Bottom Line: Guns KillAshley Perez

They say guns don’t kill, people do. Angry, violent, hurting people are those who takes lives— lives of innocent children, movie goers and Christmas shoppers. Yes, a person did that, but he did it with a gun. Guns have one purpose: to kill things. Whether for sport of for slaughter, guns kill— animals, soldiers, citizens and now children.

Our country has a long-standing history of freedom; we worship as we choose, speak as we like and yes, we have the right to bear arms. “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was not the result of the militia marching through town or a man defending the security of a free state.  It was outright murder. The anger and pain of a young man turned into mass murder. Yes, a man did this – but he did it with a gun.

It’s time to pull together and say no more. We must stop making excuses, hiding behind fancy rhetoric and tired politics while the lives of innocent Americans, innocent children are lost forever. You have a right to bear arms, but didn’t those children have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Life above all else is what our founding fathers intended for us—a life better and bigger than we could begin to imagine. They were planting the seeds of the American Dream before they knew what those two words would come to mean to millions of people— immigrants, soldiers, parents, children, generations of Americans in pursuit of a fuller, happier life. But today is no dream. Today is nothing short of a nightmare.

So, what do we do? What do we, the young women and men of America, do to stop mass murder in its tracks? How can we ensure this never happens again? It’s simple enough: we use our voices and we don’t back down.

This means more than posting Facebook statuses, tweeting prayers and instagramming pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes. We have been criticized by the mass media for being a generation of “slacktivists”, unable to create change through our unwillingness to actually do something. We must act. Write your congressmen and congresswomen, your senators and your president. Tell them you are tired of violence, politics and inaction. Speak and they’ll listen—we can no longer be ignored.

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” -Nelson Mandela

The time for action is now. It’s time to give our children what they most deserve— life free of violence and fear— life, to the fullest.

Featured image via Karsten Moran for the New York Times

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  1. Ok so say a gun isn’t available to the guy. If he is in a crazy state of mind that won’t matter because guess what?! He’ll strap a bomb to himself or he’ll use a something else that kills people. Hello! Knives can kill people too. If it weren’t for my gun I’d probably be dead or seriously mentally and physically scarred because I wouldn’t have been able to fight off the drunk 300 pound man on drugs that broke into my apartment in the middle of the night last year.

  2. My thoughts are with the families of the victims today.

  3. Thank you for this call to action. In a communal society like we all live in today, I believe it’s impossible to prevent ALL violent behavior and there’s no such thing as 100% safe. People on the emotional or mental fringe may, at times, attack others where the reason eludes the rest of us…and in this case and all cases like it, it’s tragic. I’m an advocate of improved gun regulations, but the real answer in my opinion is the truly hard work…. improving parenting, increased mental health treatment, improved security protocols and equipment, self-defense training, etc. Changing gun laws is, comparatively speaking, easy….but won’t prevent someone who is determined to cause harm, gun or not. I believe investments in early identification and prevention, security and protection is what is needed…..and it’s admittedly hard work, especially when done on a national level. Although 100% safety is unobtainable, we can collectively do a lot to improve how we prevent, detect and respond to violence to make our communities safer. My two cents….

  4. Our greatest way to protect ourselves is Education! NOT gun control!

    Unfortunately crazies are everywhere… Did you know that in China on the same day 22 children and an elderly woman was stabbed!!!! Sure this guy wasn’t able to shoot anyone but that’s only because no one in China has freedom to own or have anything not approved..

    A perfect example of a crazy person is Anders Breivik who killed 69 people in a shooting spree that lasted nearly 2 hours.. he was able to do this even with police and politicians around because no one is allowed to have a gun in Norway.. he was able to go on this rampage until Norway was able to get the military involved…. one man! He also set off a bomb and the total counting go as follows

    Deaths: 8 from bomb and 69 from gun firing
    Injured: 209 from the bomb and 110 by gun firing

    *now remember Norway NO ONE except the military is allowed to have a gun! Not even police.. only paramilitary units and the military itself…. one man did all that with no help!

