By David Keptsi
In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting there has been increased public demand for the federal government to tighten gun control regulation in hopes that such a tragedy would never happen again.This is a highly sensitive issue and my heart genuinely goes out to the victims of the shooting which I have found to be a sentiment shared by people on both sides of the aisle. Although some piece of shit “antifa” guy has been going around campus throwing out stacks of the Binghamton Review (suppressing the press is pretty fascist, isn’t it?), I would like to address this particular piece to people on both sides of the issue as, unlike the aforementioned hypocrite, I believe the only way we can move forward is through an open and honest dialogue.
Leading the gun control charge this time around, is a group of liberal leaning survivors of the incident who to some, appear surprisingly very well spoken for their age. The more conspiratorial conservatives have made the claim that these students are being guided on what to say in interviews by liberal news outlets with some of the more “Alex Jonesy” types labeling them full-on “crisis actors” hired by the government. These conspiracy theories are frankly absurd as it is not only possible but also quite common for news outlets to make sure the people they interview are those that are well spoken and have views that align with their own. Liberal leaning media outlets have been quick to realize how powerful of a tool this conservative opposition has been in allowing them to straw-man every remaining pro-gun activist as a deplorable person, willing to attack the survivors of a shooting and it is unfortunate conservatives seem to have fallen for the trap. The crux of the issue is that even though these kids have gone through a terrible event and someone must ultimately be held responsible for allowing such a chain of events to unfold, it does not mean their specific beliefs are factually correct.The debate surrounding gun control has a lot more nuance to it than many care to admit, and it is unfortunate that these survivors (however well-intentioned) have become tools for those who want to push their respective idea of a solution to mass shootings. In a time of such intense partisanship, it is important to note that for the most part, both sides want what they genuinely believe is best for the country and any debate on the issue should be done with that idea kept in mind.
A major issue with the use of gun control legislation to prevent school shootings, is the fact that this type of legislation does absolutely nothing to address the reasons a person became a shooter in the first place. The core issue in mass murders of any type are the fact that the perpetrator wants to do damage and has a death wish in doing so. While it may be unfair to apply the blanket label to school shooters as “mentally ill”, since the majority of those diagnosed with mental illness do not go on to become violent criminals, it is apparent that these shooters often come from very troubled backgrounds and lack a respect for human life the way a “normal” person would. Therefore, the description of shooters as “mentally troubled” still fits in that they exist outside our societies’ norm of human behavior and moral values. These “troubled” individuals want to cause harm and while that may be the reason they use a gun, it doesn’t mean that guns are necessarily the most effective means of doing so. The Columbine shooters for instance had actually planned to set off homemade bombs within the high school, the success of which would have resulted in a death toll potentially in the hundreds. Furthermore, in European countries where strict gun laws are enforced, terrorists have taken to ramming people with cars and trucks, tactics that have also produced death tolls rivaling those in mass shootings. As I mentioned earlier, it is the intent to cause harm that truly matters.The anticipated response here would be that homemade bombs are difficult to make and vehicles don’t have the purpose of doing damage in the manner that guns do, but interestingly enough the U.S. government does not ban several weapons capable of causing bodily harm.
The following is a list of ridiculous weapons you can actually obtain more easily than the guns Democrats tend to focus their worry on:
There are almost no state or federal laws surrounding the purchase of flamethrowers for example, even if they were a notorious staple of American exploits in Vietnam. Tesla mogul Elon Musk in recent news has actually sold several million dollars worth of flamethrowers to the public through online orders for the purpose of funding his Boring company (Boring as in bore through the earth not feminist philosophy boring).
The laws surrounding the ownership of cannons are also very ambiguous as well and maybe I’ve played too much Battlefield One, but it seems like a person can do a lot of damage if they know how to operate an antique mortar cannon.
Miniguns. Yes Miniguns. Not semi automatic weapons such as the AR-15 or Ruger but actual fully automatic weapons capable of firing hundreds of rounds a second. Turns out you can buy any Minigun that was legally owned by a citizen prior to 1986. Obviously this runs on the luxury end of ridiculous weapons you can have but I think it’s frankly classist that rich people can’t be murderous psychopaths too.
3D Printers. This is probably the reason any gun control measures we pass today are completely doomed in the future. We already have 3D printers capable of creating functional handguns even though their quality isn’t necessarily that high by modern standards. The issue is 3-D printing is a technology that is growing at a very rapid rate and all you need to create an object is raw materials and a blueprint in the form of a file. If I can download a fully functioning pirated copy of The Sims 4 off a peer to peer torrenting site in the span of 15 minutes with minimal technical skills, keeping weapons blueprints from being disseminated in the future is going to be a major issue. Of course the technology hasn’t reached such a stage yet, but technological growth has become exponential and I anticipate this will become a major issue in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean we should do nothing. We owe it to the victims of Stoneman Douglas to take measures to prevent a similar tragedy. Even though by all accounts he seems to be literally Hitler, even Donald Trump believes this. I don’t know if his idea of arming teachers is necessarily the best idea for fighting shooters simply because firing a gun accurately is way harder to actually do than they make it look like in the movies, but I do believe that spreading the idea that the shooter may come into contact with an armed response as a deterrent, may delay their advance just enough to make a difference. To any liberal who has made it this far, I only ask that you understand that your ideological opponents still have good intentions, and if they won’t budge on the specific issue of gun control, there are other aids to prevent school shootings that may actually gain bipartisan support such as better access to mental health resources, and even a little bit of progress in dealing with the issue seems better to me than gridlock.