Warning: This post is about to piss some people off. But… I do not care.
Guns. We live in a country where there are people who treat their guns like members of the family. They collect them, use them, clean and take of them. I currently live in a state with open carry laws, meaning that folks can go grocery shopping while carrying their 9mm Ruger. In fact, I looked into potentially getting a license to carry when I first moved to Colorado. There were rumors that Norman could deploy… well there’s always word of deployment, especially at this post. And I wanted to have a way to protect myself and my children in his absence. I am only 5’1 after all, and my superhuman abilities have yet to come in. But I sit here, at the computer, 48 hours after “March for our Lives”, and I can’t help but wonder… why are we even still debating the gun control issue? Why should it even still be an issue?
Gun violence has been going on for years. The lack of concern for the lives of our fellow man as in fact been a big problem since Cain and Abel. Wars have been won with guns. Countries have been taken with guns. People have been kept in bondage, in fear, and under control with guns. It seems then that if one needs something done and wants to get his or her way, then the sure fire way to do that is to wave one’s gun around, no pun intended. But just like everything else that is powerful or is desired, these things quickly become abused and misused if the guidance and/or good judgement is not there. And in cases where we’ve had gun violence in neighborhoods, schools, churches, malls, and government buildings, it has not been.
I was in 7th grade when Columbine happened. I remember the news spending so much time discussing the shooters, and what could’ve possibly motivated such a heinous act. They spent time analyzing their childhoods, their parents’ involvement, and especially their psychological state. We mourned the victims, erected memorials in their honor, and pushed all our “thoughts and prayers” toward those in Littleton, Colorado. And then the country seemingly just moved on. And forgot. Years passed and it was as if those events never happened. But then another one happened…. And another one…. And another one. There were more schools, more malls, a movie theater, a concert, and even a few churches, while all the while neighborhoods were continuously experiencing gun violence… just no one paid attention. It seems as though “thoughts and prayers” are the band aid that we’d like to think just magically heals the infinite wound a mass shooting leaves on its community and in the country as a whole. But at what point do we need to do more than just send our “thoughts and prayers?”
I would say that most people who hold their guns near and dear to their hearts do so for a number of reasons. But perhaps the reason why there is still the gun control issue is because there is still a state’s rights issue. This stems back to the birth of our nation. Back when this country was still a very newborn infant, there were those (Federalists) who wanted the government to be in control of most of the goings-on of the new country, believing that for us to truly be a United States, we needed to have common laws which would then give us common purpose. And then there were those (Democratic-Republicans) who believed the states should be free to choose how they would govern themselves. Jefferson argued that it would be unfair for Virginia to assume the new country’s war debts because they had paid theirs off. Hamilton then argued that for this country to truly be a United States, it must be united in all costs, including those incurred in the war for independence. And thus a two-party system was born. It started with the control of the nation’s bank and then the biggest issue to come thereafter would be slavery. States were then divided into “Free states” and “Slave states.” The South simply wanted to be left alone, so much so that they seceded from the Union in 1860, a mere 84 years after the country declared its independence. And since that time, there have been many issues that have been a states vs federal government debate. It seems that gun control is now one of them.
Now, gun enthusiasts, I get it. These are your guns! You are not a bad person. It’s not your fault a sociopath walks into the elementary school a few streets down from your house and shoots up the entire 4th grade class. Why should you get punished for the horrendous choices of some asshole with a “history of mental problems?” Shouldn’t we focus on mental health reform instead? Isn’t that always the problem? True, there have been documented cases wherein a mass shooter has had mental health issues that were often times overlooked. But how can you explain the disproportionate number of gun violence in poor income communities where gang activity is prevalent? How about cases wherein unarmed Blacks have been shot by members of law enforcement? Or cases in which a spouse comes home pissed off and shoots his/her spouse in the heat of passion? Are all these people mentally disturbed too? Maybe, but even if this is the reason, WHICH IT IS NOT, wouldn’t gun reform still be necessary? It doesn’t mean no one gets to have guns, although I find a hard time believing one needs an assault weapon of any kind, especially a collection of them. I’m sure it doesn’t take an AR-15 to take down a deer! However, it does mean we should look a little more closely at better regulating how guns are sold and the process that dictates who gets to buy them. Uncle Ben said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Owning and carrying a gun is a right, protected by our second amendment. Protecting yourself and your family is a right and a duty most of us hold very dear. But these things have to be done with great care and tact. And giving someone who is pissed off with the world, or someone who is emotionally and/or mentally unstable easy access to assault weapons simply because we are afraid of putting some tighter controls on gun laws is irresponsible as a nation.
I don’t like writing posts that are politically charged. But I’m a mom with school-aged children. This issue is very important to me because what’s to stop someone from going into my children’s school and shooting it up? I am very aware that at any moment during the school day, I could get that dire phone call or text message. WAKE UP, AMERICA! THIS ISSUE AFFECTS EVERYONE. At what point is enough, enough? When will certain law makers have the same passion about protecting all human lives as they do about protecting unborn lives? Call me anti-gun or call me anti-liberty! I really don’t care. Because frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about these shootings… unnecessary shootings that shouldn’t be happening. Shootings take away lives that have yet to be lived, that steal away experiences yet to be had. Yes, there are other factors that we need to look at: economic reform, socioeconomic reform, education reform, mental health reform. But these must take place alongside gun control reform, not in place of it!
Truth is, we aren’t safe anywhere. Not at school, not at work. Not at a concert, not in the movie theater. Not at the mall, not at restaurants. Not even in our own damn neighborhoods. Lives have been lost and more lives are at stake if we continue to act as if there is nothing we can do or should do. And honestly, people’s lives are so much more important than people being butt hurt about possibly having a little more restriction on their guns. If you’re so responsible, then why are you so worried? Since the beginnings of this country, there have been laws regulating the freedom and rights of minorities and women. So, what makes you any different?
I say it’s about time to make a change. WE have the power to make that change, especially when it’s time for our local, state, and federal elections. If not for them, then for whom? If not now, then when? If not us, then who?
No one deserves that phone call… no one.