Newtown shootings

Back in July, I wrote about how it might be time for the United States to re-think their attitude to guns in the wake of the Batman cinema massacre, that left 12 people dead.

Then, just as that incidient faces from our memories, or at least those of us who weren’t personally affected, a fresh gunman walks into yet another high school, this time in Newtown, and massacres 26 people, including 20 children.

The US gun lobby was quick to explain how the situation could be resolved – armed guards at the entrance to every school, and maybe even teachers with guns too, that way they can return fire and stop it before it turns into a massacre. Guns are always the answer!

The more civilised portions of society spoke out about the tragedy.

I have to say, however, that I don’t think tragedy is the correct term. To me, the term tragedy suggests a degree of chance or unpredictability – 100,000 people die per day, but it isn’t a tragedy (it probably should be – but that is another discussion) because most of them die of old age. A busload of children going off a cliff though – that is tragedy. It is an unfortunate and unlucky event.

The reality is that there is nothing unlucky about someone walking into a school in the United States, and shooting the place up.

Rather than calling it a tragedy, they need to face up to the truth. They have a simple choice. Choice A is to maintain the freedoms they enjoy, namely, being able to bear arms and not contribute to the cost of providing health care to others and accept that from time to time, some of their children are going to get massacred.

Choice B is to restrict the freedoms to own weapons designed to kill, and contribute to the cost of providing mental health care to those who need it. The advantage to which though is that you get to life in a society where you know your child isn’t going to be shot in the head by a gun-toting young person in need of psychatric care.

Much like providing freedom of expression has the unfortunate consequence of meaning you have to provide nutters like Nick Griffin a platform to spout their views, if you want to live in a society that loves guns and hates universal healthcare, you have to accept the consequences of your actions.

The reality is, that the United States chooses to have these massacres on a regular basis. That is the true tragedy of the situation.



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This entry was posted on Friday, December 28th, 2012 at 11:56 am and is filed under Religion & Politics, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.