Focus on the root of our gun problem

Every day another person loses a life to a gunshot wound. Every day people who oppose guns can add that death to their long-running list of arguments that support their views. And every day the National Rifle Association and the pro-gun supporters hold steadfast to their “right to bear arms.” The cycle continues endlessly.
There is a definite problem in the American society; I don’t think either side of the gun debate argues that. People are walking into school and killing their classmates, picking off their co-workers and barging into churches to gun down innocent people they don’t even know. These are just the more infamous cases. Husbands shoot their wives, girlfriends shoot their boyfriends, drug dealers shoot other drug dealers. Everybody’s shooting everybody else.
The most immediate solution would seem to be a ban on guns. It makes sense: no guns, no gunshot wounds, no deaths. Yes, the right to bear arms is clearly stated in the Constitution, but we must take into account the context in which the Constitution was written. The United States was a new country facing the long-established militaries of other nations.
The Second Amendment was designed to ensure the citizenry would always stay well-armed. With the absence of an extensive military, it made sense that everyone bear some of the responsibility to guard the country against outside enemies.
Two hundred years later, we are involved in wars where soldiers don’t even set foot on enemy soil; all the fighting is done from the air with bombs and high-tech military gadgets. The United States proved in World War II that you don’t need guns to win a war, for Christ’s sake; you need an atomic bomb!
Granted, with the military as large as it is, the chances that the ordinary citizen will need a gun to defend the country is slim. But there are many other dangers. The amendment contains within it one important aspect that never dies with time: It assumes that American citizens are smart enough to take care of themselves. American citizens have the right to carry weaponry, to protect themselves and to kill if need be.
Unfortunately, the American people are testing the boundaries and their capacity to live up to this responsibility, and it is obvious many people cannot handle it. Does that mean we should go to the Constitution with correction fluid and neatly cover up that with which we can no longer deal? Are the American people too weak-minded to make their own decisions now, 200 years after the founding of this country, that they should have their rights pulled out from under them?
Besides, taking guns away fails to attack the root of the problem. Guns are simply a tool with which those who are already aggressive can take out their anger. The problem itself has more to do with the state of humanity than it does with guns, anyway. When the stress of living is reduced and we spot potential psychos early enough to intervene, the real dilemma will be solved. Removing the middleman will not prevent people from killing each other. If we outlaw guns, we’ll soon have to outlaw all sharp objects, ropes, automobiles and every other conceivable method of murder.
Imagine if every problem were dealt with somewhere along one branch, rather than at its root. Our society would be totally reactive, constantly trying to remove another negative factor in the problem, but never focusing on the root of the problem. In addition to simply being a nightmare of reduced freedoms, this method wastes energy on the wrong targets. We have a problem with ourselves and our society; as a result of that, we have a problem with guns.
Emily Dalnodar’s column appears on alternate Thursdays. She welcomes comments at [email protected].