Friday, February 15, 2008

I didn't want to really get into the shootings at NIU yesterday, because it was a holiday of love and all, but frankly I am pretty pissed off about it. Of course it is tragic and the death of anyone at the hands of someone else is a terrible waste. I don't know if the families and friends of these young people will ever find solace or comfort after one person so forcefully ripped them apart. But what truly angers me is the fact that guns are so available. What would have happened if the shooter had not had such easy access to guns from his local dealer in east central Illinois? Would he still have planned such a rampage if he had only had access to knives? Probably not. My guess is that you can't maim as many people as quickly with a knife. Just a hunch, as I am not of the mass killing persuasion and all.

Why are guns given to the general public? Let's review what guns are used for: killing...and, ummm, more killing? Defense? For law enforcement, sure. That makes some sense to me, I suppose. And for the military. Fine. But why can any man or woman or even child (and please, 18, and even 21, is still a child in many ways) walk into a gun dealer, hand over ID, and 5 days later come back to pick up a gun, or 4? Who really NEEDS to own a gun? By need to own, I don't mean just someone who wants to flex their second amendment rights. No one really NEEDS to own a gun. Those that buy guns buy them for sport and for personal use. Hunting animals is an entirely other issue that I take offense to but for the sake of this argument I am not going to go there. Specifically as not to offend my father or father in law, both avid hunters. But I am speaking of those individuals, like the shooter in this case, who go to the gun dealer and purchase weapons that can feasibly kill another human being. Even a scared parent who purchases a gun because they worry about a break-in at night must know that when they bring that gun home they fully intend to use it to end the life of another human.

And those guns fall into the hands of children who take them to school and a) accidently shoot their best friend in the back while showing it off, or b) use it to harm another male student because he seems "gay" and wears nail polish to school or c) go on a rampage and kill their fellow peers for nothing more than a cheap thrill. A thrill that can never be classified as cheap. Where would we be if our general population did not have access to guns? We wouldn't have to worry about "protecting" ourselves if no one else has a gun in which to shoot us. Doesn't that make more sense? Would the students at Virginia Tech have died last year if that young man hadn't been able to obtain a gun? No. Or those shoppers out for day of browsing the mall in Omaha? Not them either. How about the 5 young students at NIU yesterday? No. Or the 5 women at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL? Nope, not them either. I can think of hundreds of examples and could go on all day.

Maybe I care so deeply about this because I am on the cusp of being a parent myself. I know I would sleep better at night if I knew my child wouldn't have to grow up in a world where a local shooting makes the end of the news hour because its just not that "big of a deal". Maybe its because my precious little sister is about to embark on her big college career, and I would stop breathing if I got a phone call like the families of the NIU students received yesterday. Or that my dear brother is currently at college where there is no way for me to protect him from this kind of violence.

It is my hope that the second amendment is repealed at some point. The argument that "once you repeal one, you can repeal them all" is bullshit. Many amendments are there for our freedom and are put to good use each and every day. But when one specifically allows for the deaths of thousands of innocent people every year (day, month, etc.), why do we need to keep it? Aren't the lives of our peers more important than the right of a (wo)man to buy a gun to hunt a deer? The government can throw any number of laws out there that they claim "hinder" the general population's access to guns, but nothing will stop someone who is hell bent on getting one. Can you imagine getting that phone call?

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