Our nation’s history shows that when such unspeakable horrors are perpetrated on our country, our national conscience is turned in many directions.
We are angry. We are heartbroken. We are scared. But perhaps most distinctly, we are left confused; we are left asking “why?”
From Her creation, it has been America’s manifest destiny to be the land of the free and the home of the brave — a country where our differences are settled not by bloodshed, but by peaceful discourse and the will of our people.
It is this ideal that has thrust our country into its place as the finest civilization in the history of the world.
So, it is to that end that this must be said: Enough is enough.
It is time that we come together, both our leaders at the national and state levels, and our citizenry, regardless of political leanings and take bold action; we must take a solemn vow as a country that there will never be another Newtown, there will never be another Aurora, there will never be another Blacksburg, there will never be another Columbine.
We must approach these mass shootings, what has undeniably become an epidemic, from two separate, yet intertwined angles: First, how do we, as a country, deal with the mentally ill going forward from Newtown? Second, how do we limit the seemingly unfettered access that folks from all walks of life have, to what have proven to be true weapons of mass destruction – military-style assault weapons.
Columbine, Aurora, Blacksburg, and Newtown will be linked through the ages by a common denominator. That is, in each tragedy, a mentally deranged individual, armed with similarly-situated assault weapons, slaughtered scores of innocent Americans as they went about their daily affairs.
It has become crystal clear, should we continue to justify these mass murders with the draconian idea that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” our history has shown us that these sorts of dastardly acts will not end with Newtown. It is time that the NRA’s favorite motto finds its place next to now infamous adages such as “separate but equal” in historical disgrace.
As a conservative, I know this may rub some of my right-wing brethren the wrong way, but to those detractors I say this, it is time we appeal to our better angels. The indelible images of Newtown dictate such. Enough is enough.
The time has come for common sense regulation. We all should unequivocally agree that the days in which it is easier for an individual to acquire a military-style assault weapon, high capacity ammunition clips, and armor piercing munitions, than it is a driver’s license, must end.
Mandated training and instruction, proof of sufficient mental capacity to own a firearm, and closing loopholes that allow individuals to purchase weapons at gun shows without background checks are just a few of the many practical measures that should be imposed to insure that guns are not getting into the wrong hands.
To those that say the answer to curtail these massacres is arming more of our citizens, it must be said – do we want to live in a society where our grade school teachers must be armed? A society where the youngster learning the importance of hard work by tearing ticket stubs at the local theatre has to be ready and able to wield a firearm at a moment’s notice?
That said, guns will always have a place in American society. The modern Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment guarantees such.
However, the reaches of that Amendment must be defined by the will of the people. It is time to have the moral fortitude to ask ourselves: Is there an individual constitutional right to possess an AR-15 assault rifle? Is there a constitutional right for individuals to own and use hollow-point bullets? Does the 2nd Amendment extend to the mentally ill?
While these once may have been difficult decisions, they are no more. More guns is not, and cannot, be the answer.
As a community, and as a country, we must call on our leaders to act. We owe it to those whose lives have been prematurely extinguished and to those who will follow us, seeking to live their own American dream.
Sir Edmund Burke famously said, “all that it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.” It is time for the good men and women of this country to do something.
Enough is enough.
Whit Frost is an attorney with Roach, Caudill, & Gunn in Canton. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia.