I’ve been talking to some very smart, very thoughtful people lately who just happen to be gun owners. And I have had to adjust some of my thinking a bit.
That’s good, though, right? I complain so often about those who are closed minded. I don’t want to think of myself as one of them.
Here is one thought, from my very reasonable, thoughtful nephew Jon. He grew up with guns, and is totally comfortable with them. He’s a hunter. He comes from a rural setting and he pointed out that some of my anti-gun thinking stems from a lack of knowledge. I’m afraid of guns. He says that some of my fear comes from lack of education. He’s right.
He also says that a big part of our issue in this country is attitude. We need to learn that guns must be respected. They have to be treated with great care.
I’m with him on that!
But the conversation also covered the desire of so many people to own guns in order to protect themselves. As I said in my last post, I understand the impulse. But there are facts that get in the way of that thinking.
I’ve already talked about the statistics, all of which show that owning a gun makes you less safe, not more safe. That’s just a fact, but people who are afraid are moved more by feelings than by logic.
So I turn to these two questions for those who keep a gun by the bedside in case of an intruder:
- If we didn’t have so many guns in this country, would you still feel the need to own one? If you didn’t feel that every one out there was armed and dangerous, would you still need to protect yourself with a gun?
- What do you own that is worth more than a human life? I mean, if it was me, and someone came in to rob me, I would hand them the laptop and the wallet and say “good luck.” I don’t own anything that valuable. I am also not above running like hell right out the back door. I can’t imagine how it would feel to shoot at another human being, even one who was trying to find oxycontin in my house. If I somehow managed to kill a human, I don’t think I’d ever be the same again.
I think that Americans watch way too many episodes of NCIS and Bluebloods and Homeland. We have an image of inner city gang members and terrorists storming into our suburban neighborhoods. The truth is, where I live at least, the most likely intruder would be a young man with a huge drug problem, looking for medicine or money. If one of them came in my front door, I’d be scared out of my mind, and traumatized for sure.
But not as traumatized as I would be if I fired a gun and had to watch that man bleed to death on my kitchen floor.
I understand the desire to protect ourselves. I do. But for me, the most compelling desire is to protect myself from become just another killer in a land where there are already too many.