So. Now it’s time for me to get a really hot topic off my shoulders. I’m going to cover lots of ground in this post, so I’ll try to signpost it, as much as possible. This post will be broken up into multiple parts, so keep your eyes out for them.
A History of Violence?
In the span of the last few years, we’ve had a whole slew of gun violence here in these United States. From the big-news items such as the Trayvon Martin shooting, the mass shootings of Aurora and Sandy Hook, through lesser known shootings such as the one in which a deranged man set a fire, waited for emergency responders to arrive, and then shot them, we’ve had a rash of killings in this country. There’s been lots of speculation as to political motivations, such as the man who shot up the sikh temple in 2012 being a right-winger or the man who shot up the Family Research Center in the same year or the outright politically insane guy who shot Gabby Giffords in 2011. And there have been calls for gun control from each of these incidents.
A Brief Rundown of Gun Violence From 2008 To 2012
February 2008: Two incidents, one involving a man denied contracts from a government, the other involving a university shooting. 6 deaths and 2 injuries from the first incident, 6 dead and 21 injuries from the second.
March 2009: Eight people died in a nursing home when a gunman decided to kill his estranged wife and anyone near her.
April 2009: A man opened fire in an immigration center, killing 13 and wounding 4.
November 2009: 13 people died and 29 were wounded in a religious motivated shooting.
August 2010: 8 were killed and 2 injured in a shooting that started as robbery when the thief was discovered.
January 2011: Six people died and 13 people, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, were injured in Jarad Loughner’s shooting incident.
September 2011: Five people died and 7 were injured in a shooting at a restaurant.
October 2011: Eight died and one was injured in a shooting at a hair salon.
February 2012: Three people were killed and three more injured in a student on student shooting at a high school.
April 2012: Two incidents. One was a school shooting in which seven people died. The other was a racially motivated shooting spree where three black people died and two more were injured.
May 2012: A shooting started in an expresso shop, and cost 5 people their lives.
July 2012: A shooting in Aurora cost 12 people their lives and injured 58. The shooter, who we call ‘the Fool’ because we do not believe in mentioning him by name any more than we have to, is on his way to court over it, but pleading insanity.
August 2012: Six people died and four more were injured when a gunman attacked a Sikh temple.
September 2012: Five were killed and three others wounded in a labor-dispute related shooting.
December 2012: In a senseless act of violence, 2 people lost their lives in a shooting which appeared to have no motive. This would also be the month in which Adam Lanza would kill 26 people in Sandy Hook Elementary.
Facts and Conjecture About Mass Shootings
Every mass shooting has had conjecture about the motives of the shooter and speculation as to the shooter’s personality. From Loughner being accused of being right-wing by left-wingers and left-wing by right-wingers, through the crazy mindset of the Fool known as Holmes, through the neo-Nazi leanings of the Sikh shooter and the racially motivated shooting spree, each shooter has been analyzed, evaluated, and categorized, as much as possible, sometimes even colored by the categorizer’s own biases. Some of the answers have been quite off, such as early speculation of the nature of the Boston Bombers (yes, I know, bombs, not guns, but close enough). Others have been sadly right on target, such as Anders Breivik, who made it clear he was a right-winger from day one. And still others have laid a disconcerting window on the soul of a disturbed individual, such as Loughner’s bat-shit insane claims that linguistic grammar was a hidden tool to control the minds of people by a nefarious government.
What Does It All Mean?
The United States was founded in the crucible of revolution against an oppressive government, so it’s no surprise that a right to bear arms is embedded into the framework of government. Even today, over 230 years later, the debate rages on about the balance between the rights of individuals to own and bear arms, the responsibilities of those same individuals to properly use those guns, and the rights of other individuals to not get shot. To supporters of gun rights, attempts to place restrictions on firearms is a fundamental assault against the rights of American citizens. To supporters of gun restrictions, who see this as gun responsibility, the right of an individual to own firearms must be balanced by his responsibilities to not misuse that gun, and the needs of society to ensure those who are irresponsible with firearms are not allowed to (easily) procure them. The debate between them rages, and as you can expect, I have an opinion.
Continued in Part 2.