I'm about to do something that I've been very hesitant to do for the last three weeks or so, ever since the Newtown, CT shootings. I've watched the firestorm of debates go back and forth on the social and news media, and until now, have successfully resisted the urge to scratch the itching I've had to weigh in on the debate. Until now, I have been afraid of lending my voice to reason. I have friends who are gun owners and supporters, and whose friendship I cherish dearly. I would hate to lose their friendship for anything, so because of the volatility of this subject, I have only gingerly discussed it with them, and then, only by asking questions, avoiding direct expression of my opinions. I feel very embarrassed that I feel this way since I live in a country that says that freedom of expression is an inalienable right, and one that we cherish greatly. I am embarrassed that I feel afraid to express myself here, but way more so to friends.
Recently, I saw a sign someone posted, on social media, attempting to make a case for everyone to be able to carry guns. It had two parts to it, with both parts illustrated with stick figures divided into two groups; good guys, and bad guys. In the first part both groups were drawn with guns in hand, pointing down at the ground, the good guys had smiles and the bad guys had frowns. The second part had the good guys empty handed and frowning, the bad guys had guns pointing at the good guys and smiling. The heading read, Let's Make This Simple.
The best solutions are not always the simplest answers. People aren't simply good or bad. There are many degrees of bad and good that exist in between the two extremes. In the case of the killing of Trayvon Martin, how bad or good was either person before the killing? Did anyone deserve to die? The other day someone's 13 year old daughter was shot to death by someone else's 14 year old son on a school bus in Miami, and there has been many similar instances over the years where kids have been able to get their hands on a guns, with deadly consequences.
The most popular saying of pro-gun folk is, Guns don't kill people, people kill people! and is about the most aggravating saying I've ever heard. It's often said with such confidence and gloat, that others just say nothing in response. After all, what do you say to someone who has obviously neglected to use their own common sense to adopt a rhetoric that's so full of it? I would rather have someone with a knife attack me than have to defend myself against someone with a gun. There is very little you can do against a person with a gun. Altogether, those brave, heroic teachers could have overpowered the killer, even if he had an axe. They could have thrown heavy objects at him, rushed him from all sides, bit and clawed him, and drove their spiked heels in his neck and eyes_. Yes the likelihood of them being injured would still be high, but they would have had a chance against him. He wouldn't have been able to kill so many people who could have run from him while others fought him. I think having more armed security in the schools is a good idea, a strong deterrent, but at the same time that doesn't guarantee that they themselves won't get shot by someone surprising them with a high powered assault weapon. It certainly didn't help in the Columbine tragedy. Then what do we do, arm ourselves with grenades and rocket launchers?
The mom of the killer was killed by her own son using her own guns. Yes, she could have been killed with any other weapon, a baseball bat, a frying pan, a knife, etc. The killer however had access to weapons, that if he went and tried to buy them himself, would have been denied, if there was a waiting period for a mandatory medical evaluation by qualified professionals. Is that too much to ask for? Is it too much to ask that people get evaluated often enough to make sure they don't need to have their license suspended, while having to undergo some anger management courses? Does that take away people's right to bear arms?
None of us are perfect, and yes, I will dare to say that the founding fathers were great men and visionaries, but they were not perfect, nor were they reputed to be psychic and able to foresee the future and all of its social issues. Who's to say if they could have seen the future, that they would have or wouldn't have, worded the Second Amendment differently? Who's to say they wouldn't have said the Privilege to bear arms instead? Are we saying that we don't have highly intelligent, reasoning, rational people alive today that can't look at issues we have today and make good and rational decisions that take into consideration, the varied concerns of the population?
Can we stop and take a breath and listen to each other before we jump our guns and start another civil war? Somehow, gun owners and enthusiasts hear people say we want to take away their guns, when all we are really saying is that something is wrong here and we need to see how we can make it right for everyone. The question is, what more can we do to reduce, as much as possible, these terrible occurrences of senseless violence without stepping on the even tempered, responsible, and law abiding people's Second Amendment Rights? Yes, it will take some serious thought and reasoning, but it will take everyone understanding and respecting everyone's concerns to come to some reasonable solutions. I'll tell you how I feel, I feel intimidated. That's because I fear people who refuse to listen, who are quickly enraged, who become practically impossible to reason with, and who has guns.
Photo Credit To China Daily USA
Editor-in-Chief's Note: "Respectfully Joe" is an Editorial Contributor with MNI Alive