In the face of chaos, crisis, or tragedy, it is difficult for people to stay calm, clear-headed, and rational. That, however, is exactly what we need and require of those we elect to leadership. These are people like our President, the men, and women of Congress, our Representatives and in this case, the Governor of Virginia in light of the May 31st Virginia Beach shooting.
It isn’t like we haven’t seen this before, that knee-jerk reaction, that is. Unfortunately, we’ve had too many of these tragedies to have now built a small history of events. It seems, in every incident, someone screams “justice” and shortly thereafter, “gun control!”
No, you didn’t miss anything and yes, you are correct justice and control have no relation or similarities. That’s because these reactions are simply that – reactions. This means they are instinctive, impulsive in nature and most importantly, they are made without time for thoughtfulness, reason, and investigation to have its say.
Yes, we understand the want, the need, and the demand for justice. Yes, everyone wants to be safe but gun restrictions are not the answer. This really shouldn’t even be a story – again, but the Governor of Virginia spoke out. As we said, this is something we have unfortunately witnessed before and we have now seen again.
In an editorial from one news outlet regarding the Governor’s response they said, “Northam’s proposals show a deep misunderstanding of the causes and mechanisms underlying gun-related violence in general, and mass public shootings in particular.” In all fairness, the Governor probably understands the truth but therein lies the problem with reaction over reason.
Governor Northam even went as far as to call for a “special legislative session” and followed that with a laundry list of proposed gun restrictions. This is where it gets difficult though because despite our hurt, grief, and anger we must allow reason and calm to prevail. The Governor did not.
That editorial also cited many common gun statistics that are evidential facts that support gun rights. Facts like between 500,000 to 3 million people use guns to protect themselves against crime as reported by the CDC. That report went on to cite some recent cases where guns were used in such a manner:
Idaho, April 1st: Would be assailant in domestic violence case shot and now faces multiple charges.
Illinois, April 8th: Elderly man defends his home from three men in an attempted robbery using a firearm.
Washington, April 22nd: Intruder shot and killed in the early morning hours by the homeowner. Harrowing events caught on tape by 911.
Alabama, May 9th: Son defends himself and mother from an armed robbery attempt. Attackers later caught fleeing in a stolen vehicle.
There were many other recent accounts all making the same point, guns aren’t the problem and they save lives. When we have these terrible events happen we know enough now to realize that this isn’t a gun issue. This may be a psychological issue, a cultural issue or something else altogether but we know what it isn’t.
Yet, here we are again, defending the rights of gun owners and why? Because a leader had a knee-jerk reaction. We believe that’s what happened and we hope so. The other options aren’t good and range from a sad ignorance of the facts to political motivations. So we are going to choose to believe these actions are nothing more than a knee-jerk response to anger and shock.
Obviously, it won’t take long to find out if that’s the truth, much like we have learned the truth about guns with the help of statistics, facts, and common sense. It is time we stop wasting time discussing gun control and start spending time looking at the reasons and causes behind these tragedies.
In awful moments like these, it is also the time when we look to our leaders for strength, comfort, and reason. This is not the time for reactive measures or knee-jerk reactions, this is the time to lead, to heal and continue searching for solutions instead of scapegoats.