a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
The ongoing debate about gun control in the US would certainly fit this particular description, but I suspect that you already know that. This year in-particular has seen a massive influx of coverage surrounding the issue – according to Google Trends, this is the highest that interest has been on the subject since 2007.
I was 13 in 2007, the year I got my first laptop (the old girl, sadly, expired a few months ago and had to be replaced). I remember setting it up with excitement, I was particularly enamoured by a column on the right hand side of the screen which relayed international news stories to me. The first story I remember seeing on there was the murder of an 11 year old boy called Rhys Jones in Liverpool. As shocking as this story was, it wasn’t the first we’d hear major news coverage of in the UK. In 1996, Thomas Hamilton shot dead sixteen young children and their teacher at Dunblane Primary School before turning the gun on himself. You may remember a story eerily similar to this just 3 years ago – the mass killings in Cumbria carried out by Derrick Bird, once again provoking shock, horror and disbelief across the UK. Twelve people lost their lives on the 2nd June, 2010, before Bird, another licensed gun owner, turned the gun on himself.
When you read or heard about these stories, did you ever ask yourself whether you felt safe? Now, the UK has some pretty strict laws on gun control and we have one of the lowest rates of gun-related homicide incidents in the world, so I’m going to presume that the general consensus among we common folk was something along the lines of “it’ll never happen to me”. But what if you did find yourself in a situation where you were at gunpoint with no way to call for help or defend yourself? You’d probably wish you had a weapon then, right?
Here-in lies the heart of the debate and the fact that everybody needs to come to terms with. For as long as guns are manufactured in high numbers in places like the USA, with relatively low retail prices, it will be impossible to keep them out of the hands of criminals or anyone for that matter. There’s simply no stopping guns getting into the hands of thugs and criminals, especially with the recent advancement in 3D printing which has made a fully operational gun. How will things like this be stopped from being distributed across the Internet? Things like illegal downloading of films and music can’t even be kept under control, where will the ability to print your own gun be in the next 10 years, I wonder? I’ve heard of liberals promoting the idea of “gun-free zones” and restrictions on public carrying rights, and all they would be doing with this is making people less safe. It only takes one madman to prove the ineffectiveness of measures like this. If politicians want to get tough on guns and actually do something, they need to start by dramatically increasing prison sentences for people who commit crimes with a firearm and enforce stricter background checks with mental health examinations.
But what do I know, eh? I’m simply an 18 year old living in a country where we raise our alert level from ‘miffed’ to ‘peeved’ as soon as we run out of teabags, and who has yet to experience the “real world”. Therefore my opinion is hardly one worth considering, right?
Well, it’s pretty clear that those buffoons across the pond who call themselves “experts” can’t even sort their own problems out. There’s too many conservatives screaming about the Second Amendment and too many liberals trying to “dismantle America’s freedom”, and simply not enough in the way of reasoned arguments. The younger generation is frustratingly neglected when it comes to exposing them to these kinds of issues. It is my view that people need to be educated on this subject in as much of an objective manner as possible if there’s ever going to be any hope of resolving this dispute because generations come and generations go where people cling so tightly to traditional values and beliefs that any hope of progress is practically nil.