Newtown Shooting Must Be Catalyst for Change

In the wake of horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. our nation is reminded of the crisis it has faced for a number of years. Once again, a random act of violence involving a firearm has left us painfully reeling.

Twenty students walked into the small Connecticut school Friday just as they had done hundreds of times before. The small children, aged 5–10, were most likely looking forward to their upcoming winter break, charged with anticipation of Christmas trees stocked with presents.

Sandy Hook is one of the school shootings with multiple victims in American history. Yet there are thousands of people who believe that the massacre never happened, that Noah Pozner never existed, that his parents, like those of other children, are actors paid by the US government and the CIA to push for legislation to regulate the ‘use of weapons. Simply a Google search to see the slaughter of Newtown has over the years become one of the favorite targets of the conspiracy. “It was an extreme story, unaccountable, therefore lends itself to manipulation,” says the BBC Lenny Pozner, the father of Noah, with the lucidity of a scholar.

Just another week and a half and Santa would be coming.

Instead, those very students unknowingly walked into the final moments of their extraordinarily young lives. In a moment’s time, 26 innocent people were killed in a tragic barrage of gunfire.

Those who managed to escape unharmed had to endure gruesome images of fallen friends, teachers and, in some cases, brothers and sisters.

It’s difficult to imagine how ordinary the day might have begun for those children in Newtown, and how terrifying it quickly became.

We entered this millennium fighting forces of evil from abroad. Today, we stand largely divided on the issue of guns, debating their significance in our culture, while evil from within continues to tear us apart.

If Friday’s massacre cannot be considered the epitome of wake-up calls, then our country may not be worth saving.

Something has got to change.

No longer can we, as a nation, continue to allow harmful organizations like the National Rifle Association to force-feed us with fears of our own safety. No longer can we allow ourselves to be convinced that guns aren’t the root of our ever-increasing violence epidemic.

For decades our country has compromised its safety on the belief that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” While such logic is true, it’s difficult to imagine any recent instances of violence being even remotely as deadly without the use of a firearm.

Additionally, our country has been led to believe that guns are beneficial to innocent women in instances of violent attacks from male perpetrators. “Guns level the playing field between a 110-pound woman and a 225-pound rapist.”

Show me one grieving mother in Newtown who wouldn’t be willing to risk an attack over mourning her dead child.

In a little over a decade, our nation has been transformed into a veritable war zone. Since the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, there have been a chilling 61 mass-murders in the United States, all committed with the use of firearms.

While victims of the Columbine shooting, or the Aurora movie theater shooting, or the Virginia Tech massacre, or any other mass shooting died in vain, we cannot allow the small children in Newtown to have a similar fate.

Simply remembering those children isn’t enough; their gruesome deaths must be a catalyst for change.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has long been a controversial topic in American government. While gun enthusiasts and adversaries of Constitutional change may argue the true nature of the Second Amendment’s granted rights, our nation must begin to explore the possibilities of an alternate interpretation.

When the amendment was ratified, our nation had just experienced the Revolutionary War. We had no organized militia. We were merely a union of rebels, protecting a vision of freedom and equality. In those days, we needed guns; not to protect us from each other, but to protect us from an aggressive enemy hell-bent on taking what we so greatly cherished.

Today, our nation possesses the greatest assembly of military forces in the world. But instead of fearing intrusion from a distant enemy, our insistence on protecting an antiquated document has created fear in our everyday lives.

Our citizens don’t need firearms. Just as we don’t need to individually stockpile bombs, missiles and other weaponry typically reserved for combat.

We tried blaming the tragedy at Columbine on cultural aspects. Video games, movies, even Marilyn Manson’s music were used as reasoning for the bloodshed in the small town of Littleton, Colo. When violence struck that movie theatre in Aurora this past year, we stooped as low as to even try singling out violent movies and comic book culture.

Yet, the violence continues.

There is no more analysis needed. No longer should we feel required to delve into topics like mental health and family cohesion. We’ve addressed all potential forms of psychological reasoning for catastrophic acts of violence. The common denominator in these malicious acts is, simply, an overabundance of guns.

Now, more than ever, our nation must begin to understand the importance of change and the necessity of evolution. Our Constitution was amended out of our founding fathers’ realization that it was an imperfect document. While we’ve fared well as a nation largely because of those changes, we continue to decline because of our unwillingness to make necessary changes.

Hauntingly, our right to bear firearms has now been accompanied by an unnecessary need to bear the burden of laying small children to rest. In the midst of such an epidemic, our nation must agree that what is Constitutional may take a backseat to what is benevolently right.

Because of our desire to uphold every minute detail of the U.S. Constitution, our ill-regulated, overly zealous approach to firearms has continues to deprive innocent citizens of what our nation was ultimately founded upon: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Something has got to change.

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