Written by Ahmad Fathan Aniq

After the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech University which killed more than thirty people, the right to bear arms has become an interesting topic to be discussed. The issue is not only discussed in the United States of America where the tragedy took place but also in the entire world. Many mass media concentrated their news on the tragedy for several weeks. They talked about how to eliminate such a tragedy. Simultaneously, it is related to the right of bearing arms. On the one hand, some people support this right; but on the other hand most people condemn the tragedy and refuse the right to bear arms. I disagree with this right.

For those who are proponents of the right say that to have arms or weapons is an individual freedom. With weapons, the owners can protect themselves from any unexpected dangers. Furthermore, they have a motto, weapons do not harm human beings, but human beings kill their fellows. Therefore, in a country like the USA whose constitution protects gun ownership, to interrupt firearm laws is something taboo. For them, gun ownership is considered as an important right.

Although some people agree with this right, I disagree for various reasons. Firstly, individual freedom is limited by public rights. We should be more concerned with the common good rather than self interest. Secondly, it is unimportant to have firearms to protect ourselves from enemies if we have a commitment to live in peace. Thirdly, to bear arms is a symbol of feeling unsafe. Those who have weapons are usually frightened by their own imagination. They imagine that they have enemies that sometimes will attack them. Subsequently, they will use their weapons easily if they are disturbed. The potential for murder among societies will then increase. For these reasons, I disagree with the right to bear arms.

In order to eliminate the societal interest in having weapons, some factors which stimulate the interest should be prevented. One of these is violent programmes on television and in computer games. These programmes have a bad effect on children’s mental development. If people are constantly exposed to violent images, and are shown to have enemies trough these images, it is not surprising that they will go on to develop mental health problems. Finally, we should seek together the solution to this problem. We must devote our efforts to securing peace and the common good rather than individual concerns.

Leiden, 25 May 2007

This writing is dedicated to the victims of Virginia Tech tragedy.