Banning or further regulating firearms is a non-solution to violence. People have been killing for thousands of years. It’s likely if we don’t wipe ourselves out, we will be doing it for thousands more. Still, there are many who advocate banning and confiscation in a futile attempt to end all violence. Unfortunately, this is a placebo fix, to say the least.
I imagine it will make many people feel good, but offers no solution to these acts of violence. Back in 1927, a man named Andrew Kehoe detonated a bomb at a Bath Township, Mich., school. The death toll was 44, including the bomber. In 1990, Julio Gonzalez, seething from an argument with his former girlfriend, purchased some gasoline and set fire to the only exit at the Happy Land nightclub in the Bronx. Eighty-seven people were killed in the fire that destroyed the nightclub.
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb made from fertilizer outside the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. The building was nearly leveled and 168 people were killed. Over 3,000 people were killed on that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001. The weapons that started the chain of events that led to the destruction of four airliners full of people, the fall of the twin towers, damage to the Pentagon and the crash of an airliner in a Pennsylvania field were simple box cutters. These are the largest mass murders in U.S. history. No firearms were involved in these incidents.
It’s possible that we will never know the full motive of the madman on Dec. 14. The only thing we can do to prevent loss of life is to be eternally vigilant. We need to see and recognize the signs of impending violence and we need to be prepared to fight evil when it presents itself. Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The citizens and lawmakers of the United States need to remember this.
New HavenIn late July of this year, in the wake of a terrible and senseless act of gun violence that had occurred in Colorado, I found myself compelled to write about that tragedy and voice my contempt for the leadership, the national clueless leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Responding to a local member of that organization, I noted some grievous facts concerning the toll of gun violence in America. I will not reiterate those facts here, except to observe that we of have of course most tragically, in the wake of the event that occurred in Connecticut on Dec. 14, added so more remorsefully to that toll, this time witnessing the taking amongst us the most innocent of victims.
Nearly a week passed from the tragedy that struck the peaceful community of Newtown, Conn., before the NRA chose to speak publicly and lend their voice of sorrow and sympathy to the resounding chorus of humanity that stands with the people of that small community in praying for the victims and condemning the senseless violence that spawned this human tragedy.
They have promised to hold a major press conference in which they would reveal details of a “meaningful contribution” toward efforts to end these types of senseless acts of gun violence. Pardon my distrust and outright cynicism, but after decades of proliferation of weapons upon our streets and increasingly more lethal forms of gun violence, I find it difficult at best and at worst outright hypocrisy to suggest that the NRA will have any “meaningful contribution” to make toward ending gun violence in America.
To be certain, ever since the passage of the first major gun control legislation in 1968, in the wake of the Kennedy and King assassinations, the NRA has since that time again and again been at the forefront of protecting that most cherished right of gun ownership in this country. Their “meaningful contributions” toward this advocacy has resulted in a nation today that stands awash in weapons of all calibers and types, fed by millions upon millions of rounds of ammunition.
Their unbridled support of the Second Amendment has been, in fact, a resounding success. Yet as we turn toward the sorrow of Newtown, Conn., and reflect as well upon the past events of Aurora, Portland, stemming back to Columbine and beyond, few among us can find good cause, or any cause to cheer for the NRA. For their resounding success has been paid for in the path of the blood spilled from countless innocent victims. As I stated in August, the NRA has attained and in its zealot pursuit of unbridled and unchecked gun ownership continues to seek the most tragic and worthless of political victories.
If that is their contribution, America, it is time we can longer afford to accept it.
Kevin Paul KrajewskiIt’s a question we often ask ourselves when we’re faced with the opportunity to vote for the next leader of our country, or when we’re overwhelmed by issues like world hunger or poverty. Or maybe it’s even just when we take a look at the everyday struggles that creep into our lives. What could I, just one person, do to have an impact on my world?
For better or for worse, the recent events in Connecticut will be publicized for the years to come. And whether we like it or not, it all points to the power of one. A single man opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. Not only did he take the lives of 26 people, but he stole the innocence of all the children who will live to tell the story of this awful day. And because of this one person, there will be parents who will endure the unthinkable task of burying their children.
There are families who had empty seats at the dinner table this Christmas and presents left wrapped under the tree. There will be students and teachers nationwide who fear for their safety every time they step into their schools. There will be talks from all sides about gun control and what our country is or isn’t doing to help those who are mentally ill.
And still I think that the impact made by this one twisted, confused, ill person is the answer to the question: “What difference could one person make?” While this tragedy will surely be surrounded by heated debates, one undeniable truth stands at the center of it all: One man’s choice to open fire on innocent lives made a heavy, catastrophic difference in this world. His acts, if not his name, will go down in history.
In the midst of such crisis and unspeakable heartache, it’s still Christmastime. It doesn’t seem fair that time should march on when so many of us just want to hit the pause button to grieve at our own pace. It doesn’t seem right that the seasonal decorations should still look so beautiful or the lights should shine so bright. It doesn’t seem like there should be joy or reason to celebrate. And yet, the life-changing power of one can surprise us.
You see, looking past the commercialized holiday and all the pretty things that shine this season, the heart of Christmas beats with irrepressible hope. A hope that, ironically enough, came to the world years ago through the power of one. And not just any one, but The One, the precious baby Jesus who was born in a lowly stable next to the animals and under the stars. The world needed a savior, and he came, but not in a flowing robe or with a magnificent army or any of the earthly things we might associate with a king. He came as a tiny infant, wrapped in clothes and lying in a manager. One little child who would make all the difference in the world.
This Christmas, while I may be stunned by the tragedy in the world, I still find myself in awe of the powerful one who not only created us, but who waits, like the gentleman he is, for his beloved to choose him. My prayer is that we would all place our hope in the Savior who truly is the reason for this season, so when asked this question the answer should be simple. What difference can one person make? For Jesus, it was enough to save the world.