    EDUCATION is key NOT Control!

  5. The states in this nation with the toughest gun laws have the most homicides/deaths from guns. NYC, DC, Chicago. When you have people with mental health issues out there, they will find a way to kill. Example Timothy McVeigh killed 168 with a truck. People need to contact their senators, state reps and all about how to help the mental health community. We,as a nation, have closed so many mental health homes where these people actually got the help they needed. The answer is to quit cutting the funding to mental health issues. Not to take guns away from honest people. What was the last mass shooting you saw in a state like Texas? Also, during Clinton’s assault ban, the gun violence doubled until 10yrs later when the ban was lifted. If you take anything away from the horror of what happened yesterday take the fact that you need to stress to the law makers that mental health is an issue.

  6. Connect with Facebook to post a commentThe following are not my ideas; I’ve gathered most of them scouring the internet, but I agree with them. Ban the manufacture and importation of all guns for 30 years. Enforce strict regulation on transfer of gun ownership. Force owners to register all guns and set-up a new national database and require any change in ownership status (Lost, stolen, sold, broken, etc.) to be reported promptly and in detail with penalties for negligence and dereliction. Offer cash rewards to CATCH those who have guns illegally. These steps will cause responsible gun owners to take even better care of their guns. Increase gun buy-backs with federal subsidies. Eventually the average criminal and those we don’t want to have guns will lose theirs to arrest, lack of maintenance or general carelessness. It will also be more difficult for these individual
    s to purchase guns b/c the black market price will skyrocket. Once the manufacturing of guns is resumed, place a ban on the manufacture for civilian use of all semi-automatic weapons, pump action shotguns, extended clips and ridiculously powerful ammo. Also require more stringent background checks for mental stability of those seeking to own guns. Centralize where guns can be purchased like the NH liquor store. Place more restriction on Ammo purchase. Repeal Stand Your Ground laws. Guns should be for hunting and self-defense. You don’t need a banana clip to hunt deer or a Mac 10 to keep burglars out of your house. This is a compromise; if it were up to me, I’d wipe all guns from the face of this nation, if it would bring those children back.

  7. “You have a right to bear arms, but didn’t those children have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Of course they did. The law abiding adults were not able to practice their right to bear arms so there was no way to protect themselves or those children that lost their lives. The laws are in place that regulate the sale of firearms but the focus is lost by those who own them. How many think it sufficient to simply “hide” their weapon(s) somewhere in the house and think them safely out of the hands of those with less respect and training of them rather than securing them in a firearms vault or safe?

  8. I think the big issue that should be addressed in the wake of this atrocity doesn’t really have anything to do with guns — it’s the fact that people with serious mental illnesses are often stigmatized and disincentivized from seeking out healthcare, and are often blocked from healthcare by shady insurance practices.

    To quote my friend Andrew: The fact of the matter is this: guns are not easy to access in Connecticut and the assailant had untreated mental health issues. … Gun control can’t stop massacres like this, or like Aurora, or like Columbine, because they’re all perpetrated by people who have serious, untreated disorders. That is the single common thread between all these horrible shootings: the gun control laws are different, but the state of mental healthcare is always the same – abysmal.

    You could take away all the guns in the world, but if someone is ill and wants to destroy someone or something they will find a tool that will do it.

    • I actually don’t think that we can explain what happened here simply as the cause of one individuals mental life. Of course nobody who’s sane can do such a terrible thing, but I think if you overlook the other causes (such as the fact that in America it’s way too easy to lay your hands on a murder weapon) you close the conversation of what could actually be done to make sure that this won’t happen again in the future. You’ve got people with mental disorders everywhere, but being an untreated psycho doesn’t automatically make you kill a lot of children. In the Netherlands where I live, we’ve also got some people with issues who feel so frustrated and ill that they do something terrible. Though these things almost never happen on such a grand scale as in the US, and I do think the most important reason is not that we might have better mental health care here, but that we don’t allow shooting guns in our country. You guys should decide on how important the right to defend yourselves with a gun is for you. Nobody wants to feel unsafe, and I can imagine that having a gun makes you feel a little more secure. But allowing guns does make it so much easier to shoot so many innocent people, and I don’t think that better security or better mental health care can spare your country for such a disaster in the future. But I’m not American so I can’t really know how much the legalization of guns is embedded in your culture. Anyway, I wish you guys a lot of strength and I hope you can talk it out.

