Home > B1 > A Time to Lead

A Time to Lead

Source: Politico

Gun violence, and the movement for gun control and how it relates to the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution has been a simmering issue in our country for decades.  It was not until the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut that this issue received an emotional burst and was thrust back into the national debate.  There is no doubt our country’s divided political ideology prevents most from taking an objective approach to the complicated problem of gun violence.  I believe our Nation’s culture needs to change in order to solve this problem and, from what I have learned in our Government and Economics class; sometimes it takes a true leader to break through the national political scene to make positive changes for the future of our country.

The mere fact that the Newtown shootings sparked the gun control debate, enflamed gun rights and 2nd Amendment advocates as they believe the more liberal gun control advocates politicized this tragedy. As a means to push for tighter gun restrictions, the American public may be more vulnerable and quick to get behind a so-called solution that would only cause people to “feel better” but yield no meaningful results.

Parties from both side of the gun control debate cite compelling statistics often times taken out of context to bolster their respective arguments.  According to factcheck.org gun murders are at their lowest rate since 1981, gun aggravated assault are at the lowest rate since 2004, gun robbery is at the lowest rate since 2004, non-fatal gun injuries are at the highest rate since 2008 and gun suicides are at the highest rate since 1998.  What do these figures mean?  How does gun violence in our country related to other countries?  Regardless of what statistics are used or how they used, it seems evident that both sides of the debate refuse to think more broadly in an effort to make our country less violent while protecting our Constitution.  Does gun violence alone account for the violent crimes in our society?  Is anyone interested in how we care for the mentally disabled, how we embrace the violent nature of our movies and video games, how parents have lost control of their children?  Are our problems related to broken families, poverty, ethnicity, and people unwilling to be held accountable for their own actions, people who do not value human life.  Where is our leader?

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Source: Illinois Public Media

Great leaders present a vision and develop a compelling reason to change the culture of a Nation.  Our President had the opportunity to show the Nation and world he has the characteristics of a great leader during his recent State of the Union Address.  He had the opportunity to begin to change our Nation’s culture by outlining his vision for widespread change with regard to violence in our country.  He had the opportunity to compel people to collectively begin answering the many questions posed above.  He had the opportunity to transform the gun violence issue from that of a purely political matter to a problem that only Americans could solve, not a single political party. Unfortunately our President missed that opportunity and chose to take the easy way out: to be a politician. When President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, “gun violence will be center stage, both literally and politically” (Bresnahan and Gibson). He invited several victims of gun violence to be his guest during his speech.  He then framed the portion of his speech that addressed gun violence by saying “Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children. “ He then went on to use the victims of gun violence to call for a vote from Congress to pass certain measures related to gun control.  He named certain victims and events, then, in a campaign chant meant to evoke applause from his political party, repeated that each victim “deserved a vote”.  The obvious ploy was to gain popularity for his gun control plan (his party’s gun control plan). As usual, “Obama’s remarks were short on evidence that his gun control proposals would work.”  His evidence mainly was “sorely lacking” (Carlson).

One of the cornerstones of the success of our country is based on the debate of differing opinions, in an effort to compromise, gain consensus and develop laws and policies that are best suited for most Americans.  How we act as a people, our culture and values cannot be negotiated in the political process.  We need to be inspired to act better, do better, live better and treat each other with more respect.  Our President missed an opportunity to be impactful and the American people will most likely be the victims of such inaction.

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  1. govchandlern
    February 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I like your supporting evidence and how you investigated a different side on the whole gun control debate. I see where you connected your current event back to the class, but you might want to make it a little more clear.

  2. goverikai
    February 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    For the most part, I completely agree with you. Changing gun laws, if we’re honest, won’t help the desensitized condition of our country’s culture. I thought your diction throughout the post was fantastic, and the only thing I would consider revising would be giving a little more evidence on what exactly Obama needs to do in order to transition this issue from a political standpoint to a collective effort of the American people to reverse the trend of gun violence. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post – great job!

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