Today there were shots fired at the Kansas City Zoo. No one was hit or hurt, but without a doubt, it’ll spark more discussion about how accessible guns should be, and whether or not restrictions should be intensified.
First, allow me to clarify that I don’t identify with any singular political party. I guess most people would probably pin me somewhere on the left end of the political spectrum, slap a “liberal” label on me, and be done with it. And although I’m not affiliated with the Republicans or the Democrats, I guess most of my issue perspectives do tend to hang a little to the left.
But because I hate generalizations, here’s a little “stance breakdown” you can use to judge me:
- I believe in equality for all people, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc.
- I strongly support social welfare. (Everyone should have quality health care, and I think it’s generally in everyone’s best interest to help each other out if/when we can.)
- Billionaires should be taxed more than the working class.
- I believe in women’s rights, separation of church and state, and marriage equality.
- I’m against capital punishment.
- I defend animal rights, and I think zoos, circuses, and SeaWorld are just fucking ridiculous.
- Cannabis is medicine, so I support its decriminalization and legalization.
- No rape has ever been a “legitimate” one. (Lookin’ at you, Todd.)
- The FDA should mandate descriptive and transparent labeling, regardless of how much money Big Pharma and Big Ag are shoveling under the table.
- I’m opposed to passing legislation or implementing policies that allow private or corporate business owners to discriminate against any person, for any reason.
- Companies aren’t people, so they shouldn’t have the same rights we individual human beings have [left].
- We should probably audit the Fed.
- We shouldn’t be gunning down immigrants at the border and if anything, we should probably lighten up a little bit on our approach to immigration.
- We should be able to grow whatever crops and drink whatever milk we like and educate our children however we see fit.
- We should get a little more enthusiastic about improving the areas we’ve neglected, and maybe get a little less obsessed with developing even more areas. Do we really want a building contractor’s footprint on every single square inch of the planet?
- We should focus more on things like clean air and water and expanding solar energy efforts, and focus less on “clean coal.” (Because come on, guys. “Clean coal?” Definitely not even a thing, okay?)
- I want the budget for scientific advancements and space exploration to significantly increase and the budget for war and “defense” to significantly decrease.
Now, I don’t know exactly where all these views specifically put me on a scale from Abbie Hoffman to James McCann, but I’d like to think most of them can at least indicate my generally non-violent mentality.
So why do I feel like I’m instantly tossed in with the crazies when it comes to my position on gun ownership?
It’s as if my gratitude for the Second Amendment makes me some redneck, backwoods, ignorant hillbilly who marches my “God Hates Fags” sign all the way to my KKK meeting? As if just because one of the rights I have as a citizen of my country happens to bring me comfort, I must also love to get drunk and holler around my bonfire in hopes someone trespasses on my property so I can shoot him.
But although I do appreciate a good bonfire, let me just knock out a couple of these stereotypes right now by saying that I HATE GUNS. I do. And I try really hard not to hate anything because hate is just silly. Why make life harder by carrying something around with you when you could just set it down?
But I must admit, the passionate hatred I carry for guns is a heavy one. And yet, I’ve never quite been able to put it down. I wish they didn’t exist. I wish they’d never been invented. I wish they’d never even been conceived, okay? If I could snap my fingers right now and make every single weapon on the planet disappear right now, I would do it in a fucking heartbeat. Wouldn’t even have to think about it, just poof. Gone.
But here’s the thing. (Earmuffs, kids!) There’s no such thing as magic. There’s no “finger snap trick” that can make all the bad stuff and bad people just “un-exist.” So guys? Guns and assholes are both here, okay? (“The first step to our recovery is to admit we have a problem…”) Guns and assholes are here and they’re going to hang out together sometimes so bad things are going to happen. If you need to, feel free to take a moment right now to just really process that reality and accept it. Because no. We can never just make that fact “go away.” Ever.
And I get it. That Utopian paradise sounds wonderful to me, too. But just glance at the nearest window for a second. You see any magical faeries out there? Are they riding around on glittery unicorns? Using sparkles to grant wishes to people sliding down the rainbows they’ve made out of the love they have for each other?
sounds to me too, that’s just not the fucking world we live in, folks.
So I went through the whole process. I bought a gun. I went to the weekend-long class, did the group discussions, took the test, paid the fee, and obtained the CCW (conceal and carry license). And believe it or not, I really didn’t do this because I love blowing shit up. I didn’t do it because I think I’m a badass. (Buh-bye, Stereotype No. 2.)
