Since the most recent mass shootings, words have been churning in my head, but I’ve been working at controlling them because they have been, to say the least, highly emotional and dreadfully disorganized. I’m not sure they’re in order now either, but some of my friends have been posting anti-gun control messages on Facebook – “it’s not the guns, it’s the people” theme, and I simply cannot restrain my words any longer.
Yes, it is the people. Yes, we have become a very angry, divided society. Yes, there needs to be a whole lot more focus on mental health. But tell me what would be wrong with banning assault weapons? What would be wrong with universal background checks and a universal registration system for guns? What would be wrong with restriction of sales of guns to those under 21, and requiring a waiting period between purchase and possession? We need to focus on both restricting access to the weapons that allow mass killing and mental health.
I’ve heard the argument – “we need to have our weapons in case our government turns on us”. That tells me maybe we should think a little harder about who we elect. We need to have our vehicles in order to escape from dangers too – and the freedom to operate our vehicles is regulated. Explain the difference to me, please?
Yes, we have a constitutional amendment that gives us the right to own guns – but that amendment was written in the times when we did not have an organized militia, and we relied on everyday citizens to bring their weapons when there were conflicts and wars. That is no longer true. And we no longer rely on our guns to bring home meat for our families. I have read comments from some of those people who hunt that assault rifles are perfect for that – huh? Doesn’t that really take the sport away from hunting? And you’ve all managed to hunt for many years without assault weapons, haven’t you?
I am also willing to bet that most of those who are most vociferous about abortion – those who yell the loudest in their desire to control a woman’s body – are also the most vehement about not having gun controls. Does life no longer matter after birth? Don’t kill a fetus that cannot live on its own, let the babies grow to school age and then kill them? Where is the logic?
The responsibility for controlling the violence lies in part with the government, yes – but our government is no longer able to govern effectively and is unwilling to oppose those who contribute the most to them, those who give them the most power. We all have responsibility – we have the responsibility to bring our children up to become responsible adults. To require that they take responsibility for their actions, for contributing to the family (I’m not referring to monetary contributions here, but sharing the responsibilities that come with a family), to require that they respect authority and abide by the rules. That is not to say they should not speak up when things are obviously wrong, or unfair, but they need to also learn to reason and to use logic – those brains they are born with need to be channeled in a responsible direction. We have the responsibility to seek out truth – not alternate truth, but real truth. We need to relearn to be objective, to reason and think, and to be less defensive and more cooperative and tolerant. We need to report incidents like the social media posts the Uvalde shooter apparently posted, threatening violence. And the authorities to whom we report these incidents need to investigate them seriously. Maybe we need to invest more in having properly trained and adequate pay for those authorities – the social workers, the police. We, the people, are the ones that need to teach our children to speak up when they read those posts, and to insist our governments on all levels finance the training and proper pay for the authorities.
Responsible. It is my hope that we become that society. It is my fear I will not see that happen during my lifetime.