This is a post that has been a long time in the making. I have honestly wrestled with and worked on this post for a little over a month, and, as sad as that sounds, I still don't feel like my words are what people need to hear. Honestly, though, I feel like I need to say them. This is something that has been on my heart and mind since December 14 (2012). I am truly sorry if anyone gets offended by this post, but it is a post I need to get off my chest. This is something I feel I need to write about, and I am finally comfortable enough to post it.
I posted about my feelings and heartbreak
concerning the December 14th shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Newtown, Connecticut here. This is sort of a follow up to that post I guess...
Gun violence is an extreme and devastating social norm attached to American history. The only reason I call it a social norm, is because as a country we have generally become immune to the atrocity. I am in no way saying it is acceptable or justified or whatever. I'm only stating its prevalence in American culture. Now, I know half of you are going to stop reading because you don't want to listen to a liberal or conservative gun rant, but, if you stay with me, I can promise you that is not what I am trying to do. This is not a rant, and this is not to point fingers at anyone, again, this is just something I need to get off my chest.
American was founded on the idea of "Manifest Destiny" which, in all reality, is the idea that it is the job/duty/right of American men to explore the continent, and find land they thought suitable. The major problem with that mindset, however, was the fact that there were already people and animals taking up that space that needed to either be removed or relocated to allow for this American expansion. The Native Americans that lived west of the Appalachians did not appreciate this expansion, and soon began to retaliate. The solution to this problem was the use of firearms to protect the "American family" and allow us to move west. America had this vast frontier that took over one hundred years to fully be explored and expanded upon. Unlike the other countries getting colonized/explored around this time period, the American frontier was large and if you wanted to stand a chance against the natives that knew the land, and knew how to hunt, a gun was a necessity. This idea of gun rights then became engrained in our culture. It was put into the constitution to be a protection against a tyrannical government, it was given to settlers to protect themselves from the "injuns." Right or wrong, it was there, and it was real. Let us just take a moment to think about that... Protection from a tyrant, and protection from the natives... Four American presidents have been shot and died as a result, and there have been approximately fifteen failed attempts at presidential assassination, plus at least two presidential deaths that could have potentially been from some form of intended harm. Most, if not all, of these acts against presidents have resulted in legal consequences, if not death.
As a country, we have outgrown the notion that if we despise our government we can take up arms against them. We have adopted the idea that punishment should generally fit the crime, and because of this policy we can no longer storm the White House and demand they shape up, or die. There is this idea that your right to shoot me (because we have freedom of expression, and this is a "free country"), ends at my right to life. If you take my life away, you no longer have the right to yours (if our legal system was in fact the utopian legal system we had intended).
I'm sure by now you all think I'm a giant liberal and want to take everyone's right to have a gun away, because they're "too dangerous." I'll tell you this, every single time I see a post on a social media site that says something along the lines of "take away my gun rights, and my guns will just become 'missing' or 'undocumented'" or "I left my loaded gun on the porch all day and it never once shot an innocent person by itself" I want to scream at the ignorance.
I completely understand the frustration that the government would try to take a right or privilege away from people that have done absolutely nothing wrong. I completely understand the fear that if guns are taken away from law-abiding citizens that crime would run rampant, because criminals would still have access to firearms and average civilians would not. I completely understand the fear that, without firearms in the hands of the general population, the government will become even more of a "Big Brother" figure and bully the public into submission. I get it. I understand. I am fearful as well.
I also am fearful that I am of child-bearing age, and, if I decide to have children, I would be rearing them in a country who has one of the highest gun violence rates in the world. That is so terrifying. Would I like to live in Africa and give my children to Joseph Kony? Absolutely not. I am not hating on America. I love my country and am proud to live here.
According to the CBC, on December 14 (2012), in China a man went into a primary school and stabbed TWENTY-TWO children most likely between the ages of six and eleven. All I'm trying to point out, though, is that crazy people who want to inflict pain, will find a way to do so, firearm or not.
The world we live in is corrupt and dark. We are not born "good." We are born into sin. We are born sinners with the infallible need of saving. There is no right answer to removing firearms. There is no possible way to get rid of them all, because so many of them are not in any way registered. There is no correct solution to an ever-growing problem. Am I saying I would like to see all firearms removed from the hands of American citizens? Not necessarily, but I do admit I hate them. I will also say that I absolutely abhor the idea of .50-caliber rifles in the hands of any nutcase that passes a background check. I understand shooting and hunting are sports. Darling and his family hunt several times a year. I am not saying that is wrong, but WHY in the world would ANYONE need a gun that can hit a target 2,000 yards away AND has "armor-piercing bullets" powerful enough to take down a plane or helicopter.
I feel like there needs to be a limit, but again I have no idea where that limit should be. Criminals will always be criminals, changing the laws will not help that. If someone isn't going to follow the law in the first place, making them even more strict won't help the situation. I don't think taking away the right to bear arms is the way to go.
I know this is stepping on toes, and again that was not my intention. I'm not angry and the general population. I'm angry at the people that think there is only one solution to the problem, when there obviously is not. I'm angry that there are some people that feel like they have the right to shoot wherever and whatever they want. That is most definitely NOT what the second amendment says or means. I feel the second amendment is often taken out of context to mean something it was never intended to mean. Also, we have grown as a nation. You're no longer allowed to shoot Native Americans or the government. Saying "this is how I feel about you infringing upon my gun rights" and then going shooting isn't solving the problem of gun related violence or gun related terrorism. Firearms are dangerous in the wrong hands, and waving a gun in the air claiming to be law abiding citizen isn't helping either, nor is tightening the reigns on gun laws.
Until enough people can understand that firearms and the right to possess them goes deeply into the culture of our society, no progress will be made. head-butting a concrete wall isn't going to knock it down. This is a bigger monster than just a few lobbying groups can fix. It's not something to argue about, it's something to research. You make the decision for you, and I will make the decision for me. As long as my rights aren't infringed upon, I wouldn't dare infringe upon, or support the infringement of yours.