Every single time an unstable individual decides to go on a shooting rampage in this country, the great gun debate rears its ugly head.
People begin to shout the extremes on both sides of the aisle about our Constitutional right to bear arms or the lack of stringent gun control. Many choose to place the blame on guns themselves.
What I always fail to see in these debates surrounding horrific mass murders is an examination of the core issues that drove the individual to take such measures in the first place.
It was the person who decided to pull the trigger with intent to inflict death that is responsible here. Not the gun.
It doesn’t really matter if a law is in place, people who decide to commit a crime, choose not to follow the law. Plain and simple.
When a person is set on killing, he or she can decide to do so in a number of ways. Even with the most stringent gun laws in place in this country, a “bad guy” if you will, can still purchase a gun on the black market. And they do, all the time.
Even if guns were obliterated from the face of the earth, a “bad guy” would have many weapons of choice at their disposal. If he or she is intent on killing, he or she will.
I grew up in a home of hunters. There was a gun safe with a variety of rifles, shotguns, pistols and ammunition. We were taught at an early age how to handle guns in a responsible and safe manner. Those guns were tools used to feed our household. A pretty poor household that would not have had much meat on the dinner table otherwise.
Having experienced their benefit, I tend to sit in the middle of this heated debate.
Yes, guns can kill people. But so can cars and knives and baseball bats and bare hands and even barrels of fertilizer. They have all been used before.
True, semi-automatic rifles with special clips that hold 100 rounds similar to the kind the Aurora killer used can kill and wound more people in less time than say a knife or one’s bare hands. We already know this because we use those types of weapons in war with that same exact intent.
But even though semi-automatic and automatic weapons have been “outlawed” in many states in this country, the “bad guys” still have a way of getting hold of them. They are usually sold to them by other “bad guys” who buy them from bigger “bad guys” and so on and so forth.
Sometimes I feel the great gun debate is a way for us to stay lost in the depths of denial. The denial of the inherent dark side of some humans. Humans who will stop at nothing and will use any means to annihilate other humans. When we cannot answer the question “why” we turn immediately to blaming something more tangible. Something we can wrap our heads around like an inanimate object that has no hidden personal motive on its own; guns.
Guns require people to pull the trigger. People who choose to pull the trigger with intent to kill another person are responsible for that action. We as the human race are responsible for figuring out where our society has gone wrong when one of its members makes such a devastating decision.
The lives of many innocent people were lost or forever changed on that fateful night in Colorado. My heart hurts for them just as much as anyone else in this country who has a conscience.
I in no way harbor empathy for the shooter. What he chose to do was horrific and blatantly wrong and devastating to the psyche of everyone who is reading and hearing about the aftermath of his crime. But I am forever curious about the “why” that led up to his fateful decision. The “why” cannot be answered by the changing or enforcement of some gun law. The gun was merely his choice of the “how.”
My hope from this latest chapter is we stop the divisive arguments and the finger-pointing blame and begin to work together to identify the deeper issues that feed and encourage these broken minds to take such desperate and horrific measures in the first place.