A Message for Gun Owners

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Inanimate Guns

Again and again we hear the mantra … “Guns don’t kill people … people kill people.” And often someone will add … “Guns are inanimate objects; they just lay there until someone picks one up and uses it.”

And while there is some merit to this reasoning, one cannot help but wonder … what if the gun were not there to pick up and use?

As I’ve stated before, I have no problem with responsible gun-owners who use their guns to hunt, target shoot, skeet shoot, collect, etc.

But where do we draw the line? How do we know the person who walks into the gun store to buy a gun is a “responsible” individual?

Background checks help. Waiting periods help. BUT, neither one seems to stop the senseless GUN KILLINGS that continue to affect our nation.

What’s the answer? Do we take away all the guns as other countries have done? I think most people would agree this will never happen in the U.S., primarily because of the Second Amendment, but also because the gun-loving populace (and the NRA lobbyists) would never let it happen.

Some have suggested more stringent gun-buying requirements, similar to car purchases. Others have suggested, at the very least, eliminating the availability of assault weapons (but what about those who already have them?). Still others have pushed for more and better mental health services.

Of course, the common response is that no matter what restrictions are placed on guns and/or gun purchases … the “criminals” will still be able to get and use a gun for their nefarious purposes. And unfortunately, there is much truth to this.

So what do we do? Do we continue to fight over this issue while our children and other innocent family members and friends lose their lives in unprovoked and senseless killings?

Below is a suggestion made by “The Other 98%” on Facebook. While it addresses the abortion issue as well (and is obviously tongue-in-cheek), I feel there is some merit behind the message as related to guns.

guns-abortion

I bring this issue to the forefront of my blog because I live in Oregon, not too far from the Roseburg massacre. I did not know any of the killed or injured, but the proximity of the incident definitely has had an effect in our community.

I think we can all agree … there are no easy answers. But answers are something we urgently need to find. And soon.

P.S. I just came across this article. Unfortunately, nothing has changed.

Bruce Willis’ Simplistic Statement

Following is a ‘brief’ that was in today’s local newspaper:

Bruce Willis says he’s against new gun control laws that could infringe on Second Amendment rights. He dismissed any link between Hollywood shootouts and real-life gun violence in a recent interview while promoting his latest film. He believes “the real topic is diminished” when observers link Hollywood entertainment with high-profile mass shootings. “No one commits a crime because they saw a film. There’s nothing to support that,” he said.

It’s that last statement that sent me through the roof. Of course no one goes out and commits a crime just because they saw a film! It isn’t simply the movies, video games, or television programs that cause individuals to go out and murder innocent people. It’s what these forms of communication are frequently promoting, i.e., violence and disrespect for human life.

Watch practically any action movie or TV program and you’ll see this person killing that person (most frequently with a gun). Look over the shoulder of your teenager as he plays one of the popular video games and what is he doing? Shooting and killing.

Certainly not every person who is exposed to a violent movie or video game is going to go on a mass murdering spree. There are nearly always other factors involved. However, as Eugene V. Beresin, M.D., (Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital) writes in the following online article:

While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children’s exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior.

Dr. Beresin goes on to say:

The “typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18.”

He adds:

“They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their ability to empathize with both the victim and the victimizer.”

I was particularly struck by this statement:

“The typical scenario of using violence for a righteous cause may translate in daily life into a justification for using violence to retaliate against perceived victimizers. Hence, vulnerable youth who have been victimized may be tempted to use violent means to solve problems.”

In my opinion, while Mr. Willis may support Second Amendment rights, his comment related to films and crime demonstrated a complete disconnect to the very real issue that is facing our nation today.

Gun Rights or Doing What’s Right?

dorightLast night I watched Piers Morgan and a panel discuss gun rights. For the most part, it was a sane and even-toned discussion — until he allowed Scottie Hughes (news director and chief journalist for the Tea Party News) to speak. Where everyone else maintained a certain decorum, this woman came across as very agitated as she loudly proclaimed the “rights” of individuals to own guns (based, of course, on the now extremely familiar and quoted Second Amendment).

In her opinion, people need the “right” to own a gun “just in case” our government becomes corrupt and we need to defend ourselves. She added, “We don’t know what’s going to happen. Today, we might have a bright, sunny America. But who’s to say what’s going to happen.”

(Personally, I would hate to live in such fear …)

Towards the end of the program, Piers introduced a couple of women who had lost family members in the mass shootings. I felt that one woman could not have said it better when she said people are more intent upon talking about their “rights” instead of “doing the right thing.”

To me, that brings everything in focus. What is more important? An individual’s “right” to own a gun? Or doing the right thing and getting some kind of gun control in place?

People in law enforcement and the military go through psychological testing plus extensive training before they can use guns in the line of duty. Why, then, do we allow average citizens to purchase military-style firearms (that can kills dozens of people in a matter of minutes) without anything more than a driver’s license and a cursory background check?

Shooting at Taft, CA High School

Although at the moment there are few details, it is just one more incident of someone being hurt or killed by a gun.

Of course, according to some, it’s not the “gun” that did the work, it was the individual … who just happened to have a gun in his hand.

One person on Facebook wrote: “Praying for Gods protection over our schools.” Why did God not stop the shooter to begin with?