Friday, December 14, 2012

Guns, and I'm not talking about Jose Canseco's biceps

I don't do much in the way of soapboxing, either online or in person. I have my own set of personal beliefs that I believe are (I know this is a shock) personal. I don't try to inflict them on other people. I rarely defend my beliefs against others because I believe that there is room for a wide range of gray areas and we don't always need things to be black and white. If I want to vote for Barack Obama, I respect your wanting to vote for Mitt Romney. If I root for the Oneonta Outlaws, you are free to cheer for the Hornell Dodgers. You're a Scientologist? Catholic? Mormon? That's your call. For or against marriage among homosexuals, that's your prerogative. I usually like to know your reasoning if your viewpoint differs from mine if for no other reason than to make me think and rethink my own views. I like to think there is some thought behind your opinion other than that's what Fox News told you to think. Reasoned, logical arguments work wonders. Which is why I don't understand how anyone could have voted Miguel Cabrera for AL MVP. That's an argument about which I just can't be open-minded.

There's another argument I'm a bit closed-minded about, too, about which I'm writing today. I feel strongly about this because I really don't understand the logic by those who have an opposing viewpoint. In the wake of yet another school shooting, a tragedy that is becoming way too common, I have to wonder why we don't have stricter gun control laws in this country.

I've grown up around guns. My parents own. My uncle used to head the state game commission. I have fired firearms as have my sons. I understand weapons for hunting even though hunting is now a sport rather than a means of providing food. I think bows are a better tool but I at least understand the desire to use a gun in that fashion.

Law enforcement should also have firearms available. Military personnel, too, even though the conflicts today are so much more technologically advanced as to make the use of firearms feel quaint at times. The job of both the police and the military is to protect the citizenry of this country, often against others in possession of firearms.

Outside of those reasons, why does anyone need a gun? For personal protection? What kind of world do you live in that you are afraid of someone to the point where you feel the need to have a gun in your possession? And what exactly are you afraid of? Oh yeah, someone with a gun.

Are you perhaps worried about a financial collapse? Where our society collapses into a free-for-all where the strong and well-armed will survive and lead the new martial rule of the Country Formerly Known as the United States? If so, that's why the government requires psychological background checks, and good luck with yours.

One of our patrons came into the library this week to print out the paperwork to apply for a Lethal Weapon License? Why? We live in a town of 5000 people. The last murder here was in 1974. I'd like to keep it that way. There is zero reason for someone to walk into a public library to get application materials for a firearm. Zero.

The law says we have the right to bear arms. The sooner this antiquated piece of legislature from our musket-bearing forefathers gets removed from the books, the better we will all be. It is this so-called "freedom" that resulted in over two dozen people being killed in a Connecticut school today.

It is a freedom that killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.
It is a freedom that killed a dozen people in an Aurora movie theater.
And the ten in the nearby Nickle Mine school shooting.
Twelve in Columbine.

That's almost a hundred people right there, many of them children, who died in the name of freedom. A hundred people whose own freedoms were denied them, along with their lives, by someone with a gun.

But it wasn't the guns that killed those people, it was the people. If guns were outlawed, the gunman today would have gone around and strangled or stabbed all the little kids in the Connecticut school. Or maybe made them drink antifreeze. It wouldn't have mattered whether or not the shooter in Aurora had a gun or not. He could have just as easily killed all those people with a candlestick across the skull.

The fact that automatic or semi-automatic weapons are available to the general public is nonsensical. In what possible situation does one need to empty multiple rounds in a target outside of a school or theatre shooting? Even for hunting it makes no sense. You need to get off several rounds, why? Because the deer will come back with his friends and they'll all be packing heat? No, it's because you suck at shooting.

More than anything else, though, the question that I wonder the most is why should a gun ever be pointed at a child? I question why any normal human being needs to point a weapon at a fellow homosapien, but especially a child. If nothing else, there should be the reason to put further restrictions on firearms.

I could rattle off tons of numbers to support my stance. Since my stance is so contrary and ridiculous and all. But I'm not going to because Jason Kottke did a nice job of aggregating that information on his site. I hope you take a look at the information and I hope it helps prompt you to encourage tighter gun control laws in this country.