This is a commentary piece based on an ongoing event and may be updated.
It is only within the past two hours that news has broken of a mass shooting that has this afternoon taken place in the town of Sutherland Springs in Texas. While this news story is currently developing, it is currently believed that there has been at least 27 deaths, including the sole shooter, although at this time, the identity of the shooter is not known, nor is it confirmed if they took their own life or were shot by police at the scene.
One thing that is immediately clear though, is that this is an act of terror and the shooter is a terrorist. No one should have to wait to find out the motive or the background of the attacker to ever say that.
As is becomming a common occurrence following mass shooting terrorist attacks within the United States, over the next couple of hours and days there will be many who publicly say that now is not the correct or just time to begin discussing gun control — This is something I agree with — The correct and just time to begin discussing gun control has long since passed, and the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks such as today’s is just another example of how willing people are to find an excuse to stall taking about and taking action on the real issue.
Already on social media there are thousands claiming that more guns would make things safer and stop mass shooting terrorist attacks such as this — How? Regardless of the circumstances around today’s events, there are a number of things that are already clear facts — 1) This took place is a country where gun ownership is legal, 2) This took place within a state where gun ownership is one of the highest rates in the country, 3) The lives of innocent people were taken by a gun.
It is an undeniable fact that banning guns entirely or even greatly regulating them results in lower numbers of mass shootings — A quick look at every single country that has regulations proves this. So why are people still so quick to defend gun ownership?
‘IT’S IN THE CONSTITUTION’
Overlooking the very basic fact that many of those who use this defence as a reason not to introduce and enforce gun regulations are those who also regularly forget about the Constitutional right to free speech, a simple fact remains about this argument that is inconvenient for those who preach it — It’s outdated.
Over the past two hundred years it has become more than clear that many elements of the Constitution have become no longer fit for purpose, hence the reason for the existence of Constitutional amendments — the second of which is the whole basis of the argument that people are Constitutionally entitled to have guns.
It is often easily forgotten that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that the United States has a ‘well regulated Militia’… for the purpose of protecting the security of a free state. In simpler terms, this means that people should own guns in order to protect the country from foreign forces, for example, invading armies — An argument which is currently so outdated that those who honestly think they need to have a gun incase North Korea decide to invade the United States by sailing to the Californian coast and mounting a land invasion, clearly do not have the intellectual capacity necessary to be trusted with a waffle maker, let alone a gun.
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
In addition to the calls for more guns, one expected response in the immediate aftermath of today’s terrorist attack is the tweeting of President Donald Trump who has said ‘May god be w/ (with) the people of Sutherland Springs’.
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Given just how often comments like this are made following a mass shooting, surely by now it is time that someone stood up and said this is enough and it’s time to take real action?
Thoughts and prayers won’t save lives, what will is courage and the realisation by lawmakers that there is a moral obligation to look past the vested interests of some of their donors and save lives, because until then, everyone in the United States could be a potential victim in the future.