Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People–But Guns Make It Too Damn Easy

Credit: CNN

I know that I haven’t blogged in a while, and I wish I were coming out of the woodwork to comment on a more uplifting subject. But today, I feel I need to talk about my views on gun control. In fact, I don’t just feel a need—I feel it’s my duty as a person and as a writer to use my voice, and my blog, to share how I and so many others are feeling about guns in the wake of yet another senseless tragedy.

In “Say No to ‘The New Normal’–Five Things You Can Do About Gun Violence,” Daily Beast columnist Cliff Schecter writes that individuals can make a difference when it comes to gun violence and gun control, even by simply talking about it. He reminds us: “You are consequential. You have a voice. You have reading clubs, Facebook friends, bridge parties, etc. Make sure everyone knows your feelings on this issue.” And maybe Schecter’s case is even more applicable to writers over anyone else. Last week, author Nick Sweeney called for us writers to remember that we are the voice of the people in his Atticus Review op-ed, “Changing the Narrative: The Responsibilities of Writers in a Time of Crisis.

As a response to both of these reminders, here are my unbridled views:

1. I don’t know what to think exactly, but there are other countries in the world that don’t have this problem.

I am so saddened to hear of the shooting in Oregon, and the subsequent unrelated shootings at Texas Southern University, and at myriad other locations throughout the United States. Though at this point, I don’t even know what to think anymore. After watching Obama’s first remarks about the Oregon tragedy, I was glad that our president gave voice to my opinion on this matter.

At this point, I support responsible gun owners who use them for hunting, sport, or a sense of protection, and feel they should be able to continue that. But there needs to be stricter gun laws to prevent the wrong types of people from easily getting a gun. I’m not sure what that will look like in the United States, but other countries have done it successfully.

2. Guns don’t kill people, but guns make it that much easier for people to kill people.

Yes, it IS people who make the choice to harm others, so we may never be able to prevent that. But what we need to focus on is reducing the CHANCES of innocent people being killed, especially en masse. Maybe guns themselves don’t kill others (except when those all-too-frequent accidents occur while cleaning a gun or when a child finds one and plays with it), but I have 100% certainty that without guns, people wouldn’t be physically able to kill as many people in short periods of time.

Of course, gun enthusiasts will say that a person who wants to kill others will just use something else. A knife, perhaps. They’ll probably cite the recent Kunming attack that occurred in 2014 at a Chinese train station where 29 people lost their lives to eight knife-wielding terrorists. They’ll say, “See? It’s not just guns we have to worry about. Are we going to need background checks to buy kitchen knives next?” But guess what? It took eight of those disgusting people to kill 29 others. That’s 3-4 victims per psycho. Do you think the death toll would have been the same if the eight of them had guns? Stricter gun laws will likely result in a mentally ill potential killer—or in the case of terrorism, a mentally misled and brainwashed potential killer–only hurting a few people with a knife, rather than 10, 20, or more with a gun.

3. State by state, stricter guns laws = less gun violence

In fact, there’s a direct correlation between stricter gun laws and decreased gun violence/death by gun. According to this State by State gun law graphic from National Journal, states with the strictest gun laws (which includes things like background checks, lack of “stand your ground” laws, and required permits/registrations) have the least occurrences of gun violence. We’ve got a truly promising answer right here!

Credit: Politifact

4. Do we really need to live like this?

I also need to admit that ever since the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, I can’t comfortably sit in a movie theater anymore. I get extremely nervous when someone walks across the floor in front of the screen just a little too slowly. I also get nervous, sometimes, on public transportation and in public places where I know someone could bring a gun quite easily—trains, buses, subways (and if I were a student, classrooms)—all because these things have been happening, and keep happening. Because the current gun laws don’t fully prevent a person with bad intentions from getting their hands on a gun. Because I know that someone planning something like this can just walk into a local Wal-mart in some states and buy a gun without a background check or mental health check that would at least raise some red flags.

I’m also sick of the mental health stigmatization that is often reinforced in the wake of shootings. What makes someone perform an act of violence is very complex, and often isn’t only a result of brain chemicals, but also their upbringing, the culture they live in, life events, and a host of other things (most importantly, a disregard for the preciousness of human life, which is not exactly a mental health issue). People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of crimes rather than the perpetrators, and this has been proven over and over again. Pretty much everyone I know, including myself, has dealt with some type of mental health issue at some point in their life, especially things like anxiety and depression. It’s not uncommon to go through something like that, and many people who deal with it are not a danger to others or even themselves for that matter.

I would like to live in a country where my worries about someone randomly using a gun to kill people are unfounded. Let’s make it so that my or anyone else’s fears of gun violence are nothing to worry about. We need to do everything we can to keep people from harming others. End of story.

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3 Comments

  1. rae

     /  10.22.2015

    you’re writing sounds so confident 🙂

    #proud

    love and miss you <333 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. PK

     /  12.30.2015

    …From a previous post, last month…

    First, let me say, I am proud to call you my cousin! I totally respect you, and you are a wonderful, thought-provoking writer. I am so proud of you, and as a father of a teenage girl, you are a wonderful role model for young women. You are also way off base here. Why is control the answer? (Notice I say control, not gun control).

