Written by Tom Becham for The Ventura County Reporter
Note: This is a letter that was published by The Ventura County Reporter. The editor felt it was a good counter balance to Ken Carman’s edition of Inspection this week. The photo provided was selected by the editorial staff. Mr. Becham also writes for our sister publication professorgoodales.net
First of all, I know that in writing this letter, my detractors — I know who they are, and I wear their opprobrium as a badge of honor — will accuse me of politicizing a tragedy. Which I find ultimately ironic, since most of my detractors are among the gang who have thoroughly and completely politicized the terrorist attacks of 9/11. So, in truth, I care not a bit what any of them think or say in response to me on this issue.
The recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook School shows a number of things about America that need to be changed.
While there is no single thing that can be said to have been the cause of this tragedy, it can safely be said that more firearms in the hands of private citizens would NOT have prevented the incident, but might in fact have made it even worse.
At this point, those who claim that any legislation to regulate firearms or ammunition is a “gun grab” are merely gun fetishists. (It really wouldn’t even be possible to take every privately owned firearm out of circulation, not even in several generations.) I own several firearms myself, and I would willingly undergo inconvenience or delays in the purchase of further guns or ammunition if it meant that even one life could be spared. So, yes, some common sense gun-control legislation that would limit access of weapons for those who are underage, have a criminal background, or are mentally unstable could only be a good thing. And really, who absolutely MUST be able to purchase a gun today and take it home with himself immediately? No one ….
Secondly, this incident shows that a comprehensive mental health care system is badly needed in our nation. Of course, such a thing is “socialism” (yet, apparently, we are the only western industrialized democracy that is not “socialist” in this fashion), so the typical Teapublican wouldn’t approve. Yet, if the Sandy Hook shooter had received timely and comprehensive treatment for his issues, perhaps this incident could have been prevented. So much for the conservative “Culture of Life.” Apparently, they only care about children until they are born, then they’re on their own.
Now, I don’t know if “violent video games” are truly a contributing factor. After all, I’m old enough to remember when Dungeons and Dragons was supposed to send kids off the deep end and make them violent. It didn’t do so to me, nor did I know any other kids who were affected that way. Nonetheless, there IS something in American culture that is producing violent psychopaths. Perhaps part of it is the unnecessary wars of choice that we have recently fought in the Middle East, in which we’ve reduced brown people of a different dominant religion than our own to subhuman status. Yes, I’m pretty sure that has contributed ….
In any case, we have a big national discussion ahead of us, and we all need to be willing to be intellectually honest enough to admit mistakes in our judgment and be willing to compromise on some strongly held principles. If we do not, we simply have more incidents like Sandy Hook in our future. And the blood of those future victims will surely be on the hands of those who stonewall, or who claim that more guns, or cops on campus are the complete solution.