Opinion: my thoughts after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting

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In the wake of the recent mass shooting  (I hate that is even a sentence) at Stoneman Douglas High School, social media and society have been in an uproar about gun-control, and rightfully so. It is a shame that in America children are scared to go to school and parents are scared to send them.

It is undeniable that there is an issue that needs addressing. Something must be done. But the problem is, the issue of stopping these crimes against humanity is not as black and white and we may think, or wish.

Some argue that the Second Amendment is not necessary in today’s world. Guns should not be allowed. They say the Second Amendment was about the militia not about a right to own guns in general, and guns at the time of the creation of the Bill of Rights were not nearly as dangerous as those used today (i.e. assault weapons). So, why not make guns illegal, strip away the Second Amendment, just take away Americans’ right-to-bear-arms?

Well, the other way of looking at the Second Amendment is that it is a guard against tyranny. It is a right to protect your family, friends and self. It is a protection of our liberty and, in many cases, it saves lives.

Now, just because I view the Second Amendment as the latter, does not mean I do not think there is an issue that needs addressing. Because let me tell you, something MUST be done.

But, as President Ronald Reagan once said, “You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens.”

The issue is not that Americans are allowed to have guns, it is more complicated than that.

First, the path to gun ownership is too easy for people who should not have access to guns to gain access. So logically, we need some reform in the process of obtaining a gun license.

Second, there needs to be more done to get mentally unstable people the help they need.

In the case of the Sutherland Springs shooting, the gunman Devin Kelley “legally” bought guns – or so it seemed. He actually illegally owned guns but was able to purchase them because the Department of the Air Force failed to report his felony offenses to the FBI. Kelley would not have been able to buy a gun if the information had been correctly registered.

Additionally, the Stoneman Douglas gunman, Nikolas Cruz, reportedly had shown previous warning signs of mental health issues, such as cutting himself, and yet the system allowed him to purchase firearms.

Society needs to stop being afraid of pointing out people who have clear mental issues and stand up and say something. Our society has become too sheltered and afraid of offending people by pointing out other’s irregularities or oddities. Perhaps, if people were more aware and vocal about things they noticed, there would be fewer shootings.

This is a further example of the need for better preventative health care and mental health practices in America. Liberals may argue that it is hypocritical for a conservative to say this when most conservatives support cuts to Medicaid and other health care funding. However, I would beg to differ that is another issue entirely. In fact, if you ask me: mental health is a legitimate issue. How we deal with it is simply another debate (but a debate to be had).

Of course, even if these gunmen had been unable to buy guns legally there are ways to gain access to guns illegally. And even further, if they were unable to access guns period, there are still other methods of destruction available.

For example, there is the growing trend of people using cars to kill people – and this is happening in countries that have more gun restrictions than America. Melbourne, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Nice, Berlin, Jerusalem, Quebec….I’ll stop now but there are more.

Cars and trucks are not the only alternative weapon as there are bombs, chemicals, hazardous material and more. The point is, we can not realistically ban everything and anything that could potentially be used to wreak havoc, as the list is endless.

At the end of the day, bad people will do bad things regardless of the laws you put in their way. Evil and crazed minds will find a way to cause harm.  

So, to the point of Reagan, stripping away the rights of the Americans who abide by the laws does nothing to solve the issue of evil crime in America – it is nothing more than a band-aid. Additionally, good Americans who have access to guns use them for protection.

Imagine a single mother who got out of an abusive relationship. She may legally have a gun at home to help her sleep at night, knowing that if her ex-boyfriend were to show up at her door she could defend herself.

Look at Stephen Willeford, the hero from the Sutherland Springs shooting. When Willeford heard what was happening he grabbed his gun and shot the shooter. His heroic act and legal ownership of a gun saved many Americans that day.

The fix to this terrible issue that we face today, and have faced too many times in the past, does not lie in Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The fix lies in noticing these individuals that have mental issues and getting them help and off the streets as well as in the system so that they are not able to purchase guns. The system to have a gun license and purchase such needs to be stricter but should not impede on our Second Amendment rights. This is where our effort should be focused.

Taking away guns from everyone only throws a wrench in evil people’s plans to cause destruction and devastation, it will not stop unstable humans from walking the Earth and wreaking havoc on innocent people.

Let’s come together, politics aside, and put an end to this. And lastly (liberals prepare your eye-roll), let’s send our thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by the recent and past shootings.