Guns: I Just Don’t Get It

Guns.  I just don’t understand it anymore. Let me start off by saying this post won’t be talking about gun rights or gun control.  I’m not here to take anybody’s guns away, but I’m also not here to defend anything to do with guns.  What I’m here to do is simply to vent.  To throw my hands up in the air and express frustration at everything that seems to be associated with it.

I don’t know.  I don’t get it.

Death By Guns: Recent Stories Have Hit Me Hard

A few stories have hit me hard lately that I’ve read or heard about.  Way too many of these involve children.

  • Last month, there was a pretty big story about an Idaho woman who was carrying a loaded gun in her purse while out shopping.  While at WalMart, her son was playing with her purse, found the gun, and shot her.
  • Last week, a nine month old baby was shot by his five year old brother, who found a loaded gun that his grandfather had in the house.
  • Also just last week, a two year old was in his parents car, found his fathers loaded gun in the glove compartment, and accidentally shot himself in the chest.
  • A co-worker sent out a note last week that he’d be missing some time due to a tragedy.  Come to find out, his wife’s sister was engaged.  Her fiance was cleaning his gun, and it turned out to be loaded.  He had it pointed it at himself when it went off.

All four of the people died.

Four stories.  Four deaths.  How many lives changed.  Children dead.  Little kids that did the accidental shooting either ending their own lives, or ending the life of their brother or mother.  A woman who will never get to walk down the aisle with the man of her dreams.

All for what?

I don’t know.  I don’t get it.

The 2nd Amendment: I Get It, But I Don’t Get It

Look, even with all the tragedy, as I mentioned before, you won’t get me lobbying to repeal the second amendment.  Trust me, I get it.  I respect it.  I’m also pretty sure that it’s something that is not going away in my lifetime.  It’s just like the air we breathe.  It’s here so I’m not going to spend any time on it.

Now, what I don’t get are the people that stand behind the second amendment to make it seem like, not only do they have the right for gun ownership, but they act like they have the obligation.

That part I don’t get.

People will stand behind a piece of paper that was signed in 1791 as the basis of why theyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA just have to have guns and why they have to have them on or around them.

That’s 224 years ago.  The people that are dying are right here.  Today.

A Different World

The world was a different place 224 years ago.  Now I don’t know nor will I ever know for sure how much of the world changes we’ve seen were envisioned by the people who made it a constitutional right to bear arms.  Could they possibly have envisioned the evolution that we would take as a society, and the technological advances?  Probably not.  I can’t even begin to think what the world will look like in 224 years, but I just can’t imagine any decision that we make in 2015 holding to the same absolute standards of the world that will be lived in the year 2239.

So, while I respect the 2nd Amendment, I just wish people wouldn’t stand behind that one piece of paper as the reason to tote a gun around a purse, or keep it in the house, or otherwise.

I wish that people would think of better reasons than they have a gun simply because they can, at least as their primary reason.  Now, I’m not saying that the people involved in the tragedies above were anything like that.  I’ll never know.  But, I have personally spoken or heard from way too many people who abide by that philosophy.

I don’t get it.

Don’t Tell Me It Can’t Happen To You

Here’s what happens and I bet has happened as a reaction to every one of those stories. A gun owner reads the story, shakes his head, clucks his or her tongue, and says, “They made a mistake, but that would never happen to me.”

Say what you want, but I don’t buy that.

I’m pretty doubtful that every person involved probably had no idea that their actions would lead to fatal consequences, either for themselves, or for someone else.  The grandfather probably thought that keeping the gun in a locked cabinet was safe enough.  It wasn’t.  The fiance probably thought he’d checked to make sure that the gun wasn’t loaded.  It wasn’t.  The mother probably let her son have access to her purse a hundred other times, and never thought that it would translate to her dying.  It did.

Does every other gun owner think that they are immune to such mistakes?  That even if they’ve checked and double checked everything safety wise that they might forget just one times?  Not me, right?

I’m sure that’s what the people who are now dead or grieving once thought, too.

So, What’s My Point Exactly?

I guess the short answer to that question is that I don’t have one. I just want to vent.  To try to see if putting the thoughts into words and the words down on a computer screen might help make some sense to me.

I know it seems like I’m probably taking sides here, but I assure you I’m not.  This leans definitely toward the ‘get rid of guns’ sentiment, but there are times when I’m not looking at a list of tragedies where having guns makes sense to me.  So, don’t lecture me about wanting to take your guns away.

Trust me, I don’t want them.  But I won’t try to take them from you.  But what I will ask is to think whether they are really needed.  Are you carrying them because it’s your right? Are you carrying them for safety?  Do you keep one in your house that you think will make you safe?  If so, tell me how you’d get it if your home got invaded or robbed.  Are you really going to get to it in time?  Or is your curious kid going to find it first?

Nobody knows.  But every day people find out.  One way or another, they find out, don’t they?

Can Anything Change?