    • Thank you for that post, Jess. I could not agree with you more, and it frustrates me to see so many people jump on the anti-gun bandwagon when the real heart of this problem is how our society handles mental illness.

  9. I’m glad HelloGiggles posted this story. Personally, I’m on the fence about the gun regulations, but women should be able to talk about these issues that affect us all. HelloGiggles isn’t just about nail polish and happiness. It’s about empowering women and opening up dialogue between them. This is an important issue the country is facing, and we NEED to be able to talk about.

    My love and sympathies go out to the victims and their families during this time.

  10. I didn’t expect to see this on HelloGiggles and I’m disappointed by it.

    • To clarify, there are two articles about the same issue on the home page today. This particular article fell short. “Bottom Line: Guns Kill” – this article doesn’t promote a conversation, in fact it demands I take a very specific, yet vague, action – “How can we ensure this never happens again? It’s simple enough: we use our voices and we don’t back down.” 1. This will NOT ensure this never happens again. 2. It’s not that simple, especially if you don’t offer a specific solution to gun control – Ban all guns? Ban some guns? Gun limits per household?
      In the wake of such an awful event, I just don’t understand how this is the solution – “How can we ensure this never happens again? It’s simple enough: we use our voices and we don’t back down.” It’s not.

      The other article THE CONNECTICUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING: SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE by Michelle Konstantinovsky was more about a conversation.

      • Duane,

        Thanks for your criticism. After reading Michelle’s article, I understand and agree with your disappointment.There are many points in my article that could have been better articulated or extrapolated. I hoped in writing this article I would help to highlight the power of the collective voice to bring about the conversation which would spark action in our nation’s leaders. You are right, I was not clear concerning the specifics of future gun control laws, and perhaps should have done so. My intention remains to remind young people to use their voices, though I am thankful for your criticism. As a writer, I respect you and your wife immensely.

        Ashley Perez | 12/15/2012 04:12 pm
        • You’re a very talented writer Ashley, I love all your work. This was such a horrific event and obviously we’re all emotionally connected to it. I’m glad you’re committed to getting young people to use their collective voice. It’s a HUGE and important task, as the first person commented above “great power requires great responsibility.” Some people don’t know what that voice is, perhaps it’s our job to educate them on all sides of a story and let them work it out. But yes, encourage them to be proactive.
          I appreciate your effort – keep fighting the good fight!

      • I was all prepared to disagree with you but then I read your follow up comment and I go agree. I don’t feel all guns should be banned because people should have the right to defend themselves or hunt or shoot skeet or whatever but there needs to be more regulation on who can get guns and what KINDS of guns they can get.

  11. We shouldn’t forget that yesterday–yes, the same day as the shooting– a man in China stabbed 22 schoolchildren. How did he harm them? Not with a gun, but with a knife. Sometimes, people will be motivated to hurt others in hideous ways, and they will do that however they can.

    • Yes, you are correct. However, none – not ONE – of those children was killed. People attack other people with knives and cars and baseball bats but how can we deny that a gun makes it far easier to kill and maim a greater number of people in one horrific incident. My heart goes out to those poor children in China and to the families of the children who lost their lives in Connecticut. If the attacker in China was armed with a gun instead of a knife, I sincerely doubt those poor innocent children would’ve survived – at least not all of them.

