#6 Guns and Society
Once again a gunman has made his way into the news by shooting a group somewhere. This time at the US Capitol, other times at schools. Again lots of people have lots of solutions to the problems, but are they workable and do we want these solutions?
One of the first two solutions I always hear is that we can stop these shootings by putting metal detectors at all entrances to all our public buildings. However do they accomplish anything?
Consider the US Capitol shooting. The gunman came on through the metal detector with guns blazing. The metal detector may have slowed him down at the door so security could shoot him before he got to the chambers, but he still shot a number of people in the Capitol.
Consider the shootings in Arkansas. That time the two doing the shooting did not even bring the guns onto the school property but waited with their guns on adjacent property for the people to come out. No metal detector would have stopped them.
Other times we have disarmed people at the metal detectors and prevented a shooting. I think in high-risk areas such as the Capitol and airports metal detectors are effective. However the notion of putting them in all schools is absurd. The cost would be prohibitive to have someone manning all these entrances and would mean that much less money to use for education. However we do need to gain control back of many school halls and that means enforcing existing laws. No new laws are needed. The last I checked unauthorized individuals in a school can and should be arrested for trespassing.
The second solution that appears is banning the guns. The thing I immediately always hear on this is that much of the rest of the world bans guns. I hear they are banned in Great Britain and that it is so much safer there, but I can not understand how all the violence still occurs in Northern Ireland with only play guns, since guns are banned there. I hear that it is a southern gun culture that causes all these shootings. If that be the case, why are New Yorkers afraid to walk the streets, why did the Capitol gunman come from the Midwest, and why do school shootings occur all over the US?
I believe that guns in ordinary citizen's hands are not bad. There are great programs available to teach children gun safety. Whether you are pro-gun or anti-gun, if you have children they should be in one of these programs. The Jaycees, 4-H and the Scouts all run excellent programs.
I do question what an ordinary citizen needs assault weapons or armor piercing bullets for. These are items that only our police and military need. To the individuals who say they need them to protect themselves from the government I pose several questions. First have you voted in recent elections? If you have not then you have voted with your feet to say you want others making your decisions. Secondly unless you are a government employee, have you been involved in the political process? If someone has done neither of these then my question to them is why will it be any different if you physically throw out the "rascals"? I can assure you a vote makes a difference. I lost a political race in college by one vote. Ask Gary Curry in Swainsboro Georgia if one vote makes a difference. He ended up in a tie for mayor and lost the runoff.
Ordinary citizens use guns for three basic purposes. First to hunt. If you are opposed to hunting then I understand you wanting these banned, but my question is how will you control animal populations? Drive in Georgia or South Carolina at night and count the deer. Second some people use guns for sporting purposes buy target shooting. Is this really any different that other sports? Compare to bowling, running, etc. It is a person trying to do their best. The third area is personal safety. As long as some one is safe with guns I think this is important. Carrying a gun or having one at home that you know how to use has saved lives. Not knowing how to use it has cost lives.
Lastly if we are going ban guns because some crazy people used them to kill others then would not the logical argument be also be ban cars, diesel fuel and fertilizer? Each of these has been used separately or together to kill people either through bombing or using the car as a weapon to drive through a crowd or run someone down. Lets use some common sense, and educate ourselves and our children on gun safety. Lets keep the mentally ill from having guns and if they are unstable lets lock them up and treat them. If they are a menace to society then why are they on the street? Lets ban the assault weapons and armor piercing bullets from ordinary citizens.
In conclusion, let me state several things about me. One I am not a hunter, but I am pro legal hunting. Two I have taught children gun safety for a number of years through the Jaycees and 4-H. Lastly I am a lifetime member of the NRA, and I do not support every thing they believe, but then I have not found any other organization that I believe everything they do. As a friend of mine state it in college, if we ever find a church we agree 100% with, we will probably find it only has one member, yourself.
This is a little article I am doing across the Internet. I plan to write several times a week on a variety of subjects. It may be religious at times, political at times, and at other times just my reactions on something happening out there. It will often be like an op-ed article. If I do what I intend, you will at times want to shout I agree, other times you will want to say Dwight has really lost it now, but most importantly I want to challenge you to think. Feel free to forward this to others. If you don't want to get this e-mail let me know. Feel free to use what you read from me, but I request you give me credit and send a tear sheet. Thanks.
If you would like to receive it and you are not on my mailing list, send me a note to add you. You can find past issues on my home page at http://home.att.net/~dwight-watt/articles/articles.html