This might not be a popular blog post. Normally, I make an attempt to be lighthearted. Face it, there’s too much unhappiness and tension in the world. However, today, I’m having a hard time being funny.
Yesterday there was another high profile shooting spree—the third in a matter of a few short weeks. Colorado. Wisconsin. Texas. Three different parts of the country. Three different reasons for taking a weapon and firing on his fellow man. Three people who should have never been allowed to have a gun. But because they had one (and in fact they had many) people died.
After the Wisconsin shooting, friend and fellow writer Chuck Wendig tweeted that the time was fast approaching for us to start a serious conversation about guns. Perhaps in some part we can start that conversation here. We are writers that love humor. We love mysteries and often use guns in our writing, but, in real life, guns are a serious business. We need to find a way to get people talking—really talking—about what should be done about them.
There is a slogan that says “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” It is hard to argue the fact that a gun by itself will not pull its own trigger. But take the gun out of the hands of a man whose own parents say was out of control and several people who died yesterday would still be alive. Their families would not be grieving or asking questions to which there will never be answers.
Guns kill people.
I’m sorry. No matter how literally correct that slogan might be, I believe guns kill people. Does that means that I believe that people would not kill if they didn’t have access to guns? No. But I think the numbers killed would be smaller. The choice to kill would be harder.
Maybe I’m wrong. But yesterday a man with a gun killed people by shooting out of the window of his home. In Wisconsin, a gunman opened fire in a church. In Colorado, people watching a movie were gunned down while eating popcorn.
Men killed those people. So did the guns those men used.
Three horrific incidents in 22 days.
I’m not writing this post because I know what the answer is. I don’t. Not a clue. But I do know that something has to change.
The constitution reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
I have found 4 definitions of militia:
1. A body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.
2. A body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
3. All able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
4. A body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.
The second amendment was written at a time before the national armed forces were created. There wasn’t an Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. The National Guard didn’t exist. The only chance for the country to defend itself was if every day citizens answered the call of the government to fight off whatever threat was eminent to the nation. Once the national government founded the branches of military, the need for a militia was dissolved.
Does that mean I think citizens should be forbidden from owning guns? Again, I have no idea. But I do think the second amendment doesn’t provide the answers that some people would like it to. This debate would be easier if it did. It doesn’t. The answer lies with us…the American people. It is time to have a debate that doesn’t wield the second amendment and catchy slogans like a bulletproof shield.
Guns kill people because people use guns. End of story. Not all people commit murder with them, but enough do that we need to have the conversation. We need to table our emotions about whether we love or hate guns. We need stop asking what the founding fathers would do because I guarantee you they never imagined the possibility of a movie theater let alone the horrendous mass murder that would occur there.
I have no answers. Only questions. But I believe that what we are doing now isn’t working. We need to find better answers because I think the one thing we can all agree on is that the people we love in our lives are more important than the ownership of a gun that might one day be the cause of their death.
And to the families of all of the victims…my heart and prayers are with you.