Don’t punish everyone for the crimes of a few

Morgan Jo Nelson

An age-old lesson is that it only takes a few to ruin things for the majority. Some people just take things too far, and others suffer for it.

Recess as a child serves as a good example. Somebody ruined a game with excessive force, which inevitably hurt someone. The teacher would rush over and dissolve the game immediately. Those now unable to play might shun those who ruined the game, which is the exact opposite of what is desired. Those hurt or affected would shed a tear and vow to never play again. Lesson learned? Nope. The majority was punished because of one or two people. Where’s the justice?

However trivial this example, I think it explains a lot about human behavior as a whole. We punish wrong doers, and occasionally this extends to innocent people on the side. Sometimes this isn’t avoidable, however it occasionally is.

A situation that I think embodies this well is the conflict over Second Amendment rights.

I never dreamed that, in a country built on the idea of individual rights and the resistance of government oppression, that such an issue would come into question. I am referring to extreme ideas of getting rid of guns completely as well as the ideas of new restrictions.

In response to the shooting in Tucson, where Representative Gabrielle Giffords was wounded, legislation is already being drafted to prevent such issues from occurring again. Assassination attempts would be reduced, our officials safe, and everyone wins.


According to The Harvard University Gazette, more than 30,000 people are mortally wounded with guns each year.  John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., and Pope John Paul II are a few known public figures who have suffered gunshot wounds; two of which situations were fatal.  Every day, police officers face the dangers of the armed public with nothing but equipment to protect them.  Now after this particular instance of a political figure being wounded, responsive legislation is already being drafted.

Much like the recess example, when unwanted things happen we are quick to respond. There will always be rule breakers, and such overcorrection can leave the public whipped and angry.

Bad things that harm people will always be available to those who will misuse them.  Restrictions and bans will never completely eradicate issues and injuries, so why restrict our rights to begin with?

Most instances of prohibiting these things cause quite a backlash, which I would expect to happen.  A shake-down period of adaptation to what we can expect may be necessary. In the end, our rights are preserved and the natural cycle will run its course.

There will be societal effects, however something that has been so central to our survival shouldn’t be eradicated.

Some may say that I’m ‘clinging to my gun’ which is true in part.  I’d counter that by saying that I’m clinging to my rights. As a source of protection, sport, and even food by means of hunting, I see no reason to give up on guns.

A utopia will likely never be attainable, so why not preserve our rights in the meantime?

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