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Guest opinion from my friend Jonathan:

This horror will not go away even if we could remove every gun from America. Timothy McVeigh did not use a gun, and the Columbine killers made bombs as well.

The problem we need to solve (and fast) is the fact that we are producing so many (or any at all) young people who consider these actions to be very real options in their tortured lives.

There was an abundance of guns in the 50’s (we’ve always had guns in this country) but these things almost NEVER happened. We have a culture that glorifies violence, makes a scary percentage of the population (especially prevalent among the nation’s youth) feel utterly hopeless, and has seen a precipitous drop in moral awareness as we systematically rejected traditional sources/institutions (organized religion etc…) and have yet to replace them with anything that might work as well. Note: I’m an agnostic and not a fan of organized religion, but there needs to be some universal moral force in play.

Parents, families, schools, the media and popular culture have abdicated their roles and responsibilities in creating a network of influence that cannot be legislated. Call it mind control, manipulation of the masses, the suppression of free thought, but we have failed to do what every successful society has done since we climbed down from the trees, and that is instill in every member of society the value of life, the importance of collective adherence to a code of acceptable conduct, and respect for their fellow man (or countryman at minimum).

When a teenager of a broken home with minimal supervision, who perceives he has no future, is not inspired by school or other institution, is angry and alienated from everything and everyone (all of whom have failed to acknowledge or understand the tell-tale signs), acts out the anti-social, misanthropic violence he sees in his daily diet of ultra-violent video games and movies, all we can come up with is to get rid of the guns.

More than 40,000 people (more than a jumbo jet load every single day) die in auto-related tragedies every year in the US. Do we react to the epidemic of this roadway carnage, and drunk driving, by an outcry to ban all cars? No, we launch massive campaigns to educate people about the BEHAVIORS that cause these actions.

As with virtually every aspect of modern life, this issue is rife with complications. But simply getting rid of all the guns will only result in the these same individuals blowing up a school bus full of children to make the same desperate, extreme statements. It is a widespread cultural problem that will only go away when we address it as such. How many innocent people have to die before we realize why it’s happening?

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