Here is one voice checking in on the issue.
I don’t think that choice will, in and of itself, solve the problem. Just as the “war on drugs” won’t solve the problems of drug addiction, nor will gun control solve the problems of senseless violence, which has been more sensibly tagged a mental or emotional disorder problem.
The true answer has to focus on the underlying cause, which is pain. Psychic (emotional) pain. The person who wants vengeance, who wants to lash out at happier fellow-beings, like the person who wants to use substances to numb themselves, is in deep pain. The Buddhists feel that the root of suffering is desire… wanting something other than the person’s current existence happens to be.
In the tragic case of the Newtown Connecticut school massacre, the mother’s pain, or the underlying reason she kept an arsenal of weapons, was based on fear. Fear was her issue, as was her inability to adequately nurture her anti-social son.
Both had a fundamental karmic predicament.
Even if such people can’t gain access to guns, in their rage and distress they might act out by choosing different, more available weapons, but sooner or later the dam of emotional pain would break, and tragic behavior would ensue. In this case, everybody died – the mother as well as her murderous son and the tragic school children.
I watched a documentary called “Bhutan: The Pursuit of Happiness” in which a small country, with the complete participation of their monarch and government, attempted to create a society the goal of which was every members’ personal happiness, and you could say, self-realization. Their enormous task was to introduce Western technology and modernization, such as the internet, cities, hydroelectric power, and so forth, without losing traditional values, and the focus on the improvement of everyone from urban to rural environments.
It was pretty fascinating to see officials in the government, from the highest on down, speak of their dedication to this ideal. It was also wonderful to see the common people – not necessarily very educated or very affluent – simply being happy. Some of the younger people, admittedly, were falling into the traps of consumerism and its concomitant ills such as drug abuse, but even that was being addressed by the whole.
For whatever strange coincidence, I happened to watch this documentary shortly after the Newtown school tragedy, so the comparison was striking.
I don’t feel gun control is an answer, just like penalizing drug use and imprisoning users is an answer, because it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. The problem is pain. Human pain; human suffering. Unless everyone becomes dedicated to the support and embrace of their fellow-man, laws and power cannot stop the volcanic rage from erupting or seeking escape. People need to feel secure. The irony of some fervent gun control advocates hiring armed guards for themselves or their children when feeling threatened isn’t lost upon the blogosphere.
Maybe we can turn the dialogue to the resurrection of kindness and caring instead of more restricting legislation.