Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about the horrific shooting in Aurora, CO. Tragedies like this have an ability to suck us in—we find ourselves watching hours and hours of coverage, seeing the same video over and over again. Shortly thereafter we begin to try to make sense of senseless tragedies as our hearts and minds and prayers go out to those affected. We’ll donate money or even hold a candle, but after a while life just of goes back to normal—and nothing changes; we’ve done nothing to address the problems that led tragedy or disaster in the first place.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the first to speak out and say that we’ve got to look at how horrible things like this continue to happen in this country. Frankly I’m tired of reading about armed madmen walking into a church or a school or a mall and killing innocent people. I was in high school here in Colorado when the first large scale gun tragedy shook this state. I played in a summer basketball league with kids from Columbine. One of my teammates tragically took his own life unexpectedly a year or so later. One of the best basketball players in the state, he had hid in a closet during the whole ordeal. At my own high school, one of my teammate’s mother committed suicide some time later—the Columbine tragedy weighing heavily on her. My father and I went to the memorial at the movie theater down the street from Columbine, so I’m not just trying to exploit a tragedy to get my political agenda across.
I’m going to be holding a new-born baby any day now, and I’ve got to wonder what kind of world she’s coming into. So when someone respectable and intelligent suggests that we should revive the conversation about guns in our country, I don’t think it’s outrageous. Of course President Obama isn’t going to touch it with a ten foot pole when he’s in a tight race for re-election as it is and Romney is already in bed with right-wing gun owners so that leaves people like you and me to have an intelligent, respectable conversation about it.
So here we go:
I’m sure you’ve heard the refrain before, that guns don’t kill people, its people that kill other people. It’s said that someone could use a car, a baseball bat, or a sledgehammer to kill someone—but here’s the catch; none of those items are designed to kill or maim human beings. A car is designed for transportation, a baseball bat to hit a baseball, and a sledgehammer for construction demolition. Can something be misused or perverted from its purpose? But guess what most guns are designed for?
Another argument against tougher gun control laws is that they will only impact the law-abiding citizens, since a criminal already disregards law and order as it is. Ok, but again, the alleged shooter was a law abiding citizen until he went out and blew away 12 people in a horrific tragedy. We’re all law-abiding citizens until we go out and break the law. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to ban a high-powered rifle capable of doing irreparable harm to scores of people in seconds or perhaps for local law enforcement just to check in when someone is suddenly stockpiling guns.
And don’t tell me that more people there with conceal-and-carry guns could have saved the day. In a dark movie theater, with hundreds of panicked people running and screaming, and with a gunman geared up in a bullet-proof vest and helmet is someone really going to be able to calmly stand up and take out the assailant with a headshot amidst the chaos. Law enforcement professionals train for hours and hours for such situations.
I’m not trying to trash on the 2nd Amendment either, but when conservatives constantly cry that the founders didn’t envision “equal protection under the law” applying to homosexual rights, I’ve got to think they didn’t foresee semi-automatic rifles either, the guns back then were one-shot and reload muskets. So if we’re going to talk “Original Intent” in one area, shouldn’t we at least be consistent?
So what can we do about this? The NRA doesn’t own the conversation. Can we at least start by being honest with ourselves? Guns do kill people—because they are made to.