There are so many interesting things happening at this time and it’s hard to decide just what to focus on. Perhaps it is the birth of a new granddaughter, but the ‘good’ interesting things seem better and the ‘bad’ interesting things seem worse. The one thing that seems to hover above them all is the overwhelming ubiquity of guns in our society and the consequences.
I could start by talking about the latest mass shooting here in America. Since we have at least one a month these days, I can skip the specifics. You can fill in the blanks from today’s paper, or tomorrow’s, or next week’s or next month’s. Texas thinks the answer is in agreeing with Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. All of these states allow citizens (and that includes students) to carry concealed weapons into school buildings and classrooms.
As a college professor, I can think of nothing “safer” than having a student upset about a grade come into my office with a concealed gun. As a parent of college aged children, thinking of those bundles of emotional contradictions walking around locked and loaded does not make me feel my children are safe. Consider this the next time you go grocery shopping. The person next to you in line sees a possible suspect shoplifting, whips out their Glock and starts firing to bring down the perp. How much safer could you be in the middle of a possible shoot out? Over a shoplifting incident?
In the U.S., we have more guns than people. The presence of so many guns means we have more deaths from gunfire than any other so-called civilized country, no matter how you measure it. The party line answer to these deaths is more guns. More guns will keep us safer. More people carrying guns in our offices, schools, cars, restaurants, bars and theaters. What could go wrong?
We also are more open than ever to exposing our children to guns, even to the point of arming our children. While my three grand babies are not yet packing, they should do so soon. We have more pre-schoolers dying each year from gunfire than police officers. It is dangerous to be a child these days. It is also dangerous to be around a child these days. Not only are you more likely to be killed by gunfire than by terrorists, you are more likely to be killed by toddlers with guns than by terrorists.
I must confess that I have a gun permit. I have owned guns on more than one occasion. I have no guns now and I never kept both a gun and ammunition in my house at the same time. I have gone to the range to go shooting. I was fairly good at it, but bowling is more fun.
I do not see how this is going to end well. Guns have become more commonplace and embedded throughout every facet of our lives. As such, the idea of guns not as being a big part of the problem but as being the solution to all problems also increases.
There are angry people everywhere. There are mentally ill people everywhere. These people do harm to themselves and to others everywhere. But without ready access to guns and assault weapons, the number of people killed or hurt by these people is vastly less.
Only in America do we enshrine the gun, the use of the gun and the users of the gun. What will this country look like when my grandchildren are my age?
Submitted by Craig Donovan