Sunday, December 9, 2012

GUNS Kill People

The ease of firing a bullet into a human body, whether the gun is aimed with intent to kill or fumblingly fired by someone totally inept and/or unaware of the momentary hazard, makes gun deaths continue to soar in frequency.

The affection for guns has long mystified me.  I made my own out of sticks and pieces of discarded lumber when I was only six-to-eight years old.  Running around from tree to building to large rock on our farm property, dodging imaginary bullets fired by my brothers from other safe positions they had chosen for cover, seemed to be great fun.  We learned from radio and television shows that zinging bullets could be real challenges to avoid while trying to get in shots that would disarm opponents, generally doing just enough damage to them to be able to arrest or tie them up for later handling.  Killing was never the direct goal of those cowboys or G-men who carried guns; law enforcement was.

For the millions of guns owned or being bought today in our country, certainly the primary goal of the buyer is not murder.  Not killing at all.  Probably more than 90% of folks who buy guns will say they are for a combination of hunting and protection.  The remainder would probably say they are for the sport of target shooting of some sort.  Perhaps there are other reasons for guns that I simply haven't heard or thought of.  I'm sure others could inform me.

My point here is simply that other than for military usage, practically no purchaser of a gun would likely (at least openly) admit that the gun is for killing another human.

So why are so many humans killed by these guns?  Because they are there; they are handy when anger overwhelms someone or when fear of harm from another drives one to go for the fire power.  Of course it's true in all but the strangest of accidents, that guns don't do the job of taking a life; it takes a trigger finger.  Unfortunately, humans seem to have trigger fingers at the ready, and often very little provocation is required.

A spokesperson from the NRA was reported to have said this week that if the young mother of a little girl had owned a gun herself, she might be alive today.  That is, we are to assume, that if she had learned somehow that her housemate, a football player who was angry or unbalanced - probably both - planned to take his gun and shoot her nine times in front of their toddler, that she could have dashed to her nightstand or other private hiding place and pulled her own gun in self-defense.  Dr. Phil might ask, "How'd that work out for ya?"  That is, if either shooter survived.  He should ask the same of the NRA.

Interestingly, another report stated that both of these people did own guns and that they practiced their art of shooting as part of their togetherness, apparently compatible souls enjoying their 2nd amendment privileges as a part of routine fun of living.  Well, live-by-the-sword...

There simply has to be a way to curb the gun violence in our society.  There isn't any chance of such in my own home unless some misguided human invades my house with gun in hand.  I suddenly gave away my own rifles and shotguns after I looked at my own folly about forty years ago, while a young minister, and decided the shooting of pheasant, quail and dove was no way to seek pleasure.  Yes, my family typically ate everything I shot out of the sky, cautiously chewing because not all bird shot can be removed with absolute certainty.  But it was clear that tasty fowl were available from the frozen food department at the store - birds that had been grown for food, killed more instantly and humanely, cleaned and quick-frozen and leaving no tooth-shattering lead hidden inside.  My real station in life was not hunter/gatherer, living off the land.  And the sport part of it became nauseating to me once I focused on the incalulable number of wounded creatures I had left to die and rot after receiving not quite enough of my violent blast to kill them instantly.  It didn't hurt my new perspective either when an errant single lead ball from one of my shots through a tree managed to lodge itself in the eye of my friend.  Makes me wonder whether Dick Cheney quit hunting after shooting his friend in the face.

Though I personally cannot even imagine the taking of another human life, by the simple pulling of a trigger or in any other fashion, there are far too many people who can apparently do so.  Therefore, guns need to be less prevalent and not so easily grabbed in anger or fear.  I was alive and aware at the time and was emotionally shattered by the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.  Perhaps even personally more assaulted five years earlier at the death by bullet of the President while I was still a teen.  But today when I hear the statistic that since the 1968 deaths of King and Kennedy, more than one and a quarter millions of humans have died of gun shots in this country, I shake with ire and question.  What are we?  And why can a society such as ours with all its wonders and capabilities not come to some better control of this senseless violence?  Why is it less safe here on our streets and in our homes than it would be living among wild animals? 

Answer to that last one: wild animals don't own or fire guns!

UPDATE 12/15/12
"angry or unbalanced - probably both -"  Adam Lanza, Newtown, CT

When will it get our full attention?  Adams mother, his first victim, surely knew of her younger son's mental problems (reported by his older brother), yet she provided the guns which were accessible to Adam.  Today, his mother and twenty-six others are dead at Adam's hand.  He then took his own life, but it's almost as though his mother did the same.  The guns were there.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, got rid of my guns a few years ago. I have nothing against hunting, and if I were still in North Dakota, I probably would try to get a deer every year. Here, it's much to expensive to contemplate, and at my age, not a viable option to go stumbling around in the mountains.

    I inherited my fathers guns and had bought a few of my own, including a 44 mag I never even fired. Actually, The last time I fired a real gun was in California in the mid-sixties when I took a shot at a target with Wilbur Berg's 357. I turned all my guns over to people we knew who ran estate sales, and they sold thme all for me.

    I'm really not all that fearful of home invasion here in Cottonwood, but I did buy a $2 aluminum baseball bat at a sale and keep it handy beside our bed, just in case. I don't expect to need it, but I would use it if I needed to against an intruder. I'd probably try for the crotch if I could, rather than the head, which can be lethal.
    I don't want to kill or maim anyone either.