As everyone knows, I’m not one to rant too much about my views on issues. I know everyone has their own opinion, and I enjoying hearing these different opinions even more than preaching my own. However, like most people in America, I was deeply disturbed by shooting in Newtown on Friday. I felt that, as a country, we all needed to collectively mourn and take time to process all of this before jumping into this heated issue and immediately attacking one side or the other. But the more and more I heard and read all that was going on surrounding this, the more I felt the need to express my thoughts and opinions just to clear my head of it all. Then today, I read an article that listed and briefly detailed each one of the victims. After that, I knew I had to express my feelings about it all somehow. This is just a collection of my thoughts. Feel free to read or not, debate or whatever, because I think what we all need right now is to be able to have an open dialogue to allow us all to grieve, mourn, be angry, and actually do something.
One of the things that bothered me the most about people’s response to the shooting was the amount of people who said that we need to put God back in our schools. Is that really the answer? First off, which God is that even referring to? Take any average classroom in the country and you can have a wide range of religions and denominations. It seems to me that “putting God back in schools” only references one particular belief. How does work out for the other kids in that school that may have different beliefs?
Secondly, and more importantly, saying that we need to put God back in our schools makes it sound like he wasn’t there, and if he was, none of this would have happened. I find that incredibly disrespectful both to the victims and religion as a whole. Honestly, I don’t know much about theology, but what I do know makes me believe, and honestly hope, that God definitely was there. He was there to comfort, he was there to mourn, he was there to grieve, and he was there because he is everywhere that he is needed. This was an evil act of a human being. Saying anything other than that, makes it seem like we are blaming God.
The other thing that really disturbed was the overwhelming backlash from people over the issue of stricter gun control laws. Anyone I have ever had a gun discussion with knows that I am strongly against guns. They bother me; I don’t feel safer when I know they are around me. In fact, it puts me on edge, even if it was a police officer with a gun. And I certainly know that I am in the minority here in Texas. However, I don’t think that makes my opinion any less important. In my mind, guns are designed to kill. Whether it is man or animal, guns are bought and made to kill. It makes no sense to me that it is so easy for someone to obtain a device designed to kill. I know the argument can be made that the shooter didn’t legally obtain the gun. That is true, but his mother did. What reason is there for a middle aged woman in a small town to have an assault rifle? Why should any regular citizen ever need one? It makes no sense that I get put on black list because I buy 3 boxes of Benadryl (argument being that I might be making meth) but I can go get a weapon designed to kill several in just a few minutes. The argument can be made that it is not as easy to get a weapon as the “liberal media” makes it out to be. Obviously not. Most of these mass shooters in America have used legally obtained weapons. Either ones they got themselves or obtained from someone directly close to them.
I also know the favorite argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I agree, it does take someone with deadly determination to do that. But the weapon is the tool used to carry that out. If these people didn’t have access to guns, would they have been able to kill as many as they did. There has to be some recognition both, the gun and the shooter, are responsible for these deaths.
Several people feel like the answer is allow even more people to have guns. If a crazy man like this can get a gun, we should all be able to have one on us to protect ourselves. That doesn’t seem to make sense to me. That means there would be even more guns out there for dangerous people to get a hold of. I get that there are people that want to feel protected like that, and they have that right. But don’t I also have the right to feel protected by not having a gun around me? I don’t want my child going to school where their teacher has a tool designed to kill in his desk or in her purse. That idea terrifies me. And it seems to me that idea just encourages this violent focused society that creates killers. And there isn’t even any guarantee that teachers would carry weapons even if we allowed it. I know if I was a teacher, I wouldn’t want a gun anywhere near my classroom. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way.
I know none of this is really a solution to the problem. And I know a lot of my opinions are unpopular. I may be naïve in some of my thoughts. I just felt like I had to let them out. We are all trying to understand this in our own ways. I think the most important thing is to not stop talking about it. No matter what side we are on, we have to keep the conversation going. We owe it to the victims in Newtown to remember their story.