Volume 93, Issue 80

Thursday, March 2, 2000


Editorial Board 1999-2000

You've made your bed...

Editorial cartoon

You've made your bed...

When will it end?

This question has found a permanent home on the lips of North American citizens. It first surfaced with the high school massacre in Columbine last summer, only to be repeated with various copycat killings which followed. Now the question is being asked again on account of the recent Michigan school shooting. However, this tragic event can't be blamed on the turbulence of adolescence – the gunman was six years old.

The victim was his Grade 1 classmate and their classroom was the scene of the crime. In the middle of a normal Grade 1 day, the boy removed a .32 calibre pistol from his pants and shot Kayla Rolland in the neck.

A six year-old child has not developed the brain capacity to understand the concept of death – but with a gun at his disposal, no one can deny he had the physical capacity to kill. The boy found the gun in his uncle's house, loaded, lying under some blankets.

So who's at fault this time? The boy, who arguably had no comprehension of the outcome of his actions? His uncle, with whom the boy was staying, who allowed a stolen, loaded gun, to be easily accessible? Those darn violent video games which teach kids it's OK to point and shoot? All these are knee-jerk answers which surface when one has to try and comprehend the murder of a child, by a child. None of them explain why 40 years ago, our parents didn't have to worry about being shot when attending school, although now their children do.

Unfortunately, this is clearly a problem which is destined to become much worse before it gets any better.

While tighter gun control is not the final solution to this complex problem, it would certainly be a step in the right direction. Sadly, those who don't believe in stricter laws for weapons, refuse to make a connection between the easy availability of firearms and this recent rash of shootings. If the blood of innocent children isn't enough to sway the opinions of a vast group of people, is there any hope for substantial change in the foreseeable future?

Laws can be changed, regulations can be altered – it happens in America on an almost daily basis. But if stricter gun control laws are viewed as compromising American rights, then the answer to that terrible question, is evident.

When will it end? Not until people decide these wasted lives are not worth the slight inconvenience of tighter firearm legislation. It's sad that many seem to care more about their outdated "rights" than the lives of their fellow citizens. By confusing their legal rights as Americans with their natural rights as human beings, a large group of people have unwittingly aided these murders.

You can't have it both ways and until those who oppose gun control realize this, they have absolutely no right to mourn for those who are dead.

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