Gun Control – A Few Thoughts in the Wake of the Newtown Shooting

Yesterday’s shooting Newtown, CT was a terrible and tragic thing.  Over the past twenty-four hours, I’ve listened to plenty of news media personalities attempt to put a description on the one aspect we don’t have much of an answer for:  why?  We have a very good understanding of the Where, When, How aspects – but its the Why that’s so elusive.  And its the Why that leaves us grieving – even if our only connection to the incident was through reading/hearing/watching about the incident on the television.  Adding to its horrific nature is the fact that it involved very young children.  The families have asked the media to respect their privacy and back away during the grieving process – and for the most part, the media has respected those wishes.  Which leaves them with a huge hole in their coverage.  After all, you can only report the same stuff over and over before you come back to either describing the victims of this tragedy or stepping into the unholy realm of speculation on the killer’s motives.

I don’t really fault the media for stampeding down the avenue towards speculation on the killer’s potential motivation.  That’s only nature.  However, some media outlets moved right into the debate on gun control – foisting up a tragedy that was less than a few hours old as a primary example.  There are tons of examples for either side of the debate – many in the last few years of history.  Most of these examples are here in the United States – but there are plenty of examples outside of this country as well.  The examples can be twisted pro or con – with little to no effort whatsoever.  I honestly have no part in that debate at all.

I don’t like guns at all.  Yet, while I was in the United States Air Force, I learned to shoot several different types of weapons.  I learned the safe use of these handguns and rifles.  Learning to use them doesn’t make me likely to run out and purchase one for my home defense.  I’m highly unlikely to have such a weapon in my home.  I just don’t like guns.  I know how to fight with a Bo Staff.  I know how to handle a pistol-grip crossbow, as well as the standard rifle-style crossbow.  I’m well versed in how to use knives and my swords for self defense – and I have several of each that are sharp enough to do such tasks appropriately.  I know how to fight hand-to-hand, both to subdue and to kill – but would only utilize that as a last result.  I know the escape routes throughout my home – and know the lay of the land in my neighborhood to escape when necessary – and I know proper evasion techniques and tactics from what I was taught in Survival School from my military days.  With all of that behind me – I have no need for a gun.  I have no desire for a gun.

And yet, when I make statements like that – nearly every gun-nut I have for a friend says that I want to take their guns away.  Sorry, but that’s bullshit.  I have no desire to take anyone’s guns away.  In fact, I have no desire to have guns removed from the hands of gun-owners.  With one exception.  Semi-automatic and automatic weaponry.  Its my *opinion* that these weapons don’t belong outside of military or law enforcement usage.  That’s my opinion, however.  I’m not a lawmaker, I’m not an activist of any kind, and I’m not out to write or change legislation.  Its just my *opinion*…

I’ve also heard people state that the children didn’t need to die – provided that a teacher or administrative individual were armed and trained on the usage of their weapon.  I’ve heard that stated as fact.  Another load of bullshit there.  No one knows for sure if a weapon in the hands of one of the adults at the school would have been enough to stop the shooter.  Conversely, we don’t know that it wouldn’t have been enough.  We can only speculate one way or another.  A teacher or administrative person could have frozen during the moment that they needed to shoot the gun – I’ve seen soldiers that have frozen during combat moments.  The teacher or administrative person could have panicked during the usage of the weapon, and accidentally shot a child or a teacher or an administrative person that was in the background area of the shooter.  We just don’t know for certain that the individual drawing down on the shooter would have been able to take a clean shot under a such a pressure-filled moment.

As a teacher – personally, I’d prefer to keep the current federal government regulations that prohibit firearms on a campus environment.  Sure.  That law did nothing to stop the shooter – but it does keep firearms out of the classroom environment.  Take it from me, I’ve been in several contentious classroom moments, where I’m not certain that a student would not have pulled a firearm and shot people in the classroom.  I understand that the concept could put teachers and students at a disadvantage when an active shooter is on campus – but it also keeps the students or faculty members from utilizing their weapons during contentious classroom moments.  I just don’t see enough of a positive there to say that arming teachers and administration employees is a wise idea.

I know there are people who will disagree with me on the above stance.  Isn’t the concept of free speech a wonderful thing?  Anyone reading the above that thinks I want to see your gun taken from you – you’re not reading my statements correctly.  I don’t want to take anyone’s guns from them – I just don’t want guns on a campus environment.  I don’t want to change the gun laws here in the United States.  I’d rather keep them as they are right now.  The laws aren’t perfect, but any change to the laws doesn’t seem like a “better” solution to me.  Moving in either direction, to me, brings consequences and concepts that I don’t want to see.  I would like to see better protections on school campuses.  I would like to see an end to the open campus concept.  I would like to see better trained and more actively involved security personnel on school campuses.  All of that costs money though.  And with school budgets being cut by both State and Federal governments throughout the United States – these conversations on protective services will be quick after thoughts in budgets that are already strained to the maximum.

So what’s the solution?  Fuck if I know.  I’m just an adjunct faculty member for a small community college system in my local area.  The gun control aspect is only one aspect of the conversation.  We also have conversations that need to take place on semi-automatic weapons capability, mental-health identification and care for people in this country, and getting gun owners to look for better protective storage methods for their weapons beyond placing them in a shoebox on the shelf in the closet.  And there’s likely far more issues involved in this Gordian Knot than I’m even contemplating.  In the end – I’m not sure what solutions will be effective and which won’t.  Remember, I’m just an adjunct faculty member.  I don’t know the solutions, but I do know I’m getting tired and quite sick whenever incidents such as this happen.

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