A response must be given to mass shootings in the US, however, this response should not be gun control.
By Katelyn McCarthy
Most every high-profile instance of gun violence in America is followed by press conferences and social media posts assuring the viewer that an individual’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims. The sentiment of thoughts and prayers, however, has become the “please” to our “yes.” It follows so unthinkingly as to have lost all meaning.
In itself, the promising of prayers to be said in the aftermath of a tragedy is the most efficacious course of action, presupposing, of course, that prayers are actually said. The commending of one’s thoughts to an individual, however, while courteous, doesn’t actually accomplish anything, except, perhaps, to stir one to a course of action.
Some do have a course of action: gun control. The best way to stop gun violence, they argue, is by removing guns, or at least limiting them. The fewer guns there are, the fewer shootings there will be. But is this true?
The concept of gun control cannot be effective because it functions like a bandage placed over a festering wound. On the outside, everything looks smooth and healthy. Underneath, however, there is serious decay.
One sometimes hears the slogan that “Guns don’t kill people—people kill people.” Slogans, of course, are not arguments. But this one offers a valuable point. No firearm ever picked itself up, pointed itself at someone, and pulled its own trigger. A person does that. A broken person. “So,” one might say, “if we take his gun away, our problem will be solved!”
Here is a second slogan for your consideration: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Advocates of abortion and marijuana make the same claim: abortions will occur and marijuana will be purchased even if they’re illegal, they say, so they should be legal. This logic, though, is faulty. That an act will be performed despite its illegality is not grounds for the act becoming legal. People are going to drink and drive even if it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean it should be legal.
In the case of gun ownership, however, the fact that guns will still be had even if they are illegal is all the more reason that they should stay legal. If guns are outlawed, one would expect that law-abiding citizens, not criminals or lunatics, would be the ones to turn their guns in. Then, when the criminal or lunatic decided to deploy his illegal gun on innocent people, the innocent people would have little with which to defend themselves. But isn’t this, at least in certain areas of the country, already the case?
One might think here about the tactics one is taught to employ should one find oneself in an active shooting: locking doors, shutting windows, blocking entrances, hiding under tables. But why must we be trained to act as sheep in the presence of a wolf? Would not sheep be more likely to survive the wolf if the sheep were not sheep but, say, bears? Rather than instructing someone on how to hide from a shooter, wouldn’t it be better to teach him how to shoot, too?
The best way to stop bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. There will always be bad guys, and if they want guns, they will get them. Such is the nature of the criminal underworld. Outlawing guns would only put innocent people at the mercy of criminals.
Teaching law-abiding citizens how to protect themselves with firearms is not, however, the ultimate solution. A culture that totally disregards the value of human life, that pays little heed to one’s moral accountability to God, and that denies a significant portion of children a healthy home environment is not one in the best position for creating healthy people. The way to end gun violence is to foster a culture that instills good values, instead of the principles of relativism, secularism, and excessive individualism, in children and adults alike.
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Ryan Ford '23,