As we near the one-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, it seems to be an appropriate time to reflect on the national dialogue surrounding gun control and the prevention of mass shootings.
In a country as large and diverse as the United States, it is no wonder there is not a consensus on how to best prevent tragedy; this editorial is not about to offer up such a solution.
Instead, we will reflect on a point that is both more obvious and more complex: The culture in America is scary and concerning, and without a major change, things are only going to get worse.
The best any of us students can do is commit to being critical thinkers about policy and legislation. And not just when it comes to news items, or politics. Because nothing happens in a vacuum, and ultimately we are all responsible for the way our world plays out.
So what does this mean? This is not change as declared in the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Dec. 21 press release, which attributes the problem to violent media, and also warns that “our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them.”
This is also not the change presented on nearly every news channel in December, demanding more gun laws, with desperate pleas that we protect the children. While the opinions of the various editorial board members range from pro-legislation to skeptical, we all agreed that the greatest problem is a society with poisoned economics, politics and psychology that all require consideration.
This poisoned mentality is clear in the rhetoric alone. Tragic news items are followed by two-sided policy debates that reduce the intrinsic web of history to a binary of political babble. The public discourse is often overly simplistic and ignorant. Our national identity is a series of superficial reactions to violent events.
It doesn’t matter if you are for gun laws or against them –– culture is too complex to be reduced to yeses or noes, zeros or ones. As the educated class and the generation that will soon be responsible for improving society, we can’t keep letting the same old bullshit pass as acceptable critique.