Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gun Debate: My Thoughts

The recent tragic shooting in Sandy Hook Connecticut has griped the nation in the gun debate in the past few weeks. This is a debate that we seem to be having over and over, every time that there is a senseless mass shooting. Personally, I have been a long term supporter of 2nd amendment rights and have been a member of the NRA for years. I don't always agree with their politics rejecting all regulations of weapons laws, and understand that they are largely today an organization that tries to get republicans reelected.

It seems reasonable and obvious to me that we can preserve an individual's right to bear arms, and also have reasonable laws and regulations that restrict certain people from getting their hands on guns and assault rifles. A starting point would be a requirement that all gun sales require a background check by closing the loophole at gun shows. Additionally, I support regulations banning large capacity magazines and certain military style assault rifles. Newer proposals include ideas where we have smart guns where only the person who owns the gun can fire it with the use of fingerprint recognition technology.

No amount of regulation of weapons is ever going to prevent every massacre, so I think we also need to address the cultural impact surrounding our problem with young men and boys mass killing others.

I was in high school when the Columbine high school shooting tragedy occurred. I remember that the gun debate surfaced in the wake of that event as well, but also a debate on the crisis of masculinity. We live in a country with a culture where if you are a male going through some trouble, you cannot cry, you cannot show emotion or admit that you are troubled or vulnerable, or else, your very manhood itself will be questioned. So we have a culture in America where the only socially acceptable way males can express themselves without having their manhood insulted or questioned, is through violence.

We need a fundamental change in our culture in the way we treat masculinity or else we will continue to see outbursts of violence by males. We need to help foster a culture where is it acceptable for males to seek help and admit that they are dealing with trouble. We must remove this idea that a "real" man is a man who is always right, always on top of his game, and never shows any emotion or vulnerability.

If we can do this combined with some sensible gun laws, then we will begin to see a decrease in the amount of mass shootings and an overall decline in violence committed by males.

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