On the nightly news, yet another school shooting, another gang shootout in the streets of Chicago, and another giant yawn by mainstream America. It seems the only folks to suffer are the victims and their friends and family. How is it that we have grown to accept the status quo? To accept the disturbingly trite and vastly ignorant “guns don’t shoot people, people do is absurd.” No other industrialized country has anywhere near so much gun violence. Yet every country severely limits or bans ownership of guns; they all have approximately the same incidence of mental illness; kids in all developed nations are exposed to the same violent videos; poor parents are ubiquitous in all nations. The only feature that differentiates us from the other countries is the overwhelming availability of guns.
Yet, the tired arguments still exist:
1. “If innocent people disarm, only the criminals will have guns.” – Really? The implication is that most gun violence is committed by criminals on innocents. Not the case at all. Home invasion and “stick ups” typically result without a shot being fired. Gang shootings involve criminals vs. criminals, and most frequently drug related ‘turf battles.’ Domestic shooting (usually husband shooting wife) are committed by (previously) non criminals. Mass murderers are typically quiet, unassuming, neighborly and expert at concealing their underlying mental illness.
2. “Better background checks will prevent guns from roaming into the wrong hands.” – This doesn’t even deserve acknowledgement as a rational argument.
3. “It is our constitutional right to bear arms.” – It has been about 250 years since these famous words were stroked on parchment. Since that time, trains, cars, planes, personal computers, telephones and cell phones have all been invented and changed our society in hugely dramatic ways. The right to bear arms by private citizens is arcane and totally out of context.
4. “We need to protect ourselves from our government.” – Listen, if our society were ever in a position to be worried about our government turning against its innocent citizenry, we would have far more to worry about than having a couple of assault rifles in the house.
5. “If not guns, criminals will use other weapons.” – Yep, knives or machetes perhaps? One could certainly mow down a school room with those arms.
No matter how you analyze the issues, it all boils down to three main reasons why guns remain a part of our lives:
1. Gutless politicians, bought off by the NRA
2. Gutless politicians afraid of not being reelected
3. Americans’ love affair with guns (is it insecurity, naivete, fear?)
I have changed my stance on the issue of guns. I have had enough of all of them. Ban them all for private citizens, hand guns/rifles/assault weapons – put gun man
ufacturers out of business if that is the requirement. And for God’s sake let’s decriminalize drug use, and eliminate the largest incentive to procure anillegalweapon in the U.S. today.