Friday, April 24, 2009

No more to guns...

I grew up a big fan of guns, and to some level I still enjoy guns. When I had a truck, I put an NRA sticker on it; Charlton Heston was my president. When I turned 18, I bought a gun - in fact in high school I bought two. At my parents house are 5 guns that I claim to be mine, 3 that I have definite claim to (the others are my dad's that he never uses). So when I say, I guns are a part of my past, I'm not just saying that.

Recently, I read a stat that says in one year over 3,000 children are killed by guns. This is compared to 0 in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in France, 109 in Germany, and 103 in Canada. These other countries have much tougher gun laws. Actually, I heard that in Japan the only people allowed to own and use guns are members of the National Olympic shooting team (not even cops). Yes, I know the US's population is larger than these countries, but if the numbers were averaged out, we'd still be way higher than the other (between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children). The reason is that we have more guns than they do.

I really didn't think about this issue - even though I'm a believer in non-violence - until I was having lunch with some friends (one from Arkansas and one from Brazil). When learning that people don't own guns in Brazil like we do in the US, my friend from Arkansas asked if people are afraid because they don't have guns. He said something to the effect that there are some crazy people out there. My Brazilian friend replied something like exactly, there are some crazy people out there. He said he was afraid in the US because he never knew who had a gun, or what crazy thing somebody would do if they got angry enough.

This conversation got me thinking, sure its not the gun that is ultimately responsible for murder, it is the person shooting it. Sure, if somebody is responsible with a gun, it can be a perfectly safe tool to keep in ones house. Sure, I have the right to own a gun* but can my gun keep me safe?** could I actually use my gun to kill someone? I understand sport, but am I willing to say that sport is more important than safety. I guess unless I'm in grizzly country, I really don't think I need a gun.

As I have thought through my feelings about guns over the past few months, I've realized that I do not have an internal drive to own guns let alone shoot them anymore. Also, if I am going to take a stance against violence and the lifestyle that violence creates, I must have integrity in my position. Gun violence is a very real reality, one that I stand against. I think the only way for me to live with integrity is to say that I think I've shot a gun for the last time.***

*I think that the 2nd Amendment is a very useless law. Honestly, if a group of people were to rebel against the government, do we actually think, with all the technology, they'd stand a chance. In Iraq (twice) we've been using tanks and ship based missile, shooting targets from over the horizon (meaning we launch missiles at people who can't see us), do we actually think a militia would stand a chance to defend ourselves against the gov't? I mean Iraq had a standing army with tanks and they only lasted a couple of weeks.

**Another conversation point always talked about is self-defense. Most people don't talk about the statistic of people shot by their own guns, being used against them.

***First this is a personal issue, I am not attempting to change any person's position on this stance. FYI: I allow myself the space to change my position, but as of right now, I just do not see a reason I would need to have to shoot a gun again.