because it’s never too soon after a tragedy to talk about responses…
1. it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t at least consider gun control at this point. i understand that handguns may be used for self-defense, but the only real purpose for long guns-AR15s, AK47s, etc. that are used in nearly all these killings is for hunting (it’s really inconvenient to carry around a gun that big for self-defense-handguns are much easier). The primary argument against most of the regulations of those rifles is that it will inconvenience hunters and target-shooters.
Now, my uncle and cousins are avid hunters and skeet-shooters. I have gone hunting with them, and while I don’t particularly enjoy it myself, I can understand that others do.
For myself, I really enjoy playing ultimate frisbee. When I have a free Saturday, I’ll go play for hours on end. But imagine that people started using frisbees as lethal weapons (work with me here). While of course I would prefer to be able to continue to play ultimate without any restrictions, I would give that up in a heartbeat if it meant that we could decrease the use of lethal frisbees.
Likewise, we are fortunately to live in an advanced industrial democracy, where anyone who has access to firearms to hunt also has the means to survive without hunting-it’s not like the Native Americans, when hunting was a genuinely important source of nourishment to whole tribes.
This is a long-winded way of saying when people complaint that limitations on semi-automatic weapons will inconvenience hunters, I don’t really care. If you need a handgun for self defense in a bad neighborhood, fine, I’m with you. You should have to get a psychological background check before getting one, but sure, you can buy one. But really, does anyone NEED a rifle that fires more than 1 shot every 30 seconds or so? I think not.
2. That being said, gun control as the primary response to these shootings is a sadly limited technological response that essentially admits that our society is unable to integrate and love all of its members. In a way, it’s a deeply pessimistic and conservative response to tragedy-we’ll never be able to help people like Adam Lanza, so let’s just limit the damage that they can do to others.
This may be realistic, given our society as we know it today, but I would like to think that this horrific tragedy can challenge us to go deeper and to really make an effort to love those around us. I’ll be the first to admit that I fall horribly short on this front every single day (I fell particularly short this weekend, but then again, I also fell very short the weekend before that, so it is unfortunately a trend). But I can fall short and still exhort myself and others to improve, to continue to make an effort to go above and beyond reaching out and loving those in your life. It’s unlikely (hopefully) that you’re surrounded by potential shooters, but that doesn’t mean that your love can’t make a difference in their lives.
Perhaps I’m a bit of a utopian.