      • Your statement about no deaths in the China incident is true, however your lacking quite a bit of information. The person responsible for the stabbings was apprehended by security stationed across the street. This security detail was assigned due to similar attacks in 2010 by individual(s) armed with knives that left nearly 20 dead and 50 wounded… Where there is a will there is a way. Be it to do good or to harm. If that attacker in China the other day had the will or desire to find an illegal firearm with which to do harm, I assure they would and could have.

  12. First, as an able-bodied, strong athletic female, I am still not able to adequately defend myself against the majority of aggressive men. Anti-gun laws deny me the right to protect myself against attackers. The same goes for my (and your’s and anyone else’s) grandparents. They can most likely not defend themselves against most aggressors.
    Second, having a gun allows you the opportunity to respectfully kill your own food. If you reserve to eat meat, aka dead animals, you can be sure that the animal is treated honorably rather than so much of our easily accessible food that is raised for slaughter and full of foreign chemicals. Anyone that wants to eat meat should have to kill their own food at least once in their life to realize the responsibility involved in eating meat. Harvesting meat yourself is far more respectful than eating an animal out of a factory.
    Last, law-abiding citizens use their guns for defense, hunting and sport (usually shooting targets for practice, sometimes disgustingly hunting animals for sport.). Anti-gun laws are not aimed at stopping these people. These laws are made to restrict criminals. What is the definition of a criminal… someone that breaks the law.

    • But you don’t need an assault weapon to hunt. Bringing the ban back on assault weapons might do some good.

      • Well the 10 year assault weapons ban in the clinton era did NO good, infact, right after the ban there was an awful shooting after a bank robbery. With assault weapons. Marijuana is illegal to buy from a store without a medical card in every state. Yet a lot of people have it illegal. The same would happen with assault weapons. Banning assault weapons won’t stop them from shooting people. You do know that the assault weapons ban just bans certain features of the gun like the Muzzle break/Flash Supressor, which does nothing but make the gun QUIETER! It also bans the bayonet Lug? But there has never been any murder in America with a bayonet so???? It also bans the vertical style grip which only makes the gun more comfortable and easier to hold. It also makes any magazine over 10rds more expensive because they become illegal to make, the only ones you can buy are ones that were made before the ban. So the price just doubles like in California. Right now there is an assault weapons ban in california, new york, and a few other areas, and the ban has done nothing. just makes the gun a little more uncomfortable and less “evil” looking.

    • I don’t think anyone is saying all guns should be banned. I thought the author of the article made that clear. You’re 100 percent right – we have no way to defend ourselves when gun laws are broken. Assuming criminals will just stop getting guns because there is a tougher law in place is naive at best. I do, however, think there needs to be a limit on what kind of guns a person owns and there needs to be more regulation in place to ensure people with mental illnesses or those prone to violence at least have a harder time getting guns. In this case, the guns were stolen which is, like it or not, kind of unavoidable when thinking about criminals. I’m sure his mother didn’t just hand over the weapons, especially since she was killed. Regardless, in a lot of mass shootings the guns are legally purchased. Aurora is a good example of that – someone with a history of mental illness was able to buy everything he needed to kill 12 innocent people trying to enjoy a movie. It’s scary. The answer isn’t simple no matter how much people on both sides of the argument want it to be.

      • I agree that there should be stricter and very specific screening for mental illness although I admit I know nothing of the current restrictions.
        A bigger issue, in this case, than gun control seems to be the security in this school and others like it. I’m not saying that teachers should necessarily carry guns, but at the very, very least, all doors to schools should be locked during school hours. People should have to get buzzed into the doors at the front office. Similarly, movie theater exits should be locked from the outside. (Just today, a family member was in a movie and someone came in through the exit about 15 minutes into the film.) It is just so sad that it takes a tragedy for these issues to come to light.
        Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        • I just read both of your comments and replies to each other and all I want to say is that I really appreciate the maturity in which you both responded to each other. That was cool to see. We need more of that. It’s the little things that make a big difference.

  13. I have written to both my representative and senator…they need to actually DO something!!!

  14. I can only say one sentence of uncle espiderman “great power requires great responsibility”

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