In the days after President Obama released 23 executive orders following recommendations set by the Joe Biden's gun control task force, there have been robust responses. One came yesterday from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who claimed that "very few of (the) recommendations have anything to do with what happened there."
Governor Perry later asserted that "evil … finding its way into vulnerable hearts and minds" is the ultimate cause for the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and warned not to blame the instruments themselves: "Guns require a finger to pull the trigger."
He then went on to make a statement that could yet go a long way towards transforming the current debate over gun control:
"As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children."
It is natural to want to actively prevent the sort of tragedies witnessed at Sandy Hook by any means deemed necessary. And though, to some, executive orders and legislation have the comforting tone of an authority with the power to eradicate evil, Governor Perry’s ultimate point that mere law-making is folly has validity. When confronting the reality of evil there are no easy solutions. Oftentimes, as in the case of Sandy Hook, no "solution" will undo the evil already done.
In his speech on Wednesday, President Obama agreed in substance on this point, but with the addition of one caveat:
"…while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try."
The ultimate question is what to try. Since an authoritarian, top-down approach ultimately cannot eradicate evil, is it worth giving up on our liberties and our Constitution "to try"? Governor Perry rightly asserts that any solution lies with "a free people." This is a principle on which we all need to stick to our guns.