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.
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.
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.