Hand gun

The tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School has caused protests and walkouts, while calls for gun control flooded local and national media.

I attended Cypress Bay High School, which is less than 12 minutes south of Stoneman Douglas. I knew stu­dents there, attended its debate tour­na­ments, and knew teachers and admin­is­trators. I walked those halls, sat in those class­rooms, and saw the faces of those stu­dents and fam­ilies.

Given my past expe­ri­ences and emo­tional con­nection, many assumed this tragedy con­vinced me of the need for stricter gun control. But alas, this painful event has led me to believe the opposite.

Pro­fessor of Eco­nomics Ivan Pon­gracic said people expect the gov­ernment to work mir­acles, as if the abstract con­ception of the state can solve all our problems, in this case school shootings. Mass shootings cause people to have a “not my problem” men­tality about social problems, as if it is the government’s job to intervene, as if it is capable of working mir­acles like this.

Since when is the gov­ernment really capable of doing more than what we can do as cit­izens? Con­trary to popular belief, gov­ernment action is human action, which means that it’s liable to the same faults, mis­judg­ments, and evils as indi­vidual action. We cannot expect moral supe­ri­ority from a state com­posed of depraved people. We cannot just tell the gov­ernment to “do some­thing” about things that we cannot control; some­times humanity’s capacity for evil will be too great for us to com­prehend, espe­cially con­sid­ering those who govern us are humans too.

It is easy to believe that humanity is inher­ently good: that because we have struc­tural gov­er­nance there should always be an answer, a solution, a reason. In actu­ality, we live in a world that is flooded with uncer­tainty.

And unfor­tu­nately, we really don’t know how to solve this heart­breaking issue. We might think we do, but making some­thing illegal will not fix the fact that evil people exist.

As the saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s a way. We see this notion in action almost every day with drugs, underage drinking, hit and runs, tax evasion, etc. No matter how much reg­u­lation the gov­ernment imposes, an under­ground economy, teeming with what the gov­ernment offi­cials have deemed illegal, will always exist.

Defense of gun rights is not about keeping guns to shoot squirrels in the backyard. This is an issue about sub­mitting power to the gov­ernment where it doesn’t exist.

The 17 indi­viduals who lost their lives that day were my neighbors. The fear that surged through my body when I received the news felt inde­scribable — knowing that these people lived in my home county and state. That said, gun control is just a Band-Aid to many long-term problems.

Author­ities knew that the per­pe­trator of the shooting was high-risk, and that’s where the first problem lies: People are too afraid to report a pos­sible tragedy when they see it because they are afraid of offending someone. This men­tality prac­ti­cally forces us to think that someone’s feelings were more valuable than 17 innocent indi­viduals.

Claiming that guns kill people and pushing action on a gov­ernment that can barely function is far from a logical solution.

The real problem is people. Indeed, it is ques­tionable that a 19-year-old high-risk indi­vidual could acquire a highly-destructive assault weapon that easily, but because this indi­vidual had the will to kill, he would relent­lessly find a way to do it, regardless of the weapon.

I wish there was a fea­sible solution to the madness we are all living in after this event. I wish I could tell my younger brother, who is still a student at Cypress Bay, that he will always be safe no matter where he goes.

But as long as evil exists, we cannot expect the gov­ernment to “do some­thing” until we “do some­thing” about the type of people this nation creates.


Sterling Wer­tanzl is a freshman studying the liberal arts.


  • Jedediah Boudreaux

    What I don’t under­stand is why the dum­b­ocraps refuse to coop­erate in a bi-par­tisan bill to make murder illegal???