So the world did not, in fact, come to an end. So perhaps, as some Mayans believe, this is instead the start of a new and better age. If this indeeed a new and better age, what can we do to help make the world a better, safer place?
It is no surprise that the debate over gun control laws has grabbed headlines as of late as we struggle with how to move forward in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. In fact, gun violence against children has reached dizzying heights in the United States for many years. According to the Children’s Defense Fund 2012 report, which analyzes the findings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for children and teens, ages 0 – 19:
• In 2008 - 2009, 5,740 children and teens died from guns in the United States — one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years. 34,387 children and teens injured by guns in 2008 and 2009.
• The number of preschoolers killed by guns in 2008 (88) and in 2009 (85) was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2008 (41) and 2009 (48).
• Was greater than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan (5,013).
Today, many waited with baited breath to hear what National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre had to say at the press conference in Washington, after the NRA’s surprising silence. To the dismay of many Americans rocked by the tragedy, LaPierre called for armed security guards to be placed in every school in the nation, and pointed to the media and violent video games as the culprit for high rates of gun violence among children. But is more guns in schools really the answer to keeping guns out? Many argue that increasing safety and prevention measures for current and potential gun owners should have been addressed as an alternative. It seems there is still a long road ahead toward our new and better age.