Guns don't kill; people do

-A A +A

An editorial by the CKNJ Editorial Board

Respect for human life apparently doesn't have the importance it once did. Senseless tragedies such as Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Ariz. seem to be more of the norm rather than the unusual. We are reminded of the violence and loss of life in Colorado and Oklahoma as well as the recent attack on the local school board in Florida.

Whatever happened to public civility? Apparently it's gone by the wayside. Instead of being able to have a discussion with our neighbor or public officials, today's society is chock full of self-gratification, intolerance and violence while too many times the result is death to others.

We certainly hope that society isn't lowering its tolerance for misdeeds. There are certain acts, such as these senseless shootings, that are simply unconscionable. After all, taking another person's life is the ultimate criminal act and should result in the ultimate consequence.

When someone makes a choice to take another's life, that person is making a choice to give up any and all rights due a law-abiding citizen.

The legal system must be tightened so as not to allow every person who takes another's life to claim "mental instability" and get away with murder. It is simply not the way to solve this problem in society. Murder is a grievous crime and murderers should expect the most severe penalty for their actions.

The families of the victims receive our sympathy and will forever be impacted by this man's actions. What can they expect to receive for their pain, suffering and loss? We can't help but wonder how many millions of taxpayer dollars will now be spent in defense, food, lodging, health care, etc. on behalf of Jared Loughner, the gunman in the Arizona shootings. The costs for care of Loughner will become a social drain on all of us for this man's criminal act.

Even though many people are pointing fingers and blaming others, this murder and violence were not the fault of anyone else. No one forced Loughner to pull that trigger again and again. While we question the need to make 30-shot clips available in the marketplace, it's also important not to blame the shooting on guns. Guns don't kill; people do.

Apparently, Loughner was upset with his Congressional representative. He has the right to disagree, just as we all have. That's what democracy is all about.  However, it does not excuse what he did. 

It's important for elected officials to be accessible to their constituents. Open dialogue, debate and discussions are the foundation of our country. But there is simply no way to totally eliminate the risk in our daily lives. We cannot live in a bubble.