Cabrillo Middle School and Ventura High School were put on lockdown on Tuesday, Oct. 13, by the Ventura Police Department after an alleged shooting happened nearby and the suspect had yet to be apprehended. While students, teachers and parents waited nervously to hear of good news, the discussion over gun control hit close to home. It has been said that gun control advocates are afraid of guns, which is certainly true, especially when loaded and aimed at another. But the fact that gun rights activists don’t grieve over the murder of loved ones or even perfect strangers, that they have lost compassion for the rights of innocents to live without fear of being shot, that their paranoia over a government takeover or even their neighbors and our constitutional right to bear arms supersedes the hundreds of thousands of deaths by guns each year, surely indicates that there is something seriously amiss with our priorities in this country.
Both sides of the argument have been done to death, no pun intended. No guns, no gun deaths, the view held by gun-control advocates is simple. But then, on the other side, there is the “Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns” stance, which is fine if the good guy is faster and as long as the good guy remains stable and doesn’t turn into a bad guy. Take, for instance, the woman who had a concealed-weapon permit and shot at alleged shoplifters in a Home Depot parking lot in Detroit earlier this month. Surely she meant well, trying to save the day while risking lives over a cartful of goods from the home improvement store. She was arraigned on a misdemeanor count of reckless use, handling or discharge of a firearm. Luckily, that was her only crime. What if it had been manslaughter of a single mother of five? Or of a 5-year-old child? Would gun-rights advocates claim it was some government conspiracy to take away their guns? Unfortunately, many killings by gun are typically followed by an onslaught of conspiracy theories, leaving rational conversation by the wayside.
As thousands all over the country continue to grieve over those killed in mass shootings, acts of passion or vengeance, gang crime, accidental gunfire and even suicide, we can’t help but wonder why Americans feel the need to be so heavily armed. How can some people care so little for the great loss of life, the families of those who have been killed or those impending deaths that will so predictably result from gunfire? It’s so difficult to understand why both sides of the spectrum can’t come together to discuss what is best for the common well-being of all. Are we so disconnected from the human condition that we as a society have just become a large group of individuals, only in it for themselves? While we realize the futility of trying to talk about responsible gun control, we have to ask: What will it take to change the discussion from a heated one into a reasonable one? How many more lives will it take? It’s a sad state of affairs and we hope that gun rights advocates will not have to endure tragic loss by gunfire before deciding to change the tone of the discussion.