Another day, another mass shooting …
How long will gun violence be an issue in the United States? As long as Americans are American and guns are our standard for coolness.
Ask a crowd of right-wing gun nuts what their favorite book is and they’ll almost certainly tell you it’s the Bible. Ask a crowd of gun-control favoring left-wingers what their favorite movie is and they’re just as likely to name some R rated shoot-em-up by Quentin Tarantino. The point is, when it comes to guns, we’re all hypocrites, it’s ingrained in our DNA.
I’m not unaware of the fact that enjoying fictional violence does not necessarily imply an enjoyment of real-life violence. And while watching Keanu Reeves shoot people in the face is admittedly a treasured hobby of mine, I can’t help but feel that just as Jesus ~probably~ wouldn’t have supported the rights of average Americans to stockpile mountains of weapons in their living rooms, it can’t possibly be healthy for my psyche to watch geysers of blood spray on screen feet from my face every day, even if it isn’t real.
In an ideal world, guns wouldn’t even exist (before you type up that comment calling me a libtard, think about how non-controversial that statement actually is). Killing is not an unintended consequence of gun ownership, nor is it even the main intent of owning a gun. Killing is a gun’s exclusive purpose. Just as a hammer is manufactured purely for the purpose of hammering, guns are manufactured exclusively for the purpose of killing. And while the argument is often made that gun collecting is somehow divorced from the reality of guns as tools for dealing death, I posit that it is no less ridiculous to own a collection of guns than it is to own a collection of hammers. Just like hammers, if you’re using a gun for its intended purpose, you’ll only need one.
I want to make it clear that I am not the sheltered, middle-class SJW that those who speak out publically against gun ownership are so often branded (whether accurately or otherwise). I grew up in a poor, single parent household with my mother and little sister… an upbringing which, by NRA standards at least, makes me the ideal candidate for gun ownership. The idea of a heroic man protecting the women in his life with a shotgun in his hand is one which I have never necessarily bought into. I love a good western, but I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m no Clint Eastwood.
If presented with a knife-wielding intruder I’d certainly like to imagine that I’d take them out with the efficiency of Jason Bourne, but in-reality I’d probably end up putting more bullets into the sofa than the bad-guy. In-fact, unless it’s literally your job to shoot people (i.e. active-duty military) I think you’ll find that if you’re being honest with yourself you probably wouldn’t fare much better in a home invasion – no matter how skilled you are at the gun-range.
The problem of gun violence in America isn’t so simple as to be broken down into a right side and a wrong side. While there are hard statistics that point to guns playing the role of escalator much more often than NRA members would like to believe, I understand the compulsion to want to protect one’s family and home. That said, it’s true that guns don’t provide real security. A gun in the hands of a 45-year old tax attorney at 3:00 am is every bit as useless as a paint brush in the hands of an accountant. Gun companies make their billions by selling the feeling of security… a feeling sought after by almost every single homeowner in America. It’s not wrong to want to “protect what’s yours” but just like most people would see buying a gun as a more efficient means to that end than taking up crossfit, in all-likelihood you would be better off putting a sign for ADT up in your yard and avoiding the situation entirely.