Opinion: Gun control, the political game


Lucas Misera is a sophomore economics major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Lucas Misera

On Monday, CNN released a poll revealing voters expect gun control to be a critical issue in the upcoming 2016 election; news that came as no surprise.

Undoubtedly, as the presidential race heats up, gun activists will vehemently defend the Second Amendment while much of the Left will aim to enact strict gun-control policies.

The debate was brought to the forefront after tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut, yet it seems as if talks have remained stagnant.

From a realistic perspective, this national debate is irrelevant unless legislators and other leaders identify this nation’s violent culture as a major concern.

According to the FBI, there were 386.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants as of 2012. The intentional homicide rate lingers around 5 such crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, a staggering number when compared to other developed nations.

Many major European countries experience less than one death per 100,000 inhabitants including Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Denmark. In the upcoming elections, candidates need to address the core of our dangerous society, not debate an off-branching result of it.

It’s time to drop the notion that guns are the root of the problem. Yes, for quite some time, I found myself blaming guns for the tragedies that occur seemingly more frequently than ever, but I understand now that I was wrong.

While guns are pivotal tools in such heinous crimes, it is our culture that perpetuates such behavior.

“Grand Theft Auto V” sold nearly 55 million copies, violent behavior pervades the film industry and football, arguably the most violent of America’s major sports, is wildly popular.

Violence is a staple of entertainment in the United States, but “entertainment” is starting to become reality. Disturbingly, it’s as if the public is desensitized to violence and its effects.

I lost faith that we could change our tendencies after 27 innocent citizens were brutally murdered in Newtown. These lost lives became political tools for gun control.

Forget guns, even if just for a moment. I’m not even sure that we feel anymore, as if our ability to empathize is officially impaired.

Mass-shootings have become nearly routine, and this is the most disconcerting issue plaguing society. Shootings are no longer tragedies, they have become mere news updates.  

When I heard what had taken place in Newtown, I was shaken. We were shaken. The world stopped to consider what it really valued. Now it seems as if the continuous stream of gruesome crimes has made us turn away, as if each violent crime brings along less compassion.

It’s time to snap back to reality. Violence needs to stop fueling political games; instead, we need a genuine effort to work towards peace. Domestic terrorism is just as dangerous as terrorism from across the globe, and politicians need to treat it as such. If anything, it’s time to start treating every major violent crime with the severity and gravity that it deserves. Without sympathy, we’ll go nowhere.

Lucas Misera is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].