So, once again we are saddened by the tragic mass shooting of innocent men, women and children. This time, apparently, from news reports, twenty children under 12. Are we becoming jaded by the frequency of the horror? I fear I am. I wish it were not so. I suspect many of us are beginning to put these school and mall and movie theater shootings in the category of the normal. Not that we think there’s anything good about them, but I fear we are beginning to think of them like we think of, for example, tornadoes. They happen. What can you do?
About once weekly I see a full page newspaper ad for guns. Upwards of 100 deadly weapons, many of them not useful for hunting, are advertised as if they were clothes or home appliances. One doesn’t have to be a pacifist or even a gun-control advocate to see something wrong with our American obsession with guns.
I wonder what it will take for the gun lobbyists and defenders of unfettered gun owners’ rights to sit back, reflect, and wonder if maybe we need something more in the way of effective prohibitions of dangerous people purchasing and owning guns?
Sure, sure, some are going to say “We already have laws limiting access to guns!” Well, the obvious answer to that is, either they’re not being enforced or they’re not stringent enough.
And I ask why anyone outside of law enforcement or the military needs or should own some of the weapons I see advertised. They aren’t for hunting. Marksmanship? I don’t think so. I can only conclude that some people get a charge out of owning such guns. (In fact, I’ve known some.)
The one approach we haven’t seriously tried is getting guns out of the hands of such people, keeping them, perhaps anyone, from purchasing for his or her own use assault weapons.
A while back, after the mass shooting at the theater in Denver, I wrote here about how nobody seems to be talking about the fact that virtually all of these shooters are boys or men. When are we, society’s leaders, educators, politicians, social workers, going to recognize that something, whatever it may be, is wrong with boys and young men in today’s society and develop programs to turn them away from violence? Every university I know of has programs for young women about body image dysfunction and eating disorders. How about some similar programs aimed at boys and young men about how to resist the impulses to violence brought on by a combination of visual images of extreme violence and testosterone?