Give Peace a Chance, Please


The song and the singer needs no introduction to most people, so I am not going to attempt that here.

I was busy at work when my wife asked me if I saw the news of the CT school shooting incident. I hadn’t – and I checked internet. And ever since, my mind has been anything but peaceful. Watching twitter and Facebook, it is apparent that most of the world is in shock as well – as it should be. I cannot rationalize in my mind why anyone would do this, especially to little kids.

Personally, I don’t support civilian use of guns. However, I do understand that it is a constitutional right in this country. And I am not an expert on the nuances of interpretation of the second amendment. So these thoughts are just based on my observations, experiences and beliefs, and in no small way influenced by me being the dad of a 7 year old daughter. This is a multidimensional problem – which needs an array of complimentary solutions. I have no claims of having any kind of comprehensive solutions in my mind – but for what little it is worth, I would like to mention a couple of my thoughts on this topic here.

Banning guns altogether is not practical for foreseeable future- although I personally don’t like civilians owning guns. I don’t own guns – but have several friends who own guns. I respect their decision . There might be legitimate reasons to have guns – like self defense in ones home, shooting as a competitive sport, or for licensed hunting etc. As long as users of guns are trained in its use, and guns are kept safely locked – it probably is ok (not ideal, just ok). Also, there is no good reason for civilians to own semi-automatic and automatic guns . These should be controlled severely.

Given how much we value privacy in this country – it is next to impossible to verify if gun owners are being responsible with gun ownership or not. All I can think of is more awareness, education etc leading to self policing gun ownership. In the long term, I hope the education system can influence the next generation sufficiently that they don’t all feel the reason to buy guns. This education is needed not just at schools – it needs to be reinforced at home, and every where else where it is appropriate. As demand for guns reduces, supply will adjust itself. Banning guns altogether will not help the situation at all in this country in my opinion – since that is just an incentive for black markets to flourish. Keeping purchase of certain guns as legal, but reducing demand for guns by education and awareness is about as good a practical solution as I can think of.

A good example of effective gun control is the situation in Japan. But since our situation is not comparable to Japan in many respects – what they did in Japan might not work here. But please do read this article to see how good it gets when there are not too many guns around. A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths

But that is only one part of the issue. Guns are not the only way to do serious harm. In can be debated whether other means like knives etc are as damaging as guns . But the point is, if you take away guns – there are always other ways that a mentally disturbed person or a criminal can use to inflict a lot of harm on us. So – we need some way of identifying and helping such people, and keeping them away from stuff that they can use to do bad things. This is way harder than controlling guns. But without such a social solution to go hand-in-hand with gun control – we will probably not have a comprehensive solution.

May be government has some role to play to help us live in peace – but I think this will be much better accomplished by people deciding for themselves. Maybe social media can help augment the message, or at least foster a good debate that will lead to people making up their minds for good, and acting positively before another awful incident happens.

Lets keep the victims of the CT shooting incident in our thoughts and prayers. And a big salute and huge thanks to the brave staff at the school for what they did. And I hope the media and everyone else respect the privacy of the grieving families.

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