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Gun Crazy

by Jo Page on January 10, 2013


It seems remarkably wasteful to spill more ink arguing for a ban on assault guns and pointing out the proliferation of gun violence in this country when there appears to be some significant percentage of apparently mesmerized persons in this country who are unwilling to acknowledge/admit/believe/concede/determine (I could go through the whole alphabet) that, in addition to the fact that people indeed do kill people, this is also true: guns kill people.

That was a long sentence. Let me break it down: I feel I can’t help much by arguing against gun violence. That’s because it seems as though there are too many people who are for gun violence. They don’t come right out and say it. But they may as well. Instead they say how much they deplore such tragedies as the Sandy Hook shootings.

And Columbine.

And Virginia Tech.

And the Fort Hood Massacre.

And the one at Oikos University.

And the Tucson shootings.

And the massacre in Binghamton.

And the gym shooting in Pittsburgh.

And the one at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

And the one at the theater in Aurora, Colorado.

And the one outside of Rochester.

And the one, just the other day, also in Aurora, Colorado.

(I’m not even including the smaller, less newsworthy killings in which it’s only loved ones getting shot by other loved ones—spouses, friends, relatives—or victims of criminals out for drugs or money or what have you. Because sometimes it appears people shoot other people for that vaguest and grammatically imprecise of all phrases, “what have you.”)

Those who have a fanatical devotion to gun ownership say they hate that kind of thing. But after all, video games, drugs and anti-social behavior, to say nothing of godlessness, are the operative factors in how such mass killings get orchestrated.

Maybe some of that is true. Maybe all of it is true. If so, we’ve got our work cut out for us addressing those problems.

But guns are factors in these shootings. They are the killing factor in these shootings. If people are too steeped in the mesmerism of gun ownership to even admit or recognize that, then I fear for our collective sanity even more than I fear for those who might be the next victims.

Big Point Here: I know that plenty of people who own guns or believe in our right to purchase and use them responsibly probably agree that there is much to be done, much that must be done to limit or ban the sale of assault weapons and I herald their voices in the effort to promote greater safety and less killing in this country.

Unfortunately, those aren’t the voices we’re hearing. If Wayne LaPierre and the letters to the editor of my local daily newspaper are any indication of the position of gun owners take on this stand, I wring my hands and worry deeply. But what has happened to rational thinking? And if it’s out there among gun owners, why aren’t they being more vocal?

Because it truly is insane to believe that we can let the status quo stand—or worse, spend money to arm guards to protect schools already cash-poor in education dollars—and cluck our tongues impotently.

More guns mean more insanity.

They also mean more suicide, since well over half of those who kill themselves use guns. (Certainly in my own extended family, that was the method used by my relative who did it while three small, related children were in the house at the time.)

So where are the rational voices of those who support gun ownership but also recognize that guns in the wrong hands are lethal and the sale of guns should be carefully controlled and restricted? Where are the rational voices of those who support gun ownership but acknowledge that in order to use a gun effectively for the protection of self or others, hours and hours and hours of training and regular practice is essential—and most citizens simply don’t have the time and money to engage in that level of preparedness?

Where are the rational voices of those who support gun ownership but acknowledge that if we begin by arming teachers, where does it end? With armed shoppers in supermarkets and malls? With armed religious leaders and ushers in houses of worship? With armed fitness instructors at our gyms?

Where are the rational voices of those who support gun ownership and when will they join ranks with those less keen about owning firearms in order to call for an end to this violent madness and the irrational worship—near deification—of guns?