Guns are Not the Problem

Since the recent Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, many individuals across the United States, especially in popular news stations, such as CNN and Fox, have pointed towards gun violence as one of the more substantial issues erected from this tragedy. The Founding Fathers developed the Second Amendment because they saw weapons, guns included, as “necessary to the security of a free State” and determined that this right “shall not be infringed” (LLI). However, as CNN’s recent poll shows (swayed or not) “a deepening intensity of support for stronger gun laws” (CNN) since Nikolas Cruz committed his spree of murder. Many people, at least those examined by CNN, wish to limit the usage and means of obtaining guns, despite the clearly defined protection status of these types of weapons, since they can easily be classified as such. It does not matter the means upon which Cruz carried out the shooting, but rather the reason why he did it to begin with. Guns are not a problem that contributes to violent acts such as this shooting, but rather mental health issues from the individual that led up to the event.

Guns are merely tools. They are simply meant to release projectiles by means of pressurized gas (Wikipedia). And guns, but more generally: weapons, have proven their use, especially in war, self-defense, and even fun. Though, guns by themselves, are incapable of performing any of these actions without a human interacting with them. Like a hammer, they are useless if someone is not using it. Looking at the shooting, many could assume that the gun that Nikolas Cruz used to kill those children was the cause of their deaths. This assumption is based on what physically killed them, the bullet that came from the gun, so it does not mean that this is of false cause. However, keep in mind that the gun itself does not have the ability to intend to kill anyone, the same as all other guns and weapons, so it cannot be an ultimate cause as to why those kids are dead. It was not the gun’s decision to kill them, it was Cruz’s personal decision to kill those people. But why?

A person’s mental health is a significant factor on why people do the things that they do. Nikolas Cruz did not possess a stable mental state. The BBC had stated that he “reportedly [was] investigated by local police and the Department of Children and Family Services in 2016 after posting evidence of self-harm on the Snapchat app” (BBC).  Along other personal issues, Cruz “didn’t have many friends,” (BBC) and former classmates had spread rumors by “saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school” (BBC). So, it can be assumed that Nikolas Cruz was depressed. He may have had it easier than others, but the kid himself had a rough life, even if it is only to his own interpretation. His shaken mental state, likely with “disturbing false fixed beliefs” (NIMH) accompanying his depression, was clearly a primary factor on why he took action on February 14. Not only was he hurt, but people continued to hurt him. Spreading jokes, rumors, and other hateful things about him, despite how much he truly hurt. Nikolas Cruz’s mental health is the ultimate cause of the shooting as his degraded character must have made him feel pushed back into an inescapable corner that we wanted out of, no matter how irrational it may have seemed.

In essence, mental health is a significant problem within this country—nay, the world. Guns are not inherently a problem, for they have no will of their own, versus human beings and their mental conditions, which would stir them to use such devices to inflict such acts upon other human beings. We humans are very delicate creatures, depending upon social interactions to thrive and survive. And, when those social interactions are heavily negative, it is likely those who accept those social stimuli as input will output actions even more negative, socially deconstructive, and personally deconstructive. It is not enough to simply have good intentions, especially if people on the other end cannot comprehend your entirely different viewpoint on the world. Which is why, rather than creating an environment where people are afraid to speak out because of ostracization, we should be more inviting for people to talk about their problems and try our best to let them see that we are opening up avenues of understanding so that we can work together to solve one another’s issues.

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