I’ve posted my general objective blog entry about the Sandy Hook shooting (here). I’ve posted my positive Christian reflection too(here). This entry will be what I’ve been dying to say, and it will be a posting that many will not like. If you disagree with the following “rant,” please do not take it as an invitation to argue. You came to this blog voluntarily and may leave as easily as you came.
I have been absolutely drowning in pro-gun propaganda since the shooting. It’s certainly an issue that brings out people’s ugly sides. I want to blog in response to several of these, more than anything, because I feel like I might explode if I don’t. I should, before I go on, include that I don’t hate guns. My husband has several. He’s teaching our son responsibility and safety where the guns are concerned, and they are never an issue in our home. Even still, all the gun talk has me feeling uneasy.
I’ll make what I see to be my most reasonable point first. I call it reasonable because I don’t really see it as being simply my opinion like the rest of this piece; it’s pretty darn near reality. So here it is. It is pretty inappropriate and selfish to be arguing gun control laws before the whole investigation is complete and the victims laid to rest. I look at it like this: You wouldn’t go to the funeral of a friend who died an alcohol related death loudly protesting drinking. You wouldn’t publicly denounce smoking in front of a family whose relative just died of lung cancer. You don’t begin an anti-texting crusade at the bedside of a teenager who’s dying from distracted driving. So WHY, in this case, is it okay to bring up the issue yet? It’s disrespectful to the lives of those children and to the grieving families and community members to give attention to the wrong issue. And right now, the issue is mourning, not gun control. To raise this big stink before all facts are known and healing has begun is rude and insensitive. People are turning a profound tragedy in our nation into a very personal political battle, and that’s not right or fair. Your response should be one of sympathy and prayer, not selfish argument.
Nevertheless, for the sake of this blog and my sanity, I’m going to continue to make my points….
I realize gun rights are a very personal issue, but I want gun enthusiasts to think twice about the language they use. Violent allusions when you plead your case to keep your guns make you seem crazy and on the side of the shooter. While I realize very few gun enthusiasts would EVER harm a human with their guns, using that kind of rhetoric is nutso. Think of it like this: guns are a possession. Is there any other possession you would defend so adamantly? “You can have my cell phone when you pry it from my cold dead hands!” Sounds stupid, right? “I dare you to even try and take my PS3; you will meet the wrath of hell!” Whaaaaa? This isn’t a thoughtful considerate way to talk about anything, much less weaponry that is getting some pretty bad press right now. See my point? If you want those of us who stay on the fence about guns to jump over to your side, you should try to come across as a little less of a lunatic. So talk like a reasonable person, and drop the crazy words.
And now I’ve worked my way to the part of this post that I know people won’t like– my own opinion. Believe it or not, it’s not all that radical. For me, the issue in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is twofold: access to mental healthcare and access to military-style assault rifles. No one seems to want to speak out concerning reform of mental healthcare (although you can read an amazing piece on it here), so I’ll move on to guns. I really liked this tweet, so I’ll use it to introduce what I have to say.
The metaphor in this tweet is very similar to one I would use. Its focus is on the role of the guns rather than the guns themselves. I like the idea that maybe people should stop thinking about the actual guns and start thinking about what the guns are being used for. Generally, if society is asked to eliminate something that is harmful to children, they absolutely agree. Why are guns the exception here? They are, after all, being used to harm our children. We’ve got to step outside our guns and the way we personally use them and look at the worst possible scenario.
We saw the worst possible scenario to date last Friday. Guns which were arguably too big for public possession were too easily accessed by the wrong person, and unthinkable tragedy ensued. And while mental healthcare might be the central issue, we cannot ignore that guns were a significant part of what happened. Doesn’t it at least warrant a discussion? Are the lives of those children not worth an examination into how we, as a nation, might prevent any other children from going through that again? How bad will the next mass shooting be if we don’t have this discussion soon?
No, guns do not kill people (people do), and yes, truly crazy people will always find a way to bring harm to others. But shouldn’t we do what we can to make it a little more difficult for killing sprees? America was safer after 9/11 because laws changed. Our nation refused to change on this after Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Aurora, and what did we get? Sandy Hook.
I realize I’m pretty liberal, but I promise I am not asking for a complete repeal of the Second Amendment. I know that hunting is a deeply rooted tradition which is loved by many people (some of whom I love deeply myself). I understand the need to own a weapon of protection against intruders; people are crazy, and feeling safe is important. What I cannot fathom, though, is why any sane person would want an arsenal of weapons meant for nothing but the taking of human life. That is not our right. If conservative Republican gun advocates (like the one here) can look at Sandy Hook and recognize a call to change for the sake of our children, then everyone should, at the very least, roll the thought around.
People are not asking for your guns if you own the right kind for the right purposes. What people — the president, your neighbors, even some NRA honored journalists — are asking is that you lay your rhetorical weapons down, shrug off that chip on your shoulder, and think about compromise. We cannot expect our world to change if we aren’t willing to change ourselves.