Andy and I hadn’t even crossed the North Carolina state line en route to California when Andy read about the horrors unfolding at Sandy Hook. A pall fell over the car.
My mind ping-ponged from thought to thought.
A lot of kids will never be able to do anything like what we’re doing.
A lot of them will be so scarred from this ordeal that they’ll be in therapy for the rest of their lives.
A lot of friendships and relationships will never be formed.
So many families will be completely and irreparably fractured.
Still, there’s jabber from Duh Right regarding President Obama’s measures to regulate gun control.
Pandemonium because loons who should never have been granted licenses are stocking up on ammunition.
Because: A stockpile of ammunition + Being generally disgruntled with the government and life = Peace and puppies.
It seems that a lot of people think being a gun owner translates to being an NRA supporter with a “Charlton Heston Is My Copilot” bumper sticker. (Which is most likely situated beneath a ball sack trailer hitch, or a Confederate flag windshield tattoo.)
Now, my family owns guns. Lots of them. But not because we love to blast them off or kill animals for sport. In fact, only my dad uses them. And does so for deer, turkey, and squirrel hunting—for food. Hell, my flaming self has even shot a deer. But not before I was taught the responsibilities that come with firing a weapon.
And that respect isn’t garnered from the gun itself, but from the moral compass one uses when handling it.
So it should come as no surprise that our family isn’t hemming and hawing and griping about the government taking our guns away. Because (1) That’s not going to happen anyway (people, read the reforms, or at least Google them); and (2) We have never, and will never, own automatic weapons. Why? Because we’re not in the military and civilians don’t need automatic weapons for hunting or defense. Automatic weapons were created for trained military personnel in combat theaters–to incur maximum damage in minimal space.
A single shot to a burglar’s chest is just as effective as fifty.
Which brings me to my main point: Automatic weapons should not be in the hands of civilians. Because, as we’ve seen time and time again, even if owners are responsible—have their guns locked up, hidden, or buried in a hole in the middle of nowhere—a nutbag will find them and we’ll have another massacre splashed across the headlines.
What I find most disturbing about all of this uninformed gun control talk are the rates at which gun sales and licenses are rising. Because, as we all know, if everyone is armed, then we can all prevent another tragedy. I mean, if one of those teachers had a handgun next to their apple, they could’ve taken down that disturbed man, right?
Militarization of the public won’t solve anything. It’ll only facilitate more “standing my ground” defenses for bigots to get off, and innocent people walking their dogs, selling lemonade, or riding a bike to be gunned down because someone didn’t like the color of their skin or the way they carried themselves.
Am I a proponent of constitutional rights? Of course I am. Even though they’re not all extended to me.
And will I ever own a gun? Probably not anytime soon, but I may at some point. Will I default to that as a means of defense before words or nonviolent means or a baseball bat should the situation afford it? Of course not.
Here’s the only reason I’d ever purchase a gun: Because more ignorant, trigger-happy people are arming themselves because of their heightened conspiracy theory-informed paranoia. You see how this works? The vicious, endless cycle? Paranoia informs armament informs paranoia informs violence informs plea bargains informs armament.
Perhaps the thing that upset me the most about the Sandy Hook massacre—other than the loss of such early life—was that it took such a startlingly horrific event to instigate change.
Not the shootings in the theaters.
Not the murders at the colleges.
It took the lives of those learning about colors and shapes and not eating glue.
Reforms should be driven by a desire to create a safer, more secure society for us all.
Not by smaller body bags.