It's late, and I've got nothing better to do than stay up and think. It's been a whole week since the Newtown shootings already. For the first few days, the entire country grieved with the devastated families in Connecticut. But while those families continue to mourn their losses (as they may do for the rest of their lives), most of the country has moved on to the next topic: guns. Of course, many people have been voicing their opinions about gun control since last Thursday after the dust settled. And by now, many other people are tired of hearing what their friends and followers think should or shouldn't be done about guns in this country.
In fact, I'm sure most everyone I know would prefer it if everyone would shut up about gun politics already. However, I'm still wrapping my head around the tragedy and the questions it has raised about gun control. I've already shared a few of my opinions, but here I would like to more critically analyze certain sentiments that have arisen since the tragedy. And I'm about to indulge some possibly alienating opinions, so if you're tired of the gun debate, you'd be better off if you stopped reading this post right now and moved on to a different one.
Otherwise, I'd like to address a statement made by a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association recently. This is what Wayne LaPierre, representing NRA told the nation in a press conference yesterday:
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
He's not the first person to take such a stand. I heard the same sentiment after Tucson and Aurora; by the time I heard variations on the same point after the Newtown tragedy, all the surprise was drained from me. But while my shock has diminished with each repetition, my gut reaction is just as strong as it was the first time. And let me finally give shape to that feeling in the pit of my stomach every time someone reiterates that statement: what a dark sentiment to encourage.
The presumption is that guns aren't the problem. Twisted men who see deadly weapons as the vessels for their ill intentions are the problem. But under this logic, the righteous man also perceives deadly force as the only possible solution to the problem of evil men.
Are the implications clear yet? If we implement this trigger-happy logic, violence is an assumed repercussion. Eventually, the only way to keep the bad guys in check is to arm every good citizen with a weapon. In such a world, we learn to distrust our fellow men and instead keep faith only in the cold steel concealed on our person. But let's take a second to imagine this world where everyone carries around the god-like power to end another life just by pulling a finger . Just think how much safer we'd all be! Wouldn't that weaponized world be wonderful?