Gabe is in his room playing his new video game, and I have an hour before I have to pick the girls up from the bus so I decided to turn on the news. We have avoided it as much as possible - most information I learned was from searching the internet news sites when the kids were not around. Beyond just the total sadness of the loss of these 27 people (I include his mother here as well for she is also a victim), I hear people arguing over political stuff. Personally it makes me ill. . . . But here are my thoughts on it.
I grew up in northern Michigan. When I lived with my mom we almost always had a loaded gun by the door. Guns were part of our livelihood. My parents were avid hunters. On top of that my parents also believed the government was out to get us and that we had a right to own any gun out there to protect ourselves from when the government decided to do what ever evil thing it was going to do. We should own flame throwers, machine guns. . . anything out there. Our second amendment right says we can have these guns and we should have them.
I am not anti-gun. I see a need for them. I see a use for them. When this country was founded there was a good chance your survival depended on owning a gun. There are still people today who use guns to keep their livelihood. I see hunting as a good thing. It keeps the animal population down and provides healthy meat for a family. My children have held guns and target practiced. I understand the draw of guns, but for me, personally, I don't see why people need to own some of these guns. A gun to hunt with - I get it. A gun for protection - OK - I could see that, but why do you need a gun that will do the kind of damage that some of these guns can do?
So here we are - as Americans - and we have to decide what we are OK with. Are we OK with people owning the semi-automatic weapons that can carry 30 rounds in them? Are we OK with people owning guns that really aren't going to be used for hunting? We have the right to keep and bare arms - the constitution states that - but this constitution was written during a different time. People were different.
I know, if someone wants to do this kind of damage they can do it without a gun. Timothy McVeigh and Andrew Kehoe showed us that, but it is harder. Requires more planning. Requires more steps that might bring attention to this person and may prevent this from happening. A gun makes it so easy, especially a gun that can demolish 27 people in a matter of minutes. Mr. McVeigh and Mr. Kehoe had to put intensive planning into what they did, took a long time to gather all the material needed. It took a while. It wasn't a week or two. . . . it was a long time. A gun makes a moment of anger so much easier to act upon. . .
We can toss blame everywhere here. We can say the mother shouldn't have owned the guns (which, in all honestly, I kind of think that if you have an unstable person in the home and guns then those guns should be made unavailable to this person). We can say the mother should have put this individual in an institution (which, the reality of it is there are very few institutions for these individuals.) We can say "guns don't kill people, people kill people," all we want, but the reality of it is that 27 people were blown to pieces because a gun was put in the hands of this young man. Would these people have been killed if he didn't have access to these guns? We don't know, but we don know that 20 little kids and 7 adults are gone because this person did have access to these guns.
So I go back to my title of this blog, what are we, as Americans, OK with. Do we see our right to own these guns as so important that we are going to keep selling them (there is no way we can remove the guns that are already sold and owned, but we could stop selling new guns in this country)? I am not talking about hunting guns. I am not talking about six shooter hand guns. I am talking about weapons that go beyond basic self defense and hunting. Is the freedom to continue selling these guns that important? If your answer is "yes" then we, as Americans, have to be OK with things like this happening here in this country. You can't have it both ways. You can't still have these guns available (and from what I have read these guns were all purchased legally), and be irate when things like this happen. We have to choose. . . .