Post-Newtown: gun, media, debates must effect change

By on February 6, 2013

Maybe it is the 20 empty desks. The 20 pairs of shoes that will never have the privilege of little toes filling them. Families who can only think of their lost child as a beautiful portrait of the past – an eternal reminder of what used to be; what was, but no longer is.

As far as I’m concerned, we would be failing these children, the brave teachers and their families if society lets the casualties of Newtown just fade into the past. It would be an injustice to those lost and to the families who are still alive.

It would also mean that Adam Lanza wins. He cannot win.

For better or for worse, Newtown is destined to be a defining moment of our generation, and how we act now will be our legacy.

It’s time to act.

In the wake of Newtown, change is already beginning, and people are beginning to act. Our emotion may stem from the trauma of this event, but change is on the horizon, and I could not be happier.

After Newtown, gun rights are a major debate throughout the country.

I grew up in an area where owning a gun is a way of life for some. Hunting has been a sport that people in my town have done their entire lives. There is something uniquely primitive about the freedom to go into the woods with a shotgun and bring something to the dinner table yourself.

I may have never shot a gun, and I do not intend on it, but I understand the allure of shooting one. I think it is fair that Americans have a right to own guns. But I do not think we should have the right to own assault rifles. This is a controversial topic, but there is no reason to own a gun like this unless you are planning on shooting someone.

Assault rifles are made for killing people. Yes, I said it. I have seen hunters go into the woods carrying a shotgun, but never have I seen them go into the woods with an assault rifle. A hunter wants to kill his target, not massacre it.

Newtown inspired this long-overdue debate; it also inspired a debate about media ethics.

As a part of the media myself, I’m obviously an advocate in favor of the media. But the coverage of Newtown was completely disgusting.

It was not just the normal interviewing of families of the deceased. It was not even the interviewing of five- and six-year-olds who were still trying to understand the magnitude of the event they had witnessed. Sadly, this is to be expected with events like this.

The media messed up in its coverage of the breaking news. They continually put up facts that just were not true, and they did it consistently. They ruined an innocent man’s life by blaming him for a crime that he did not commit. A man who attended this university. A man who probably is not much different than you or me.

He is now a man who will never recover from the media’s horrible misstep.

The media could not get it right, but maybe after Newtown, they will get it right if, or rather when, an event like this happens again.

We still live in an incredibly violent society. Events like this will continue to happen.

Post-Newtown, we have the opportunity to make changes that can greatly benefit our country. We have an opportunity to better the world we live in.

A long overdue debate on guns has begun, and some legislation has already been passed in New York. Gun ownership will be looked at again. We may find a balance between a constitutional right and the right to the public’s safety.

The media has been called out for not getting it right. Maybe the media will better balance timeliness with correctness in the future.

It does not matter what happens. All that matters is that something does happen. 26 people are dead, and there’s no bringing them back.

They can, however, live on in the way we go about living our future. They can live on in how our society changes after the unfortunate loss of life on that fateful December day.

I’m ready for change, and I would consider it a disservice to society if we continue with the status quo.

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