This time it's much different. We've had mass shootings many times over the past few years and all of them were tragic. But this time most of the victims were innocent little kids - and a lot of them. This time something has to be done, and everybody knows what that something is.
There are those who say we have a culture of violence in this country and that is what contributes to these tragedies. I can't argue against that hypothesis because violence in video games, on TV, and certainly in rap music is ubiquitous. Who knows how much desensitizing the culture of violence has produced. But regardless of how much the culture of violence contributes, it couldn't contribute to any shootings if nobody had access to guns.
Some say it is because we have expelled God from our schools and if we only could bring prayer back into the classroom, the violence would surely stop. This hypothesis is irrational, naive and, frankly, incredibly stupid. For one thing, God has never been expelled, nor has prayer. Kids can pray all they want in school. So can teachers and administrators. The only thing they can't do is to organize a formal prayer in school and on school time. Secondly, I challenge anyone to provide me with any empirical evidence that prayer solves anything at all, other than perhaps making the believer feel better about himself or herself. It's a way to convince yourself that you're doing something without actually doing anything. Prayer is simply lazy. And if God could have prevented such tragedies but did not only because somebody didn't pray enough or pray from the right spot then what kind of evil god is he? No matter how much or little anyone prays in school, the only thing that would have prevented the shooting is if the perpetrator had no access to guns.
Some people say we need to stop stigmatizing the mentally ill so that they will find it easier to seek professional help. Maybe there are some people who are in denial about needing help, but is this what we're going to blame gun violence on? No matter how deluded or mentally challenged a person is, he is harmless to others if he doesn't have access to guns.
What we need to do is stop beating around the bush and place the blame squarely where it belongs. We have a gun culture and it is far too easy for almost anyone to get guns. Nobody needs a gun except the hunter who actually hunts to supply food for the table. If that is a lifestyle choice then maybe these people do need a shotgun or hunting rifle. But that's it. There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to own a handgun or any kind of automatic or semiautomatic weapon.
In my opinion, the Supreme Court misinterpreted the Second Amendment when it decided that states could not ban the purchase of guns. The phrase is clearly present for all to see: "...a well-regulated militia...." We no longer depend on a well-regulated militia to defend this country, and without that dependency, there is no necessity to own a gun. And if that's how SCOTUS is going to interpret it then what we really need to do is completely repeal the Second Amendment. We've repealed amendments before (the nineteenth, for example), so it is not without historical precedent. It needs to happen quickly and decisively.
I'm not naive enough to actually believe a repeal of the Second Amendment is at all likely. But it is what it will take, or something very close, to prevent mass shootings in the future.
Maybe we do have a culture of violence in this country, but without easy access to guns, a culture of violence kills no one. Maybe we should look more closely at helping those who are mentally ill to seek help. But without guns, the mentally ill can't shoot anybody can they? And without easy access to guns, those buffoons like Mike Huckabee would have less opportunity to spew their ridiculous notions about blaming lack of prayer in schools for all of society's ills.
Obama made it clear that something needs to be done, even if it is not politically expedient. I sincerely hope he has the guts to push for gun control legislation during his second term in office. Maybe he needs to draw a line in the sand now and make the midterm election a single-issue poll: Do Americans want uncontrolled gun access or do we want to grow up and decide that ownership of most types of guns is not necessary nor advisable.