Today the debate rages within our government over gun control and passion is present on both sides of the issue. The tragedy in Newtown has ignited public hearings and stirred raw emotions. The testimony on this issue and any issue should be on target and focused on the issue and not on our emotional response to an issue.
There have been calls for guns in our schools and calls to have schools declared a gun free zone. I have heard and read statements by emotionally drained, passionately protective parents, fearful of any gun in our schools. I have also heard advocates of personal responsibility and gun advocates call upon the rights granted to every citizen under our constitution.
Guns in our schools are not the problem. I repeat that, guns in our schools are not the problem. The problem is not the weapon, not the inanimate object; the problem lies not with what is in the hand, but what is in the head.
It was not all that many years ago that a gun in school was common. No they were not hidden; they were not in some far off western state we equate with gunslingers and cowboys they were in Manchester High School. Yes, they were sometimes stored in student lockers, they were carried through the halls and no student pushed a panic button.
Were these gun toting students crazed, borderline mental cases, no some were actually fantastic students they weren’t terrorists, violent gang member or serial killers. How can this be possible? If we are to believe the testimony of some people this just can’t happen, but it did.
Yes, Manchester High School had a rifle team and as a matter of fact they were a darn good team. Their accomplishments were held in high esteem by the school administrators. One member of the team later became MAYOR of Manchester. Nobody was overly concerned with the guns being in school in the hands of students, because the gun was not a problem, it never is. The problem is the person in control of the gun.
Infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens is not the answer to gun violence. The act of a mentally deranged individual should not be the measure we use to determine the allowable actions of society. If we allow the likes of Adam Lanza to determine our course of life and limits of freedom, we have allowed them to determine that we should be limited by their mental competence.
The problem is not the gun, it never has been. The problem is within us and how we view and respond to others. The problem is how we view and treat mental illness; the problem is how much respect we give to our neighbors, and how much personal responsibility we are willing to accept.
We can allow an anomaly to be accepted as normality and base our lives on it or we can look at it in the greater context and view it for what it was, an egregious abnormality. In a free society we can never institute mind control but we can show compassion and treat the mentally ill.
When we limit our freedoms and succumb to the actions of the deranged, be the actions from international terrorists or a single mentally ill perpetrator we allow them to control society with their actions. The very actions we find so offensive and the minds we find so sick will have gained some measure of control.