    Cliff Shecter is partially right. We are consequential. We do have a voice. But why does gun control equate to reduction in gun violence? What proves that? You list a few studies in your blog, but there are plenty of research and studies that show, in fact, that the opposite is true. An example of this is here:http://www.foxnews.com/…/murder-drops-as-concealed…/ (if fox is not considered trustworthy to you, try this one from the Free Republic which shows both sides of the debate: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/648703/posts. I do admit to like John Lotts book More Guns, Less Crime).

    Going down your list of points, I do think they are good points of discussion.

    For point 1, I would argue that this is simply not true. You are quoting the New York Times, which quite frankly, I am surprised is still in business. Their credibility is long gone. I wont read a paper with Dowd and Krugman. Now, I guess I can go online and Google a rebuttal to this, but my understanding is that overall crime in these countries well surpass that in the USA (based on a percentage of the population). There are, in fact, mass killings in other countries, maybe not guns, but believe me, Europe is not utopia.

    Point 2, I would argue is on target. Guns don’t kill people, but guns do make it easier for people to kill people. True statement. But you further your point and say, with 100% certainty, that large amounts of people will not be killed in a short amount of time. I will come up with 3. A bomb for the first WTC bombing. A box cutter killed about 3000 on 9/11. McVeigh killed a whole bunch back in the early 90’s with fertilizer in one shot. Happy Land 1990. Countless other arsons, hijacking of trains, etc. I know I said 3, but it can go on and on.

    My main objection to the above, is your point that without guns, there would be less death toll. You argue that we need gun control to make that happen. This is my main peeve. Why is the focus automatically on control? CONTROL…..Why is your point of reference not from a “freedom” point of view. Why, is your point of reference not something like, “..well, if we had more law abiding people with concealed carry, we can take out the bad person so more good people can live?” I hate the fact that the popular reference point is to take freedoms away from good people who will save lives.

    Point 3, no. See paragraph 2 above.

    Point 4, Do we really need to live like this. Well, what got us here? Guns? Really? Why not get to the root of the problem. I too, think, every morning and evening, when I get on the train, is someone going to take me out? (see Colin Ferguson). When I get on the subway, what nut is going to be there? When I go to see a Christmas Tree, who is going to harm my wife and daughter. When my daughter goes to school every day, I think about this. But what caused it? What caused us to be like this? Well, look, this will kick off another entire thread and this can go on and on…but what has happened since we started not caring about the culture of death. Abortion comes to mind. I know the point is arguable, and maybe I am wrong there, it is its own debate…What about making excuses for bad behavior? What about holding people accountable for their actions instead of finding excuses, or, more to the point, blame others for one particular persons actions. Demonization of good things. Religion bad (and I think you know me, I am not the role model for Roman Catholicism). This is where is starts. I know I am generalizing, but I hope you get my point.

    The other thing that I dont think you mention is the politics of this. I am no more an NRA member than I am a liberal democrat, but hey, our esteemed president said this stuff should be politicized. Well, it was not even 11am PST, and our esteemed president is already talking about control before we even knew who did it, whether it was terrorist related or not, and before we even knew the victims name. That is shameless to me. Next, I understand that long guns were used today. Isn’t that what our esteemed Vice President said us law abiding citizens should purchase, instead of hand guns? To me, that is disgusting.

    So my final thought is this. Why do you want to punish good people? You say you don’t want to hurt law abiding gun enthusiasts, or hunters, etc. Well, I don’t hunt; I could never kill an animal smile emoticon But I do have this right: I have the right to protect my family, and I do have the right to protect myself against a government out of control. The bill of rights means something, still, to some people. Freedom mean everything to me. That is why I served my country. Not because I was raised in the hood, not because I was poor and had nothing better to do. I did it to do my part to protect freedom. FREEDOM. All 10 amendments mean something to me, and that includes the second one. But to be responsible with that amendment, we need responsible people. The other thing to think about is this…we can make it personal. I am a pretty decent guy. You are my cousin. I love you. I love your parents. If the stars are aligned right (or wrong, I guess), and you, the city girl from Queens, gets attacked, and I was in a position to help you, I would either take a bullet for you, or, I would take them out first before you got hurt. Or, both of us could be victims. Or only you could be the victim. My advice is this…trust the good people. There are more of them than bad people.

    And lastly, this. There is no proof that Gun Control will work. So many laws on the books since the Great Society. Thousands. How many laws have been broken in these shootings? Think about that. And since the Great Society, and argument can be made that many things are worse. The only – the only – outcome from gun control is control. Laws won’t work. The ultimate end game here is gun confiscation. And, Steph, you know me…if there are new laws passed, I will bitch and moan, but that is all I will do because I am a law abiding citizen and ultimately, I am not hurt. But when they come for my guns, when they come for confiscation – and you know that is next – I will fight that with all I have. Because nothing means more to me than Freedom, self governance, and being part of the governed by consent crowd. Tyranny is where I draw the line.

    Forgive the mispells, typos, etc., I am just home from work, and need to get ready to watch Chicago PD tonight. Keep up the good work with your blog, and I look forward to continue reading your posts. I do enjoy them. smile emoticon

    ps…If I ever do get gunned down, please, please, don’t blog about your handsome cousin Paul being killed and needing more gun control. I mean, yeah, you can talk about me being handsome. But just please kill the bastard. He did it. Not the gun. I don’t want excuses associated with my name. smile emoticon

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