Welcome to the US of NRA!
Over and over again, when posed with the question, "what do you care about more: your guns or your children's future?", America has answered resoundingly: "OUR GUNS!"
Every time one of these massacres occur (whether it's a school shooting or a workplace one), the country lets out a collective cry of "WHY" and "HOW". My answer to those questions are simple. How? The same damn way as the last massacre...and the one before that. Why? Because we didn't do a damn thing to prevent another one from happening. It's simple: as long as everyday people are allowed to own weapons of mass death (semi-automatic guns that can spray crowds with copious ammounts of bullets in a short time), then everyday people will continue to turn into mass murderers.
The NRA has prevented--and continues to do so--any real discussion of solving the gun/mass-killing crisis with its heavy dose of propoganda. It's so ingrained in the mindset of those raised on gun verbiage that they can rattle off excuses as quickly as an uzi fires bullets.
1)"Well, cars kill more people than guns. Why not ban cars?"--It's true that cars kill more people in this country than guns. Cars, however, are not expressly manufactured for the purpose of killing. A gun is a tool of destruction, pure and simple. When used correctly, it destroys. Whether one is shattering clay pigeons, ripping holes through paper targets, shredding the flesh of a helpless animal, or blowing the head off a girl because she says "yes, I'm a Christian": guns are supposed to destroy. Cars, on the other hand, are made to transport people. When used incorrecly, or when the product is faulty, they kill people. In contrast, guns kill when they are used correctly. The only comparable product on the market to guns is cigarrettes. When used correctly, cigarrettes kill.
2)"Guns don't kill people...people kill people. I could kill someone with a knife or a lead pipe, too." --Yes, but you could not hold four swat teams at bay for several hours and kill thirteen classmates, or kill more than a score of people from the safety and anonymity of a tall building, or slay several classmates from across a field. Guns give the killer a highly effective and very detached and immediate way of killing. Many people who can pull a trigger and let the gun do the dirty work would never be able to plunge a knife into someone else's throat. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris may still have decided to kill their classmates, if all they'd had access to was, say baseball bats, but they would not have been able to kill so many, and the students would have had a chance to run or defend themselves.
3)"If guns were illegal, then the law-abiding citizens who use them in self-defense would be left helpless against criminals". --That's true. But if innocent people being killed is what the concern is, then we have a problem NOW...with guns LEGAL. Around twenty thousand people are killed by guns in this country every year. Yes, half of those are suicides, but throwing them out of the equation, still around ten thousand people die either accidentally or by murder with guns. Only about a hundred of the deaths by gun each year are ruled "legal killings". More innocent people die with guns legal.
A 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that guns kept in the home are 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend or acquaintance than an intruder.
4)"Rosie O'Donnell (or fill in the name of any other public figure who's pro-gun control) is such a hypocrite. She doesn't want everyday citizens to carry guns, yet she has bodyguards who carry weapons."--Well, we could argue about whether or not that's hypocrisy, but it really doesn't even matter. I'll even give the gun-mongers that point and say "fine, it's hypocrisy". However, it's a hypocrisy that EVERYONE--on both sides of the issue--carries. The idea that trained professionals (be they police or the armed forces or professional bodyguards) should have access to weapons that he average citizen doesn't is inherant in everyone's beliefs...the only thing that differs is where people draw the line. For example, even the staunchest NRA cronie is not going to demand that everyday citizens be given the right to own ballistic missiles or tactical-nuclear-firing artillery pieces. The idea that certain people trained and paid to protect should have weapons that regular citizens cannot have is a basic tenant of any society with laws and law-enforcement.
As an illustration of how Rosie (or the Governor who refuses to sign a "Conceal and Carry" bill yet has armed protection for himself) is no different from the staunchest NRA supporter, here is a story from 2001 that ran in the AP about Dick Chenney (a man whose pockets are lined with NRA blood money more than almost anyone else's).
--Sandy, Utah- Bowing to secret service requests, Utah republicans checked their weapons at the door sat. to listen to Vice President Dick Cheney tout the administration's plans for missile defense and increased military spending.
Two knives, 25 guns and ammunition clips, brought to a state party convention by Utah residents with concealed weapons permits, were stored in lockers outside the hall.
Gun owners had complained following secret service suggestions that people licensed to carry concealed weapons leave them in their cars while the v.p. addressed the convention. The Utah Gun Owners Alliance urged members to picket the convention with signs including "GOP Doesn't Mean Gun Owners Prohibited."
5)"The more access citizens have to guns, the safer a given area is." If this were true, then Israel would be the safest country in the world. Israeli citizens walk the streets and go about their daily lives with guns--including automatic sub-maching guns--hanging from their arms.
Obviously, there are a whole host of complex reasons that Israel is a nation at war where tens to hundreds of people die each year, so I'm NOT saying citizens owning guns is the reason for that. Not at all. However, if the gun fanatics in this country were right when they maintain that "conceal and carry" laws make states, cities, or communities safer, then why do we see no such evidence in Israel? The fact is there is no scientific evidence that shows conceal and carry laws make states safer. Statistics showing a drop in crime in states with such laws seem impressive, until one looks and sees that crime in MOST states across the country dropped in that given time (including larger drops in states WIHTOUT conceal and carry laws). There was a general trend in the 90s of dropping crime rates, both in states with and without conceal and carry laws.
And if giving average citizens the right to carry guns makes us all safer, then why did Dick Chenney insist that such people be disarmed before he would speak to them in Utah (see story above)?
6)"Illegalizing guns won't stop the death. Rape and murder and drugs are all illegal, but people continue to do and use them." --This is true as well, but it completely evades the point. Making guns illegal would not solve the problem of gun murders in this country, but it would make it better. Yes, determined criminals would still aquire guns, but law enforcment would have the opportunity of dealing with them BEFORE they murder, arresting them for possesion of guns. The way it is now, police just have to sit around and wait until the gun-mongers start killing before they can move. Then, after the fact, people say "well, he did have a closet full of guns..." Having guns legal is like giving every man a key that would unlock the door to any woman's home...it facilitates crime. Take away the guns and the keys, and there will still be murders and rapes, but there won't be NEARLY as many.
Of the top 35 industrialized nations (and that's getting pretty low down on the food-chain...countries like Slovenia and Colombia are on that list), the USA has the HIGHEST death rate by guns of all.
Taking the NRA's word as evidence on gun-death statistics is like taking the Tobacco industries word on cigarette-death statistics. They make money off selling their product, no matter how many people die. Who has more reason to lie about guns? The NRA, or the Center for Disease Control?
England and Australia each had massacres of their own several years ago...one each. After that one wake-up call, both countries enacted legislation that illeglaized, or greatly limited access to, guns, and no such incidents have happened again. The USA has had countless massacres, and we've done nothing. Well, we've stripped the rights of our children. They can't carry bags to school anymore unless they're see-through, and many have to wear uniforms or walk through metal detectors. But we've done nothing about guns. The NRA has seen to that.