The fallout from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of late 2012, as well as a number of other more recent shootings, has captured the attention of the American political system. Unfortunately, both sides have decided to waste time, energy, funding, and political capital on old ideas that barely qualify as solutions. Quite frankly, the leaders of our society are being intellectually dishonest and lazy; these massacres cannot be legislated away while there will likely always be tragedies that result from violent criminal acts. At best, we, as a society and individuals, can minimize the number of these events and mitigate the damage done when they occur.
On the right, the NRA and others preemptively launched a bazaar campaign of political attacks that have solely helped undermine their point of view. Putting guns/security guards in every school and/or every classroom is cost prohibitive, dangerous in itself, and ineffective as gunmen will easily be able to find the weaknesses of such efforts. Clearly, the supposed “gun show loophole,” which allows private sales without background checks, should have been closed years ago. As such, legislators should pass clean legislation that immediately addresses the issue.
In regard to a revival of the assault weapons ban, limitations on magazine capacity, and taxes on ammunition, the Second Amendment prevents government from limiting the rights of individuals without due process. The Second Amendment came into existence to protect individuals and States from the Federal government, i.e. the guns available to citizens were equivalent those available to the military. Consequently, the Second Amendment does not solely provide citizens with the right to bear arms for the purposes of hunting, collecting, or self-defense; it provides far broader protections.
That said, legislators can pass all the laws they want, but the Supreme Court will likely have to invalid them and our Country will have wasted a great deal of effort, time, pubic funding, and political capital. Meanwhile, one of the most important lessons of the ”War on Terror” has been ignored; IEDs, as one example, demonstrate the ability of individuals to cause great destruction with the use of homemade arms. Banning the manufacturing, importation, and sale of assault weapons will help stem violence in the Mexican drug wars, but these efforts will do little to stop random massacres by those willing to die and cause harm to others.
Furthermore, the mental health system in America has long been underfunded, underdeveloped, and underutilized. Building an effective, efficient mental health system will help save lives, whether or not a breakdown ends in a mass shooting. On the other hand, the only truly effective means of dealing with widespread, devastating social issues, such as mass shooting, bullying, gang violence, suicide, poverty, and a whole host of socioeconomic problems, is by reshaping how our society deals with marginalized individuals. Our society has grown quite egocentric and apathetic toward those in need to the point where we focus solely on our immediate needs, thus our ability to address social issues and function as community is weak. Schools, other community organizations, and all individuals need to do more to seek out those outcasts who are likely to engage in these destructive types of activities. Moreover, we cannot simply legislate away massacres; violence in our communities can only be stop when we act as communities of people willing to lookout for those most in need of community support.
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