A long-waited response from the National Rifle Association (NRA) finally arrived on Friday December 21, 2012, exactly one week after the Newtown, CT shooting which resulted in 26 deaths. The solution provided by the NRA to curb gun violence, however, was not a surprising one, yet still a disturbing and unrealistic one, if not absurd and ludicrous. The powerful lobby group argued, that by putting armed guards in every school in America it will prevent similar tragedies from taking place in the future.
This so-called “solution” is disturbing. If the solution to end gun violence in school is to have armed guards in school, then the logic of the argument goes, we must have armed guards placed in every place conceivable. Note that mass shootings not only take place in schools alone, it also takes place in supermarkets and grocery stores, in movie theaters, post offices, in many work places, etc. According to NRA’s argument, then we must place armed guards in every one of these places to prevent shootings from taking place. It is inconceivable, that a society so extremely armed, with gun presence virtually everywhere would be a safe society to live in. If anything, such a society is a highly paranoid and a scary one. And God forbid, there is no way of knowing whether one or some of these proposed armed guards might actually be the ones that kill? Let us be reminded that, many of the past mass shooters were what we would normally consider as “normal people” whom we would not have suspected as the ones that would carry out massacres at such level. But these people happened to have easily-accessible legal guns on their hands when the tragedies took place.
This so-called “solution” is also unrealistic and ludicrous. Law enforcement experts have commented that the amount of ammunition and powerful weaponry the Newtown, CT shooter carried with him would easily overpower an regularly armed guard or police. Furthermore, the New Jersey Governor Christie also noted that unless we place armed guards in every classroom, it is highly unlikely we would be able to effectively stop a heavily-armed gunman’s shooting rampage. Simply put, there would be lag in response time. Also note that many college campuses already have armed police personnel stationed on these campuses. Given the size of many of these college campuses, armed police officers would still have trouble locating the suspect, let alone effectively stopping a shooting rampage before it takes place. The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting provides a good example.
The only effective solution to gun violence is gun control. We should start first with outlawing semi-automatic assault rifles and fire arms that can fire multiple shots within short amount of time (I claim not to be an expert in weapons in this regard). The reason behind gun control to curb gun violence is a simple, mathematic one. Less legal guns means less legal-gun related shootings. That is a real solution.
This does not mean that shootings will no happen anymore. Many gun-advocates are simply confused about their counter arguments. It only means that gun shootings done by legal guns will significantly decrease; and none if all fire arms are banned. If all fire arms are banned, it means that shootings that do take place would be done by illegal guns acquired from the black market, not legal guns anymore. This would help law enforcement to more precisely and effectively target illegal guns. But most of the tragedies we have witnessed since 2007 Virginia Tech shooting were done by legal guns!
Why does the NRA put forth this unrealistic and ludicrous solution to gun violence? As a gun lobby group, it has to advocate for the interest of its members. At the same time, it also has to answer to the recent tragic events and provide a solution. Their solution, however, is the same and outdated one, unsurprisingly; which also happens to be not a solution at all.
For many of the gun owners out there, owning a gun is a sport and hobby, and perhaps occasionally for self defense. Simply put, these individuals would rather sacrifice the lives of innocent people and children in the hands of crazy legal gun owners, than giving up their “right” to own weapons that are meant to kill.
Alas, that’s why our culture as a whole is often criticized as individualistic and selfish. We care more about our own “right” than the “right” of others and welfare of the society at large.