Mackenzie Hurlbert – Copy Editor –
The Newtown shooting was an indescribable tragedy that shocked the nation and the world. Any man who could do that has to have been a very sick person. This event, to which so many people from the Southern community were connected to, has spurred many new debates that have surfaced on Facebook for weeks on end. Is it the man or the gun? More guns or fewer guns? Should police officers be stationed in schools? Should teachers be packing heat in the classroom? The Facebook status debates enraged and inspired by the Newtown shooting turned from rational to absurd.
I could understand the claim for gun control and the claim that it was the man and not the gun. I could also understand the “It’s my constitutional right!” retort. But some statuses, such as the ridiculous ideas that “If one of those teachers was packing heat, that never would have happened,” and “Arm more civilians,” made me shut down my computer, turn off my cell phone and escape from the pointing fingers and accusatory remarks of ignorant people blinded by rage.
Yes, it was a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to those families and friends whose lives will be forever changed. But would arming more civilians in the world and increasing guns in our children’s lives to the point of infiltrating the classroom make for a positive change? Would more guns decrease or increase violence? I think the answer is simple: Violence would increase and events like the Newtown shooting would become more frequent. Yes, it’s the man who decides to shoot, not the gun, but if we do not take precautions of who receives the gun, we are blindly arming mentally unstable people like Adam Lanza.
I am not proposing that we take away guns from civilians; it is our constitutional right as citizens to bear arms. But I do believe that assault weapons, like the guns used to kill the students of Newtown, are absolutely unnecessary for a civilian to have. A gun that can fire that much ammo that quickly is too excessive for civilian usage. Pistols, shotguns, and other non-assault weapons can be used for hunting, target practice, and self-defense. Why would a civilian need anything classified as an assault rifle? If someone could give me a valid explanation, I would understand, but for now I feel the best response to these shootings is not taking guns away, but instead retiring the guns, such as assault rifles, that civilians do not need. You don’t need a AK-47 to hunt deer or for self-defense, just as you don’t need a bazooka. They are just unnecessary unless used for military purposes.
I would like to live in a world where people like Adam Lanza don’t exist and where events like the Newtown shooting don’t happen, but unfortunately that is not the case. The world may seem pretty bad in times like these, but arming more civilians is not the answer. I would not trust myself, my friend or my neighbor with a gun. It is our constitutional right to bear arms if you choose to, but do we really need assault rifles in homes? I think not.