Monday, December 3, 2012

Some Thoughts

I see a lot of Facebook updates about gun control (or rather the preference toward a lack of) today. I presume this comes from the recent murder suicide by a professional athlete. I see the typical things that come up during tragic events. Groups calling for tighter gun laws, and others suggesting you'll pry their guns from their cold dead hands. Being as liberal as I am, I'm generally on the side of gun control, but so many people just don't seem to get what that means. Now, I don't speak for all liberals, but here's the way I look at it.

For starters, I don't want your guns. It's called gun control, not gun take away. I have no desire for the government to go to your house and demand all of your guns and forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone is trying to do that. My children hunt and have been taught proper gun handling by their father and a hunter safety course. Do I like it? Not so much. But I live with it because they like to hunt and they are responsible. I think it is perfectly fine to own hunting rifles or hand guns that could be used in self defense as long as they are legally registered. Just because I have no desire to do so, doesn't mean I care if you do. I do expect that if my child enters your home, those guns are locked away and if I owned guns, I would do the same. I also see no good argument against waiting periods and background checks. If you don't plan to do anything but hunt or protect your family, you should be able to plan ahead and wouldn't need the thing immediately.

As for the argument...if you're going to kill someone you will use whatever you have. This is true. If that man really wanted to kill his girlfriend, he could have beat her, stabbed her, poisoned her, whatever. If you are going to kill one or two people, yes, you don't need much to do so. However, if you are going to kill the number of people killed at VA Tech or in the recent movie theater shooting, a baseball bat isn't going to cut it, and neither is a hunting rifle. You have to have the kind of gun that no common citizen should own. And guess what, in both of those cases, the guns were bought legally. Why do you need a gun that can spray bullets? Only the military should own guns like that, and I have no issue with saying that we should remove those from the hands of average citizens. While we are at it, why should the cashier at Wal-Mart be alerted when I've bought two packages of cold medicine, but not when I buy enough ammunition to supply a small army? Because that's what happened at Columbine. Those boys stole weapons out of unlocked gun cabinets, and then walked right into Wal-Mart and bought them out of ammunition over the course of a few days and no one batted an eyelash.

The real issue in most of the cases we see in the news is not gun control, it is mental illness. You don't walk into a packed movie theater and start killing people because you are right in the head. The mother of that shooter knew her son was capable of something like that, had tried to help him, and failed. The shooter at VA Tech had a history of mental illness, and yet still owned a weapon. We still cannot accept that metal illness is a very real thing. I have personally dealt with someone whom I felt capable of some of these acts, and hit a total dead end when it came to being able to get that person the kind of help they needed. We need to accept the fact that for some reason we have a lot of people who are slipping through the cracks and who need help before they do things like this.

And lastly, as for prying it out of your cold dead hands. Well, chances are that's what will happen. Or someone will pick it up near your cold dead body. Because you're more likely to be shot by your own gun, or to shoot someone you love, than for someone to break into your house and shoot you.

So honestly, keep your guns, I truly do not care. The government still affords you the right to bear arms, but I'm pretty sure our forefathers were not counting on the types of weaponry we have available to the average person. But like in so many other situation, the real issue is being ignored. We have to start educating people on mental illness and teaching them how to get help. We also have to find a way to let loved ones help without infringing on rights. We have to teach our children that the answer to an argument it talking, not shooting. I was raised with a healthy respect for guns and their power. My father (who should not legally own guns now in my opinion, but that goes back to the mental illness discussion) never waved them around talking about his rights and prying it from his cold dead hands. He told me where it was, what it was used for, and the ramifications of using it. That's what all children should be taught.

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