It's Lowell's Turn: Should we bring back Prohibition?
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
How do you react when you hear about another mass shooting? Shock? Anger? Disbelief? Sadness? Or, worse yet, maybe resignation and acceptance.
Although everyone is horrified by these events, the question is, what do we do about it?
The recent school shooting in Texas, has people scrambling to express their opinions and demand change. Some want more school security, some want stronger penalties, some think non-stop media coverage encourages copy-cats, and others think we need better methods of early detection. But the thing we hear most often is that we need tougher gun control measures, which usually means banning certain weapons.
On the surface, that might seem reasonable, after all, why would anyone need a semi-automatic weapon that holds 30 rounds? Why not make them illegal?
But think about how well most other bans work. We have bans on drug use, and we still have a drug problem. We have speed limits, and almost everyone still exceeds them. Flying and exploding fireworks are illegal in Minnesota, but they’re everywhere around the Fourth of July.
And why do we ban some things, when others that cause much more damage remain legal?
Every day about 32 people die in drunk driving crashes in this country. That’s almost 12,000 people a year. In addition, more than 140,000 people die in the U.S. each year from overuse of alcohol, according to the CDC. Beyond that, countless numbers of children are affected by alcohol abuse in their homes, which causes financial ruin, broken homes, violence and homelessness.
Obviously, alcohol is causing tremendous amounts of damage, which dwarfs the damage done by guns. Certainly no one needs to drink alcohol, especially to excessive levels. So where are the calls to severely restrict or ban alcohol? For the most part, we recognize that drinking, along with the damage it causes, is a personal responsibility, as it should be.
So why do we tend to blame guns when a mass shooting occurs?
Because it’s easy. It requires no thinking or logic. The knee-jerk reaction is simply, “No guns, no problems.” Yeah, sort of like Prohibition in the 1920s.
However, the main reason we hear so much about gun control is that there are well-organized, powerful, vocal groups who see this as just another stop on the road to a total ban on all guns. They’re the ones we constantly hear in the media, while Second Amendment advocates and groups like the NRA are generally portrayed as radicals. Yes, it’s reasonable to restrict certain types of weapons. But gun control advocates don’t care about what’s reasonable — they care about taking small, relentless steps to a total ban.
We also blame guns because it’s a lot less painful than admitting that we’re actually causing this problem. We all recognize that shooters have mental health problems, but what we don’t realize is that nearly all of us have been programmed to be mentally unhealthy.
For the last few decades, we’ve repeatedly been told that we should never have any problems or difficulties and that the goal of life is to be happy. We’ve been deluded into thinking that we are victims, that no one has the right to tell us what to do, and that we should get everything we want. When this doesn’t turn out to be true, we get angry, depressed, or possibly even snap and go temporarily insane.
Despite knowing better, even older people can fall into this type of thinking, due to constant programming. So imagine how hard it is for younger people who have never known anything else. They’ve grown up in a world dominated by social media and the self absorption and delusions it fosters. They’ve grown up in a world that tells them the world revolves around them and their happiness. And they’ve grown up in a world that has abandoned most standards of right and wrong in favor of “anything goes,” as long as it’s politically correct at the time.
The cause of gun violence is not guns, it's people who have unrealistic and faulty ideas that our society has programmed into them; people who don’t know how to deal with problems and difficulties.
That’s what we need to address if we want to stop mass shootings and the countless other types of violence that would inevitably occur even if guns were not available.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.