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Gun Control: Diversion or True Controversy?

            The debate around gun control ensues in Congress—President Obama seeking heightened reform while the GOP holds firm, defending the second amendment right. Resulting from the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the debate has become heated between the right and left. A conclusion cannot be made between republicans and democrats; can a middle ground be met? So far, Congress has made plans to do two things: “strengthen the system of background checks on gun buyers and toughen the penalties for illegal gun trafficking” (McManus). Though good progress is being made, I feel it is important to note the prevalence of media around gun control. Since Sandy Hook, the media has belittled coverage of our countries economic issues surrounding the “fiscal cliff.” The timing around the shift in coverage makes my mind wander – “what if the Sandy Hook shootings are being used as a diversion?” I mean, the economy has been pretty slow and unemployment still high, right? So why gun control? Since our current fiscal situation is somewhat of a negative matter, my conclusion is that the media is using coverage of the gun control debates to take away from the essence of that cynicism.

News Stories Mentioning Gun Control

News Stories Mentioning Gun Control

There are several ways one can approach this matter. One being, like Rob Port says, “President Obama has seized the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting as an opportunity to push an always-controversial gun control fight to distract from much more pressing issues, such as the nation’s horrendous fiscal position. Or the contrary; that the debates over gun control are necessary and applicable after the fourth massacre in a year’s time. Yet, many fail to recognize a third option: a constructive distraction.

Though it may seem that both republicans and democrats have become substantially involved in the debates, if you think about it, an immense amount of stress has been taken off of legislators who are seeking common ground in fiscal matters. Furthermore, I would argue that the emphasis on gun control has relieved American citizens from the tension surrounding the fierce financial discussions. Glenn Reynolds of USA Today even pleads to the president, “President Obama, the Democrats, and plenty of Republicans in Congress, would like it if you’d spend the next few weeks talking about gun control. That’s because when you are, you’re not talking about the country’s financial situation.” The debates have done much good in freeing our minds from fiscal matters, however, both republicans and democrats have blown the matter out of proportion.

The sole issue regarding the debates over gun control was that there was little concern amongst a large majority of people. A Gallup survey conducted in January asked, “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? Gun control was caught in a four-way tie for sixth place, (of 15 ‘problems’ mentioned) with only 4 percent of participants even mentioning gun control. In the same survey, the Economy the federal budget deficit ranked first and second, respectively: 21 percent of participants mentioning the economy and 20 percent the budget deficit.

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Gallup Survey Results

The events at Sandy Hook were tragic, yet the debates seemed inordinate. I think it is necessary to mention that President Obama abides by a “Conscience model of representation;” it was his duty to attest the “cultural change pathway” used by the groups of protestors and media (Shea 14, 168). However, the president was far too aggressive in his approach. By taking a firm offensive, President Obama received an adequate defensive from the GOP and NRA; exemplifying the partisan trend of, what I coin, “getting no where,” established in the fiscal cliff debates.

            Indeed the debates on gun control were a ‘constructive distraction,’ nonetheless, the debates were undoubtedly addressed unprofessionally. Republicans, democrats, and media accomplished the goal of shrouding our economic upheaval by creating yet another battle between parties. The debates revolving around gun control are necessary, yet the coverage around them has become distracting from more pressing matters. When will the United States escape minute debate over gun control? When will our financial crisis be settled? The answers remain to be seen.

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