The horrific, deadly and gruesome shooting of 26 people, 20 of them children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, is indeed one of the worst incidents in American history of mass killings. It has sent shock waves and tremors across the world. It is certainly time for the U.S. to tighten gun control laws and, if necessary, ban people from carrying guns.
The blood-curdling incident has once again exposed the superpower’s underbelly and sharply brought into focus its sordid gun culture that is increasingly claiming an alarming number of innocent lives. It is deplorable that despite the recent spate of wanton mass killings — at the Oregon mall, a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin and a cinema in Colarado — and the appalling frequency with which they have occurred, the Obama administration has done precious little to curb the growing trend of trigger-happy gunmen targeting innocent people. Thanks to the U.S. economic interests, even mentally deranged people seem to have free access to arms and ammunition.
It is difficult to figure out what is wrong in the U.S. Are youngsters going astray due to a lack of love in the family? Unless parents become role models for their children, such incidents will continue to occur. Lack of love will instil hatred in youngsters. Inculcating values is as important as fighting economic recession.
The senseless killing of the school children has exposed several fault lines in American society. The recurrence of such tragedies has not made the case for gun control any stronger because the issue is seen as a threat to individual freedom, not as a matter of crime and violence. A wealthy nation is not necessarily the happiest. The U.S. is paying a heavy price for the breakdown of family ties. Single-parent poor families often become breeding grounds for social malcontents.
The mental aberration of the gunman that led to the tragedy is reflective of a trend that needs to be addressed on a war-footing. We in India should guard against such cruel instincts which are on the increase.
The U.S. has been determining the sale of guns to other countries but is unable to control the gun culture on its soil. It is strange that in a country where one needs to take permission from authorities to use fireworks, there is very little restriction on using firearms. It is time that the U.S. passed a suitable law to bring gun culture under control for the sake of its own citizens.
I am shocked, saddened and angry at the mass shooting in Newtown, just 25 miles from my home. This is not the time to blame anyone but it is certainly time to see how such an incident can be prevented again. The gunman was no doubt insane but it is our gun control laws that are more insane. How else can one explain people getting automatic weapons without proper checks? Every country has crazy people but no other country makes it easy to arm them with automatic weapons.
After every mass shooting, we hear some sections say, “it is not the guns but the people; guns don’t kill, people do.” To which I say people cannot kill in masses unless you provide them with an automatic gun with 100+ rounds. More guns do not mean more safety; statistics show it is the opposite. As for the second amendment (which protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm and use it for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defence within the home), it was created during the 18th century to legalise the right to have weapons, as the British had banned it to prevent the settlers from having an army (and weapons) to fight them. The gun lobby and politicians who support the amendment have changed the interpretation to sound as if having a gun makes you a true American because it is about your freedom.
The death of 26 innocent persons in Connecticut exposes the vulnerability of living in America. Shooting incidents have become common. Every time a tragedy strikes, the media spends hours analysing the motives of the gunman, the assault weapons used in the crime, and the evidence to corroborate it. The gruesome dissection is done to learn from the insight the tragedy has to offer in the hope that its recurrence can be prevented. But it completely misses the acknowledgment that the U.S., like any other country, has a share of madmen and each one has a different motive to slaughter innocent lives. Hence, the sooner the nation musters the political will to ban guns, the better off it would be in making communities safer.
And every time a heinous crime like the Newtown incident happens, one wonders whether it will be the watershed moment for the nation to move towards enacting tougher laws.
The American gun culture is slowly creeping into India. We have seen reports of students carrying firearms to schools to settle scores with their rivals. Unless the Obama administration takes a serious note of the trend and imposes restrictions, the U.S. will witness more of the Connecticut-type incidents.
Worse, the trend will be copied by other countries, particularly those where the American culture is very popular.