Maybe some day it will make sense.  But, I’m guessing that to the little boys who one day found out that they killed their family member, the inevitable guilt and the loss will affect them monumentally through their life.  My mother died when I was young (nothing involving a gun), and though I’m too young to remember her, there’s still a hole that exists that will never be filled.  I imagine it’s the same with a sibling.  For the kids here to eventually grow up and also know that they played a part, no matter that it was a tragic accident, I can’t imagine what that will do to them  They now have this with them every day.

Lessons Learned

I’m guessing that to the woman who was essentially left a widow before she ever got to be a bride, it’s probably not going to make much sense.  One minute you’re somewhere in the process of planning a wedding and looking forward to what the rest of your lives hold, and suddenly you’re planning a funeral and looking back at what life was lost.

I’m guessing that the grandfather who probably didn’t lose just one grandson, but probably access to any other grandchildren he might have, I’m guessing that he might see things differently now.

You can blame it on error or mistakes or not following proper safety measures.  You can say that checking safeties or emptying chambers might have helped avoid these tragedies.  If you say these things, I can’t argue with you.  But, I do know that sometimes all the locks in the world, all the double checking in the world, the highest shelves in the world, they might not be enough.  They might not hold the answers.

So what is the answer?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I still don’t get it.

22 thoughts on “Guns: I Just Don’t Get It”

  1. I don’t own a gun either although I shot expert with 5 weapons in the army. I am okay with gun ownership, but I believe in responsible ownership. Everyone defines “responsible ownership” differently. There are more problems with family members being killed because of irresponsible owners.

    • Agreed, and as I touched on, there are likely many people who once believed that they were doing everything 100% responsibly, who have otherwise been proven wrong, which is where I see blurred lines.

  2. I own two guns. I enjoy going to the range and shooting targets. It’s something I like doing. Now, saying that, I don’t carry guns on me at any time. I don’t even keep mine loaded. They are both locked in a biometric safe which can’t be opened by anyone but myself and my wife. I don’t take them out when my son is around, nor do I show him the weapons. While I believe in the 2nd amendment, you won’t see me crying foul if there were tighter controls. I was irritated when they started to allow guns in restaurants (bars) and parks here in my state. I thought it was irresponsible and just stupid. Who needs to carry in a restaurant or park?

    • Very good point, or there are the idiots that walk along a road with an assault rifle over their shoulder, who, when people start calling 911 and the cops show up, make it their only point to show that they have the ‘right’ to open carry. Lines like that need not be crossed, but they do all because ‘they can’.

  3. After the mass shooting in Santa Monica, the son of the Hollywood producer. People may argue for and against gun using that same event. Because prior to the shooting spree, he killed 3 Asian roommates with knifes. So, any kinds of weapon can kill.

    Our country need to do something about the weaponry control. Even pschy tests is not perfect proof, because people might have temporary insanity. It is just way too easy to access, and it’s the type of semi and automatic weapons are flooding the street of America that scares me.

    • I remember that case and did a lot of reading about it and the things that led up to it. That was definitely a very disturbed, lonely individual, though as you pointed out, guns were not the ultimate method used against his victims.

  4. We are not allowed to own firearms in my country (unless in the Police or similar services). It’s true we don’t have the opportunity to defend ourselves with a gun, but the good thing is that even thieves are unarmed and we cannot shoot ourselves (or get shot by our kids) either.

    • Often the argument is used that thieves will not give up their guns as a reason for gun ownership. It’s hard to argue with that in a lot of ways, and here in the USA, the supply is already out there.

  5. I really don’t like to have a gun. It’s really danger especially if you can’t handle it. Better to use some weapon that you can’t regret to have. Thanks for sharing this post.

  6. There’s a lot of sad stories related to guns. We have much tighter gun laws in Canada, but unfortunately these types of things still occur on occasion, though much less frequently due to the lack of right to carry laws. A community not too far from me had a tragic event with a kid and a loaded rifle several years ago. It was illegally stored that way, but it still happened and it’s still a tragedy.
    I agree with your sentiment questioning why there are so many guns in the world. I own guns for hunting and have written about what it’s like to own guns in Canada in the past.

  7. I agree that there are people that get a little fanatic about gun ownership…..although I don’t get the flipside either. There are also people that will cite the same accidents you did as reason why noone should own a gun ever. There are many things in life that can, when misused, or through accident, hurt or kill someone. Like a car….totally not a life necessity – but people die driving them every year. People get hurt falling out of trees, but we don’t outlaw climbing trees. Yep guns are are dangerous, and accidents will happen…..and we should continue to look for ways to make gun use and ownership safer – but they’re no different than a bazillion other things we use every day.

    • I completely hear you, though the one thing to keep in mind is that cars and trees and other things are not designated with their primary purpose to be weapons. True, a car can turn into one, but by design, it’s intended purpose is not to be a weapon. That can often make comparisons difficult.

  8. I understand the frustration and disappointment with accidents (and crimes) in our society that involve guns. I am a libertarian by nature and support gun ownership fully and completely, but also understand that gun ownership definitely includes the responsibility to keep and operate them safely.

