Journal

Painful

Another news headline from Colorado screams across the TV screens, laptops and tablets.  Once again people gather and cry, curse and wonder, wonder why?  Just a little ways away, just down the road from me it's happened once again.  But it doesn't matter where exactly, does it?  In the human village distances are not measured by miles but by feelings, by shared happiness or shared pain.

Once again there will be talk of "doing something" about gun violence and I think I can predict that the powerful gun lobby will trot out the old defenses that guns don't kill people or that we need guns to defend ourselves or they'll pull out those vintage Americana photos of a hunter and their child in the woods. I t's worth remembering, that the laws that the NRA fights so successfully have nothing to do with responsible gun owners and in no way infringe on sportsman and hunters. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where the first day of deer season was a holiday, no kidding, no school. Hunters and target shooters (and I enjoy target shooting) do not use the kinds of guns that are routinely used in shootings. The weapons that have only one purpose, to shoot other people at close range, are the issue here. When the NRA and it's allies throw up the picture of a hunter and his child out in the woods, it's a false image, these people are not carrying automatic rifles. The claim that people need guns for self defense is a ruse as well. Documented cases of guns being used for successful self defense are so rare as to only make up a tiny fraction of one percent of the killings by guns. The NRA has been incredibly successful in creating an image of a government that is coming to take your guns. I know many people who believe this. They are afraid to acknowledge any hint that the availability of guns might have anything to do with this. And yet, if you break it down, many have told me that they think having more background checks etc. make sense, and these same people scoff at the idea of people needing to buy an automatic weapon for hunting. Some have admitted to me that they just like the idea of owning a machine gun or some other heavy weapon because it's fun to shoot. Here's where I think people have a chance to grow up a little and become more mature. If driving one hundred miles an hour in your sports car is fun, should you be allowed to do it on the streets? We routinely confine and regulate dangerous activities for the good of the community. Since there is no realistic defense for fighting any and all gun controls based on the self defense argument, one has to assume that the gun lobby believes that the second amendment guarantees your rights to do whatever you want with guns. Again, it's worth noting that "gun control" is not "gun elimination". A car can be a deadly weapon and we have a lot of rules that govern how you can use one and what condition you have to be in to drive. A gun can also be a deadly weapon and in fact it's uses that aren't inherently dangerous are much fewer than just about anything else, but I'll acknowledge that there are uses that are not oriented towards violence, so why not allow the same kinds of regulations as we have to driving a car?  Otherwise, aren't we helping make guns more available to crazed people just for the sake of someone who wants to have fun, and can't stand the idea that something they might like to do would be denied them?  What kind of childish ego demands that nothing is done to stop incredible violence and waste of life just so as not to interfere with their own desires?


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