January Editorial

Central Times Staff

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Great tragedies often act as catalysts for great change. The Newtown shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Aurora, Col. theater shooting and the Oak Creek, Wis. Sikh temple shooting are events that shake the foundations of public security and touch families all over the country. We, the editorial board of the Central Times, are no less prone to being affected by such horrors. As sons and daughters, we are heartbroken for parents whose children might’ve died so unjustly. As friends, we think of the people who have shared our closest moments and whom we could have lost. And as students, we wonder how many peers are now concerned for their safety.

In order to prevent more families from being broken, we believe that there needs to be stricter screenings for new and existing gun owners. For those who already have a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, background checks should take place every year. Close relatives of gun owners should also be psychologically screened to prevent a weapon from falling into the hands of a potentially unstable family member.

In light of recent tragedies, there is no way to justify carrying semiautomatic weapons. They are both unnecessary and excessive for recreational uses such as hunting, and, in cases of self-defense, could potentially hurt more people than they protect. The possession and distribution of semiautomatic weapons by or to civilians should be made illegal. It’s called an assault weapon for a reason, and it should not be in the hands of civilians.

There is a sizable portion of American society that is justly worried for the safety of their loved ones and their own personal safety. In order to protect ourselves from criminals and mentally unstable individuals in possession of a firearm, they reason, we need to acquire a firearm. However, promoting widespread gun possession as a means of protection makes gun violence an expected occurrence instead of a rare tragedy. Having a gun does not guarantee one’s safety. A widespread possession of guns merely promotes a sense of distrust and paranoia in public places, as if every citizen needs to carry a weapon just to comfortably sit in a movie theater or cafe.

We also believe that students should feel completely safe at Central and thank the community, resource officers and administration for taking the necessary steps to create a secure environment. However, increased security in public spaces such as movie theaters, cafes or parks would only contribute to a sense of distrust in the community. We can’t let violence make us paranoid. Instead, we can be prepared. We have to take precautions that would make gun possession entirely unnecessary, rather than perpetuating gun owners, whether in the name of defense or recreational use.

Gun violence should be treated as a terrible anomaly against which we can be prepared, not something to hinder our rational thinking.

Nonetheless, more security at public school entrances is a warranted precaution that we as a society need take to protect those who are most vulnerable – those first and second graders, perhaps at Ranchview, Kingsley, Steeple Run or Meadow Glens, who are the most helpless today but are the promise of tomorrow.

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