My neighborhood is plagued with gun violence. Not too long ago, not very far away from the home where my son sleeps, there was a shootout between two thugs right smack dab in the middle of the day, where two innocent people passing by were shot and killed. One of the bystanders was driving a car when she was hit by a stray bullet and died at the scene. The other was waiting at a bus stop. I believe she died on the way to hospital.
Not too long ago, somebody within a few houses of our apartment building would fire three shots from a gun in the middle of the night on a regular basis. These pops are not firecrackers or any relatively harmless noisemaker. The sounds were the distinctive pops of gunshots. It went on for weeks. Somehow, for some reason, somebody was able to stop that particular miscreant. But gun violence is something that most people believe my family and I have a higher probability of being affected by than the average American.
I have mixed feelings regarding the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gun violence. If the city I live in passes a law that makes handguns and firearms illegal in most people’s homes I know for a fact that my family and I will not be any safer. There are already a series of laws designed to control guns as a contributing factor to violence. But just like people chose to ignore all the laws that are designed to control illegal drugs and other substances, people in communities all across America will make the choice to get their hands on guns if they want them bad enough despite legislators’ best efforts.
It is an erroneous notion to think that gun violence can be controlled by outlawing guns. Not all people with criminal intentions are willing to abide by laws. I think that’s one of the reasons they’re called criminals. Some of these people follow the law only enough not to get caught. The main focus of these laws is to try to keep law abiding people from potentially adding to the burden of the people who work in crime enforcement.
A ban on handguns law will keep the average person from having their gun stolen and winding up in the hands of a thief. A ban on handguns law will keep the average schmuck from losing their cool and blowing a loved one away in a moment of intense passion. But if such a person is truly pissed enough to pick up a gun and do an impromptu impersonation of Dirty Harry Callahan with a magnum, what’s to keep the same person from picking up a kitchen knife and doing their own version of Zorro? Will knives be next on the big brother control list?
American has always nurtured a gun toting culture. The number of television shows where people solved problems with a bullet from a handgun is a long one indeed. Pick your genre. There’s the western with shows like Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Lone Ranger, and it doesn’t get any more blatant than Gunsmoke. There are all the detective shows like Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Magnum P.I., and Vegas with Dantana. There are the police shows like Starsky and Hutch, SWAT, and Miami Vice. Even shows about the future will have the hero bust an energized cap up some alien’s ass with such examples as Star Trek, Lost In Space, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I’m surprised guns never made an appearance on the Price Is Right or Let’s Make a Deal. Gratuitous violence is something that we have been force fed and we now crave as mandatory in our common denominator, appeals to the juvenile in most of us, more bullets can make a weak or nonexistent storyline a more appealing entertainment. Over and over again we are programmed to think that guns, or more guns, or bigger guns will solve our problems and set things right.
A lot of people feel that they need their guns for their protection. The Constitution guarantees that right. The fact that other people abuse that right does not mean the government is entitled to remove guns from everybody. People misuse and abuse their right to drive a car. A woman in Texas used her Mercedes-Benz to run over her philandering husband. Susan Smith used her Mazda to drown her children. That doesn’t mean we need to take away everybody’s right to drive.
But guns only have one function and that is to kill.
Not exactly! Guns also protect. If someone is about to be attacked and he or she pulls out a gun there is a chance that an attacker will realize that the intended victim is not as defenseless as originally thought and will think twice before continuing. Guns can also be a psychological pacifier. Some people simply feel like they are safer when they know they have access to a gun if needed. Some people know that if someone breaks into their house while they are at home they’ll just run into the bedroom and get the gun that they keep on the shelf in the closet and they’ll just grab the bullets in the drawer next to the bed and they’ll get the keys for the gunlock and they’ll load the bullets into the gun and they’ll show that burglar a thing or two in a minute or two.
I have no need for a gun in my home. At least, I don’t think I have a need for one. I have no fear that someone is coming for me or my family. We treat everybody in the neighborhood with respect. We feel that people in the neighborhood respect us. We have insurance on our property so if anything is stolen it will be easily replaced, hopefully without much fuss. Most of the stuff is old anyway and we could use a couple of new laptops or a new PDA or whatever. Other than that, there really isn’t much that can be conveniently taken without a truck being backed up to the building. And that would stir too much suspicion. The gun really doesn’t have a place in my home. But I do recognize the fact that other people have a totally different appreciation for their firearms. People are entitled to keep their guns. The government is not entitled to take them away.
You want more of my two cents on the subject? The social fabric of America is wearing thinner and thinner everyday. It is unraveling from the bottom up and through the middle. People are no longer feeling connected to the greater whole because of greater feelings of isolation and dissociation and a lack of compassion. The concept of community is not a positive one for most people who live in a less than standard existence or people who feel that they need or deserve more control of themselves and of their lives. Some people want to manifest their control by impacting the lives of others. And to many people it is always a lot easier to negatively impact someone else than it is to cause a positive impact.
Some people are only bitter enough to wreak havoc with other’s emotions. Some people are bitter enough to steal and make crimes of property. But some people are so disconnected that they are willing to make crimes of person and assault on others or even kill. More and more people are developing the desire to harm others on a daily basis. The only response we make to this growing condition is more rules, more regulations, more police, more jails, a tighter fist, a no nonsense policy, more separation, and more of the very things that help to hasten the unraveling of our community.
You would think that at some point, somebody would step up and say, let’s stop and rethink the way we are doing this if we want to keep our society as one with the most inclusion possible. We can choose to be a lot more proactive instead of reactive. We can do a lot more to make people feel part of the community if we made the collective choice to make people feel more like a valued part of the community. We spend so much time making some people feel like they’re so much less than others, nurturing people’s anger, it is no wonder that people want to express some control.
The solution is not to take away everybody’s ability to obtain a weapon legally. The solution is to take the steps to rebuild the community. We need to make as many people as possible feel like valued members of society. Unfortunately, too many people are making it blatantly clear that certain segments of the population are not valued members of America’s social construct.