Archive for July, 2012

Tragedy And Circumstance

Another horrible tragedy has happened, caused by a disturbed individual for reasons unknown. Many innocent people lost their life; others will be scarred for the rest of theirs. The knee-jerk reaction is to focus on the tools used by the sick person responsible rather than what caused the actions to be perpetrated. It seems that the “quick and easy” thing to do is capitalize on the tragedy to promote a given agenda; ratings, new legislation, monetary gain. Well like many people that have committed atrocities throughout history, this individual chose to prey on those people at their most vulnerable, which makes the act that much more perverse. In the aftermath, we as a nation, as a community, need to pause and consider the events from many different perspectives. To do any less would only compound the tragedy.

The gun control issue will always be a hot topic in both social and political discussions. There is an immensely emotional aspect to this argument. The loss of life, the right to own and protect oneself, and everything in between; they are polarizing issues that seldom find common ground. Personally I not only own firearms, but have a rather diverse collection. I was member of a state championship team for marksmanship, attended Olympic Camp for competition, and hold permits to carry concealed weapons in several states; I worked as a private investigator for several years and have a degree in Criminal Justice. That being said, I have submitted to extensive background checks, had my fingerprints and face registered and recorded with more than a few state and federal agencies; and I’m okay with that. See, like driving a car, owning a gun should have a few caveats, in my opinion. I’ve had training, taken courses, and have good reason to own, if not carry, a firearm. As one of my firearm instructors said, “Better to have a gun and never need it than to need a gun and not have it.” Earlier in the week I watched a cctv video of a man, a licensed gun owner, thwart an armed robbery when he fought back when he realized what was happening. The perpetrators were later arrested, with non-life threatening injuries.

So am I pro-gun? Yes, but with an asterisk. Laws are in place to protect and regulate. They need to be reasonable and evolve with societal changes. Ownership involves responsibility, just as when an individual consumes alcohol, drives a car, or has children. There are laws and agencies to help protect the good citizens of our country, our community from those individuals that apparently have no sense of responsibility when it comes to certain aspects of freedom. The real question is where we as a society have failed when a tragedy occurs.

As the details unfold over the ensuing days, weeks, and months, we should focus on how the friends, family, and people in the perpetrator’s life could have identified a person with issues that needed to be addressed; emotional, behavioral, or other. I would suggest that it most likely did not involve listening to certain music, reading certain books; nor was it something decided upon a whim. The individual came to plan this plot over a longer period of time that undoubtedly had warning signs and clues that were left unnoticed or ignored by those people in his life. That is where we as a society need to focus our attention; that is where the shortcomings failed us, the victims.

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