Thursday, 20 December 2012

Newtown Connecticut... Let Us Never Forget

First of all, as a parent of four children, let me say that my heart goes out to all the victims of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, and to their families, friends, classmates and co-workers, as well as to the town itself. Never will that town recover its catastrophic losses. Never will that town forget.  My hope is that no one else does either.

What happened in Newtown Connecticut was nothing short of horrific. But what was equally horrific was reading the next day the same old, ill-reasoned rhetoric arguing against stricter gun laws... "guns don't kill people, people do"... and hearing some Americans screaming out defending their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The fact is that guns DO kill people. Would that misguided and mentally ill young man have walked into that school and killed 26 people with a knife?  Would 26 have died if all he had was a pistol? The sad fact is that semi-automatic weapons provide those who wish to commit mass murder a perfect weapon to do just that, and potential victims no chance to defend themselves.

The Second Amendment does give Americans the right to bear arms...but it says nothing about the right to bear semi-automatic rifles, which didn't even exist and might not even have been conceived of when the Second Amendment was written.  Do those who argue against such weapons being banned also argue for fully-automatic rifles to be legalized? Why not bazookas? The fact is that the right to bear arms is not the same as the right to bear ALL arms. Had Adam Lanza's mother not had an automatic rifle in her home that her son could so easily access, I have little doubt that those children and teachers would either all or mostly be alive today. No one hunts with a semi-automatic rifle. Why have them freely accessible to the public?

This week, flags across the US were set at half mast. But that is not nearly enough. It is time to take the weapons that allow for such horrors to take place off the market. Sure, some criminals still will have them. But has a law-abiding citizen EVER defended himself or herself against a semi-automatic-carrying criminal by pulling out their own semi-automatic and shooting the criminal first?

It is long past time to stop the madness.

Kevin White, MD, PhD
Multiple Award-Winning and Best-Selling Author and Musician
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