As a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, I was recently asked "what would you say to the loved ones who recently lost family and friends to mass murderers?" A question deserving a well considered answer.
I would start by saying that I am pained and horrified at these acts, and no words of consolation would be adequate. I then would seek the perhaps unknowable "why" behind these inhuman deeds.
Were it possible, I would confront the murderers with a simple question, "Where did you come up with the idea to kill these people?" Is it possible these people were born with bad genes waiting to be turned on by the presence of a gun? Was this behavior learned from their parents? Did mom and dad tell them to take up arms and kill people to get their point across? Did they learn it in school where you will get suspended for simply portraying a gun, or bringing a plastic knife to class?
Or, is it possible these murderers found their muse in the ever present violence of multimedia? In shows involving cops, doctors, lawyers, science fiction, soap operas, etc.? Is it possible that the most violent movies tend to garner the largest audiences and have lasting effects on the viewers? Do these people lose the ability to live vicariously through the protagonists and antagonists on screen? Is there some expurgation through watching someone "get what's coming to them" by being riddled with bullets and seek that release in their twisted view of reality?
Let's not forget the most recent horror at Sandy Hook was perpetrated by someone obsessed with violent video games in which points are scored by death and destruction rather than by protection and preservation. Violence leads to victory. Personal fulfillment becomes a function of body counts. Where was there any control or oversight on these activities?
A final question I would pose to them "If you didn't have access to a gun, would you still be intent on death and destruction, or would you spend time working at the homeless shelter?" Let's not forget, long before the invention of firearms, people were killed with whatever technological instrument of violence was available to them, and if this "preferred" weapon was unavailable, they would resort to the next available option. Would the elimination of any source of killing remove the desire to kill?
I would then return to the victim's loved ones and tell them "I have good and bad news the good news is I think I know where the intentions of violence were formulated, but the bad news is no one is addressing them. Politicians and others in power are so narrow minded they wish to concentrate on means rather than the motives." As sadly as I feel for the victims and their families, I also feel a deep sadness for the misguided efforts being promoted as a means to end this senseless violence.
Michael A. Glass