Quibbl Politics writer Sam Wexler discusses his thoughts on the Parkland shooting, the perpetrator, the notorious AR-15, and more in this Opinion Piece.
By Sam Wexler
Recently, we all were witnesses to the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The alleged perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, walked into the high school and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, ultimately killing 17 people, many of them children. The horror of these actions and the use of an assault rifle has led to a revived and intensified gun.
Full disclosure; while I am in favor of gun control, I have always liked guns. Maybe it was because it was the “forbidden fruit” of toys, the one my mom never let me have. Maybe it was because when I was a child I was exposed to a wide assortment of guns on a daily basis. I have shot guns more times than I care to count; yet, still, the arguments against even the most basic gun control policies continue to baffle me. The logic behind these arguments is always lacking and never seems to justify the harm caused by them. How can we argue that a metal object – no matter how much you love it – is more important than the lives of children? In my experience, those who I believe are on the wrong side of the gun control debate use some sort of derivation of the following three arguments:
- The “Second Amendment” Argument – In my opinion, this may be the most valid argument against gun control. The Second Amendment clearly states the right of the people to bear arms should not be infringed upon. Yet, the problem is that it never mentions the people’s right to bear arms that shoot at a rate of 900 rounds per minute. The notion that people should be free to own any type of firearm they want because of the Second Amendment is shaky at best. Most gun control advocates are proposing to regulate specific types of guns. It is obvious that the founding fathers could not have envisioned what an assault rifle would be. They didn’t envision penicillin, nuclear bombs, or even have the common sense not to own other humans. Even the Bible, which many people believe is the word of God, is not followed literally, but rather followed based on interpretation of the words. The founding fathers where human and therefore they could err. We should not accept the words of people who lived in the 18th century as infallible, no matter how wise they may have been.
- The “It Takes a Good Guy with a Gun” argument – this is the argument that the only thing that could stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. To that I ask: why would we need a good guy with a gun if the bad guy doesn’t have one either? Besides, I am not advocating taking assault rifles away from law enforcement. There, your good guys still have their guns.
- The “We Need them to Protect Against the Tyranny of Government” Argument – my favorite one, the argument that we need them to protect against the tyranny of government. Well, I am far from a military expert, but I guarantee you this; it will not matter whether your rifle is bolt action, semi-automatic, or even fully automatic, if the government sends a F-22 Raptor to shoot a satellite guided missile through your bedroom window from 15 miles away.
Gun control does not need to mean a ban on all guns. We use terms like commonsense gun control because it is commonsense. Assault rifles are dangerous weapons that need to be regulated in a much better way than they are today, if not outright banned for civilian use.
That being said, I don’t believe a ban on AR-15’s would have stopped Nikolas Cruz. The ArmaLite Rifle-15 is far from being the most effective or reliable assault rifle, it is just the most common one. Banning AR-15’s alone would do very little when there are numerous other options that can do what an AR-15 does just as well. Regulating AR-15’s alone risks giving the public a false sense of security and may cause us to overlook critical aspects of this tragedy. It was not the lack of regulation alone that allowed Cruz to murder 17 people, but also the failure of law enforcement and the system meant to enforce existing regulations. We cannot be certain that if Cruz were unable to get an assault rifle that this tragedy wouldn’t have occurred. I do believe, though – with great certainty – that if law enforcement had properly dealt with Cruz, the shooting would have been avoided. It has become clear that regarding Cruz, the writing wasn’t merely on the wall, it might as well have been plastered all over a highway billboard. The FBI was notified about Cruz, and the local police were called multiple times. It seems that everyone who knew him knew he was dangerous, but nothing ever happened.
Even worse than that, it has been released that a number of Sheriff’s deputies were outside the building while the shooting took place and did nothing to stop the murder of innocent children. I would like to reserve judgement on these deputies, but, if these allegations are true, several trained and armed deputies, whose job is to serve and protect, allowed their cowardice or complete incompetence to prioritize their own lives over those of innocent children. It is unfathomable that armed deputies took position and did nothing to stop the horrors unfolding inside while civilians, teachers and children, demonstrated true heroism under the most terrifying of circumstances.
The people we pay to serve and protect, especially to protect our children, have failed us in the most unforgivable way. The lackadaisical response of the people who we pay to watch over us is what allowed this horror to happen. What would more regulation do when we can’t even uphold the existing ones? Am I supposed to believe that the same people who failed at all the other stages would have prevented Cruz from getting an assault rifle? How will regulation help prevent the next mass shooting when we can’t even stop the most obvious of individuals that was reported to the FBI and the local authorities on multiple occasions? We cannot just accept the murder of children, especially when it could have been prevented. Law enforcement needs to be held accountable for what happened in Florida if we have any hope to stop this plague of mass shootings. We must demand better, we deserve better.
Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions in this article belong solely to the writer, and are in no way the thoughts, views or opinions of the publisher (Quibbl Media).
Answer more political quibbls here.
Like Quibbl on Facebook here.