Okay. So, just shy of a full week after the shootings in Aurora, Colo., I’ve decided to actually say my piece about gun control, an issue that got some amount of discussion afterwards. And still is. Which I think is a good thing. Discussion is necessary.
What isn’t necessary is vitriol and attacks.
While I tried to avoid the subject of gun control, I ended up talking about it on two friends’ statuses on Facebook. In one of those conversations, I ended up extending the number of comments from around five to around 35.
So much for avoiding the subject.
As a bleeding heart, pinko commie liberal, you may have guessed that I’m a fan of gun control. What this does NOT mean is that I am a fan of banning guns everywhere. As the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Clearly, citizens are allowed to have guns… (It is in this way that I disagree with “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander in his own rant on gun violence and control) but here’s my reading of the amendment, as informed by historical facts.
Note that the amendment mentions a militia. At the time of this being written, America was less than a decade out of a war for independence from Britain. Britain had tried to take the guns of the American colonists away. Had such a thing occurred, the revolution would have been nigh impossible. The ability of people to quickly form a ragtag resistance, people like the Minutemen, was important during the fights.
Further, guns in those days were often ways of life. There was fear of attack, from the British or the Native Americans. There was the need to hunt for food. There were people that hunted for trade. They knew how to use guns, by and large, and needed them for daily function in many cases.
And, to be more frank, guns back then were not nearly as efficient as guns now. Have you ever shot a black powder rifle? I have. They take some time to load. Quite some time. When they fire, it can be pretty devastating, but getting more than a shot or two off in a minute is asking a lot. So I’m not entirely certain the Founding Fathers predicted the invention of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry.
But all that aside, I am not trying to start a conversation on the banishment of guns. Just the control of them. Somehow, the idea that they were one and the same kept cropping up in conversation. They aren’t.
Would I love it if guns simply didn’t exist in the world? Yes. It’s awful how we’ve streamlined the ability to maim and kill people. It’d be great if it weren’t so easy.
Which brings me to the next point… in these discussions, the argument of, “We can kill with pretty much anything” kept cropping up. This, to me, is quite similar to the argument, “Controlling guns won’t stop these things from happening,” so I’m going to tackle them both here.
Yes. Humans suck. A lot. We’re good at killing and, when we set our minds to it, we can find new and inventive ways to do any project. Cruelty and murder are definitely included in that. But the idea that it will happen anyway so why bother is ridiculous. Allow me to make an analogy.
People, inevitably, die. It will happen. One way or another, your mortality will get to you. So, since it’s going to happen anyway, why should we try to prevent it? Why bother with medicine or healthy living?
Another analogy, dealing with crime: People are going to drive at reckless speeds. Since it’s going to happen whether there are speed limits or not, should we just not have speed limits? I posit that, without speed limits, a WHOLE lot more people would be driving at reckless speeds. And that’s why the limits are there. To discourage some from being dangerous, and to make those who are being dangerous be considered lawbreakers.
Which is another thing that happened a few times… there was this attempt at a tautologous argument that criminals are the ones that commit crimes. It was weird and senseless. To that, all I have to say is, yes. They do. And there is probably a point in their lives when they aren’t criminals. So shouldn’t we be looking at people before they commit their first gun-related crime?
Again. I’m not talking gun elimination. Let’s just toss ideas around to maybe try and help prevent things like Aurora, Colo., or Tuscaloosa, Ala., or Tuscon, Ariz., from happening. Yes, the violence will happen. Yes, people that want to commit crimes will try to find a way. But instead of lying down and letting it happen, why not throw up roadblocks? Why not get suspicious when a guy buys a crapton of explosives and guns? Why not put a limit on the types of weaponry you’re allowed to have? (For example, in Texas, people are apparently legally allowed to purchase rocket launchers. In what way is that a good idea?) Why not put a limit on the number of guns you can have? Or the amount of ammunition at any given time?
Some will say these suggestions violate the Second Amendment. I point them to the First Amendment and remind them that there are laws against slander and libel despite the freedom of speech. There are common sense things, things to prevent harm, that must be addressed in our freedoms.
Some will say their weapons are a defense against tyranny. To them, I say that’s ridiculous. Unless you’re secretly hoping for a second Civil War, those guns are not going to be used to defend against tyranny. In fact, such an argument could cause more violence, as people seek to defend a perceived tyranny that doesn’t necessarily exist.
But none of what I’m saying is an absolute. It’s an argument. It’s another side to the conversation. A conversation that, frankly, needs to happen. Because if there is ANYTHING that we can do to potentially prevent such a horrible event from ever occurring again, then it’s worth it.
So let’s talk a little about gun control.