Debates over gun control following the tragedy at Newtown, Conn. continue to be the main topic of the day in the mass media – TV and newspapers – and the social media – Face book and Tweeter. But as usual, it appears to be the same old thing, just talk. And the talk has been around a long, long time.
To be frankly honest I am not sure there will ever be any true gun control laws simply because the topic is a political hot potato and gun ownership is clearly protected by the U.S. Constitution.
I have no intention of making light of the subject but gun control has been somewhat of a problem dating back to the days of the old west. Of course, the old westerns are legends and tall tales but they frequently taught valuable lessons. For one reason or another Americans over the years have had a propensity to solve their problems with violence.
If you listen to gun proponents such as the National Rifle Association you will hear the valid argument that “guns don't kill, people kill.” Those who oppose gun possession argue that there would be considerably fewer killings if guns were not so easily accessible to the general public.
Guns were primarily designed for three purposes – warfare, hunting and self-defense, all for self-preservation. In the early days of our country all three reasons were considered a necessity. Our forefathers were forced to engage in a brutal and bloody war for independence. Once free of a foreign dictator, it became essential for the pioneers to provide food for the family and to protect themselves from those who tried to take what was rightfully theirs from them. A gun became a necessity.
Following the Civil War and migration to the West, most American males felt it was essential for self-preservation to carry a six-shooter on their hip. Like today, because everyone had easy access to a gun, there were numerous disagreements that ended in gunfights. A wiry fellow felt he had a much better chance with a six-gun than surviving a brawl with a 6-5, 300-pound opponent. The gun is the great equalizer you might say.
The earliest known gun control efforts were forcing cowhands and other potential ruffians to check their weapons in with the local sheriff or constable before visiting the local saloons. Even in the 1800s people realized that guns and high amounts of alcohol were frequently a deadly combination.
But like today, not everybody obeyed the laws and even with the strictest enforcement of “gun control, ” those who wanted one bad enough slipped through the cracks.
Notorious outlaw Billy the Kid, while still a teenager, reportedly shot and killed his first victim for snoring too loud. Now, we are back to talking about the personality behind the gun. Chances are Billy would have killed that man regardless of whether or not he had a gun simply because he wanted to kill. He would have found another means.
Page 2 of 2 - Let's fast forward to the 21st century. Over the years, technology has made guns more proficient at killing. At the same time, our young people's exposure to violence has dramatically increased through video games and explicitly violent movies and TV shows. Those without proper guidance sometimes cannot separate the often thin line between fantasy and reality. Somewhere along the line, video game manufacturers, moviemakers and yes, parents are going to have to accept the responsibility of stopping the mass killings that have become epidemic in our country.
America, we've got to teach our children.
President Obama has it right when he says we must enforce the laws that are already on the books and prosecuting to the maximum those who commit violent crimes.
Taking the guns away won't stop the killing. It will only create the opportunity for some crazed soul out there to come up with a more sophisticated way of snuffing out life.