Victims' perspective should sway gun debate

Victims' perspective should sway gun debate
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

There really shouldn’t be a gun debate, but alas, we live in the Age of Clowns and Tyrants.

So, there is a debate. That debate often revolves around things like mass shootings and other violent crimes. There’s no doubt that these things happen and there’s no doubt that the victims of these horrific crimes.

However, do these victims have any unique perspectives?

I’m pondering this because one of the Uvalde survivors is going to Washington to talk about gun control.

en-year-old Caitlyne Gonzales’ day began early when she and her family boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C, a flight that was crowded with people affected by the May shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, ABC News first reported.

Caitlyne, a survivor of the massacre, family members of some of the victims and local leaders traveled to the nation’s capital on Tuesday to speak with members of Congress during a lame-duck session in an effort to ban the sale and possession of assault-style rifles before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives this January. The group’s itinerary includes multiple meetings with U.S. senators, a vigil, and a silent protest outside the Capitol Building.

“It brings me comfort that we can all be together as one,” said Caitlyne.

The group is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 736, which would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines like the ones used by the shooters to gun down students at Robb Elementary, parade-goers in Highland Park, Illinois, and LGBTQ nightclub patrons in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I can’t imagine what Caitlyne went through. I can’t even imagine what he family went through. While I’ve lost someone I cared about in a mass shooting, it was well after everything was over that I even learned one of my dearest friends was in the cafe and was gone.

But does that give them some special insight into guns, particularly modern sporting rifles?

Not really.

What she went through was beyond awful. The English language lacks the words to adequately describe it. However, her experience isn’t anything new, either. We’ve heard all of this before, and we’ve heard it from young children before, unfortunately.

It’s also just one sliver of a much deeper thing.

The gun debate is often approached as if gun control is the only solution; as if that’s a given. However, it’s not. Caitlyne and those like her offer no new perspective, just fresh tears and emotions that can be used to manipulate lawmakers.

Victims, in general, only offer a glimpse at what’s happening. It’s not unlike the emergency room doctor who advocates for gun control because they see wounded people every day.

Yes, that happens and it’s bad that it happens, but it’s nothing close to a complete picture.

It doesn’t include those who scare off small groups of intruders with an AR-15. They simply present the weapon and the bad guys–people who planned violence–realize that home is protected by someone with the means to protect it.

The gun debate is just that, a debate.

Victims, however, aren’t part of the debate. We’re supposed to just take their pain as gospel–and, to be fair, it’s very real–but then never criticize them in any way. We can’t even use a promo code that’s a reference to an anti-gun group that made a massacre part of their name because victims are so unassailable.

They really don’t offer anything new, but those who want them talking know that.

They know that this young girl can offer no new data. She doesn’t have new information or writings from the Founding Fathers making it clear they really supported gun control. She doesn’t have anything new to offer.

But it’s not about anything except manipulating the public’s emotions, and for that, she will serve their purposes quite well.