So how do we best deal with a gun problem? More guns, obviously…

This seems to be the way of thinking most prominent amongst lobbyists in the state of South Dakota, with a new law being introduced that will allow certain members of school staff to have access to guns; the lobbyists say that, with the provision of these guns, members of staff will be able to prevent would-be horrifying events similar to the Connecticut shootings that occurred in December 2012.

Now, I can’t help but look at this new law with scepticism, whilst I’m sure that there will be measures taken to ensure the safety of this procedure I cannot help but think that, ultimately, the answer to a gun problem is never going to be more guns. The logic here seems to me to be similar to trying to save a drowning man by throwing more water at him rather than a life jacket – extra weaponry can surely only mean extra risk. Imagine if no-one had guns: there would be no gun crime – it’s a pedantic argument but true nonetheless; in the same way that abstinence prevents AIDs and that not drinking prevents drunkenness, so too does gun control prevent gun crime and murder.

…I’ve never been exposed to the fear or anxiety of shootings…

Shooting_DonEmmertPerhaps this entire debate goes over my head? I’ve grown up in an area of England where gun control is practically non-existent, I’ve never been exposed to the fear or anxiety of shootings, whether singular or multiple. But here’s the thing: if I had a child it in a school and was told that a member of staff would have access to a gun, I would feel less, not more, safe. To me, this would be a logical process of anxiety, but then, as I said before, I have never experienced the horror that must have gripped the victims and families of places like Columbine, Colorado or Newton, Connecticut.

As I said earlier: drowning is not prevented by more water, it’s prevented by precautions. Perhaps a more appropriate analogy would be this: imagine that you’re walking along and that you see two boys, one is beating the other with a stick. How do you react? Do you go over and take, or at least attempt to take, the stick from the aggressor, or do you go over and provide the victim with a stick of his own to fight back with? I’d like to think that the answer to this situation would always be removal of the aggressor’s stick, but with this law in consideration I cannot say with complete certainty that this would be the American response. Films and games and books and news would have us believe that an American would just as quickly raise a gun as a white flag, and perhaps they would have us believe this with good reason.

…can you name a single victim of the Manson family?…

Shooting_DonEmmert1‘America is a country founded on guns. It’s in our DNA. It’s very strange but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel the house is completely safe, if I don’t have one hidden somewhere. That’s my thinking, right or wrong.’ – Brad Pitt.

The above analogy, combined with the quote from Brad Pitt, makes me think that perhaps it is the American culture that is the problem. Or perhaps it is the way in which Western, and in particular American, culture perceives these events? Consider this for a second: can you name a single victim of the Manson family? If the answer is no, then consider this: can you name the leader of the Manson family? The answer is very probably yes; Charles Manson, by way of media interaction and public interest has become a figure of infamy and intrigue and here, I think, lies the major problem. A man dressed as The Joker enters the cinema and fires, indiscriminately, into an audience; the national or worldwide media doesn’t ask for the identity of the fallen, it asks for the name of the madman, it asks for a list of motives and mental deficiencies, it asks what gun he used and whether he said anything before he killed himself. In the same way that a car will slow down when passing a car crash, so too will the media slow down and focus on building the celebrity of the violent and aggressive.

…Any one of these things could mean an accident that simply cannot be undone…

I cannot say whether the state of South Dakota will be better or worse off for the passing of this new law, I cannot say if it is a good or bad idea. All I can say is that, statistically, more guns means more shooting, just as more swords would mean more stabbing and more grenades would mean more explosions. It is simply the logical way in which events would unfold. At least to me this is logical, but, as I have said before, I have never lived in a world gripped by the anxiety of these massacres.

All I can add is that a gun in a school might take us one step closer to an accident; an unlocked cupboard, an overly aggravated parent or even a teacher with a nervous disposition. Any one of these things could mean an accident that simply cannot be undone. We might say mournfully in the years to come that retrospect would have been a fine thing, but let us hope that it does not come to that.

‘America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.’ – Hunter S. Thompson

About The Author

A 21 year old English and Creative Writing student at Brunel Uni in Uxbridge. I write about a whole range of subjects and have a keen interest in journalism and writing in general. @BrynWGlover

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.