Safety has been on my mind lately. My home was recently broken into, and my paradigm of the world certainly experienced a little shift.
One of the first things I did the next day was head to my local GI Joe’s and picked up some pepper spray. I actually went to get Mace but learned that the product is illegal in California. Which pissed me off, come on people, let me defend myself!!
That moment of frustration made me understand, just a little bit, what gun owners may feel about having their right to bear arms. I’m not wholly convinced either way yet, that legal gun ownership is more helpful or harmful to society, so walk with me as we think this through.
So, I’m at GI Joe’s and looked for about one second before I requested some help to find the pepper spray. I walked up to the glass counter filled with knives and switch blades. A stout, balding man with large glasses happily greeted me, a much sweeter reply than I expected. I must say, something about the backdrop at this particular counter being an arsenal of fire arms was mighty intimidating.
I found myself staring at the guns. For the first time in my life, I seriously considered entertaining the notion to keep one close to me for my protection. I personally own two guns, a rifle and a collector’s hand gun passed down to me from my old man. I don’t have a license or a fucking clue how to use them, outside of my experience with Duck Hunt or Halo. So, I prefer to keep them in storage in Washington state. I would never use either for in home protection anyway.
But that day I thought about what it would be like if I were home when the burglar broke into my house. What would I do? I admittedly have very poor upper arm strength, and my round house kick hasn’t been worked on since I was a Power Ranger one Halloween in the 90’s. I am no match for anyone with a desire to bust into a home and steal, so I do need to consider my options.
I didn’t ask to see a gun, or make any inquiry of interest. I kept to the pepper spray because honestly, the biggest thing that’s stopped me is the pain in the ass it would be to get a license. I hate all government licensing of anything…while all DMV’s across the country are monstrosities, the California DMV is a especially lovely experience.
As I type this, I am watching an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and the gang is experiencing the same questions that I happen to have. It really is quite the coincidence that it came on as I am writing this….
Anyway, their bar is broken into and someone steals their safe. They play around with the idea of getting a gun, and two of the characters decide to get one. Long story short they accidentally shoot their friend, who lives through the ordeal, but they end up getting rid of the gun.
That is eeeexactly the scenario I am afraid of. I want to protect myself from bad guys, but I don’t want anyone innocent harmed in my quest to stay safe. And it’s not me that I don’t trust, but anyone else that could get their hands on my fictitious fire arm.
So here I am, a serious question on my mind. If you ask the person next to you about their thoughts on gun control, more often than not they will have their mind made up on this issue. Many times this question means you are lighting a firecracker of emotion, which I’d prefer to avoid. Therefore, I turn to the numbers.
Guns are the number one weapon with which people commit suicide, at 52%. It is also the number one weapon used in homicides. Mass murders are most often done with the help of fire arms. Owning a gun in a home is 4 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting death or injury than in self-defense.
I’m not saying that banning guns will stop suicides, homicides or mass murders. But, what if it slows these occurrences down? And I’ll bet the accidental shooting deaths will be right next to zilch if there aren’t any guns in average American homes.
This is all assuming that Americans would cooperate, and not simply hide their arsenals deep underground in their tornado shelters. And frankly, given the passionate rhetoric I’ve heard from gun owners and the NRA, it would be a tough battle to dispose of the guns in this country.
Despite that awesome case study, the whole situation for the US really is a pickle. I don’t want to take away things people like. I have taken care of children before, and taking away their toys is an unpleasant experience to say the least. Alright no, I’m not saying gun owners are babies…but c’mon. I think we have seen enough of what the status quo has done to our country, given this precious freedom of ubiquitous firearm ownership. Perhaps we can consider the implications of what could happen in our country if we made a change. And frankly, I think we MUST.
Just last week there was yet another mass shooting in Washington DC. And my reaction? It was the first time I didn’t troll news outlets for half the day to learn what happened. I’ve become used to this. Mass gun shootings are now normative in the United States, and that is absolutely horrifying.
In just the last 6 years we have experienced 6 of the largest mass shootings in American history. It took us 50 years, 1949-1999 to reach this same record of 6 mass shootings, mass shootings being defined here as 12 or more dead. I urge you to watch this chilling video where I found these facts.
I have made it 29 years without sleeping next to a firearm. For now, I have concluded that it is going to stay that way. I will however pay more attention to the gun control discussion, one that I kept my nose out of as I have other fights to fight. But this has now come to my attention and I believe it is one that we all need to think carefully about. We do not want to take away freedoms, I firmly believe that. But we do want to make this a safer America, and most of the time, public safety is often in exchange for some freedom. In the case of innocent people dying in a developed Western civilization, I think we need to check our attitudes and see what we can do to work together.
What do you think?