And another thing….


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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.


So I’ve Been Thinking


So I’ve been thinking.  A lot.  About guns and gun rights and all that stuff.

I keep trying, in my own limited way, to simplify the situation.  To make it sort of more manageable, you know?

Why am I doing this?

Well, because the people who are actually in charge seem to have totally tied themselves up in knots, to the point where they are completely incapable of doing anything at all about the fact that this country now contains more guns than people.   More. Guns. Than. People.


To me that is pretty much proof that having more guns won’t actually make us safer.

Anyway, I have tried to focus in on the arguments made by those who oppose increased gun control.  What I seem to be hearing are three basic arguments.  Here they are:

  1.  I enjoy shooting. It’s fun.  I do target practice and I enjoy going to the shooting range. It’s a form of entertainment for me.
  2. I am a hunter.  My family and I eat what we shoot.
  3. The world is a dangerous place.  The criminals and terrorists have guns, so I need to be able to protect myself and my family.

Here is the thing that surprises me: I absolutely understand each of these arguments. I have good friends and very dear family members who believe each of them.  Once you peel away the anger, the vitriol, the spite and simply look at the true arguments, they make a lot of sense.

But I believe that I have a logical, civil response to each of them.  And here are those responses:

  1. There are many things in this life that are fun, but are illegal because they pose too much of a threat to the community.  For example, I live in a big, wooded neighborhood where there are many trees.  I would love to be able to have  big outdoor fires in the summer.  I can’t, though: those fires might pose a danger to my neighbors.    I might enjoy safely and responsibly indulging in some mind-altering drugs. That might be fun.  But it has been recognized to be dangerous, so I can’t do it.  I can’t toss hand grenades at the stone wall in the woods. I can’t drive a tank to work.  I can’t even soup up the exhaust system in my car because of the effect on the air quality for my neighbors.
  2. I support hunting.  I love venison, although I am too squeamish to shoot the deer myself.  I believe that hunting is good for game, good for locavores, good for the natural habitat.  I would support allowing hunters to own hunting rifles, with training, licensing and a carefully kept record of who is shooting when and in what town. Better yet, I’d like to see the local police own and keep all the guns.  As a hunter, you’d have to go to the police department, show your license and sign the gun out for a day or a weekend.
  3. I just plain disagree with the argument that you are safer with a gun in your home. I understand the logic, but the facts show something quite different.     From this pretty non biased website: Safe Wise Home Security

    Gun ownership cons: Having a gun in the house makes living there statistically more dangerous
    Unfortunately, guns can’t discriminate between criminals and innocent bystanders. Studies have shown that unintentional shootings are four times as common as occurrences of gun use in legitimate home defense situations. 5 You’d actually be more likely, statistically speaking, to shoot someone by accident than you are to shoot a home invader.
    Having a gun in the house also increases your own chances of becoming the victim of a firearm-related homicide or suicide in the home. 6 Researchers have found that this holds true regardless of the type of gun you own, how you store it, or how many guns you own.
    Finally, if you have children, you should take into account how the presence of a firearm in the home might affect their safety. Most gun-owning parents take precautions to keep their children from finding and handling the family’s firearms. However, despite these efforts, children often handle guns in the home without their parents’ knowledge; in one study, 22% of parents who believed that their children had never handled the guns in the home were contradicted by the children themselves. 7 Further, when a child or teen is killed by a firearm, the gun that killed them comes from their own home fully 72 percent of the time. 8



I don’t think that this is actually rocket science.  I think that we can do some very basic things to make ourselves safer.

We can allow hunting, while outlawing automatic, semi-automatic and all other assault weapons.  We can make it legal ONLY to buy guns from registered, recognized official gun sellers.  No “gun shows”.  We can follow our Canadian neighbors and make it the law that if you own a weapon, you MUST  keep it locked up.    We can make it illegal to own a gun if you are under 18 ( just as you can’t get married, vote or buy a beer).   And we can pass a law that says “If you buy a gun, that gun is in your name. Any crime committed with that gun makes you responsible.”

And one final thought: If you town wants to set up a well regulated militia, I’m pretty sure that’s covered in the Constitution.


Guns Must GO


OK, I am ready to cry “Uncle”.  I give up.  I submit.  I throw myself on the mercy of the American electorate.


I’ve been trying for an hour to write a meaningful post about gun violence. I can’t do it.  I can’t find the words.   I am too angry.

No, I am not “angry”.

I am so fucking furious that I can’t even speak.

We have watched as more and more Americans have armed themselves to the teeth. We’ve seen toddlers shoot their siblings.  We’ve seen angry high school students murder their classmates and teachers.

We’ve watched our most innocent children being slaughtered in their classrooms.

When faced with these horrors, what did we do?

We, as a nation, did NOTHING.


And now, here we are, once again, dozens of shootings later, facing the fact that we have let our most vulnerable and innocent citizens, our developmentally challenged adults, be the victims of yet another couple of crazies with guns.

I have HAD it.

Where the hell is the outcry?  Where is the rage?  Where are the marches in the streets?

Goddamn it.

WE did nothing. WE let this happen.  And it absolutely will happen again tomorrow. And the next day. And the one after that.

What’s next, fellow Americans?  When a guy in a bad mood comes rushing into the neonatal unit with guns blazing, are we going to let some asshole get away with saying, “Well, if only the premie babies had been armed…..”    When some guy with a chip on his shoulder walks into a nursing home and murders everyone as they sit in their wheelchairs, are we really going to let some creep tell us that “its the price we pay for freedom”?

What are you going to say when its YOUR church that gets shot up next? Or your school? Or your Senior Center?

The Republican Party wants to keep us all scared to death. Scared of refugees, scared of immigrants, scared of each other.  They want us all huddled under our beds with our guns in our hands.

Well, here’s the truth.  I AM in fact scared to death right now. I’m scared of the Republican party, the NRA and every single American who believes that more guns is the answer to the gun slaughter that goes on every day in this country.

“UNCLE”.  Don’t shoot.  Just let me take some time to apply for asylum in a country that hasn’t lost its mind.