Tragedy, Triumph, and Liberty

At 9:30 in the morning on Friday December 14, 2012, the tranquility of a small town was shattered and every American grieved. At final count, twenty-eight people lay dead; including twenty children, six teachers, the shooter’s mother, and the shooter. The President broke down on national television and news of the looming fiscal cliff was suddenly pushed to the back burner. Americans want to know what drives someone to commit an atrocity such as this and how we can stop the next attack. Everyone wants answers.

Finger pointing began almost immediately after news of the shooting broke. It needs to be made clear that only one person was responsible for this shooting. The Sandy Hook shooting is not the fault of the NRA, Glock, Sig Sauer, Bushmaster, or easy access to firearms. Responsibility for this horrific event lands squarely on the shoulders of the shooter, Adam Lanza.

Tragedy and adversity are not unknown to the United States. In fact, this country was founded on adversity. From Valley Forge to Gettysburg to Pearl Harbor to September 11th , the United States has always overcome. We will overcome the tragedy in Newtown because that is what we do. Repeatedly, adversity has brought out the best in the American people and I have no doubt that this tragedy will do the same. If anything, this event should wake us to both the failures of our legislators and the failures of our culture.

Our culture is morally broken. This moral breakdown of our society is not due to a lack of religion, as many want you to believe. Sure, religion plays a large role in morality, but I've met a great deal of moral non-believers. The moral breakdown of our society is just a sign of the times. With the rapid advance of technology over the last fifty years, we have been brought closer than ever before to war, crime, and suffering. Every time we turn on the news, we hear of more killing, more stealing, and more pain. We have become so desensitized to these events, that we no longer pay attention to them until tragedies, such as the one in Newtown, occur. Many want to blame Hollywood and violent video games for the current moral breakdown of our society, but they are more of a byproduct than a cause of the problem. Real moral education starts at home. We cannot go about fixing the problems in our society, until we fix our families.

Our legislators have also failed us. In an attempt to create a false sense of security, they have slowly eroded away our second amendment rights and our right to defend ourselves. Our legislators have failed to take action against a president who gives arms to Mexican drug cartels but they choose to punish law-abiding citizens because a few nut cases abuse their freedoms and commit horrible crimes. Our legislators are more concerned with what is politically popular on any given day, than they are concerned with protecting the freedoms that we all hold so dearly. Thisvideo, is the congressional testimony of a woman named Suzanna Hupp who obeyed the law and lost her two of her loved ones because of it. As Americans, we must send this video to our legislators and remind them that gun control legislation only victimizes those that follow the law.

Many on the left and right are calling for a “national conversation” on gun violence and renewed federal assault weapons ban. I agree that we need to have a national conversation, but it does not need to be about gun violence; instead, it should be about gun safety and mental health awareness. This conversation does not need to take place in the halls of congress and our state legislatures; this conversation needs to take place in our homes, our churches, and our classrooms. The problem is not the proliferation of firearms or lack of mental health care, the problem is lack of understanding.

This lack of understanding has been exemplified over the last few days by the pundits that are so adamantly calling for new gun control legislation. They use terms such as “semi-automatic” and “assault weapon” in an attempt to provoke fear and solicit outrage in their listeners. These pundits fail to state that most of the firearms on the planet are semi-automatic. A semi-automatic weapon simply means that one bullet comes out every time the trigger is pulled. Semi-automatic weapons only need to be cocked after the magazine is loaded. “Assault weapon” is another term that is being wrongly defined by the media. The M-16 and M-4 rifles, weapons that the military defines as assault weapons, come with multiple firing functions. They can be fired either in three round burst or in semi-automatic. Assault rifles in the civilian world simply look similar to military weapons; even if they don’t have the same functions. The two photos below are both .223 caliber rifles. The one on the top, would be banned under an assault weapons ban, the one on the bottom would not be. Both of these rifles fire the same cartridge; the only difference is that one looks scarier than the other does.

We must not let this tragedy be used as an excuse for government to further infringe upon our second amendment rights. Those of us who adamantly defend the second amendment could care less about guns, they are imamate objects after all, what we care about is the principle behind the second amendment. The second amendment was never meant for hunting or sport shooting, it was meant as a check against tyrannical government. Our founders understood that in order to maintain a free society the people must be as well armed and well equipped as the government. That is precisely why people I so passionately defend the second amendment. I am passionate about liberty and I understand that without the second amendment the other nine would be meaningless. A government that can disarm its citizens can ultimately control them and I, along with millions of others, will continue to oppose legislation at all levels that attempts further disarm and infringe upon the God given liberties of the American people.

What happened in Newtown was a terrible tragedy. No parent should every have to go through the pain of burying a child. Although this year has been filled with mass shooting after mass shooting, these types of events are rare an unlikely. The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about as likely as those of being struck by lightning. We will overcome this tragedy just as we have overcome all the others, but we must remember those that will never let a good crisis go to waste are always looking for a way to take away our freedoms. We cannot let the actions of a small group of nutcases be used as an excuse to disarm those who abide by the law. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who are willing to trade a little liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.” You must ask yourself, is security really worth it when it’s given to you by a despot?