Editorial: Gun violence poses danger to society that must be addressed ... now

What do we do about guns? We live in a time when weapons technology is ahead of weapons legislation. We could try to make a more peaceful society by repealing the Second Amendment. We could also give guns to everyone in an effort to deter crime. But in all likelihood, neither would have a real effect on the underlying cause of gun violence. That’s because guns are in no way the true issue. They most definitely play a role, but we don’t have an increase in mass murders because guns kill people. That’s ridiculous. Guns make it easier for people to kill people. Our issue isn’t a gun issue as much as it is a moral issue.

People kill others for a small set of reasons. Excluding self-defense, a killer may want another’s possession or be angry with an individual, group, himself, or life in general. If a man is intent on killing another, they will find a way. However, the premeditated murder of another human being is not a quick, rash decision. Very few people believe murder is acceptable. It’s one of those moral principles that are so ingrained in our society that, outside of self-defense, we will never see them as acceptable. Nevertheless, we find some way to justify our own actions. However, many murders are a quick, rash decision, and in these quick events, we lose our rational sense of principle to our emotions. In contrast, premeditated murderers will find a way to kill—making them hard to stop. That said, we can stop the rash decisions by making them harder to perform.

Guns are easy. A simple pull of a trigger can end a life. It is also an impersonal way to kill. It’s not up close and dirty, eye to eye. We can reduce murder by making it more difficult and emotionally charging. In other words, by forcing the possible murderers to put forth more effort and put greater risk on his own safety. This is essentially what gun control is. We do not need to ban guns altogether but by restricting or delaying access, we make murder more difficult. This also has the same effect on the suicide rate for the same reason.

Most people don’t realize that suicide accounts for about two thirds of all gun violence. This is why we can’t give everyone a gun as a means to deter crime. It might increase suicide rates. Only five to seven percent of suicides involving poison or cutting actually succeed. Meanwhile, 96 percent of suicides involving guns do succeed.

The majority of Americans do not argue over whether gun reform is necessary; it is simply to what level we must reform. The issue is extraordinarily complex. Statistics from around the world contradict each other and some Americans are afraid to give up rights. Unfortunately, the simple matter is, we need change, or more people will die. More mass shootings will happen. How many more national tragedies must take place before we do something?

Let us not forget though that we are the issue. Our value of life has declined. Is wanting to kill someone without the ability to do so any better than having the ability and using it? How we tackle these insanely complex issues is beyond 17 years’ experience, but it is clear that we must tackle them.

This piece reflects the official position of the LSNews.org editorial board. Its lead author was opinion editor Aaron Davies. It does not necessarily reflect the official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, or the newspaper's advisor.

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