4.18.2007

On Gun Violence

I suppose I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the VT shootings. I have two major thoughts. The first is obviously intense sympathy and sadness. I was reading articles about it today, particularly one about the Holocaust survivor who died saving his students, and I was very sad. I'm also sad because in a tragedy such as this, it seems as though there were clear warning signs, and many people at VT (including poet Nikki Giovanni) tried to take steps to help this clearly troubled young man, but it was not enough. I cannot imagine what drives someone to commit such atrocities. Also, 178 people were killed in Baghdad today, 178 people who were husbands, wives, children, sisters, brothers, friends, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles. There will probably be no convocations or candlelight vigils in their honor.

The second thought was about the nature of gun rights in America today. The NRA was just in town this past weekend, so I was already thinking about it. I am ambiguous in my thoughts on gun control. I come from a hunting family. We have crazy dead animals in our house (although Kim, after years of struggle, has removed them from any common area where the general public might be exposed to them). I grew up around guns. I even took a class in high school (forensic pathology) where we got to shoot handguns at the shooting range. I am aware that people have reason such as hunting to own guns, and most of those people do so responsible. My brothers (Andrew is still an avid hunter, Jake, not so much) learned gun safety at an early age, and my dad's guns were always locked up in an insanely huge gun safe.

That being said, I do not understand people who passionately defend the 2nd Amendment. The purpose of guns is to wound or kill living creatures. If you are not a hunter, I do not understand having firearms in your house. If it is properly stored, what are the chances that if someone breaks into your house, you will be able to unlock your gun, load it, and fire it before the burglar rapes and kills you? If it is not properly stored, well, have you ever seen motherfucking 90210? Kids will find that shit and shoot each other accidentally, probably after smoking weed. Just kidding, but for real, accidental shootings happen.

Some may make the argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people. That's true, but it is a whole lot easier if said people have guns. You don't see some socially-tortured trench-coat-mafia kid committing mass murder with a garotte. It's just not happening. Another argument against gun control is that criminals will continue to get guns, so laws restricting their criminal use are futile. If this reasoning is correct, then why do we have laws restricting anything? For example, drugs. Anyone can get drugs. My kids say it's easier to get weed than alcohol if you are in high school. But we do have drug laws, some more pervasive than many would like. As it stands, anyone can just walk into a gun store and, provided they pass a less-than-rigorous background check and wait a prescribed period of time, buy a device whose sole purpose is to severely wound and or kill a living being with minimal effort. It seems to me that if it was more difficult for the average citizen to get a gun, that would make it more difficult for the average criminal to get a gun because there would be less guns out there. I'm not talking about Tony Soprano here. But for random aspiring petty criminal, it would be more difficult. Is that not a good thing?

Would a thirty-day waiting period have prevented the VT tragedy?

3 comments:

Shannon said...

They just locked down a building here this morning b/c someone was sending threatening emails from a computer to a teacher, both in the building. They arrested him and they are now questioning him. What is going on?

Brian McQ said...

I too was saddened by the Holocaust survivor, but at the same time saw it as someone who truly understood the value of human life and the need to protect it. If you were watching CBS's "Ramapage in Virginia" (Sensational? I think not) you would have caught GW asked point blank about the need for more gun control. His response was a par-for-the-course stammering of baby noises followed by one sentence that can only be described as mind-bottling: "I need to review more information on this topic." What?! More information! You're in Blacksburg, Virginia and 33 people are dead. You sounded smarter with the baby noises. Why not say, "Nah, I'm a whore to the right so guns and Jesus for everybody." At least you would have gotten credit for honesty.
On a side note a man's truck was stolen here in KC, but the big news was what was in the truck. Guns worth $70,000 dollars were in the truck when it was taken. Why'd he have a truck full of guns? He was on his way home from the gun show in St. Louis.

KBO said...

Brian--E-mail me...we have two jobs at MRH opening up, if you are interested in being in STL.
k.best@mrhsd.k12.mo.us