It won’t be popular to defend gun ownership after the senselessness of the school massacre in Connecticut – lives left empty. We’re going to hear a lot of discussion about gun control over the next few months. From Columbine to the present, these acts were not committed by NRA members, concealed carry permit holders or hunters; they are the acts of deranged individuals. We are not likely to address the difficult and expensive issue of cultural violence as long as there is the easier and cheaper alternative of gun control, but gun control is a cop-out.
Every Hollywood shoot-’em-up shows our youth hundreds of people killed in a two hour span and without any remorse or sensitivity. There are endless videos where the sole objective is to kill as many people in the shortest time possible. The purveyors of this violence invoke their first amendment right to do so and say it has no effect on our kids (would it be because gobs of money are at stake?), but anyone with an ounce of common sense must ask, “how can that be?” And then we wonder how the current phenomenon of mass killings has come to past. How many of these movies and videos does your child watch in the course of one year, one developmental year?
Gun control smacks of feel-good politics; it does not address the root issue of cultural violence. It’s not easy to face the fact that this is a cultural problem because the culture is us, and no one wants to acknowledge that they may be part of the problem. History is replete with scapegoats because they are easy targets. Changing a culture is a much, much more difficult task. Getting at the root of a problem forces us to deal with complexity, introspection and real solutions; not exactly the easy fix we all want. We are far too silent on the issue of violence. This is where the discussion must begin – not with guns. To paraphrase, “We have met the enemy and he is our complacency.” The long journey back to sanity begins with responsible parenting. It takes courage and thought to talk to your kids about the serious issues in life; it’s not all fun and games. Can we face it or do we take the easy way out?
– John Reilly, Ridgway