Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Laws.....

For the record, I HATE what happened in Newtown.  I was so shattered by the events of that day that I wrote a letter to the ENTIRE teaching and administrative staff of my kids’ school to THANK them for caring for and loving my children.  I cried for hours watching those beautiful, innocent faces flash on the screens of every TV and computer I crossed that day, and most days since.  I HATE that a sicko got ahold of those guns and did what he did.  But, the fact remains, those guns were obtained legally by someone OTHER than him.  As were the weapons used at Columbine and probably every other school massacre in recent history.  So, someone with intent took weapons that were not their own and used them incorrectly.  Therefore, the fault needs to be on the gun owners themselves, right?  ALL gun owners, right? 
When I was young, the little boy across the street got into his father’s gun closet and one of the guns fired.  He was killed.  I remember that night so vividly.  I remember the lights from the emergency vehicles flashing through our living room window and my parents shuttling me away from the window before they brought the gurney out so I wouldn’t see.  That father is to blame, right?  He was careless, and someone, a child, died. That father never went to prison yet he is being punished for the rest of his life.   I don’t remember there being debate on our street, in our town or on the national news about how guns or the Constitutional rights of gun owners should be taken away because this little boy died.

Even after that tragedy, my dad kept guns in our house.  I never once touched them, before that incident or after, without permission and education.  They were always in a gun case, “safe” from everyone.  When, in all honesty they weren’t.  When I was in college, criminals broke into our locked home and into that locked gun case and stole all my dad’s guns.  They then proceeded to hold him at gun point in our living room.  Thankfully, that day did not end in tragedy but the intent of those boys was to use those weapons in a crime that would end in tragedy.  My dad had military training, hunter safety training and a clean bill of health (mental or otherwise).  He would have passed an across-the-board background check with flying colors.  He was a responsible gun owner who kept his guns locked up and his children educated.  Did that keep sickos with intent from using his weapons irresponsibly?  No, it didn’t.  So, why then should my dad, a law-abiding, educated, safe, healthy citizen have to undergo an arduous background check? 

With school shootings, with the little boy across the street and with my dad being held at gunpoint in our family home, you would think I would be scared to be around guns, have them in my home and near my children.  But...I am trained to carry concealed and I own my own gun.  My husband owns several guns.  Our kids know they are in the house and they know where they are.  They have shot some of them.  They also know about gun safety and we do EVERYTHING we can to be responsible gun owners.  (And, to be honest, I bet the dad from across the street did the same thing )

Yes, guns are powerful and deadly.  Yes, they can kill quickly and en masse.  But, taking them away, regulating them out of existence, isn’t going to keep people from  finding ways to get guns.  And even if they can't, it won't stop them from finding other ways to do harm, create tragedy.

I am not a professional butcher, but I have knives, A LOT of them, in my home sitting on the counter (eek) in a wooden block.  I am not a hair dresser, but I have several pairs of sharp scissors in unlocked (gasp) drawers in my home.  I am not a chef but I have a pressure cooker in my house, sitting on a shelf in my pantry (what gall!) and ball bearings and nails in my garage (OMG!).  Not to mention any number of other “tools” that can be harmful to almost anyone, if used incorrectly or with malice, sitting on shelves and in drawers in my house and garage and barn.  I also have a bar stocked full of alcohol and a couple of vehicles in my garage.  And you know what, I have never thought once that I should take one of these items and use them to massacre someone.  So, I guess if there were across-the-board background checks I would probably “pass”.  I keep my house locked and my guns in a safe.  So I, and everyone around me, is “safe”.  Phew, that’s a relief!  Ummm....tell that to my dad!
Where is the national debate, call to action, on owning knives? Scissors? Pressure cookers? Nails? Ball bearings? Rope? Matches? A motor vehicle?
The debate comes down to responsibility and the government cannot MAKE people responsible.  They can’t make laws that keep the stupid from being stupid!  You know if you have sex without protection, you risk pregnancy and disease.  However, have you been careful 100% of the time you have had intercourse?  And even if you had, will it keep you from being raped?  Seat belts and helmets save lives….tell that to the little girl, who’s story I watched on Oprah, who had her head decapitated because the seat belt sliced it off because the drunk driver in the OTHER car hit her family’s car with such force.  I guess it's time we should reconsider cars, seat belts and alcohol nation-wide.

The tool/weapon of choice is not to blame.  Therefore, should not be regulated out of existence for the majority of the population.  The person, irresponsible, with intent and malice, is to blame.  Timothy McVeigh; car bomb.  Children dead.  Jim Jones; Flavor Aid.  Children dead.  Osama bin Laden;  Airplanes.  Children dead.

People die.  Children die.  It’s a fact of life.  It hurts because time is fleeting.  It hurts when it is the innocent.  But, it happens and has happened throughout history.   My uncle died, when he was 12 years old, from a brain tumor.  A friend of a friend lost her toddler when the babysitter shook him to death, with her bare hands.  Our neighbors lost a 4 year old cousin from the flu.  A girl at my niece’s high school killed herself because she was raped and couldn’t deal with the torture in her head.  None of these were with guns.  Children die and it is TRAGIC every time, in every way, no matter how it happens!