Gun Control The gun control debate in the US is often contentious and politically divisive. And with upcoming elections always looming in the near future, we will continue hearing a great deal from the media as well as politicians about what should or should not be done about “too many guns” in our society. Unfortunately, too many Americans do not take time to truly understand the issues and the reasoning behind both sides of the controversy. To help get a clearer perspective of the problem, there are two very short, but well written pro/con pieces, regarding the debate, by Mitch Albom and Thomas Sowell.
Each presents his own rationale for what should be done about gun control. According to Albom’s “Don’t Shoot Holes in Gun Control Bills,” gun control is something that is needed. He cites several episodes between Los Angeles and Detroit where the availability of obtaining a gun is so easy, that people roll up to someone, roll down a window and start spraying bullets. The argument being made here is that with guns being so easy to obtain, anyone is capable of carrying one. In a lot of cases, self defense is not the issue with them.
A lot of gun crimes are out of “hair trigger tempers with a hair trigger weapon. ” The big point being made is that most of these violent crimes with guns are a result of someone blowing off steam. It is not only gang members doing the shooting either. One man was cited as not liking a hamburger he received so he threw it at the clerk at the drive through window. She in turn threw a soda at him so he returned moments later and shot her. He states that contrary to the belief that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, that the weapon that kills is the gun being used.
It is the weapon that does the killing. There are some very valid points as to how lack of gun control can allow crime to run rampant, but not everyone sees it that way. On the other side of the argument is Thomas Sowell. His essay “Mass Shootings and Mass Hysteria” claims that gun control is not the cause of violence. He claims when we are allowed to carry guns for self defense, a mass shooting is less likely to happen as it will be thwarted a lot sooner by bystanders as they will take action upon themselves to thwart the attacker.
He states people committing these illegal acts are not going to stop just because guns are illegal. When looking into who would stop these people, another person with a gun is the answer. Sowell also cites the flaw of the waiting period, stating the Columbine incident, involved a couple of kids who waited a long time to plan out their attack, nor would the tragedy have been prevented by a program for troubled youth. The kids committing this mass murder passed their psych evaluations. Some people support gun control just because they don’t like guns.
He concludes by saying criminals are less likely to commit a crime when they know the person they are going after may very well have a gun of their own. He wants to compare the statistics to accidental gun deaths and statistics on gun murders being much less where gun ownership is widespread. On a lighter note, to demonstrate the real irony of the issue, a spring 2006 segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, entitled “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” tackled the gun controversy by satirizing former Vice President Cheney’s accidental shooting of his friend during a sporting event.
This makes light of a serious issue but the underlying theme is of a serious nature. They bring to the point how this hunting club allows you to shoot animals that truly cannot escape. It is depicting the event with Vice President Cheney as this is where he was with his friend when he accidentally shot him. While it is humorous, when you look at the real issue it does lay out a serious angle. To the intelligent viewer, this can be very effective. They can become engaged in an entertaining fashion but take the serious message from the satire.
To the not so intelligent viewer, this may look like a big joke, which can take away from the effectiveness of the message, even if it brings ratings due to the entertainment value. In the end these sources make valid points from their points of view. There are two very different schools of thought and even when satire is involved, it is a very controversial topic. The perspectives are out there. Now it is time for the viewer and reader to take what they wish from it all.