After the James Holmes and Adam Lanza Shootings, Gun Control Would Be the Biggest Gift We Could Get This Year

It’s post-Christmas, pre-New Years time in America. That time period after the love, charity, and sense of community has pulled us all a little closer over the holidays. A time when we presumably become more pensive, reflective, and hopefully a little more hopeful; when we think about how our world could, and should be just a little bit better for ourselves and for our families.

But as 2013 frightfully but excitedly approaches, we are another year fatigued and another year skeptical about our leaders and lawmakers, about our society and its citizens. The 24-hour news cycle has more or less moved on from Sandy Hook and into the minutia of the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and Oscar speculation season. It’s imperative that our American society doesn’t recover from tragedy so quickly, and instead remembers the essence of our holiday spirit and the “Season of Giving” as we enter the new year. Gun control could be the biggest gift we could give to society and to ourselves this year.

The end of the world didn’t technically end for most of us, but for too many families in Newtown, Conn.; Webster, N.Y.; Clackamas, Ore; Franksten Township, Penn.; South Side Chicago, and across the nation who have lost loved ones to gun violence, the world might as well have ended in their eyes.

Yes, it’s true; we can't rid this world of evil, nor stop heinous crimes of aggression, pain, and resentment. But these incidents cannot be thought of as inevitable. From a public policy standpoint, we can do something. We have to don’t we? It won’t be perfect, it won’t be painless for the lobbyists, for the constitutionalists, for those who are justifiably apprehensive about the inviolability of individual rights. But it’ll be far less painful than the anguish and the deep sorrow we felt this holiday season.

A New Year’s resolution, one written on the congressional floor, would be the best we could hope for in the wake of this wave of gun violence. Anything to ease our minds as we send our children back to school and attend to our daily lives. A parent would do most things in their power to protect their children. If we view all of America's children as our children, then shouldn't we do all that we can too?

It’s not new news, this ongoing debate about the constitutional right presented in our Second Amendment. However, the framework for this government was a series of checks and balances. But what happens when society gets out of control? Do we standby and let it run? Do we hold ours closer and fear a little more in life? That’s not the kind of society we wish to live in. When Americans can more easily attain a rifle than a decent education or adequate health care, we know we must re-evaluate what it is we want this country to look like. Gun control is our necessary check of civilian power. It’s a necessary partial surrender of individual rights to better protect our neighbors, our communities, and our country. It’s our upholding of the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, none of which are possible when our institutions cannot fulfill their primary task of safeguarding the innocent and defending those who cannot defend themselves.  

I’m not saying take away guns entirely, after all, the debate is over “gun control” not “gun elimination.” Our vice president has been dispatched to elevate this national debate. Our own president has cried along with us and pledged his executive powers to address this issue. And let the rest of us embrace the plea he made in Newtown that one Sunday night, “to find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.” So we don't have to write any more articles like this.

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Robin Ye

Second-Year Student at The University of Chicago. Originally from Portland, Oregon. Politics is my jam. I love, in no particular order: cats, The Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Timbers, SPORTS!!, The West Wing, laughing, the great outdoors, and eating. Lots of eating. I may not be interesting, but I'm interested.

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