No, I actually did it for the complete opposite reason. I’m not a badass. If someone tries to come into my house while my loved ones and I are inside and kill us, then guess what? I’m not Chuck Norris. I can’t disarm them with a roundhouse kick to the jaw. Bullets aren’t going to bounce off of my biceps of steel if they shoot me. I can’t whack speeding ammo away with my basic baseball bat. In this event, however unlikely, I’m going to need a gun. Not a prayer. Not a wish upon a fucking star. A gun.
As long as criminals have guns, I want them, too. As a matter of fact, I think it’s the obligation of every sane American to own a gun, learn how to use it, keep it safe from children, and defend themselves and their families with it.
If your kid’s in a dangerous situation and I happen to be there, I’m going to do whatever it takes to save your kid’s life. Now, maybe that means diving into a lake to rescue your kid from drowning, or maybe it means shooting someone who’s going to shoot your kid, I don’t know. But if I can prevent your kid from ending up dead, then I’m going to go ahead and do that.
Not because I like you, and not even because I like your kid. There’s actually a pretty good chance I don’t like your kid because kids are fucking awful. But that’s your fault, not his. So I’m going to save him if I can. And maybe you should do me a favor and get a gun so you can do the same for my awful kid if the opportunity ever presents itself. See, we sane people have to stick together in this crazy world.
But do you think a criminal is going to wait to kill you until your paperwork is finished being processed?
I can see it now: A law-abiding citizen says to a rapist coming through the door, “Oh, hang on just a second there, Mr. Rapist, if you could just come back in like 90 days, that would be swell. See, I’m in the middle of jumping through a few more hoops before I can get my weapon, so I won’t be able to fight you off until then.”
“Oh, okay, ma’am, I’m so sorry! I’ll be back in a few months. Dinner smells delicious, by the way. Is that rosemary?” (Because it’s totally going down like that.) So guess what’s going to happen if we pass more gun laws and make it even harder for sane people to obtain weapons? Yes, Exactly! Then only the crazies with guns are left! (You following along with this okay? Everyone getting it yet?)
People have argued, “What about Columbine? What about Virginia Tech? What about Sandy Hook? What about that movie theater in Colorado?”
My answer is that no sane person in any of those situations was legally “allowed” to have a firearm and even if they were? Something tells me they wouldn’t be hitting up schools if they knew there were guns inside those schools. See, the existence of firearms actually prevents violence.
First of all, why were those places targeted? Something tells me those shooters knew those places didn’t allow firearms and therefore, the chance of retaliation was significantly lower than shooting up say…oh, I don’t know? A police station? How many police station shootings you guys ever heard of? Because I can’t think of a single fucking one.
Think for a minute, however, about how likely those shooters would have been to attack those places if they thought for one second that anyone inside had been authorized to use a firearm in defense of those innocent victims?
Maybe they would have reconsidered. Maybe they would have been wounded or disarmed before all those children were murdered.
Or maybe not. Maybe those children would have all been murdered anyway. Who knows? But you know what? At least they would have stood a fucking chance. At least if someone had been authorized to defend them, they just might still be here. So as long as this symbol is still plastered to the front door of every American elementary school, I’m just not so sure I’d want my kids spending a single day inside one.
Michael Moore directed a film called “Bowling for Columbine,” in which he explored the history of school shootings and raised some very thought-provoking questions about why Americans live in fear. He made some really good points.
Then the film featured parents who had lost children in Columbine, outraged at guns. At guns! I can’t imagine being a parent in that position. I think I’d be far more outraged by the fact that not a single sane human being was permitted to have any fire with which to fight the fire that was directed at and ultimately executed my child that day.
Moore actually took a few of the wounded victims to K-Mart’s headquarters to return the boxes of bullets that were used by the shooters at Columbine. Why? What the fuck does this do? Because the bullets loaded themselves up into the guns and started firing? No. Children did. Children fired those guns. Children who arguably may not have fired them at all if they knew they’d be met with literally any resistance.
People always talk about freedom and security, like we have to choose between the two. Gun rights allow us to have freedom and security. It’s a win-win.
Bottom Line: Guns don’t kill people. Guns prevent crazy people from shooting innocent people. Let’s try that. Because the status quo? Where only the lunatics can bring guns into schools? Yeah, that clearly just isn’t fucking working.
How many more dead kids is it going to take for us to catch on?