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The Foothill Dragon Press

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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Random, lethal shootouts raise debates over gun ownership

Lately+there+has+been+an+uprising+of+random+shootouts+in+America.+Credit%3A+Michael+Morales%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press
Lately there has been an uprising of random shootouts in America. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press
Lately there has been an uprising of random shootouts in America. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press

Our country is undergoing a turbulent time in its history that has shaken everyone to their core. Spreading as rapidly as the Arab Spring, random and unprovoked acts of aggression have been occurring in various states and it seems as if no one is safe. Whether someone is attending a film in Colorado, walking past a building in New York, or growing spiritually in a house of worship in Wisconsin, the chance of a shootout occurring is no longer some minute or rare possibility. 

The blame for such acts are typically always thrust upon the person who was either killed or arrested at the scene of the crime, but as time progresses the people turn to their elected representatives for answers. 

Why were these people allowed to possess weapons? How could this have gone unnoticed? What can be done to prevent such events from occurring in the future?

Those seem to be the common questions that are asked by people as a whole and unfortunately they are typically answered vaguely or ignored altogether by some officials.

Why? Because no one wants to rock the boat, especially with less than three months until Election Day. Let’s face it, who wants to pull a Joe Biden or a Todd Akin and put their foot in their mouth? Even President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been skating around the question by issuing condolences and giving the same monotonous speech about how more has to be done, without really giving any hints towards what they would do. 

But even without answers, what are the ways in which these tragic events can be prevented?

Many people believe that the number of shootouts can be severely reduced by enacting legislation that would increase the difficulty of acquiring fire arms. Some even propose the abolition of gun ownership, period. After all, if people on the whole cannot access weapons, then the number of guns in circulation would be slim (if not nonexistent), thereby preventing criminals, extreme radicals, and mentally deranged people from ever causing mass harm to society ever again. {sidebar id=66}

However, the policy is flawed from the get-go. 

While it is true that an increase in gun control would make a definite mark on gun related crimes, we seem to forget that the motives behind shootouts transcend far beyond the boundaries of the desire to inflict pain and suffering among the innocent. Some people do commit these atrocities for the mere reason to acquire a substantial amount of attention. They want to be broadcasted throughout the United States and be given the national limelight, even if it is just for a few weeks or months. What’s more, they want to attain a certain amount of notoriety that will enable them to establish themselves with a certain level of prestige. In layman’s terms, most people who conduct shootouts do it to draw attention; sure in the knowledge that though much wrong is done, they will capture the limelight which inflates their ego all the more.  

Now is this to say that the media is entirely to blame? No, absolutely not. But we cannot bury our heads within the sand and say that they are not part of the problem. 

Canada has enforced a law which makes it illegal to air someone’s name, face, or information if they are under the age of 18 on public television. This is a piece of legislation which takes the purpose out of committing an attention-motivated crime and something which I personally believe should be adopted by our government on the federal level. We must take away one of the lead causes of gun-related crimes by combating the problem itself. Of course, dealing with the physiological side of this problem won’t obliterate these atrocities altogether, but it will begin forming barriers. 

In addition, there must be serious reform on the national level to deny criminals and people with mental disorders from acquiring any type of fire arm. Although the argument that Americans have a constitutional right under the second amendment to bear arms is 100 percent valid, we must realize that there has to be limitations to our safety and those of others. Yes, I am sure you will point at Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote in which he states that “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security,” but in all honesty, I don’t think he ever imagined such things happening over two hundred years after his lifetime or for that case, had a gun stuck in his face. 

If we truly wish to stop these atrocious and heretical acts from occurring, then we must come together and put limits on privately owned weaponry. From where I see it, we need to deny convicted felons and people with mental disorders from acquiring these weapons; we need to put a cap in the amount of ammunition one can purchase via the internet; we need to set a limit to the types and number of weapons a citizen can own and most importantly we need to tell society to be on the lookout for people who may commit horrendous crimes. They can truly prevent crimes from ever taking place.

While gun control policy may not be as big as an issue here in Ventura, we mustn’t forget that the events that occurred in Wisconsin, New York, and Colorado could very easily take place on our campus or that of our sister schools. Now that isn’t to say that we must live in perpetual fear of these events taking place, but it does mean that we should be observant and become more concerned about our safety. It very well might make the difference of having another normal day or encountering a deadly event.      

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