So far we know the only run in the shooter ever had with police was a traffic ticket. Regardless of why he did it, the big issue that will be debated in the days, weeks, and months to come, will be the guns. We won't be discussing the psychological state of mind of the shooter, the security at the theater, or even violent films. It will come down to the guns. It can't be denied that this massacre will spark a political war that we've been through before, one that tears this country apart every time.
In regards to the guns, here are our options:
- Ban all assault weapons for sale to the public. The problem with this is while it might curb massacres like what happened in Aurora and other cities but it doesn't prevent someone from taking rifles and handguns into a public place and shooting it up. Also, factor in whether or not banning assault weapons to the public would pass muster with the SCOTUS. Take into consideration too that the NRA is a pretty damn powerful organization and will fight to the death arguing that ownership of an assault rifle is every American's God given right.
- Ban the sale of all weapons to people with criminal histories. Wait, don't we already do this? We do, unless one is disobeying the law and selling to criminals anyway. Also, what happens when the person committing the crime doesn't have a criminal background? There's nothing we can do to prevent a person with no criminal history from obtaining a weapon. While all we hear about are the gun related violent crimes, we don't hear about all the responsible gun ownership that takes place every day in America. We don't hear about it because it isn't news when someone uses their firearms responsibly.
- Ban all weapons, period. Okay, this could be the one sure fire way to prevent massacres such as this. If we banned all guns, even by police officers, if we melted down every gun in this country, would that solve the problem? Would criminals find a way to obtain their guns? Do we think that it's possible that all gun owners in America would give up their weapons? Would this even pass SCOTUS muster? What would happen to the Constitution? The Second Amendment?
- In America, people own firearms for different reasons:
- Protection of life and property
- Recreational shooting
- Required for their profession
- Use in criminal activity
In the end, we absolutely cannot predict human behavior with any certainty and the idea that our destiny could be left up to some psycho wielding a gun is incomprehensible to us. Since we cannot control human behavior, we can do the next best thing, we can remove the tools that help put that behavior into action. The desire to do this is not right or wrong, it too is about survival. However, the question I have is: Is it the answer?
Once again, the only answer I can come up with is I don't know.
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Austin, Texas 1966
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