Saturday, July 21, 2012
With this hideous mass killing in Colorado of innocent attendees at a movie theatre...once again the press is making a field day of this tragedy. Somehow, when these mass shootings in the USA happen, many in the press start heaping the blame on guns. I would like to simply start by pointing out, guns are programmed or shot by...willful human beings. Guns are not the culprit...people are.
How is it in our human condition that in this day and age we have come to the point where we cannot confront our own insane behavior or mental conditions...and continue to take out our wrath on inanimate objects? If you carry this logic very far, you start questioning the legality of knives or even basic tools that are used in construction and everyday living. Hell, you might as well start outlawing all the bad foods that people eat that kill more people every year than guns. Since it seems so impossible for the average human to learn and use these things the right way, this mentality says we really should have bigger government to control our access to guns, knives, basic saws, screwdrivers and hammers we use in everyday life. After all...people die everyday from irresponsible use of all these objects.
If you question that, just think of all the loose nuts and bolts of faulty auto parts that have caused thousands of deaths in collapsed construction or auto accidents. I think we should outlaw the use of those tools that have been so irresponsibly used in construction. Also...robots. Robots...programmed by people...have caused systematic failure in certain assembly line goods that have led to hundreds of accidents and deaths. Gas systems have been faultily constructed so that they caused leaks that kill hundreds of people worldwide in recent years. We should outlaw those terrible robots...and the tools that made them...for the great anguish and pain they have caused the human race. I know you are thinking I am sounding ridiculous now...but how different is this than the mentality of the article referred to above?
From a legal argument...lets focus on this from another angle. One of the most common bumper stickers I have seen on this subject over decades has been ¨if we outlaw guns...only outlaws will have them¨. I personally find significant reason to this sentiment. Laws are passed usually to protect the law abiding. People who don´t care about law usually don`t care what the law says or means. Do we REALLY think outlawing guns will keep bad people from getting them? Come on...get real. ¨ Illegal¨ drugs have been illegal for decades...yet any of us can find these drugs on any major American city street-corner in 5 minutes...if we know the right neighborhood to look in. How is that working for us...apart from making the prison industry one of the fastest growing industries in the USA?
I know some other people in the USA who think that only police and military people...tied to the government...should be allowed to have guns. Hmmm...I guess the historic wars including the USA´s own civil war of the 1800s and War of Independence were meaningless in guaranteeing freedoms and independence of all Americans to have equal rights...including the right to self defense and to bear arms in defense of liberty and justice? Or...are we suddenly so irresponsible and careless that having a gun means we are going to kill someone or have to use it against another person? I would argue that a vast majority of guns are NEVER used...and when they are it is on paper targets or occasional game hunting excursions.
Finally, as crass as some of my Liberal friends will find this statement...I truly think guns in a society as crazy as the USA is a solid deterrent for what happened this week in Aurora Colorado. If I was caught in such a hellaceous cross fire...do you think I would hesitate to use a firearm in defense of myself or others in that theater? Not on your life. The perpetrator would deserve no mercy...nor get any.
And excuse me for saying...but I find it very hypocritical of any American to question the legal rights of owning and using firearms in self defense within our country, while supporting our troops use of guns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or as we did historically here in Panama against foreign ¨enemies of State¨. We took the lives of thousands of innocent bystanders and citizens of these other countries. How are guns somehow more ¨moral¨ in those instances?
The morality of ¨firearms¨ to me is a very neutral topic. Like so many ¨things¨ in life...it is how these things are USED that determines their morality. Therefore, it is the intent and mentality behind them that is moral or immoral...not the object itself.
Am I saying I love guns or the idea of having to carry one? Absolutely not. My feeling about guns are about the same as a car or shovel in the garage. I can kill someone with either one of those possessions. That doesn`t mean shovels or cars are moral or immoral. Lets get our thinking caps on straight.
And finally, I DO think it is important to teach people how to use guns responsibly. I thankfully grew up in an age where hunting and guns were normal everyday realities. My Dad taught me how to fire one at about 10 or 11 years old...and my favorite memories with him were hunting trips in Northern Michigan's woods where I learned many arts of ¨survival¨. A friend and I used to take our rifles or shotguns to school in our cars back in the early 70s to go hunting right after school...sometimes with our Biology teacher. I imagine those days are forever gone. It is sad when guns are now so demonized when the demons are basically a few bad humans in our midst.
So, do I want to return to the days of the wild wild west not so long ago where everyone carried guns for self protection since there were no police around in those places? No...I am happy to let public servants like my nephew and a niece who are police officers carry the load on that front. Yet...I also believe all free citizens in a society should have the right to bear arms...as guaranteed in the USA constitution...even if from time to time they are used for hideous crimes or for taking out aggression. When those people come along...I for sure want my own firepower. And morally, I will not hesitate to shoot...as sad as that reality may be. To me that is more moral than being a helpless, unprepared victim.