The appalling massacre of school children and teachers at Sandy Hook school, Newtown Connecticut, marks yet another cruel act of injustice at the hands of lenient gun laws in America.
While responsibility for the action itself undoubtedly lies with 20-year-old Adam Lanza (although even this fact has recently become the subject of heated debate as blame is instead placed on the state and standard of mental health care and video game violence) the United States Congress can no longer shirk their part in yet another gun crime case that has shocked the nation.
The fact of the matter is simple; the instrument of crime would not have been available to the 20 year old had US laws not allowed his household to be in the legal possession of a collection of firearms.
Recent statistics show that crime rates in America are in fact falling although, in ironic juxtaposition, fear of crime itself is on the rise. The media as much as anyone has a part to play with constant scare mongering and a determined focus on negative news events which undoubtedly unsettle civilians’ peace of mind.
These factors all influence the American citizens’ stock-piling of guns and weaponry in preparation for a potential crime, and with laws seemingly condoning this behaviour, who are we to blame them?
Consider for a moment: if British laws did not prohibit it, can we honestly say we would not be the same? Following the 2011 London riots would people not have been influenced to purchase a means of protection for their families and properties if laws had endorsed it?
It’s all down to politics, which is the saddest thing for the families, friends, local communities and people the world over who bear witness to yet another gun tragedy at the hands of current gun laws.
Talks have already taken place to review the current situation but given the history of such crimes (Colorado and Virginia to name a couple) it seems uncertain whether the talk will ever amount to any action. Already, focus seems to have shifted from a reform to the training and arming of American school teachers.
The American culture is founded upon freedom and the gun laws seem to reflect this in terms of freedom of possession. With many variant laws across states a reform is no small task, and with so many guns already in circulation it may well be viewed as too taxing a task for the country’s leaders.
In the past, following an incident of this nature, public outrage has sparked sympathy and inspirational talks of change from leaders. However, a few months down the line the hype will have died down. But not for the families of the victims whose lives will never be the same again. The question that faces Obama and the US congress is how many more innocent lives must be lost?
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