When as a country do we say enough is enough?
When do we get tired of seeing news reports of our children being rushed out of a high school while armed police clear a school from an armed gunman, usually another student?
When do we decide that the right to own a gun is not more important than the right to live without fear of someone deciding he wants to take out his frustrations about life, about girls treating him badly, about some other perceived slight, on not only himself but on innocent people?
Personally I had enough a long, long time ago.
Another one of the students shot in the Marysville, Washington, high school cafeteria this past Friday died of her wounds Sunday night. That makes three deaths from the incident, including Jaylen Fryberg himself, from a self-inflicted gunshot. Three other students remain hospitalized, two in critical condition, one in serious condition. One of his victims was his own cousin, who he shot in the head.
Fryberg, by all accounts a popular student, stood up in the cafeteria and started shooting, allegedly because he was depressed and upset because he could not win the love of a girl. The weapon used in the shooting spree was reportedly legally owned by his father, and Fryberg took it without his father knowing. His parents did, however, buy Fryberg his own hunting rifle months before for a birthday gift.
You see the problem here and in almost every case that we’ve all heard of is that access to guns is way too easy. And all the old arguments that guns don’t kill people, people do, and that these people were all mentally unstable cases, don’t matter. The fact remains that what all these people, no matter their mental state or motivation, have in common is this: easy access to firearms.
We all know it is only a matter of time before the next such incident happens. The sad fact of the matter is that we accept it as a given in America. But it is not normal. The recent rampage at the government building in Canada, for example, is huge news in that country, not only because it's a tragedy, but because such gun violence is rare in that country. School shootings are practically unheard of. I came across a statistic the other day that said in the whole country of Japan, in one year there were four deaths attributable to guns. In the whole country. We have more than that in one weekend in a major city like Los Angeles or Chicago.
These people in other countries must think we are nuts with this 'Wild Wild West' mentality we have about our right to own guns. And they are right. It isn’t the mental state of those disturbed individuals who get their hands on guns and then head to public places to take their anger out on innocents that worry me. It is the mental state of a country that actually debates whether or not the public should be allowed to have guns at all. We spend more time working up a lather about Ebola which has killed fewer people in the U.S. than died in Marysville, Washington, from this school shooting.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons, Flickr