Sean Murphy is a conservative activist who lives in Woodbury
I have been watching the politicization of recent mass shootings and it is time that we have an informed and unemotional discussion about what is going on today.
The issues I am about to discuss are not directed at a specific event, but are general commentary. I am not an avid shooter or hunter. I was not brought up around guns. I have educated myself on firearms in the past few years. I have attempted to grasp why so many Americans have the positions they do against firearms.
We as Americans have had it easy for a long time. The last major struggle that lasted for an extended period of time was the Great Depression, over 80 years ago. We have fought wars on foreign soil, generally thousands of miles away. We have had periods of recession, but they have not lasted very long.
Most Americans are not exposed to crime and violence, minus our soldiers in war zones and certain parts of American inner cities. We have jobs. We show up for work, put in our time, and collect the check. If we lose our job, the government is there to give us unemployment until we find another one, which has not been that hard to do.
When we retire, we have Social Security checks just show up. We did not have to do anything more than let the government take it out of our checks for decades. If we get sick, there is Medicare or Medicaid, if we are not getting health insurance from our employer, paid by them for us.
The United States of America was founded on a few revolutionary principles and we have slowly drifted away over the past 100 years, to the point where we do not recognize the country anymore.
However, the real world still exists, whether we see it or live it daily. The world has a set of defined rules that sooner or later, will always catch up to us.
Rule #1-We Must be Responsible for Ourselves
One of the most famous and widely read books on self-improvement is 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. The first habit is: be proactive.
America today is divided into two parts: self-reliant and dependent. The country was built on the notion that we are responsible for our own wants and needs. The country has devolved into one in which a large segment of the population depends on the government for its basic needs.
When I have attempted to discuss firearms with people, some just shut down. They cannot fathom that they would ever be in a situation where they needed to defend themselves. This is why the Newtown incident hits home to millions of Americans. How can anyone execute children? It is the worst nightmare for anyone to go through, let alone think about. Many Americans either ignore these realities or just bury their head in the sand.
We cannot expect anyone to protect us but ourselves. When seconds count, the police are minutes away. Government cannot protect us or provide for us. We must do for ourselves.
Rule #2-We Must be Prepared for the Unexpected
We must proactively prepare for situations that may never happen, but nonetheless, we must prepare anyways. Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
There have been major storms with extended power outages in Connecticut in each of the past two years. This once again reminded me that Americans do not prepare for the unexpected. After extended power outages in 2011, some prepared by purchasing a generator and stockpiling extra food. Many did not learn the preparedness lesson and complained a second time. We saw in the Sandy storm how New Yorkers did not prepare and the massive suffering.
We have life insurance just in case. We have sprinkler systems in commercial buildings just in case. When we fly, attendants speak before taking off on what happens if there is an emergency. Successful businesses have contingency plans. We must be prepared for the unexpected, not wallow in it.
The average American could does not have enough money to survive a loss of income for one month. We as a society spend beyond our means, both with government and as individuals. I choose to live in the world that is, not the one that I wish it was. One of these realities is tragedies will happen.
Rule #3-Evil Exists
It is one thing to prepare for the unexpected power outages; it is another to prepare for a psychopath who wants to kill people. There is a section of the Muslim religion that wants to destroy the Western world. We witnessed this first hand with 9-11. Whether we like it or not, the threat still exists.
There are people want to do harm to others. If they cannot get one type of weapon, they will find another. We can attempt to stop it, but it is far more effective to be prepared. The pain of regret can stay with someone for the remainder of their lives.
Neville Chamberlain signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler. That same mindset is dangerously prevalent today.
Rule #4-Laws Are Designed to Punish Behavior
Laws exist to punish behavior. They have never effectively stopped undesired behavior. Prohibition of alcohol lasted 14 years. We still have stealing, robbery, murder, and use of illegal drugs. Laws can deter behavior to some extent, but not stop it.
Connecticut has strict gun laws that actually worked in the Newtown case. The shooter was not legally allowed to own guns and had to break the law to acquire them. He then used them on school grounds, again in violation of the law.
Banning magazines over a certain size just means that someone bent on doing harm will find a different medium to cause harm. That is, if they even follow the law in the first place. A weapon was used in the Columbine shootings that had been banned by Congress. Just because something is the law has no correlation to whether people behave accordingly. These school shootings took place in Gun Free Zones. History has shown that shooters ignore them.
When I look at the proposals in front of the Connecticut General Assembly, I see the typical knee-jerk reactions that politicians have to tragedies. What I do not see is stopping mass shootings because the foundational principles of our elected officials are not in line with what needs to be done.
The solution is Americans must accept that we are responsible for our own safety. Then we must understand that we have to prepare for things that are not likely to happen. Included in this is that evil can cross our path at any time. We must be prepared to face it and deal with it. Lastly, we must understand that we cannot pass a law to stop bad things from happening. Life simply does not work this way. If you are not sure of this, go tell a child not to do something and see what happens.
Once we have all the information, as the final report on Newtown is not completed, then we can act intelligently, responsibly, and rationally. If our elected officials have the right principles and take time to think things through, the answer will become clear.