Friday, December 14, 2012


How ironic is it that the name of the Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School where the horrific shooting took place earlier today is Sandy Hook? What is it with "Sandy" and 2012 that association with that name is resulting in unbearable tragedy.

Today's event, however (unlike Hurricane Sandy), was completely avoidable. Gun control advocates start pressing for legislative action in the immediate aftermath of such events. Unfortunately, we have seen one too many this year. We had the Oikos University shooting (in Oakland, CA) on April 2nd - where seven people died. Then there was the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20th - where twelve people died. Immediately on the heels of the Aurora shooting was the sikh gurudwara shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin - where six people died. Today's shooting, where 27 people died was the worst of the year (and the second worst in a school - only behind the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 where 32 people died). President Obama called for "meaningful action" to prevent such tragedies.

Gun control has always been a controversial issue in American politics - ever since the second amendment to the constitution that protects the rights of the people to bear arms was passed in 1791 (over 200 years back!). With the easy access to automatic weapons now, this "Bill of Rights" has been abused far beyond imagination. While these larger scale events bring the gun control debate to the forefront, the appalling statistic is that there are over 10,000 gun homicides each year in the United States alone. Another data point is that ~ 70% of all homicides involve guns (the source of these statistics is a US DOJ paper on Homicide Trends in the US). I certainly hope that the killing of innocent, young children today will bring the Gun lobbyists to their senses. The NRA, Gun lobbyists, Gun control advocates and politicians should reach an agreement to put some meaningful laws in place to have proper checks and balances when firearms are sold. Most certainly the selling of automatic weapons to individuals should be banned.

No comments: