My wife has historically been somewhat apolitical. She has (sometimes rather strong) political opinions, and she does vote, but that has been the extent of things. Well, she recently sent emails to our elected officials regarding this whole gun control thing and is following up with a letter, and later, a phone call. I read the email she sent (sent the same one to all), and I was very impressed. I asked her of she minded if I posted it here on DC and she readily agreed. So, here it is...
I have of late been silent on the issue of Gun Control, but I feel it is now time for me to speak up. The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School brought home in an alarming manner how fragile life is, and how easily it can be ripped from us by a small but very violent element in our society.
These children were all innocent victims. They had their whole lives ahead of them. However they will now never have the opportunity to grow up to become the men and women they were meant to be. They will never be able to experience the ups and downs of life.
As a parent, my heart aches for the parents of the children killed in that incident, and others like it. I cannot even begin to understand what they must be experiencing. I admit I shed my share of tears when I heard of the atrocity that occurred on that day. A parent should never have to bury a child. It's simply unnatural.
Now, we come to how best to learn from this horrid event so that we can prevent it from happening again. This is a very emotionally charged issue for many, and so we must try to separate our emotional response and our logical thinking, so that we can take actions that will make a positive difference, rather than simply taking arbitrary actions, simply so we can feel better about "at least doing something."
Many politicians are proposing much stricter Gun Control laws, including a ban on "Assault Weapons" and larger capacity magazines. This has been the response of choice by many of our elected officials for the past two or three decades, when there has been a multiple shooting situation.
It is certainly an understandable response from an emotional stance. I do understand how our human nature causes us to want somebody, or in this case something to blame. However, as I said earlier, we should be separating the emotional from the logical. As I'm sure you're aware, "Assault Weapons" account for a very (very!) small number of the total deaths involving firearms. So, as a point of logical thought, how will this have any real impact on violence in our nation?
The same can be said for "high capacity" magazines. It has been said that if a shooter had to deal with a smaller capacity magazine then (s)he would have to reload more often and therefore may be able to wreak less destruction. Do you know how quickly a magazine can be switched out? Very quickly, I assure you. Therefore, magazine capacity is not the issue either.
The real issue we as a nation should be concentrating on is dealing with a small but ever increasingly violent element in our society. This element consists mainly of the mentally ill and recidivist criminals.
Make no mistake, I have no illusions that these are easy issues with which to deal. Quite the contrary. These are complex "larger picture" issues which consist of many smaller but equally important ones. We must look at how we deal with people, particularly young people, who show signs of mental illness and a propensity for violence. We must look at how these cases are, or as in most situations, are not reported. We must strengthen our mental health system so that doctors and therapists and, in particular, parents have a way of effectively dealing with a situation so that a child, or anyone in need of help can get it.
We must look at how we deal with the criminal element in our society. We must stop the current revolving door policies of our judicial and penal systems. The vast majority of crime, and most certainly violent crime, is perpetrated by recidivists. These people get back out on the street and in many cases within days, or even hours, they are back to committing the same crimes that got them locked up in jail in the first place.
There are more issues we need to effectively deal with but I will stop here, as an attempt to keep this correspondence fairly brief.
In closing, I stand against any and all "Gun Control" measures. The gun control debate serves no actual purpose, except the (hopefully unintended) one of diverting our attention from the real issues that are at the root of terrible events such as the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook.
I ask you to vote "NO" on any Gun Control measure(s) that may come before you as a legislator.
I thank you for your time.