Ten lives were cut short this month in a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Obama administration issued a response to gun violence that has never been seen before. This administration argues for the need for a staunch and unwavering commitment to gun control. This latest tragedy in Oregon is just that—the latest of many. It seems obvious and critical that something be done to address this problem.
However, there is a whole host of Republican presidential candidates that seem to think differently. In the past week or so, a deluge of insensitive and irrational comments regarding the issue of gun control in America has spilled from this crop’s mouths.
In a recent press conference, Jeb Bush addressed the shooting. He said, “Look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.” Well, yes, there is always a crisis. But this isn’t one, unique case: this is one shooting among many. And I actually think that when there is a crisis, it is good to do something to attend to it. The idea of more stringent gun control laws is not one that is coming out of the blue. It is a long suggested strategy that has seen huge success in nations around the world, even in nations where gun ownership laws were previously less strict, such as Australia.
Ben Carson also decided to join the chorus. In an interview for Fox News, Carson made comments essentially insinuating that had the victims of the mass shooting in Oregon behaved differently, more would have survived. The idea that a presidential candidate can blame the victims of a mass shooting for their own deaths and escape it almost politically unscathed is, quite frankly, terrifying.
However, these two weren’t alone in their remarks. Donald Trump and Louisiana Senator Bobby Jindal also had their own two cents about the Oregon shooting.
Donald Trump said, “Things would have been better … if someone had had a gun.” Of course, Trump means a security officer or an official of some sort, not the shooter. But doesn’t the high probability of misinterpretation show how ridiculous that method of ‘gun control’ really is? More guns do not solve the problem of guns.
Bobby Jindal also made comments suggesting that gun control and regulation would not have kept this shooting from occurring. Jindal suggests that the shooter’s father is to blame for the massacre. He proposes the idea that it is bad parenting and moral corruption that lead to the incident. Jindal stated that he believed the father of the shooter in the Oregon massacre was wrong to speak out encouraging gun control. My question is, why? He too, lost his son to gun violence. While one cannot say what would have happened to the young shooter had he not had access to a gun, it can be said that he would not have died on that day in that way. This father absolutely has the right to promote gun control legislation.
Every Republican candidate mentioned in this piece has attempted to find a way to explain the shooting that does not have to do with access to guns in the United States. Each of these justifications might have some validity, and might be issues that need to be addressed. But none of these excuses can work around the fact that, were gun laws stricter or were guns banned entirely, this would not have happened.
No matter what other issues, be it moral corruption, inadequate security measures, or non-violence training, there is a simple solution to ridding this country of deaths from gun violence. It’s increasing gun control or banning them entirely. That is an inescapable fact.
Melina Hsiao is a sophomore in the College. Behind the Politics appears every other Wednesday on thehoya.com.