A Volatile Reaction

The federal government has recently settled on legislations banning certain firearms in light of the tragic elementary school massacre in Sandy Hook.

As many of you know, on the morning of Dec. 14, a young gunman fatally shot his mother as she slept.

He then proceeded to equip an arsenal of firearms and, driving to the nearby school, began to gun down school teachers and children alike. 26, all women and children, were dead after the incident. The gunman himself took his own life with a bullet to his own head. Investigations into the man’s life revealed that he was raised by a single mother who happened to be a gun enthusiast.

In the months following this event, public perception and media coverage converged on the polarized clash in Washington as tensions peaked over the issue of gun control. As a result of the events in Connecticut, and before that in Colorado, voices in Washington suddenly announced that enough was enough.

While it is understandable that our shared grief and pain as a nation drove our policy-makers to discuss the banning or controlling of firearms, such a reactionary attitude brings with it certain dangers one must truly consider. A cultural mentality of a country reacting in response to a profound tragedy cannot be the most efficient way of progressing as a nation.

The public and governmental reactions to Sandy Hook, while arguably necessary, nevertheless emphasize our national tendency to react to tragedy only after the damage is done, and with impulsive decisiveness rather than calm and rational planning.

Guns have been part of America since its founding, and  Americans have been, as a nation, a violent society from the beginning.

The terrible events that unfolded at Sandy Hook are but the latest in a historical chain of shootings and killings, some of which we as a nation don’t even discuss. Not to belittle the sufferings and the loss of those who have recently lost their loved ones, but we would like to bring attention to the fact that children and youths die almost every single day in the American inner cities, in the poorest and most miserable neighborhoods of our urban centers.

Guns might well be a major contributing factor to these problems, as the argument goes that it is easier to kill someone with a firearm than with a knife.

But to react now, after all this time, and to have a government that stirs only after its people are maimed and injured is to give support to a trend that could lead to irrational decisions and irrational policies implemented out of careless, emotional-driven negligence.

This reactionary combustion of political views, driven by the grief, sorrow, anger and even guilt stemming from this tragedy is reminiscent of our similar reactionary mentality after Columbine, and even after 9/11.

Rather than solve the problem, policies formed from reaction rather than reflection have led to ineffectiveness or even exacerbation of the situation as a whole. The ultimate result of this misguided approach: more people die and the tragedies continue.

In Washington and among our democratic population, we have an intense polarization of political views.

Now, we have people calling for looser gun restrictions and more guns.

That won’t help.

And we have people calling for the complete seizure and surrender of all personally owned firearms.

That won’t help either.

To find proper solutions and to truly prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook, Colorado, Virginia Tech and Columbine from happening again requires reflection and proper discourse and discussion, not polarized drum beating and saber rattling.

We as a nation, just as we are smart, rational, sincere, and kind-hearted Americans, must learn to stop and think before we act and speak.

Our attitudes toward social change and the direction in which our homeland is headed for, should ultimtately be based upon mutual and respectful understanding of one another.

To all the victims and their loved ones: our hearts go out to you.

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