Ever since I became a mom, watching the news has become HARD work. When I left work on Monday afternoon I was horrified to hear that 2 students had been shot at a university in Virginia. Imagine my horror when I had finished bathing the boys and had put them down for the night, to switch on the tv and find out that the story hadn't yet ended and that so many people had been involved.
My heart goes out to all those families for whom this long and harrowing journey has only just begun.
As I was watching the highlights on Sky News, I noticed that one of the journalists giving his opinion (a British journalist) was saying that although he felt terrible about what had happened, he felt that the UK and other similar countries should follow the US example and allow the individual to own a gun. His argument was that gun crime in the South West of the UK is on the increase and as a result people should be allowed to defend themselves.
There were a few things that bugged me about his statements, namely;
1) The UK has very low gun crime, that is not to say that it doesn't exist but strict gun controls mean that just the act of owning an unlicensed gun is a chargeable offence.
2) His insensitivity towards the surviving families (not to mention the shooters poor parents)
3) His assumption that he has ANY idea what it is like to live in a country where people believe that they have a right to kill someone else if in self defense.
I suspect that if anyone stumbles across this little post who is pro-gun ownership that I will be flamed for daring to question their human rights. Here's the thing though, what about the right to safety and to an education that has been taken from the victims? What about the Human Rights of every person who has ever been caught in the crossfire? Who on earth needs a semi automatic weapon if not to kill someone?
I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gun crime is massive and if you have a gun the rule is that if you're going to use it, you shoot to kill because if you only injure or maim, that same gun will be turned on you and your loved ones. I am so glad that my children don't live in that society and that they won't grow up believing that owning a gun is their right.
I know that outlawing guns really won't solve the problem because we all know that when something is made illegal it is pushed underground where the authorities have no control whatsoever - just look at the flourishing drug trade around the world if you want an example. I don't know what the overall solution is but I would say that making the act of buying a gun EXTREMELY difficult and making the penalty for owning/handling an unlicensed gun as steep as using it to cause harm would go some way towards readdressing the [in]balance.
I don't know, I guess this post is all over the place, but so is my heart because I look at my children and I can't begin to imagine my life without them.