Image via Huffington Post
There have already been dozens of op-eds, articles, and blog posts about gun control in the wake of yet another mass shooting in Oregon, (and now another in Arizona! There was another school shooting between when I began this post and now. What the actual fuck, people?!) but I decided I needed to pile on anyway. Once upon a time, people changed minds with well-written essays or impassioned speeches. Anyone who is completely against new gun control regulations will not be a fan of this post. While I don’t expect to change any hearts and minds, I hope that you will at least listen to what I have to say.
You don’t need a gun.
Correction: unless you’re an on duty police officer or military personnel, living completely off the grid and need to hunt and gather your food, or are training for the Winter Olympics biathlon, you don’t need a gun. You may want a gun, but you don’t need a gun. This is not to be mistaken with the idea that you shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun. But so far, I haven’t heard a single persuasive argument as to why someone needs to have a gun. For example:
“I like to go hunting.”
Everyone needs a hobby, I guess. And truth be told, I don’t have a problem with someone hunting and eating what they’ve hunted. I mean, Bambi is delicious!
“And I need a high powered rifle to hunt with. It will allow me to get a cleaner shot so it will die quickly and not suffer.”
Nope. You lost me. You want a high powered rifle. Plenty of people were able to hunt just fine before high powered rifles. Hell, if you want to be an impressive marksman, go back to bow hunting. And as far as not wanting your kill to suffer, that’s really sweet. But if you’re so concerned about the welfare of the animal and its suffering, I suggest maybe not hunting.
“I need to protect myself/my family.”
I really and truly do have sympathy for that idea. Nothing is scarier than being attacked while defenseless. Whenever I hear a strange sound in the house, my thumb hovers over the “send” button for 911. Sometimes I might take a large kitchen knife with me. In my mind at those times, I think I’m going to be like fucking Jack Ryan or Katniss and defend myself like I know what I’m fucking doing. Here’s the thing, though. None of us are Jack Ryan or Katniss Everdeen. The likelihood of someone successfully defending themselves with gun in a home invasion is low, while the possibility of someone in the home being injured is high. How often do we read stories about children accidentally killing their sibling or friend because they were messing around with a gun? What about some asshole kid in Tennessee who murdered an 8 year old little girl the other day because she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy. How about the girl in Arizona who accidentally killed her shooting instructor, even though she had learned proper gun safety? The father who killed his own son because he believed him to be a home invader? Then there’s the fact that a gun in the home significantly increases the likelihood of a woman to die because of domestic violence. I will grant that there are a handful of stories where a resident was able to fight off their attacker with a gun, but that isn’t the norm, and it still doesn’t make having a gun in the home a good idea. People survive parachute accidents. That doesn’t mean we should all start jumping out of planes without chutes.
“I like to go shooting at the shooting range.”
Blink. Blink. How liking to go shooting is more important than people’s lives is beyond me, but okay, I’ll play along. Rent the goddamn things at the range like a club at putt putt. And yes, I’ve been shooting…with a gun my ex-boyfriend was able to buy on the Internet.
“2nd Amendment rights! Constitution! Founding Fathers! Liberty from a tyrannical government! Hitler!
Let’s make one thing very clear: if you have always lived in this country, (with some obvious exceptions) you don’t know from tyranny. And do you honestly think our government is going to come after you? 1) We liberals who aren’t pacifists aren’t usually fans of war anyway. 2) It’s highly doubtful that our military would follow orders from President Obama or a liberal Congress or any other liberal in power to war against its own citizens. The portion of our military that isn’t Republican and telling our liberal government to go fuck themselves would likely object to such action. 3) Let’s assume they do come for you, (for… reasons?) I seriously doubt the small arsenal you possess will do much against a tank or five. But seriously, they’re. not. coming. for. you. And the whole Hitler reason is bollocks. And as a wise person once said to me, “If you invoke Hitler in an argument, you automatically lose. Those are the rules.”
The fact of the matter is, if your desire to have a gun is more important than the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of victims, then you’re a bad person. Full stop. If you’re arguing against or preventing gun control because you don’t want to make it more difficult for you to get a gun, then you have some seriously fucked up priorities. Stop using bullshit arguments in order to keep your precious metal penises.
Stop using Chicago as a reason to not regulate guns. That’s like saying, Passing laws against driving drunk hasn’t stopped everyone from doing so, so we might as well not do anything. It’s an excuse, nothing more, and you know it. One must be true: either banning handguns in other countries has worked to drastically diminish this sort of gun violence or our country has a disproportionate number of the world’s murderous people. Otherwise, I look forward to ceasing attempts to ban abortion and the decriminalization of marijuana.
Stop saying that we just need better gun education and safety. If that were true, there wouldn’t be accidents all the time. My cousin wouldn’t have accidentally shot himself in the torso and then fought for his life. The fact is, people are stupid. We just are. We make mistakes. We think we’re invicible, (I’m looking at you, 16-22 year olds.) Then again, sex education has totally eliminated unplanned pregnancy and STIs. Wait…
Stop saying that we need to fix mental health care. It may be true that mental health plays a part in the reason people go on these shooting rampages, but deflecting to mental health as the only reason is insulting to those of us who live quietly with mental health issues every day. But thank you for continuing to propagate the stigma of mental illness. Also, many times, the first indication that someone is seriously mentally disturbed is after people have been murdered. And even if there are indications, that doesn’t mean they have been adjudicated to be mentally ill and dangerous, as in the case of the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre.
Stop saying that only good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. If that were true, Chris Mintz didn’t get the memo. Nor did Aleksander Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone, (who, I am happy to say, is recovering from being stabbed last night.) Not to mention, the late Colonel Bill Badger, who tackled the gunman in Tucson, AZ during Gabby Giffords’ campaign stop. These heroes, and countless others, subdued these attackers without guns.
Then there are the would-be heroes who create problems, accidents, or get themselves killed. Armed civilians have yet to stop a mass shooting.
Furthermore, escalation by putting guards with guns on school campuses will only open the schools up to accidents, (or “accidents”) and scare the shit out of the teachers and students. It’s a place of learning, not a war zone. I sure as fuck don’t want armed guards patrolling my girl’s schools. And yes, I know about the meme from school shootings past, that suggests we should be like Israel and have guards at schools with semi-automatic weapons. Well okay, but then I think we should have the car bombs and suicide bombers to go with them, then.
Finally, stop saying, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” and that if they don’t have guns, they’ll just use a knife or a baseball bat, etc. Fuck off; guns kill people. And as we’ve seen over the past two decades, they cause a lot of damage. Plus, it’s not like you have some magical plan to make people change. So we need to make it as hard as possible for anyone to get ahold of such devastating weapons. Weapons which have the potential to be far more devastating than a knife or baseball bat, and you know it, so cut it out.
I’m too weary to write a real conclusion. It’s beyond me why people are fighting tooth and nail to hold onto this culture of death. Even if you’re just having target practice, they are still deadly weapons. A friend pointed out that we put people through more paces to get a driver’s license. Why are we not taking more care with guns? Fewer deadly weapons leads to fewer deaths. It’s just common sense.
I know this post has probably read more like a jumble of words I just threw at the screen. I’m angry. I’m exhausted. I’m incredulous. I’m a little hopeless. I need this to stop. America needs this to stop.