Here we are talking about guns again. The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is heartbreaking to anyone with a heart. People who report the news are saying there’s talk about the Second Amendment. People I follow on social media sites are saying we have to address gun control, it's time.
It is time we took a reasoned look at how these terrible things can happen. Certainly, the fact that this kid had access to guns, and multiple guns at that, contributed to the carnage. His mother, who sadly was also a victim of the murderous rampage, had legally purchased all the guns in his possession. Those guns were a factor in the number of people who died, there's no debating that, and despite the NRA's wish that we wait until the investigation is complete. We don't need an investigation to know these murders happened at the hand of a man with a gun.
The question is what can we do about it? Gut reaction all over the country is "change or repeal the Second Amendment." The Second Amendment is one of the reasons we have more guns per capita than any country on the planet. There are other reasons, though none of them seem very important right now. The FBI estimates there are more than 200 million guns in private hands in the United States and — based on that number alone — I think it's completely unrealistic to think we can repeal the second amendment and solve the gun problem. And that doesn’t even touch on the issue of whether we could successfully repeal it in the first place.
One thing that would be achievable is to pass legislation that clarifies the Second Amendment and bans some weapons from private hands. I cannot think of a single reason why a private citizen would have need to own a fully automatic weapon of any kind or caliber. Nor can I conceive of when one might need a weapon that is .50 caliber or above, certainly not one that's rigged as a sniper rifle. Those are things that Congress could resolve with carefully crafted legislation.
Then we should move more aggressively to understand why people do these things. I don't believe these killers think it's acceptable behavior, which is why they usually kill themselves when they've finished. The reason they go over the edge is not important. The important part of the equation is, why they think it's OK to kill someone because they're unhappy or angry or whatever.
I don't believe people who respect other people could ever kill innocents. An extreme example of this point is Al Qaeda, they do not respect people, and they do not respect life, so there is no hesitation to kill women and children in their quest for dominance. In this country we believe we're above that, but there is growing evidence that too many of our young people do not respect life. So, where do they learn about respect? No, it's not in church, nor is it in school, it has to be taught at home and it has to be taught through example. A child learns how to treat other people by watching their parents. If we are indifferent, or disrespectful of others, how can we expect our children to behave any differently?
An armed citizen represents a threat to no one if they've been taught respect. Of course there are exceptions, there will always be exceptions, but the way to peace is reasonable restrictions on gun ownership and teaching our children that violence of any kind is unacceptable behavior.