Monday, December 17, 2012
Rest in peace, Newtown victims
What can one say in the wake of this horrific tragedy? My heart breaks for the 28 innocent people killed in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 of whom were children. Twenty CHILDREN. I mean...there are no words. There are no words, period, but somehow when kids are in the equation, just...good God. Can you imagine what the victims' families are going through, what the children's parents are going through? Absolutely horrific. This never should've happened. Mass murders shouldn't be allowed to happen time and time again; it's sad and shameful. At what point does someone say, "Enough is enough?" I hope this is the part where people reevaluate and make sweeping changes. I think it'd be difficult for people justify their "right to bear arms" when these senseless massacres happen time and time again. What about people's right to life? A person's right to live trumps everything. And while it's not as simple as tightening up gun laws within an inch of their life, it also IS that simple. America obviously has a complicated gun culture, and over the past few days I've heard Americans say that they think violence is coded in America's societal DNA, but why would The Powers That Be "help things along" by making it piss-easy for psychopaths or severely mentally ill people to gain access to semiautomatic firearms...? (The glorified and intense round-the-clock news coverage doesn't help matters, either.)
I really hope the US government stands up to gun lobbyists like the NRA. Children's lives are at stake here; all lives are. I was never a John Howard fan but the man should be commended for implementing strict bans after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre and tightening up laws around gun ownership (Australia had over a dozen mass shootings 1984-96). Yes, there are people who are responsible gun owners, no doubt, and yes, banning guns (or restricting access to them) won't stop people from finding other ways to kill people, but it'll definitely make it hard for them to do it on a mass scale. I mean, they can try but most of the time they won't be nearly as effective, if at all. Case in point: the 22 children stabbed in China the other day. The difference is that, thankfully, they were only wounded and not killed. There is a considerable difference between trying to attack a big group with a knife and showering them with bullets from a semiautomatic firearm. I don't buy it when people say it's inappropriate to criticise gun laws a few days after such tragedies -- are we supposed to applaud? Be in denial even more and keep quiet? People are reeling and it's only natural that there's an uproar. People can't turn a blind eye to things that might endanger their lives or the lives of their children; they can't accept the status quo. Otherwise, the only message that will send is that guns are valued over innocent lives, even innocent children's lives.