December 17, 2012

Regarding Sandy Hook

Regarding Sandy Hook


I've been thinking for a while of how I'd like to respond to the Sandy Hook tragedy, and as an independent, I feel I have the responsibility to not repeat party line dribble such as the typical NRA "arm the teachers" argument and the typical liberal "ban guns" argument, and to attempt to look at all sides of the argument. That being said, I do have my own opinions, but I know not to go totalitarian with my opinions.

Fists Raised in Solidarity

I turn 21 in 4 months, and under federal law, I could purchase a handgun. I could buy a rifle too, and could have when I turned 18. And I do plan on owning a handgun, and I know the make and the model. My father also has a gun collection, and was a former life member of the NRA until he mailed back his membership, and was also in law enforcement for 22 years. My mother was also a police dispatcher. We want more sensible gun control.

As I mentioned before, I've heard conservatives say that we should be arming the teachers, and I've been hearing liberals saying that we should just ban guns all together.

Yeah, let's put guns in teacher's classrooms. That's sure to go well if the teacher hates gays, minorities, or Muslims, or even if they're some religious nut with no understanding of disabilities, and thinks that little Suzie having a seizure is being possessed by demons, or thinks that little Jackson with autism and explosive fits is a serious threat to their health when they threaten to kill them.

And I'm not making up these scenarios. I have PDD-NOS, a form of Autism that in my case is similar to Asperger's Syndrome, and when I was in elementary school, I had explosive fits when I didn't get my way. According to my mother, I even threatened to kill the instructional assistant who was holding me down in my fit of rage. She quit her job soon after. What would have happened if she had a gun?

I'm not making up the epilepsy scenario either. My girlfriend has epilepsy, and due to people having a vast misunderstanding of her disability, people thought she was possessed instead of having a disability. My mother recounts a similar situation that happened to a friend of hers when she was in school.

I think instead of arming the teachers, we should have more school resource officers and other security programs.

***

Now, other things I've heard liberals say is that we "can't hide behind mental illness, this is a guns issue" and then talk about banning guns; not banning certain guns, just banning guns in general. To which I say, how naïve. It is extremely unlikely that banning guns is going to happen in a country that made an amendment to their constitution in order to keep a militia, of which all white males were conscripted and were expected to have their own rifles, in order to keep their independence. Plus, making drugs illegal is sure working, isn't it? And if we were to enforce a gun ban, how would we enforce it? With guns?

I'm one of those craaaazy people who thinks that the problem is both guns and mental health. I've been of the opinion that we need better mental healthcare for years, mainly from knowing a lot of people who have some serious mental health issues; these people could easily obtain firearms.

Over the last few days, I've been forming the opinion that we should have a national minimum age for the purchase of any gun; handgun, rifle, shotgun, what have you. Somebody said they think it should be aged 21; I disagree. My foresight tells me that having it the same age of the national minimum drinking age would be a bad idea. And I'm of the opinion that the drinking age shouldn't be lowered; sure, I thought otherwise when I wasn't less than a year away from turning 21, but after reading why the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed, I've thought differently.

So I've thought instead, why not make the age between 25-40? Well, this is surely unlikely to pass, because of talks of being able to have a firearm to protect one's home.

I don't have the answers. I'm not an expert, and I'm not going to pretend that I am just because I have opinions and ideas. But the reason why I call myself a independent is so that instead of clinging to an ideological answer, we can discuss answers to problems instead of fighting about them.

***

I'd also like to comment on people telling others to "pray for the families" by repeating something I said on another Facebook page I manage.

"What happened in Newtown, Connecticut is a tragedy, I'm not going to deny that, and I doubt any serious person could. But I feel that instead of people only saying "to pray for them," perhaps we should try getting off our asses and actually do something to prevent things like this from happening again.

If you're to pray AND decide to do something, THAT'S GOOD. But if the only thing you're going to do is pray and rest it in the hands of a god who, as far as I can tell, is indifferent to our existence, then I'm willing to say that you're part of the problem."



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author Tiger Craven About Tiger
Tiger is a 22 year old college student, activist, and professional living in the Saint Louis metro area. When he's not being apathetic to the idea of God or writing about atheism, he is serving a presidential term for a mental health organisation and a board membership of another, does public speaking about mental illness and disability, and is a photographer and a bassist.
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