December 16, 2012

Will We Even Have the Chance?

Famous people from all corners of the political spectrum will be talking on the Sunday news shows today about Sandy Hook Elementary and what happened there, and they'll almost certainly bat around all of the options we have to deal with this 'situation', I guess you call it, of guns being used by the wrong people to do really bad things.

Among them, I'm sure, will be these, all of which have been batted around in various ways on social media since the horrific events unfolded on Friday morning:
  • tighter gun control, of varying degrees, including doing something about multi-round clips;
  • greater availability of mental health services, so that people who could do this would be identified and get the help they need;
  • more guns (not fewer), because people could stop this kind of thing if only they were armed;
  • tighter security at schools, so people who would do harm can't get in;
  • more God in schools and in society in general.

Let me say that I've never fired a gun of any kind, and don't really have the desire to.  I have friends who hunt, who own guns, who are completely responsible with them. An old flame of mine took me to Las Vegas once to go to a Jimmy Buffett concert, but I think the real reason was because there's a place there where you can pay to shoot a machine gun, which he and his buddy did and loved even more than the concert. Go figure.

I believe that reliable people should be able to own guns, but I do not want them sitting in my living room, nor do I want them in the grocery store or church or at a basketball game 'packing iron', or whatever you call it, because it makes me feel less safe, not more safe. I have to trust that in their own homes, they store their guns in such a way that when I'm there, I'm not at risk from say, their children putting two and two together, if you know what I mean.

I'm not a fan of being able to shoot lots of bullets really fast, the way you can with a camera that has continuous shooting mode. Just as I don't want that many pictures of me floating around, I don't want that many bullets floating around. If I had continuous shooting mode on my camera, I'm sure I'd get lucky with at least some of the shots. But if you have to take the time to compose your picture, adjust your focus, think about the picture before you take it (which I do), to me it makes sense to have to do that with a gun. 

Like I said, I don't know the answer. I only know it's not going to be easy having this discussion, in part because of what we Americans believe about things. When you compare our thoughts and actions on guns with thoughts and actions on other things, do we even make sense?
  • We want to have each state's concealed carry gun law honored in every other state. But we don't want to allow a marriage performed in one state to be honored in every other state?
  • We are pretty sure the issue isn't guns, it's a mental health problem. But we don't support tax dollars being used for health insurance programs (mental health or otherwise)?
  • We don't want the government's hands all over our guns with burdensome regulations, but we don't have a problem with government hands all over a woman's uterus?

I don't get it.

And one more thing: We want our legislators to be accountable to us, to work for us, to do what we want, but we cede that accountability to businesses and interest groups and unions to basically write the legislation for the people that work for us. And yes, this means the NRA but it also certainly means big agriculture and big business and big banks and big pharma and big oil and big unions and big media conglomerates and big everything else.

Assuming we can ever figure out what we want, will we even have the chance to get it?

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