Questioning Guns and Violence

by Nola

I am not an advocate of gun rights.  That makes me sound very un-American these days.  This Salon article surveys the rise of the power of the lobby that is the NRA and the backing down of Democrats to push for tighter regulation of guns.  The most shocking statement in the article is that “a record-low 44 percent of Americans in an October Gallup poll said they favor stricter gun control. That’s down from 78 percent in 1990.”

I promised myself I wouldn’t write a post about gun control in response to the Giffords shooting.  But since our anti-gun politicians have deemed this issue one they can win no votes over and have thus gone quiet, we citizens who feel that gun control in America is out of hand must speak out.

Since I am writing this post when I promised I wouldn’t, I will at least avoid arguing my position as to how I, personally, interpret the mere twenty-seven words of the Second Amendment, read in its entirety as follows:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I won’t make arguments as to the politics of guns because for me gun control is not a political issue.  It’s a personal one, and one of ethics.

For example, it is not a political issue whether hunters use a shotgun to kill deer.  I personally can’t eat a turkey I’ve looked in the eye while he was living.  The thought of killing him to eat is sickening to me.  And the further removed notion of killing him for sport is beyond my comprehension.  But that is me personally.

I live in Louisiana, the Sportsman’s Paradise.  I fish and crab.  And thus kill those animals and eat them.  And I have fun in the sport of it.  How is that different from someone hunting deer?  Other than that the hunter needs a gun and me a net, there is no difference.  And I would be a hypocrite to say that guns for the use of hunting is immoral, unethical or illegal, let alone unconstitutional.

Hunting aside, this issue of guns in America escapes me.  I *get* that people feel safer when they have one in their night stand or on their hip.  I don’t agree that I, personally, would feel safer with a gun but I can appreciate that others do.

Rene over at Blackened Out asked a valid question that I ask you: When have you, or someone you personally know, used a gun to save a life?  The question is NOT when did you feel having a gun on your person or in your home to protect against a hypothetical person who may have intended to do you harm prevented such harm.  The question is when IN FACT has the presence of a gun come into play and been used to save your life or the life of someone you know?

Think about it.

Really hard.

Rene, and now me too, know not one person, or one person who knows one person, that has used a gun to save a life.  Not one.

Now I ask you this: When have you, or someone you know, been harmed by a gun?  I don’t mean stories that have made the news (and oh, there are plenty); I mean people you know in your life.  I can immediately think of my mother-in-law’s story of being help up at gunpoint; the friend that committed suicide with a gun; and the friend’s friend that was shot in the leg at a parade.

So my hard question is: when we know that guns harm countless more people than they protect, why are Americans wanting guns in their world?  What good can a semi-automatic really do for you?  An illusion to being safe by having a gun on or about you does not mean you are, in fact, safer.  Having a gun may only make you FEEL safer.

And if you simply MUST own a gun to preserve your sense of safety, I venture to say that if that thief enters your house intent on doing you harm, the ca-chunk sound of a shotgun being cocked will do much to deter him.  And if that doesn’t stop the hypothetical perp in your home, the broad spray of a shotgun makes it such that you don’t need really good aim to stop him in his tracks.  Nor a scope; nor magazines of 18 rounds.  So if you must have a gun, why must that gun be one that requires target practice?  Why one that could take out 19 people in a matter of seconds?  One that is no good for hunting and seems to have as its sole purpose the shooting dead of as many people as possible as quickly as possible?  What sort of attack is it for which you are really preparing?

To me, there is no question.

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