Residual effects of gun policy demand social, legal change


There are many contradictions in the society we live in today. As highlighted in a recent comment circulated on social media, while women who seek abortion must seek counseling and go through several rigorous processes in order to receive what many believe to be a basic human right, those who seek to buy guns are given a free pass.

According Michael Moore’s documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” the US has the highest frequency of homicides that are carried out using guns. Not only does the frequency of gun-related homicides signal a need for change, the facet through which guns are being used highlights a need for that change to happen now. In countries with lax gun regulations such as Spain, Japan, and other European nations, deaths resulting from gun-related homicides are often severed, meaning that the incidents are often unrelated. However, in the US, many gun-related homicides are interconnected, as many happen through school shootings, in which innocent students are often targeted. The problem has become severe to the extent at which President Obama recently challenged Americans to compare the number of people killed by terrorists versus the number of people killed by school shootings. Statistics make it quite clear that shootings at schools are the highest contributors to mass deaths in the United States.

Many might question why this issue concerns us, as this issue has shown to be specific to the US. No South Korean teenager has mass murdered fellow students and teachers due to reasons unexplained…yet.

The current gun regulation is one that has been going on for decades; ever since a somewhat solid legal system was implemented, people all across the world have contemplated the issue of whether personal protection, namely in the form of guns, is absolutely necessary. The truth is that this issue is not going to be completely resolved before a troubled student decides to fire on his fellow classmates again. Despite the long-lasting gun debate that has been going on for decades, the truth still remains that every week or so, the top headline is of another thirty or so children being killed by a fellow student.

At some point, we need to recognize that simply regulating arms is not the full solution to the expansive problem we face today. The regulations that “opponents of the Second Amendment” try to impose are the equivalent of trying to mend a gaping hole in a tub with a single strip of tape. It is therefore necessary to look into what is really causing children to act out in a manner completely unforeseen.

According to the American Psychological Association, about one-third of US college students “had difficulty functioning in the last 12 months due to depression.” One-third of those who sought treatment for mental health services reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide at some point of their lives. Due to the increased pressure to perform at school and to be employed, students have been experiencing increased levels of anxiety, depression, and disillusionment.

Connecting back to the discussion on gun regulations, what we must realize is that a significant portion of those who kill innocent students at school are those who have experienced extreme depression. Although it is difficult to see those who have killed your innocent family members, relatives, and fellow students as “victims,” if we seek the amelioration of the problem, our perspective is going to need to fundamentally change.

As hard as it is to believe, some of our actions are beyond our control. The acknowledgment of this fact is why there are statutes in law that bar the prosecution of mentally ill individuals who cannot control their actions. Perhaps it is time that we, as part of one community, also expand our horizons to recognize that many of those we call villains, may also very well be victims.