Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Double Standard

Rich Nadworny, a contributor on public radio, recently had a very succinct piece in which he decries our reaction to various catastrophes. The point has been made several times since the Newtown shootings, but they are worth another look because they continue to be an issue.

As Nadworny points out, we view tragedies in very different ways. After 9/11, security in airports changed dramatically. Few people questioned it, because it was all in the name of our national security. When the shoe-bomber came along, suddenly we all had to remove our shoes. Again, few people complained, because we all wanted to be safe.

But when something like Newtown happens, for some reason we don't have the same reaction. At least, our national conversation goes very differently. Instead of agreeing on stricter gun laws, we have a huge debate over it, with one side saying it's necessary and the other side saying it's a violation of our rights.

The irony, of course, is that gun violence kills more people than terrorist-related activities. FactCheck.org has a great breakdown of gun rhetoric vs. fact. While the instances of gun-related deaths has decreased, it's still significantly higher than the number of Americans killed in terrorist attacks. And these are the numbers each and every year!

Nadworny makes a good point at the end of his piece: we need to start treating gun violence as a threat to our national defense. In other words, treat gun violence like terrorist activity. In the aftermath of 9/11, our government and many groups supported things like the Patriot Act. In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, large numbers of congressman and outside groups are still resisting common-sense gun laws.

I'm not talking about taking away all guns. I'm talking about common sense. The NRA says they want to put an armed guard in every school. That's insanity. I think we should be limiting access to our most deadly weapons, like AK-47s, and doing proper background checks, as well as cross-referencing Department of Corrections databases to find out if anyone has a criminal record or is mentally unstable.



Lee Judge

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