Vail Daily letter: We should focus on root causes
Ryan Summerlin January 22, 2013
I am writing in response to Tom McCalden’s recent letter about the school shooting in California. Tom’s letter failed to acknowledge the fact that the gunman at Taft Union High School had a single target, shot that target and then peacefully gave up the gun. That is not the same scenario as Newtown and is therefore an unfair comparison.
While Tom incorrectly thinks that California’s strict gun laws prevented a mass murder, I look at it from the opposite perspective. I believe that because California’s strict gun laws can’t prevent school shootings or mass murders from occurring (see Oikos University shooting with seven killed in 2012), this is proof that a strategy aimed exclusively at gun control won’t prevent these mass murders from happening.
Even though I voted for him twice, I am very disappointed that President Obama barely put any effort into mental health services, school bullying and violence in video games and movies in his recent proposals to curb mass shootings.
For me, there are a lot of similarities between the current debate on gun laws and the debate surrounding the war on drugs. By almost all accounts, the war on drugs was a supreme failure. In my opinion, this is because we focused almost exclusively on trying to go after drug dealers and drug growers-makers with harsher laws and with beefed up enforcement.
I believe that we would have been much more successful in the war on drugs if we would have focused on the drug users themselves and worked on improving our education system and drug prevention strategies to keep more people from wanting to use drugs in the first place.
Where there is a will there is a way and just like the war on drugs has proven that if people really want drugs, there will always be a way to get them.
If someone wants to shoot small and defenseless children at an unarmed school, then whether they are using a magazine that holds 10 rounds or holds 30 rounds, no reactionary gun law is going to prevent them from murdering too many innocent people.
I own guns and personally support universal background checks, stricter criteria for gun ownership and I am not even opposed to capacity limits for magazines. But unlike most on the anti-gun side, I know that hope is not a plan.
Hoping a shooter doesn’t come into your child’s school is not going to keep someone from doing it. Hoping that passing gun laws that have historically not had any impact on preventing these situations (see Columbine and Oikos) is not a viable plan. We need to get to the root of the issue, and that is the shooters themselves.