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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Gun Control Debate Reveals the Nation’s Paranoia

Alex Jones and Piers Morgan engaged in a heated debate about gun control, with Jones (right) calling for Morgan’s deportation while labeling comparing Obama to Stalin and Hitler



In the aftermath of two highly publicized gun-related mass murders of the past year, perennial gun control debates are once again dominating the headlines in the media.

The salience of these debates in the media is nothing new; the shooting in Tucson brought about murmuring and arguments over assault rifle bans. The disagreements and polarized views on the issue intensified, following the massacre in the Aurora cinema by James Holmes. Now, in the wake of the tragedy at Newtown, a full-on shouting match has erupted. 

On one side of the argument, the pro-gun rights activists, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association, adamantly stand behind the notion that violence cannot be curtailed by stricter gun laws. Some gun enthusiasts even espouse the idea that high-capacity firearms have little or no effect on the general level of violent deaths in the country.

In the other corner, pro-gun control supporters, buoyed by Obama’s recent declaration of support for their cause, are baying for stricter restrictions to be put in place concerning the sales and purchases of guns.

The two sides of the argument, as polarized as their views may be, still have one common denominator: fear.

There is a slightly irrational—though wholly understandable and rather warranted—fear amongst the left wing constituents that more violent, gun-related crimes will occur. The irrational aspect of their fright is brought to the fore by a slew of rash actions. One particular incident, which epitomizes this, springs to mind—earlier this month, a newly appointed middle school principal in Massachusetts, Erick Naumann, was sanctioned and subsequently suspended for introducing himself to his students through a video which was a parody of The Terminator movie.

The video was described by Superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire as “disturbing,” and “inappropriate in the wake of the Newtown tragedies.” A little bit of creativity almost cost Naumann his employment. This is only one of many examples about how the gun-related paranoia in our society casts a deleterious shadow upon us. When at Roller World recently, I was subjected to searches that even the strictest of TSA agents would be proud of.

Fear and paranoia of a different form exists within the ranks of gun rights activists. Right on the heels of President Obama’s revelation of his proposal concerning gun control, which, in the most basic of terms, focuses on restricting access to high-powered ammunition and calls for more stringent background checks prior to the sale of guns, an unbelievable amount of resistance has been posed by gun lobbyists and activists.

In addition to the resistance to these measures, hyperbolic assertions of the president’s plan have been voiced. Prominent celebrities and radio personalities like Alex Jones and Michael Savage have accused the president of ruling tyrannically and trying to push the nation into the arms of a second civil war. Jones went as far as making far-fetched comparisons between Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Obama.

The more hyperbole-inclined gun rights enthusiasts tend to accuse the government of trying to take away guns to nullify any sort of uprising when Obama decides to turn America into a communist state.

In a nation still coming to grips with the murder of 26 innocent victims, 20 of which were young children, the last thing needed is a plethora of partisan name-calling and Mexican standoffs in the different sectors of government on the issue of gun control.

What we need, though rather improbable, is a complete overhaul in our manner of thinking. We need a collective mindset revolution.

Residents of this country need to be able to rest assured that, regardless of their political ideologies, their rights are respected and protected. We should be able to drop our kids off at school, secure in the knowledge that even though there might still be individuals in possession of firearms, our children are safe from harm.

Sadly, with the direction in which we seem to be headed, we are as close to the realization of this mindset as Alex Jones is to reality.