Is gun control a solution for suicidal mass killings?

As Newtown,  Connecticut witnessed one of the most horrific mass shootings in history that left 20 children and six teachers dead, measures aimed at preventing more incidents like this are now top of the agenda.

In this part of the world, namely  Eastern Europe and the Middle East, nations have almost never experienced a school shooting committed by teenagers while the United States has had more than its share of these rampage shootings. While it’s true there have been school massacres in Europe in the last decade, the totality of these acts have been far less.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre, Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Adam Lazza, the killer of 20 innocent young children in Newtown, Connecticut, were all diagnosed with some mental health problems and reports about their troubled histories were ultimately released after the fact. The reports generally concluded that they were largely driven by personal motives and they respectively shot up a high school, a university and an elementary school because they were feeling enraged by their peers or parents and harbored a desire to inflict vengeance on a massive scale for these perceived slights.

In response to over a decade of mass school killings in the United States, school safety planning has been put in place. To improve the security of schools, lock down drills are held during which teachers are asked to fulfill a routine to secure their classrooms. While these drills are unknown to any kid in any part of the world outside the USA, they have become a part of school life for American  school kids .

Meanwhile,  new legislation regarding gun control is one of the options that is assumed to be a solution for preventing the recurrence of mass killings. But would any new legislation  or  improvements in school security systems really be viable solutions that will end this problem for once and all?

Surely such measures may be helpful to make the community feel safer in the short term, but it is hard to say that they are actual remedies addressing the roots of the problem. The tendency to mass shootings committed in the United States are shaped by cultural forces and the destructive behaviors these perpetrators seek to copy. While dwelling on many precautions such as those stated above, not mentioning any of the negative role-models in  the society that these perpetrators emulate would be a huge mistake. The society at large needs, and must be made up of, people with moral excellence who work for the peaceful functioning of the community.  Truly virtuous people always have as their goal  working for the betterment of their societies and these  people’s being in the majority in a community will  instill good will, decency and moral uprightness in the younger generations.

In the long term, the solution to such atrocious incidents is not a legislative act or keeping the community alert by practicing drills  but rather the it is the betterment of  people’s hearts and minds that will change the nature of societies from their roots.

About the Author
Ece Koc, an economist and peace and interfaith advocate, is a host on the "Building Bridges" show on Turkey's A9TV satellite television channel.