A few months ago I was tempted to write about the tragedy that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. It was proper to wait for the dust to settle as details were not concrete enough. Now that the story has been told multiple times by several news affiliates several, facts are clear. A mentally disturbed 20-year old shot his mother and proceeded to kill 26 unarmed people, 20 of whom were children. After the tragedy, the media descended upon the town.They interviewed the barber that cut the killer’s hair, police detectives, and several survivors. What the news can’t seem to get across is the sheer magnitude of disciple problems we have with firearms in this country.
Several anti- and pro-gun advocates almost immediately came to the forefront of this crime. The issues were of the stigma of mental illness, the fact that guns prevent shootings, or how arming guards or even teachers would prevent incidents like this from happening. Several articles came up in a recent search of how Switzerland has a similar rate of weapon possession, but no substantial history of firearms related tragedies on unarmed civilians. The Swiss military requires many of its citizens to perform national service, which includes the proper discipline to handled and maintain weapons. This is also highly stressed in the Israeli Defense Forces. In short, when nations that have a mobilized population that are trained in military weapons are called up, they are urged to exercise individual responsibility. Weapons are regarded as tools necessary for the defense of their homes. Period.
In the United States, with our large military and law enforcement bodies, it is necessary to manufacture firearms for war and public safety. For civilians, a firearm is a traditional means of hunting game or preventing a home invasion. If I had a son, I would forbid him from holding a firearm until he is old enough to fully understand a gun owners responsibility. I would expressly tell him of a weapons purpose. To be clear and matter of fact would, I think, discipline him. I would tell my son that they are not toys, they are meant for providing for your family or defending them. To hold a weapon is to accept the responsibilities of an adult, to fail to realize this is unforgivable.