How the Newtown Shooting Woke Us Up
by: Nick Yetman
I remember walking into Buffalo Wild Wings seeing the headline plastered on the TV screen: “Shooting at Newtown Elementary School At Least 27 Dead.” This hit me like a brick wall. Not just because I was on post-semester euphoria. I mouthed in shock to my friend: “That’s the town next door.” I knew Newtown; I’d been there. Heck, I could run there from my house if I really wanted to.
Almost as soon as the tragedy happened the conversation switched to gun control. Emotional arguments and pleas by politicians and people from the Left and Right hours after the tragedy not only showed a lack of class and dignity, but a guarantee for emotional fodder that would score points with the American public. It was yet another case of politics as usual for the Democrats. Republicans were not much better. The NRA in particular sank to a new low with this in one of their new ads: “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” Current presidents and their families have always received the utmost protection, since they are a legitimate target for attacks. Four presidents have died from assassination attempts and six have survived attempted assassination attempts. That is nearly a quarter of all presidents. Furthermore, there are in actuality no such guards at the school the President’s daughters attend. The media has been unnecessarily harsh to anyone opposed to massive gun reform. But at the end of the day it would have been respectful to let our thoughts about gun control wait until the grieving was done in Newtown.
Democrats demanded gun reform, while the gun advocates at the NRA did not give an inch, claiming that the only thing that needed to be done was put armed guards in schools. For the many schools that are cash-strapped this is logistically impossible. Something more needed to be done. The 2nd Amendment clearly states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The framers of the Constitution meant this. But this does not mean that assault rifles that have no practical purpose other than murdering dozens of people in an instant should be legal. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (R) said that guns “ensure against the tyranny of the government if they know that the biggest army is the American people, then you don’t have the tyranny that came from King George.” This was and still is true. Hypothetically, if the government tried to institute an authoritarian regime the hundreds of millions of people with guns would rise up in protest. The American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are so ingrained in our society that there would be no way that this could be done. The sheer number of Americans with guns would deter this; assault weapons would not even be necessary. The odds of such a scenario even happening are slimmer than me winning the Powerball jackpot anyway. Secondly, limiting the number of Americans with guns is crucial. Is it really necessary for Americans to own a dozen or more guns? Only a few guns for self-defense and/or hunting are really necessary. Anything beyond that is not only foolish but also questionable and potentially dangerous. Limits on the amount of guns someone can own is not only smart, but ensures that guns cannot get into the wrong hands. Banning assault weapons is also necessary. These weapons are not necessary to hunt or for self-defense. They are military grade weapons for a reason. An underground market, most likely, would occur. An underground market occurs in anything that is illegal yet still has an appeal to a select number of people. But such a market would be pushed into the same illegitimacy and rarity as heavy drugs, human trafficking, and other illegal activities on the extreme fringe of society. The NRA says it is a constitutionally given right, with which I wholeheartedly agree. But does this mean that the freedom of speech allows you to shout racial slurs at blacks, or scream profanity and explicit language on radio or TV? The Bill of Rights come with common sense conditions that uphold the spirit of the law the way the framers intended. However, there is a legitimate fear of the government “taking our guns,” and with good reason as actions by Obama have shown.
Gun enthusiasts have reason to be worried about Obama’s gun control plan. On the surface the background checks, assault weapons ban, and greater mental health access sound ideal. But a quick investigation into Obama’s policies will cause great suspicion. It is well known that Obama admires the democracies of Europe. He thinks that their universal healthcare, draconian energy policies, high tax rates for the wealthy, and heavy gun control are models to emulate. He has proven this with his Affordable Care Act (universal healthcare), his energy policy, and calls on higher tax rates for the wealthy with little to no cuts in spending. He has now opened up on gun control. Obama claims he does not want to take away your guns, but the fact that he wants to monitor every gun through a national database sounds “1984ish” in nature. It would be equivalent to having microphones in every public and private place to “monitor” free speech. After “Operation Fast and Furious” do you really want to trust the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) anyway? Europeans have always had a high approval rating of Obama, and Obama has visited Europe multiple times. The only major European policy Obama has been silent about is gun control. This is because he knows he does not have the support for airtight gun control, but if given the chance he would go for it. Obama knows gun control is political suicide. It is for this reason, and this alone, that he has remained silent concerning gun control policies.
Radical liberals want strict gun control but the very nature and foundation of our country will inhibit this from happening. Republicans need to realize common-sense when it comes to their Second Amendment rights and radical left-wing Democrats need to realize that this country is always going to have guns. Gun reform needs to take place to ensure that mentally deranged individuals will not get their hands on weapons that can kill dozens in seconds. You will always have the mentally deranged; the least you can do is severely restrict their ability to get military grade assault weapons. The proposals sent to Congress and Obama’s twenty-three executive orders about gun control are largely for the better. But they still need to be examined to determine if they are an unnecessary waste of money and/or violate Americans’ Second Amendment right. Some of them obviously do.
For a different reaction to the tragedy of the Newtown shooting, click here.