Well, it has been quite a week for guns this last week! From the shooting on Valentine’s Day in Florida, and the ensuing debate, it seems as though guns are being vilified or deified, depending on what side of the aisle you are on.
I spent several hours engaged in email battles with my dad and his family, much to the chagrin of my wife, over whether or not guns were to blame for mass shootings. The essential point is true- with out guns, mass shootings wouldn’t happen. The question is then, how do you get all the guns? I don’t want to hash out the details of which guns are good and which are bad- all of that is irrelevant. A gun is a gun, and it doesn’t matter if it is fully automatic, semi-automatic, or a muzzle-loader, a gun is a gun. A shot gun could be just as effective, I think, if not more so than an AR-15, especially in a crowd. The semi-auto feature on a rifle means you can knock out a bunch of rounds, but the accuracy is so low, it would take a lot of skill to actually hit anything. Maybe I’m just a bad shot, but I know when I go out and shoot my gun, the faster I pull the trigger, the worse my aim gets…
Take a look at the following pictures:
Which one is an assault rifle? Which one is ok to have? The truth is, they are one and the same. They are both Ruger® Mini-14’s. Also known as a Ranch Rifle, it shoots .223 caliber rounds. The exact same rounds as the scary AR-15. You may notice that it can have a magazine attached as well. Standard rifles come with a 5 round mag, but yes, it is possible to get a larger capacity mag. Is it used for hunting? You probably won’t take out an elk with it, but a small deer? Sure. Coyote? That’s what it’s there for, shooting coyotes on a ranch. People? Yep, definitely possible. And so what? If someone is in my house, threatening my family, do I not have the right and responsibility to protect them?
I don’t think the problem is the weapon- I think it’s the user. The system maybe. There is a lot of complexity to the issue. Taking guns out of the hands of civilians would definitely make it harder for 16 year old kids to get their hands on weapons, and seeing as some of them are the ones doing the shooting, maybe that is a good thing. But if the shootings are terrorist related- like the Pulse Night Club, the shootings in France, and San Bernardino, the weapons will come into the country illegally anyway, so what does banning guns really do?
The next thought on that is if there are no guns, wouldn’t the people who are bent on killing others find a way to make it happen? The gun is a tool, and an efficient one, but certainly not the only way to kill or hurt people. I remember growing up and having bomb threats made at my high school. Most of the time it was just to get us out of class, but it was a real pain in the butt, especially during finals week. The point is, this sort of thing isn’t new. We had a kid run down the hall with a can of pepper spray once, and that sent kids to the hospital. There were other kids that spread oil down the sloped hall in the building, making it very slippery and dangerous. Is that the same as a shooting? No, but the intent to do harm was still there. The point is, kids, and people in general, will find ways of hurting others no matter what.
What about the brothers that blew up pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon? And the guy that drove his truck into a crowd of people in New York? Should we go back to Timothy McVeigh and the OKC bombing? What about airplanes? Those have been used as missiles on more occasions than 9/11.
What about knives? Those can be as dangerous as a gun, and far more concealable. It would not take long for a lot of damage to be done, and it would be far harder to detect than a gun. I don’t want to get into too many other ideas, it might make me look sick, but the point is, guns are not the only way to kill or hurt others. Taking them away would only mean that 1) the “good” people wouldn’t have guns because they did the “good” thing and got rid of them; 2) the “bad” people would still have guns, because they don’t care about laws in the first place. I’m pretty sure Assault, Battery, and Homicide are already “banned.” If they aren’t, we should definitely get on that! And, 3) “bad” people would still find a way to inflict damage, even without the gun.
So, instead of fighting a battle like trying to take guns away (good luck!), let’s look at other ways we can protect our kids. Let’s start by training kids about guns. Let’s make it a class where everyone learns how to use a gun. I’ve seen a lot of articles on trying to get kids involved and playing and inclusive with other kids. While I think its BS to try and force kids to play with each other, letting kids know they are important is important. Not in some BS way of just sitting there telling every kid they are special, but really paying attention to them, and helping them be part of a group.
I have a hard time with all the activities my church requires of the youth- weekly activities that range from… everything, to help keep the youth active. But thinking about this now, what a great way to help keep kids in groups, so they know there is always a place to go and someone to talk to.
Parents and family need to be involved in kids’ lives- that’s easier said than done, and we all know it to be true. Maybe there are programs employers can do to help parents spend good quality time with their kids. I definitely don’t want the state involved in this, but that might be something to think about.
Let’s look at schools and other vulnerable places. Could we not train and arm at least someone to protect the kids? I started carrying a gun after a lady and her baby got hacked up by an axe. They were just walking down the street and some dude with an axe just started hacking away. They were dead long before the police got there, because it only takes a minute, and police usually respond in 5-10. If someone had a gun there, the death of the lady and her kid might have been avoided.
I don’t have guns because I want to go out and shoot people, but I do have them so if someone starts shooting at me, or those I love, I can at least shoot back. It is not a decision I take lightly, nor is it something I ever hope to have to do. But, if something were to happen, like a good Boy Scout, I want to be prepared.