Preventing mass murder: stop sensationalizing crime and “control”

opposeIn the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that rocked a small upscale town in Connecticut that took the lives of 27 innocent people, including many small children, Americans and the media are once again renewing their calls for more restrictive gun control.  Government regulations, they claim, will somehow prevent the next massacre.

Human nature, unfortunately, makes this issue far more complex. The theory is simple: if more stringent controls on guns are enacted, fewer guns will be in the hands of criminals, and thus, fewer mass murders.  But what so many Americans fail to recognize is criminals – by definition – do not abide by laws.  We have a theory whose most basic premise is altogether wrong.

A cursory look at our nation’s drug laws draw an accurate picture of what happens when governments attempt to regulate away complex problems.  When government attempts to stifle an action, that action is quickly taken underground.  Drug cartels are notorious for building sophisticated and efficient mechanisms for moving and selling narcotics all over the world underneath the purview of government.  Do drug laws in the United States prevent Americans from smoking marijuana or snorting cocaine?  Of course not.

Let’s bring this concept back to the topic of guns.  If gun ownership is restricted, will that prevent Americans from obtaining and owning guns?  Again, of course not.  To combat government regulations, the gun trade will be taken underground, and when that happens, there is no regulation, no control and no oversight.  The result of the underground distribution of guns is scary.  When guns are used in a crime, the government will have a much tougher time tracing the source of the gun because the weapon was transported and obtained through unofficial channels.  Drugs work the same way.

Gun controls hurt our nation’s ability to track guns, to identify patterns and to properly bring to justice those who are responsible for helping criminals commit crimes.  Gun control is the last thing Americans should be focusing on if they truly want to prevent the next senseless massacre of innocent people in the United States.

The solution: quit sensationalizing murder.  The Connecticut tragedy has occupied news channels all over the world for days as media figureheads jam microphones into the faces of those affected and plaster pictures of the shooter on television for the entire world to see.  It is like a movie.

And the next killer sees this.  You can be sure that this weekend, as our media continued to hype the murder, the next one was being planned by some “troubled” youth who wants to be remembered as an evil criminal rather than what he truly is, a nobody and a drain on society.  The next “quiet, yet highly intelligent” monster wants his name and face recognizable by everyone in the United States too.

Ask yourself a question: What’s the name of the killer in the Connecticut shooting massacre?  Chances are, you quickly said Adam Lanza.  Now, what’s the name of a 6-year-old child who had their life taken from them at the hands of this madman?  Chances are, you cannot name a single victim.  But even if you could, far more cannot.  That is the problem.

Double or triple prison sentences for crimes that involve guns.  Quit turning real life tragedies into murder-mystery films.  Stop focusing on the criminal and start remembering the victims.  Real and meaningful reform does not come at the hands of career politicians, government bureaucrats and useless legislation.  True progress starts in society; let’s stop tolerating the sensationalizing of senseless murder.