    I personally believe the whole gun debate in this country is nonsense. Guns are here, and they are here to stay. Ban them. Allow them. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter. Just like drugs (which are “banned”), they will always be something that our society will need to deal with regardless of whether individual A, or politician B, personally supports gun ownership or not. We need to collectively stop wasting our time and debating gun bans, and probably gun control in general

    I will say that the surest way to continue setting our children up to accidentally shoot others or themselves with guns is to ignore the problem. Kids are naturally curious, and they will play with things to figure out what they are, how they work, and what they can do with them. If they’ve never seen a gun before, then just like a knife or a bottle of high-powered prescription medication, accidents will happen.

    In my view, we cannot ignore guns. Instead, we need to deal with them as a society. Just like we teach kids about “stranger danger”, we also need to teach our kids about guns, knifes and other dangerous objects and what to do when they are around them. The more that our society in general understands about gun ownership, the better prepared we will be to manage this issue intelligently and successfully.

    • Great thoughts, thanks for contributing. I agree that kids need to be more educated, but I wonder, how much education would erase the curiosity that might overtrump good decisions.

  9. I own guns and I know how to properly use them and care for them. I keep them locked up safe and away from others at all times. I use them for recreation and I use them for hunting. I eat the meat that I get from hunting. I don’t waste it and I try to minimalize as much waste from the animal as I can. I know why we have guns and I support the second amendment because I want to be prepared to take care of myself when an emergency happens rather than having to wait for the police to respond after the event/threat has already occurred and passed. Guns aren’t the problem, criminals are. If you take guns away from citizens, the only ones who will give them up are the good guys. The bad guys will still have them hidden anyway. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

    • It’s hard to argue with that. At this point, since we have the guns, there’s no way to take them away from anybody without leaving them in the hands of the criminals. That’s definitely something we need to consider as we can never ‘start over’.

  10. I’ll start this off with: I live in Texas. 🙂 I grew up in the actual country, with wild animals like boar or rabid dogs that do attack occasionally, so rifles and shotguns were just part of life. As kids, we were taught to respect ALL weapons as soon as we could walk. You would never seen me or my cousins messing with any of the hunting guns, knives, or bows that my grandparents owned until they or our parents taught us how to use them properly. Even then, we were supervised until we were adults. Now I’m an adult…I own a stun gun and some sharp knives. My roommates have a gun that they’ve taken with us to a range for me to shoot. It’s never kept armed.

    I also am frustrated with the number of gun accidents and incidents. My usual reaction is just sadness. Then I wonder why a 5 year old didn’t know NOT to touch the gun. Or why the lady has a loaded weapon in her purse (and then, why it didn’t have the safety on). Things like that. But I also live in an area where people kill themselves doing stupid sh*t on four-wheelers…

    • Very true. You make a good point that it’s not about the guns per se, but more about those who own them. Unfortunately, the model of ‘Idiocracy’ where the dumbing down of society seems to be largely underway, does not lend itself to thinking that decision-making will improve.

  11. okay, i can see i’m going to have to post about this at FAM because in my precincts, too, it’s a vexatious question…

    In short though: You can’t fix stupid. You can’t legislate against stupid. Leaving a loaded gun in your purse, in the glove compartment, or anywhere in the house where a child can find it is purely stupid, and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop these souls from doing harm to themselves or their family members. If they didn’t have a gun to leave lying around, they’d leave a bottle of Drano or aspirin where a kid could swallow it.

    When it comes to indeed, we just don’t get it, how, really, do we as a society get it about automobiles? About homicidal speed limits and driving while texting or eating or reading or whatever? About legislators and city leaders who fold when idiots who feel entitled to drive like maniacs protest traffic cameras meant to enforce safe speed limits? Many, many, MANY more people are killed or maimed by cars than by guns. Why don’t we take cars away from people? That would save an awful lot more lives.

  12. Just go to news.google.com and type in “shoots intruder” in the search box. Your results will include:

    1/30/15 – Detroit homeowner shoots intruder
    1/29/15 – Orlando homeowner shoots intruder
    1/29/15 – Las Vegas homeowner shoots intruder
    1/19/15 – Philadelphia man in wheelchair shoots intruder
    1/18/15 – Cape May, NJ man shoots intruder

    I could go on, but you can do the search yourself. The reason you hear about the dumb accidents and not any of the articles above is because it doesn’t fit the mainstream media’s narrative. Additionally, the Congressional Research Office has shown that between 1994-2009, gun ownership has increased while fire-arm related murder declined.

    Regarding the framers not anticipating the gun technology 224 years ago, they also didn’t anticipate the news would travel around the world in a millisecond via something called the Internet. Does that mean free speech is debatable on your blog? Should the government be allowed to shut down your site because the framers didn’t intend to include the internet 224 years ago?

    I know you said a lot of this doesn’t make sense, but I hope the facts above do. I respect you bringing this up on a finance blog and that we are allowed to debate this freely online. Oh, also, firearm deaths account for 0.5% of all preventable accidental deaths. Instead of focusing on 0.5%, let’s focus on something more meaningful, like the other 99.5%.

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