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Opinion: Gun control is not the answer

Herald columnist questions push for legislation in wake of tragedy

Opinion: Gun control is not the answer

Opinion: Gun control is not the answer


It’s a question that often goes unanswered; “why?”
Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly south in the winter? Why do people die?
Why do people kill?
The news of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, which left 20 young children dead as well as several adults, will never have a satisfactory explanation.
A 20-year-old man, apparently mentally and emotionally disturbed, first killed his mother with her own semiautomatic weapon, then went to the school and opened fire before killing himself.
Why? We may never know. Why did he destroy his computer hard drive? Why did he rig the gun so it could do the most damage? Why did he kill his mother? Why did he kill himself?
Reports state Adam Lanza loved violent video games. Were they a trigger?
I don’t understand why society allows the sale of bloody, violent, insane video games. How many of our teens spend hours playing games where the focus is on bloodbaths; shooting, bombing, killing? Could hour upon hour of the vicious video games be affecting our young people by desensitizing them?
Even so, there had to be something else wrong with Lanza. Crossed wires, deep emotional damage, insanity. Add violent media to the mix and it’s a recipe for poison.
Why? What drove this young man to rip away the lives of so many innocent children and their protectors?
We may never know.
In the aftermath, as people worldwide reacted to the shocking event, the anti-gun crowd raised its voice. Ban all guns, some said. Ban semiautomatic weapons, others said.  That will solve the problem!
I can’t understand that line of thinking. Not all gun owners are bad people, but bad people will always own guns. Banning guns would only succeed in giving bad people more power, because law-abiding citizens would be left virtually defenseless.
Gun racks and gun cabinets in private homes would be left empty, while lawbreakers still clung to their black market weapons. They would continue to break into homes, hold people up, stealing and raping and killing.
Do people honestly think gun control is going to stop those with chaos on their minds? I’ll be willing to bet that every single handgun used in armed robberies and home invasions in Bulloch County this year are not registered to the ones doing the robbing. Those pistols and revolvers were most likely stolen or purchased on the street, and it is extremely doubtful any of the ones holding them ever obtained a license to carry.
Just ban some guns, say others. Ban semiautomatic weapons, because certainly no civilian has a need for one.
Why did Adam Lanza’s mother own the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle he used to kill her in her own bed?
Why would anyone own such a weapon?
One Statesboro man, Johnny Rushing, posted a good example of “why” on Facebook recently.  To paraphrase his post, imagine a scenario that has actually happened to people in Statesboro: an email alert warns residents of your neighborhood that a home nearby was invaded, and people were robbed at gunpoint by a group of several unknown men.
“Then, you hear your front door kiss the carpet. You grab your .22 single shot derringer,” Rushing wrote. The gunmen “are at your bedroom door. You shoot and kill that biggest one. What do you think those nine left standing are gonna do to you? You gonna fish or cut bait?”
Another Bulloch County man called me this week to discuss gun control. His reason for owning semiautomatic weapons is so he can shoot repeatedly without having to reload, soften and lose sight of his target. What are his targets? Coyotes that prey upon livestock and pets.
The need to protect oneself in a crazy world, where gunmen appear out of nowhere in what were once sleepy little college towns, is another reason, he said. Having grown up on a farm, he says firearms are “just another farm implement to me.”
It makes sense. People with sense can own guns — semiautomatic or otherwise — without going on wild rampages and killing others. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people, they say — and “they” are right.
Timothy McVeigh killed people with a truck load of fertilizer. Terrorists used airplanes as weapons of mass destruction on 9/11. A disgruntled client took a man hostage just a few years ago right here in Statesboro, using “bombs” strapped to his body crafted from fireworks.
It should be obvious that gun control won’t solve anything. So, how do we legislate people control?
How do we seek out and identify those who have the tendency and mentality malfunction to maim and kill? How do we stop people from finding ways to wreak havoc? On the same day as the Newtown massacre, a man in China stabbed more than 20 children at a school. No gun there — and fortunately, no deaths — but it could have been just as tragic as the school shooting.
Others are calling for increased school security, a rant I voiced myself. However, according to reports, Lanza fired a volley of shots through a secured door before entering and shooting school staff, including one woman who tried to tackle him.
Then, he gunned down others before turning the weapon on himself.
Would banning guns, or even just semiautomatic weapons, have stopped him? Probably not. If Lanza was on an insane rampage with an agenda, he would have had bombs or other weapons. Possibly he couldn’t have done as much damage in such a short time, but even if such weapons were illegal to own, he could have found them on the black market.
People who want to kill will find a way. Disarming the public will only increase their power. Does no one remember the attempted kidnapping at Statesboro’s Walmart a few years ago? A man police say had rape on his mind accosted a grandmother and her juvenile granddaughter in the rear bathroom. He had weapons. The woman’s screams alerted employees and the attempt was thwarted. As the offender ran through the store, spraying customers with pepper spray, an armed soldier gave chase and caught him in the parking lot, holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Had the soldier not been armed, the would-be rapist/kidnapper might have escaped to harm again.
Gun control is not the answer. I’m not sure what the answer may be, but taking away our right to protect ourselves is certainly not it.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.

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