I wrote this post on July 22nd just after the Colorado massacre. Now - I am submitting it again because of what transpired in Newtown this past week. 4 times this year there has been a mass killing. ALL of them involved assault weapons and hand guns.
The response I got from this posting was often supportive, but I got the usual "right to bear arms" speeches, the "protect my family" speech, and the "protect ourselves from invaders from a foreign land" speech. I'm so heartbroken.
Apparently we live in a nation where paranoid fear and macho posturing trumps the value of our children's lives.
This is my journal from July22nd:
This past week our nation witnessed one of the most horrific violations in history. A beast that I refuse to name, planned and then killed 12 people in a theatre in Colorado. I won't go into details of how, why, or who committed this atrocity.
What I WILL address is the idea of our Constitutional "right to bear arms". The misconstrued perception of this "right", saddens and confuses me. The archaic belief that having a gun in our houses will enable us to "defend ourselves" is not only statistically improbable, it is metaphorically AND literally unsettling to those who live with us. A loaded gun in a house says,"I don't trust people", "I am afraid someone will break in and hurt us", and also "I am willing to shoot to kill another human being".
If you have a gun in your house and it is NOT loaded, the statistical probability of you being able to get to it, load it, and confront a home invader AND for the outcome of that confrontation to be positive in ANY way, is insignificantly small.
This is not to say I don't think we should be prepared. It is not to say that I don't think we should defend ourselves and those we love but having a dog and a home alarm system are profoundly more effective. The idea is to not have your home be very appealing to those who would invade it.
What all this brings me to is a conclusion I came to in my teens. There is NO REASON for assault rifles to be in the hands of the public. There is NO REASON for hand guns to be in the possession of the public. Hand guns and assault rifles were invented for ONE single purpose and that is to kill other human beings. SO - what do I say to those who claim they have a "right to collect" weapons? I say,"Get a life and collect ceramic frogs, lawn gnomes, or goldfish". Collect something that adds life to the world, not something that is designed to destroy life. What possible joy can a human being derive out of owning a collection of assault rifles?? What fearful illusional self perception of manhood needs to revel in the ownership of something designed to take away the life of another being? When I see a photo of a guy standing around with his buddies and brandishing their prize AK-47's, I wonder if it makes them feel powerful, macho, and strong? It also makes me wonder where this need for that sense of power came from. Is there a correlation between this behavior and the violent idiotic murderous video games? There are even TV shows dedicated to showing off "powerful weapons". I get nauseous when I pass by these shows on my way to the Discovery Channel.
I come from a long line of poor people in the South and I remember well my Father and my Uncles going out hunting and bringing home rabbit, deer, squirrels, and quail to feed our family. I've personally hunted and helped clean our kill to add to our dinner table. I understand the need to eat and I understand the idea of hunting to sustain loved ones. But I've never seen an AK-47 used in deer hunting and a hand gun is impractical for hunting anything other than humans. Also, I don't think there are very many families who depend on hunting for sustenance any more anyway. Maybe it would be a good idea to get rid of ALL guns! It works in a lot of countries.
So, I am not without understanding when it comes to the "right to bear arms" but the bastardization of this "right" has becomes the mantra of lobbyists with special interests in Washington and it sickens and disheartens me. That law was written when all you had access to was a musket.
12 people are dead and 58 wounded in Colorado, because of this "right". Now 26 more are dead in Newtown. These monsters had the "right" to buy machines made for the purpose of killing human beings. All weapons were LEGALLY purchased.
To those who will say to me,"Guns don't kill people, people kill people", I say,"Tell that to the families of those murdered in Colorado. Tell the heartbroken Mothers of Newtown." These types of guns ARE what kill people, furthermore, they are singly designed for that purpose. Yes, people kill people and it is these types of guns they use to do it.
I say ban assault rifles and hand guns. It certainly won't stop the mentally unstable from committing horrid acts, but it WILL cut down on the number of lives lost and make the whole process more difficult.
Washington MUST do something…. but I've worked in Washington, so I know how it works up on the Hill and I recognize the fact money speaks louder than the voices of grieving family members. The NRA cares about profits not people and the "good ol boy club" will feign compassion to polish the tarnished corporation.
I SAY BAN HAND GUNS. I SAY BAN ASSAULT RIFLES.
But - I don't see it ever happening… and because of that...
today I am heartboken.