Today there were shots fired at the Kansas City Zoo. No one was hit or hurt, it’ll inevitably 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 blueish 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 don’t like to generalize, 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 typically in everyone’s best interest to help each other 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. There are just way too many innocent people serving sentences for crimes they never committed (or for breaking laws that shouldn’t even exist) to think our justice system is flawless enough to start killing them, too.
- I defend animal rights, and I think zoos, circuses, and SeaWorld are just fucking ridiculous.
- Speaking of which, cannabis is medicine. 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 or Big Ag are shoveling over to them 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. They shouldn’t have the same rights as 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 we want, 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 need a 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 typically 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. Or just because one of the rights I [still] have as a citizen of this country happens to bring me comfort, people presume I also love to get drunk and holler obscenities around my bonfire in hopes someone trespasses on my property so I can shoot him.
But although I do welcome a good bonfire and have a beloved appreciation for profanity, let me just knock out a couple of those stereotypes right now by saying that I HATE GUNS. I do. And I try really hard not to hate anything because why make life harder by carrying something around with you when you could just set it down? So hatred is pretty silly.
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. If I could snap my fingers right now and just make every single weapon on the planet disappear? I would do it in a heartbeat. I 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? Take that in. (“The first step to our recovery is to admit we have a problem…”) Guns and assholes are here forever and sometimes, they’re going to hang out together, so bad things are going to happen. If you need to, feel free to take a moment to really just process that reality, work through it, and accept it. Take your time. Because no. We can never just make that fact “go away.” Ever.
And I get it. That Utopian paradise sounds wonderful to me, too. I want it, too. But just glance at the nearest window for a second. Do 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 brotherly love they have for each other? No. Somewhere out that window, people are doing awful, evil, violent things. It’s not like I’m a negative person or I dwell on all the evil or anything, but if the awful people out there have guns, then I want one too.
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 a CCW (Carry Concealed Weapons) permit. 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. If they shoot me, bullets aren’t going to bounce off of my biceps of steel. I can’t whack speeding ammo away or deflect it with my baseball bat. In the [however unlikely] event an armed intruder pays me a visit, I’m going to need a gun. Not a prayer. Not Dorothy’s red ruby slippers. Not a wish upon a fucking star. A gun.
So, 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, their families, and their fellow sane citizens 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 it could mean 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 call me crazy, but I’m going to just go ahead and do that. You’re welcome.
But just to clarify, I’m not going to save your kid’s life because I like you. It probably won’t even be because I like your kid. There’s actually a pretty good chance I don’t like your kid. Kids are fucking awful, so let’s just assume that like most of his peers, your kid sucks. But even so, that’s your fault. Not his. So if I can, I’m going to save him. And maybe you should do me a favor and get a gun and that way, you can do the same for my awful kid if the opportunity ever presents itself. Because see, we Sane People have to stick together in this crazy world.
Do you think a criminal is going to wait to kill you until your paperwork is finished? You think a Crazy cares where you are in that process?
I can just see it now: A law-abiding citizen says to a rapist coming through the door, “Oh, hang on a second there, Mr. Rapist, if you could just come back in like 90 days, that would be swell. See, I just have a couple more hoops to jump through before I can get my weapon, so I won’t be able to fight you off until then.”
“Oh okay, no problem, ma’am. So sorry I didn’t time this better. I’ll be back in a few months. Sound good? Dinner smells delicious, by the way! Is that rosemary?” (Just no.) 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 the only ones left with the guns are the Crazies. More hoops means more Sane People are discouraged from obtaining an effective means of defense against a Crazy. (Everyone following along with this okay? Are you getting it yet?)
Okay, moving on. Some people have argued, “What about Columbine? What about Virginia Tech? What about Sandy Hook? What about that movie theater in Colorado?”
My answer is so simple that I cannot even begin to imagine how people haven’t put this together. You ready? Okay. Read this very carefully: Absolutely no Sane Person in any of those situations was legally “allowed” to have a firearm. And if they were? Something tells me the Crazies in those incidents wouldn’t have been hitting up schools.
If the Crazies know there are Sane People with inside schools to protect students with guns, do you really think schools would be such a popular target? I don’t know. Maybe. The finale of most school shootings involves the shooter’s suicide, so maybe if they have a death wish anyway, they still target schools. But even so, the presence of a Sane Person with a gun could [would] at the very least, reduce the number of innocent student victims murdered in a school shooting. So if you can just put your stereotypes about gun owners to bed for a minute and try to grasp that perspective, the existence of firearms actually prevents violence.
First of all, why were those places targeted? It’s easy, remember? Because the shooter(s) already knew that their odds of facing retaliation were 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 honestly can’t think of a single fucking one. I mean, you’d have to be a real crazy Crazy to attack a cop shop, right? Probably wouldn’t even get through the door before you had barrels pointing back at you. But I guess there are precious officers inside the police stations, not just a bunch of worthless, annoying children, right? Makes total sense.
But let’s just pretend for a second that we value the lives of our children as much as we value the lives of our officers, okay? I know. Hard to imagine, but just play along. Humor me. Entertain that bizarre notion for the sake of my argument here. If any of the Crazies in the history of school shootings had thought for even one second that anyone inside had been authorized to use a firearm in defense of those 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 been murdered anyway. Who knows? But at least they would have stood a fucking chance. Can’t we at least give them a fucking shot? (No pun intended.) Because if someone had been authorized to defend the children of all the parents who are still undoubtedly mourning their deaths, their children just might still be here.
And isn’t that enough? To improve a child’s chances of surviving an attempt on her young life? You think that just might be a good enough reason to maybe get someone in her school who has her back? Who can actually do something to prevent her death? Because our current “Good Luck Hiding Under Your Desk” policy has proven pretty fucking ineffective. So as long as this symbol is still plastered to the front door of every American elementary school? I’m just not super sure I’d want my kid spending a single day inside one.
Michael Moore directed a film called “Bowling for Columbine,” in which he explored the history of school shootings. He raises some very thought-provoking questions about why Americans live in fear and makes some really valid, solid points.
But then, the film features parents who had lost children in Columbine, outraged at guns. At guns! What!? I can’t imagine being a parent in that position. But I think I’d be far more outraged by the fact that not a single Sane Human Being was permitted to have any means with which to fight the fire that was directed at–and ultimately executed–my child that day. (Please be reading this, Random Lady Pictured Below.)
Can you imagine being a teacher at Columbine? First of all, you’re a teacher, so we’ll assume that, not only are you nuts enough to actually like children, you’re passionate enough about educating them that you’ve devoted your life to a career path that means being surrounded by them all day, every day. Pretty fair to say you probably don’t want to see a bunch of kids get massacred by a Crazy, right? But as a member of the school staff, your employer has a strict “Let All The Children Die” policy. So the most you can do for your class is what? Lead them in a prayer? Wait, you can’t even do that! As an educator, what could be more tragic than being stuck in that helpless position?
But back to “Bowling for Columbine.” 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 school shooters. But just why? What the fuck does this do? Because the bullets loaded themselves 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’d known they’d be met with literally any resistance.
So to wrap this up, people like to rant about which American value is more important: freedom or security? But guys. In this case, we don’t have to choose between the two. Gun rights allow Americans to have freedom and security. It’s a win-win.
Bottom Line: Guns don’t kill people. Guns prevent Crazies people from shooting innocent people. Can we try that? 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 finally catch on?