Do different lives have different value?

The current debate on gun control really makes me think about the way in which we as a society value life. I ask this question: does America value the lives of children over the lives of everyone else? Before the Sandy Hook massacre, people–young, old, middle aged–died everyday from gun violence. But there was no mass outcry for gun control. Not until of course a bunch of children were killed. My question is why? Would people really care as much if the gunman had shot 26 people in any other location? Millions of children suffer from malnutrition every year, but I don’t see public outcry demanding that congress require that everyone in the country have access to food.

I’m not trying to make a statement about gun control, and I’m not trying to minimize or trivialize the deaths of the Sandy Hook children. It’s obviously a tragedy. It just seems to me that in this country, something is really only a tragedy if it happens to a group of children.


6 thoughts on “Do different lives have different value?

  1. Emotional responses take over from rationality….I agree with you…why not just say that everyone is entitled to food?….Millions go hungry everyday, is that not more important than everyone having health-care? and similary does everyone have access to affordable lawyers? Isn’t justice for the common man just as important as health-care for all? If Obama had come with these thing initially, maybe I could agree on health care for all as a secondary aim, and not a primary one.

  2. I think that’s a fair assertion. Despite the fact that I tend to identify with the left more than I do with the right, I think the ideal situation in this country would be that everyone could afford their own healthcare insurance because they had jobs that paid enough to allow them to do so. While I do believe that certain safety nets are needed in times of disaster or economic downturn, I think in the long run a lot of our nation’s financial problems are due to a failure at the level of the individual. I think we as country misappropriate money on federal, state, and local levels without a doubt. I also think the fact that the average American has $10k in credit card debt speaks to the financial woes of our nation as a whole.

  3. I’ve been thinking this same question since the story broke. All of the attention turned to Newtown, and this new political push for gun control seemed a little bit more than in the past, with the emphasis being that this was so terrible because children were killed. But are children more valuable than adults? It’s a great question. And like RightFromYaad commented, it’s emotionality over rationality. No matter how much talk goes on about equality and valuing every life, as a society we don’t seem to do it.

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