There’s a lot of debate over gun control these days, especially after the Parkland, Fla., murders. And let’s call it “murder” because that’s what it is. Yes, it was also “shooting” (as the media prefers to put it), but that doesn’t adequately describe the unjust, cowardly, selfish and evil act of taking an innocent life.
Why does the media always characterize these tragedies as mere “shootings”? They did it at the Mandalay Bay concert in Las Vegas last October. They did it at the movie theater in Aurora in 2012 and at the Orlando nightclub in 2016. It was just a “shooting” at Columbine in 1999 (according to the media), as well as when churchgoers were murdered in Charleston in 2015, and then again just last year in Sutherland Springs.
To describe it as a “shooting” glosses over the fact that a person was the ultimate cause of the murder and the “shooting” was merely the end of a chain of decisions that started with that person deciding to murder.
Those who are calling for Congress and state legislatures to “do something” about gun control are starting with protests and marches. A nationwide school walkout is being organized for March 14 by the same people behind the Women’s March (you know, the one where Madonna said she’s been thinking about blowing up the White House). They’re asking students and faculty members to walk off their school campuses at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes – one minute for each person killed in the Parkland shooting.
And then there are the schools across the country who are planning a march on Washington, D.C. – with sister marches in other cities also – to demand more gun control legislation. That’s taking place on March 24. Then on April 20, there will be a “National School Walkout” on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings (murders) in Colorado.
From reading the headlines and the protesters’ signs, it seems more gun control legislation is the answer. After all, if the “wrong” people in our country had less accessibility to guns, then these shootings (murders) would decline, and that’s why we just have to “do something,” regardless of whether it actually achieves the intended result.
But what if the intended result we’re seeking isn’t an elementary cause-and-effect? What if our accessibility to guns is unrelated to the causation of people murdering one another? For example, did you know that only the United States and Yemen have more guns per capita than Switzerland, and that despite two million guns in circulation in Switzerland, guns were used in less than 120 murders over the past 10 years? That means the murder rate is 17 times more in the U.S. than in Switzerland, where there is also wide accessibility to guns.
What if our murder rate is not a result of a single “cause” (accessibility to guns) but an “accumulation” of factors within a society that increasingly views human life as subjective and revocable? Or that condones and funds abortions, looks the other way on euthanasia, and glorifies violence in movies and video games, while diminishing our ability to empathize with the plight of others, and to choose convenience over preserving and protecting life?
And just because a person murders “after” acquiring a gun does not always mean they murdered “because” of the gun. That’s like saying where there is punishment, there must have been a crime.
And look, government cannot “fix” all things for us. Government cannot make us content, make us feel respected or accepted, confer achievement upon us, build our selfesteem or eliminate life’s inevitable ups and downs.
The bottom line here is that whatever you call it – a “murder” or a “shooting” or whatever – pretending that passing another law will somehow make it all better is precisely what got us here in the first place.
Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.