I have avoided the news lately. I didn't switch it on this morning. I didn't flick through articles on the net. I haven't been stalking the hacks on Twitter. For just a very simple reason: I'm terrified of being confronted with the latest news- 20 schoolchildren mercilessly shot dead in a small primary school in Connecticut. I don't want to see the faces of the children, I don't want to see the parents sobbing on television and I don't want to believe it's true.
The fact of the matter is, this crime is one of the worst in recent history. The lives taken were innocent, the children died in absolute terror. There was no reason for it... and so far no-one can make sense of it. But there is something worse still. This is not an isolated case, nor is there any security that it won't happen again tomorrow. Until the gun laws are changed, anyone with any slight mental health issue can pick up a gun and shoot people.
Now don't get me wrong- I know that violence happens in every country, and there is no foolproof way of stopping it. But the USA is in a league of its own here: this is the fourth mass shooting that has taken place just during Obama's presidency, and the thirty-first since the infamous massacre in Columbine High School in 1999 (see here). And it happens because the Constitution lets it. The Constitution which was put in place to secure the wellbeing of the people, the Constitution which laid the very foundations for human rights and quality of life in the States. The Constitution which has served them well over all these years. But a Constitution which needs to be changed if it is to continue doing so.
The gun laws made sense 200 years ago, of course they did. You needed a gun to protect your family and property. Nowadays this is simply not the case- the police force are more than happy to enforce justice on your behalf, and the Second Amendment seemingly leads to more harm than good.
Every day that the Second Amendment goes unamended is another day more children could be murdered, and the government is running out of excuses.
There is some solace, however, in Obama's latest address to the mourners in Newtown. He is frank: "Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?... the answer's no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change."
Progress and change will always come at a cost, and time will tell whether Obama is up to the challenge. Until then, the US will keep putting guns in the hands of madmen to shoot down their fellow countrymen.
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