can take.
Officials have been visibly moved by today’s horror, as evidenced by Obama’s speech and the afternoon gun control rally, which hopefully will insight legislative change. I can't even imagine what the victims' families must be feeling right now, and I am so terribly, terribly sorry for the loss that occurred Friday. I truly hope these cries for change are heard; it is an outrage to have to shout over today's murder just to be heard.