Column: Gun control laws alone cannot prevent shootings

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By David Hurtado

On Dec. 14, 2012, in the small town of Sandy Hook, Conn., Adam Lanza murdered 26 human beings. Since then, tens of thousands of Americans across the country have crusaded for stricter gun control laws, blindly ignoring the real problem.

We live in a society that glorifies violence to the point of religious fanaticism and harbors an absolute lack of compassion for human suffering. Combine that with how often our “forward thinking” society turns a blind eye toward people afflicted with mental health disorders and this is what we are left with; a monument to all our sins.

Yes, what happened at that elementary school is heartbreaking, but disarming or making it harder for law-abiding citizens to have a gun for personal protection is not the solution. It was already illegal for Lanza to murder people and bring a firearm on school property. What other law can you think up that would have stopped him? If you fail to recognize the problem, then no solution will work.

In 1927, a man by the name of Andrew Kehoe butchered 38 children, six adults and injured another 58 in an event known as the Bath School Disaster. In retaliation for losing a local election, as well as being under financial and personal stress, Kehoe detonated over 500 pounds of explosives under Bath Community School. The dynamite wasn’t evil; Kehoe was.

To be fair, I agree that we need some measure of gun control in these United States. Humanity has changed very little since man first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, and there is no need for people to be running around with guns if they are mentally ill and fail to pass required background checks.

That being said, no amount of paperwork will prevent each and every mass shooting. Everyone wants to blame this on guns. I get it. Really, I do. But that’s ignorance of the real problem.

Mental health issues are overlooked in our society. There’s a little pill for everything. Feel sad? Take a pill. Feel anxious? Take a pill. Feel hyper? Take a pill.

And if we’re not drowning the mentally ill in bottles of medication, we lock them up in asylums, ignoring their despair. That’s the problem with America. If an individual doesn’t conform to what society deems “normal,” they are ostracized and cast out. Freaks. Losers. Weirdoes. These are all labels that serve to increase the apathy toward the mentally ill.

While Lanza is ultimately responsible for his actions that day, we must take a step back and realize something. Had Lanza been properly treated and had people in his life who befriended him, it’s quite possible this never would have happened. However, I am in no way trying to justify his actions or come to his defense. Lanza caused this hellish bloodbath of his own free will.

But at the heart of Sandy Hook, there is an issue with far deeper roots in our society than gun violence or mental health issues. As I stated above, our culture has an unnatural fetish for violence, which is the result of an entitlement society, without respect for others or the property of others. It is the result of a lack of accountability and refusal to take responsibility for anything.

Our children are taught, from an early age, that it’s alright to fail and then blame someone else for that failure, so long as they feel good about it. They are taught that they are entitled to do what they want when they want to do it, with no regard for the consequences. From the womb of our depraved society, we have bred a generation of sociopaths.

Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician and writer once said, “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”

History repeats itself because no one ever listens the first time. According to an article in The Washington Post, Connecticut has among the strictest gun laws in the nation. But in the end, they meant nothing to Adam Lanza.

Contact David Hurtado, staff reporter, at dhurtado@jccc.edu.

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