The bloodiest war we ever fought was the Civil War. We were killing ourselves over the “right” to own another human being.
Today we are still killing ourselves over the “right” to own a gun.
Oh, but the Second Amendment! you say. Read it again-in its entirety. The first part is kind of a qualifier, wouldn’t you say? Something about it being a “right”–“in order to maintain a well-regulated militia.” You see, we had no standing army in the early Constitutional days.
But hey, since I want you to keep your hands off my free speech right to kneel during the National Anthem should the mood strike, you can keep your gun. And your hunting rifle(s). Just not the military grade kind or anything that can be converted to resemble it.
But what if we are invaded! you cry. Guess what–we already were!
The Russians invaded our computer networking systems, our social media accounts and -gasp – even our electronic balloting machines to steal an election!
Where is the hue and cry from the regular citizen about that? Oh, you didn’t vote so what difference, you ask? Read Trump’s daily twitter feed and ask yourself about the quality of our present leadership again.
What if we must fight off our own government! you yell. If history serves, people have done so and ended up out manned, out gunned and dead on the floor or in a meadow somewhere. Game, set, overly matched.
If you must own a gun, fine. Train with it, often. If you need to use it, I want you to aim true and shoot straight.
If you must own a gun or hunting rifle, please, learn to keep it safely secured, both when on you and when stored. A thousand children a year dead from gunshot wounds, another two thousand treated at hospital are too many innocent lives to sacrifice on the altar of our gun fetish.
If you are going to carry a gun in public, please do so openly, so I can see you have it. Then you will understand why I choose to move away from you on the street corner or choose another aisle in the grocery store to check out. You may be confident you know how to handle it. Excuse me, but I don’t know you, so I am not so sure.
And if it should go off, I most definitely want to hear it so I can run, or duck or be something other than an accidental or deliberate unwitting target.
Yes, I would rather know who in the room is armed. Far better than when I found out that a young woman I was driving around town with had a gun floating around loosely in her purse and I had been unaware.
Far better than that time I got into the car to drive an inebriated ex-boyfriend and looked down and saw a hand gun sitting in the side pocket of the door. Yes folks, being an accountant is a really dangerous occupation! You never know when the company owner will disagree with those audit results.
I am a realist. I know there is no way to banish guns from our society. Nor do I necessarily want them all to be. I just want to make sure the ones that are out there are in the proper hands of a well-trained person who safely secures them, is thoroughly background checked and permitted to hold them. That he or she has no criminal background or history of domestic violence. That he or she has not been deemed homicidal or suicidal by a mental health professional. That they not be on the “no fly” list. (If you land on this list by accident, don’t fret. They will remove your name. Eventually.)
Oh, and that guns in circulation and yet to be sold are not so lethal as to kill nearly 60 people and wound another 500+ in under 5 minutes flat.
Why is that too much to ask in exchange for my safety?
(P.S. please don’t think the somewhat sarcastic tone of this essay reflects my feelings for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. For them I have nothing but tears and sorrow. Which is precisely why I wrote this.)