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An open letter to America about why revising gun regulations may be good idea

“After a tragedy, we try to focus on healing first, but inevitably more discussion will follow on why the tragedy happened, and what can be done to help ensure something similar never happens again. Sort of like how they decided to ban however many new things from airplanes after 9/11. By the way, thanks, TSA, I feel so much safer knowing you took away that 15-year-old girl’s perfume bottle. She had a devious look about her.”

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By Kat Marusiak (The Cascade) – Email

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After a tragedy, we try to focus on healing first, but inevitably more discussion will follow on why the tragedy happened, and what can be done to help ensure something similar never happens again. Sort of like how they decided to ban however many new things from airplanes after 9/11. By the way, thanks, TSA, I feel so much safer knowing you took away that 15-year-old girl’s perfume bottle. She had a devious look about her.

Right now, in the wake of the worst mass shooting in their history, the world is collectively looking to the United States, wondering why, with such an unspeakably high number of guns and an appalling number of firearm-related deaths, it is not looking toward tighter gun regulation, as so many other countries have. While some Americans are, others are in an absolute outrage at the thought that any of their firearms / their ability to obtain certain firearms may be taken from them.

“Criminals!” I hear some people shout, “What good is any form of gun control when criminals don’t follow laws anyway!”

For one, it’s not only criminals using guns to kill others and/or themselves, so there’s always that to consider. Secondly, it’s true that criminals don’t care about laws, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still subject to them. If a criminal knows that being caught committing a crime will result in a far, far harsher punishment if they’re carrying a firearm, they’re more likely to see it as a liability and try to avoid having to bring or use one. And making them less available and harder to obtain would be yet another impediment.

“Cars kill people! Should we ban cars?”

Automobiles were created as a way to travel greater distances. In today’s society, many people rely on vehicles to make it to their place of work or learning, and elderly people and those with disabilities can travel more easily — a whole new world of possibilities opened up to us. Overall, our general quality of life has been improved because of this invention, despite the unfortunate fact that it can also cause death. Guns are created to kill and maim. That’s it. “They were created to protect us!” Yeah, by killing or maiming another person, or threatening to. Or by potentially just giving you a false sense of security. Why is it so hard for people to see how these two things are very different?

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Yes, most inanimate objects do not kill on their own. But sorry, that is a foolish way to think. If you want to get technical, I could afford you the medical jargon of exactly how the bullets entering the body killed the person in question. We have a responsibility, but while responsibility and causation are related, they are not the same. It’s as if many people can’t see that this connection between number of guns and number of deaths is more than just correlation. Has America not noticed that countries such as the UK, Australia, and Canada have stricter gun regulation and ***infinitely less deaths by firearm?

A lot of people also don’t consider suicide when this discussion takes place. In a country with more guns than people, and where the guns are quite easy for civilians to obtain, people are more likely to be successful should they, for whatever reason, decide to kill themselves

“The Second Amendment!!”

Please. I doubt the founding fathers had any idea that someday firearms would be less muskets and more mass-destruction. Not that muskets and handguns can’t also be dangerous. But the fact that many Americans believe they could easily protect themselves from their weapon-crazy government and its vast collection of armed vehicles and weapons of mass destruction if it ever became even more corrupt with any number of guns is a strange combination of laughable and sad. They might even prefer that the people have weapons in the event of an uprising, since “killing armed rebels” sounds a lot better than “gunning down unarmed civilians.” And as far as protection from normal criminals, odds are likely that many people would end up killing themselves or an innocent sooner than an attacker. Or even be shot and/or killed with their own weapon by another. I am constantly reminded of the awful incident involving Jamie Gilt, a well known pro-gun activist from Florida who proudly campaigned, declaring things like “My right to protect my child with my gun trumps your fear of my gun.” She was shot in the back by her four-year-old, with the gun she’d left in the back seat of the car. I know not everyone is so careless, but the fact remains that many are.

“If someone couldn’t get a gun, they would have just used something else like a knife if they wanted to kill badly enough!”

Then why do people need a certain type or number of guns to protect themselves? Certainly anything would do if you want to live badly enough. Again, one of the problems with guns is the great efficacy with which they can be used to kill, not just that they can.

This toddler mentality of throwing a temper tantrum at the thought of having something potentially taken away, something so dangerous yet still so often treated like a toy by many, is pathetic. And the goal is not even to take away all guns, just for them to be better regulated, for people to need to have a very good reason for owning one, to do whatever can be done to help ensure that people who do own one will be responsible, and handle them with the proper safety and care. And I don’t know, if your favourite pastime is collecting weapons designed to kill and/or practicing killing with them for fun (like the father — again in Florida, in fact — who recently accidentally shot and killed his young son at a shooting range), well, maybe you should try considering a new hobby. Try picking up a video game. You can have an endless supply of weapons and shoot as much as you like without actually endangering yourself or others.

While I’m sure most have, I honestly wonder how many people fighting so vehemently from their keyboards have ever even discharged a firearm before. (If you’re curious, yes, I myself have.) I’m certainly not saying we should try to ban guns completely; that would be impossible at this point anyway. But life is precious, and a lot of people need to value their lives and the lives of others a little more, and respect the potentially deadly consequences every time they put their finger on that trigger. I once heard a marine speak about his intense safety training, regiments, his respect for the deadly power of his weapon, and how he can’t understand why any civilian would need to own certain types of weaponry. Probably because they really don’t.

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