At a summer camp in Norway in 2011, a lone gunman entered the facilities in a fake police uniform. He showed a fake ID and then proceeded to kill a total of 69 people injuring 110. A 32-year-old Norwegian extremist was arrested and charged with the crime which was the deadliest in Norway since World War II.
Now, on December 14th, a 20-year-old man entered an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut and shot 27 people before also killing himself. Of those who died, 20 of them were children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, they were in 2nd grade.
I remember as a child having to perform drills in class. We learned stop, drop and roll in case of a fire. Also, since it was the 1980s and nuclear warfare was still an unknown fear/threat, I can remember going through drills of having to hide under our desks, evacuate, etc. These were precautionary measures taken just in case. Now in 2012, children have a new fear to think of, someone literally entering into their school and killing them without any reason. It brings chills to the spine. The recent events in Newton, Connecticut have brought up the concerns once again of gun control, specifically with automatic weapons. President Obama made a statement, even revealing his own humanity by wiping away tears as cameras can be heard frantically clicking in the background. President Obama, having been re-elected to another four years as commencing in 2013 stated (in excerpt):
“…We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years and each time I hear the news, I react not as a president but as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. ” (continued)
It is the use of the word “politics” that has caught the attention of many who feel that this has to stop. There has to be a way that we can regain control of weaponry that is being used, bought and sold to average citizens who should not have access to such objects that have only one purpose: to kill.
|Andy Warhol, Guns, 1981-1982, Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Founding Collection
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the right to bear arms. It was adopted December 15th, 1791, 221 years ago almost to the day.
On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.
|Nate Lowman, Bullet hole paintings, 2005
Silkscreen on aluminum, Installation view, NY
Such is the challenge we will now face. Not only as a nation but under the umbrella of globalism as a world. America has a particular fascination for guns. They represent what could be perceived as a masculine symbol for misconstrued power and strength. Guns have always carried a mystique being portrayed in Western films used by the cool cowboy and in early toys such as G.I. Joe in 1964. What child hasn’t played with a water gun? Something needs to change. The fetishistic intrigue needs to come to a halt.
How many more children and other innocent victims have to die before the government realizes that a new type of gun control needs to be reinstated, something that responds and communicates directly with our time, technology and contemporary culture.
In 1791, George Washington was President, there were 14 States in America and New York City traffic regulation created the first one-way street.
“When you hurt another person, you never know how much it pains. Since I was shot, everything is such a dream to me. I don’t know what anything is about. Like, I don’t know whether I’m alive or whether I died. I wasn’t afraid before. And having been dead once, I shouldn’t feel fear. But I am afraid. I don’t understand why.”
Thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and families of those who have perished due to gun violence and the witnesses who will live with the sounds in their dreams.