A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Guns and Children

Legislators from rural Pennsylvania must be scratching their heads today. It seems that gun violence isn’t just limited to the city of Philadelphia. It appears that it can spill over wherever people and guns are allowed to co-exist.

A few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania State legislature held a special session to address gun violence in the state. Many gun control proposals, among others, were introduced and (no pun intended) shot down. This, despite a large contingent of gun control advocates bussed in from Philly, protesting noisily outside the State Capital.

The general consensus that came out of the special session was that better enforcement of existing laws would cut down on the number of gun-related deaths in the state. The reasoning is that more police officers will enable the authorities to get the drug dealers off the street, and therefore fewer criminals with guns would be on the streets. Legislators have been hiding behind this “existing laws” shield for ages.

Fine, but here is the scenario that played out this week in Lancaster County: a law abiding citizen with no criminal record, no record of dealing drugs, no warrants at all, walks into an Amish school room and executes young school girls.

I’m puzzled: what “existing law” would have gotten that man off the streets before he killed somebody? Short answer: no such law exists. This man was considered a law-abiding citizen until he used his gun, and then it was too late to save the lives of those young girls.

How many more police are needed to ensure that someone like this does not kill anyone, if this someone has never broken a law? Answer: no matter how many police are on the streets they would be unable to do anything to prevent such slaughters, unless they can read the gun-bearing citizen's mind and head them off before the shooting starts. Don’t get me wrong, all police do a wonderful job, but I doubt if many of them are mind readers.

Once again, I will invoke my “nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong” standard. There are serious objections on both sides of the issue. Gun control advocates have to realize that enacting gun sales restrictions will not automatically eliminate all gun violence. Gun violence may decrease, but it won’t disappear entirely. As long as someone somewhere believes that they can get away with committing a crime, regardless if it is robbery or murder, than that crime will happen.

On the other side, gun owners should not judge gun control a failure if there is so much as one murder by gun. The massacre in Lancaster should also not be pounced on by gun advocates as a reason to require people to own a gun. Their reasoning would be that a well-armed populace could better defend themselves in an attack. I like to think I have a good imagination, but even I can’t comprehend the carnage that might result if such a requirement became law.

We have to face the facts: we live in a society where the right to own a gun is more treasured and cherished than life itself. It pains me to write that, and I hope I’m wrong. I challenge anybody to prove me wrong. Somehow I don’t think I’ll get many challengers for my statement.

The events in Lancaster County this week can and will happen again, anywhere in the country. There has got to be a common sense, multi-faceted, compromise approach that could allow this country’s children to grow up without fears of being shot. Until some genius figures that out, we’ll all just scratch our heads, and weigh the enormous cost of living in a free society.


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