Earlier this week, a person I admire very much was contacted by a veteran newspaper editor who had e-mailed a handful of the “small community” to get their simple thoughts and innocent opinions for an upcoming article in her paper on “gun control issues.” She probably had no idea exactly HOW opinionated he might be on the “issues,” so rather than sending her his .02, he chose to joke about it all with me…and then I decided to post it here for anyone who is the least bit curious or tragically directed here from Google to see…and yes, comment on…at least for now…my friends can tell you that I love hate mail almost as much as letters of praise! :^b
Ms. Editor, you definitely said it right in your e-mail title…our country has far more “gun control issues” than it has “gun issues!” My feelings are that most politicians (of any persuasion) “play it safe” with all gun discussion so they don’t make the more skittish voters think they’ve elected a gun nut…their refrain does no one any good in understanding the “issues.” Unfortunately for the sake of the true problems and debate, many in the media draw on tragedies alone (because so many are familiar with them as news) or prey on voters’ emotions simply b/c it makes for a more interesting and controversial story. At the same time they end up fueling myths about the causes and recurring incidence of gun-violence.
Think “big picture” here. Guns are no exception to the usual pitfalls that several topics that individuals become emotionally involved with fall victim to; as a result, they are rarely talked about on the same level playing field as any other societal TOPIC (not necessarily a “problem”)…one example in semantic confusion…when some of my dear friends (police officers) respond to a call for “domestic violence” or “domestic dispute” they understand all too well why it is standard procedure for multiple officers to arrive on those scenes…they are highly volatile situations where emotions run high…because it’s a family (domestic?) and there are emotions naturally present (of all types)…so in their occupation these visits coincide with a family situation turning negative or inappropriate (dispute/abuse)…why? How? Because PEOPLE are involved.
Are “relationships” assumed to be evil by nature? Of course not…resist the temptation to ponder “gay marriage” here…that’s another fight for another article by another person who knows way more about it than I…. But in the legal world, relationships aren’t blamed, and people are. Police don’t write instant divorce tickets and blame the RELATIONSHIP! They either get the PEOPLE to settle down or take PEOPLE to jail. Even family members assign blame just as Maury Povich gets his audience to sympathize with one person and despise another.
I’m saying guns shouldn’t be blamed — people should. And ignorant people can be guilty of abusing their ownership of a gun or simply abusing their position to exploit one side of the gun issue. They are both criminal and plentiful.
So guns…talk amongst yourselves! Seriously, when guns come up in conversation, they seem to make too many people uncomfortable from the get-go. Yes, they are a powerful entity that should be handled by knowledgeable, well-intentioned people who are not crazy…but our government requires much more formality for a person to LEGALLY purchase a new firearm than it does for a person to strike up a relationship with someone or even start a family. THINK ABOUT IT. We’ve all laughed at a “People of Wal-Mart” e-mail — until we saw how many kids were in the shopping cart, destined to carry on the family traits for incalculable generations! That’s just “families and relationships.” Do we even need to cover the evils of “cars” or dozens of other “reckless behaviors” before we move on, or is the level playing field at least starting to make sense? Check statistics (sometime when you’re bored) on how many of all violent acts that take place in our country are committed against family or friends…startling…no wonder some people are seemingly reluctant to meet new friends or add to their family/inner circle! One of my most favorite people in the world says very often, “People suck.”
Let’s talk statistics AND then switch gears to a societal “problem” that kills a bunch of people each year…
The US Department of Justice and the CDC report that approximately two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the United States are SUICIDES. Out of the 30,470 total firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2010, 19,392 (63.6%) were suicide deaths, leaving only 11,078 (36.4%) homicide deaths. Politicians gladly skew that stat when trying to scare people about guns. They avoid logical parallels such as the thought that people find other ways of killing themselves without guns just as they find many ways (and tools) to kill OTHERS whether or not they own a gun…the world knew murder and suicide LONG before the invention of the firearm…
It takes the government a couple of years to finalize their numbers on this stuff, so let’s stick to the same year for our analogy…In 2010, 2,000,000 – that’s TWO million people reported using prescription painkillers NON-MEDICALLY for the FIRST time within the last year—nearly 5,500 NEW people each day. 15,000 Americans die each year from pain pill overdose. That’s NOT SUICIDE ALONE, but also including just plain overuse/overload/accident. Or as OOMF and I like to say it (from our unfortunate experiences with careless friends and/or family members AND with all due respect), “They didn’t even leave a ‘note.'”
So here’s the correlation/logic for me…the Obama administration wants to decrease the amount of medicine-related deaths, so where are they continually introducing more and more “change” each year?!? They are primarily looking at prescription practices. They are making it harder for people who MEDICALLY NEED pills to get them. Guess…TRY to guess the percentage of people overdosing on painkillers in the US who legally have a prescription for the pills they scarf!
So people who want pills (with good or bad intentions) find a way to get them. Do we agree on that? Is there any reason to make it harder for an arthritis or neuropathy patient to get them? And that other 17% of “pill poppers” apparently have enough to deal with. Alright…somebody impress me and go crunch the numbers or find them on the glorious internet…how many gun-related deaths are the result of GUNS purchased legally by the PEOPLE (either party) involved in that gun-related incident? Hmmmmmm…nobody ever uses a factoid like that in a speech — possibly because it doesn’t even roll off the tongue or lie down on a page naturally…it owes some of its awkwardness to the fact that most law-abiding citizens who buy a gun the law-abiding way, only find themselves in a “gun-related incident” when they’re still on the law-abiding side of the incident and thankful they had a way to protect themselves and their family! Still, I wonder how close to 17% it might be…???
If someone says guns are THAT much different from a political and public platform/perspective, they are either very ignorant of the facts or preying on your emotions. We have “kids” under 21 (some even convicted felons) in every town in the country who could certainly get a gun in their hands if they really wanted…they would not be going through any type of legal means to purchase it, but they absolutely can and do get them. Criminals will always find a way to get what they want. When you’re really bored (and have already read up on traits of violent crime…from earlier) check out the strict Chicago gun policies, and see if there is any OTHER way to explain the number of gun-related deaths in that city each year. They aren’t supposed to have guns, but they do…
The people the laws most often impede in legally purchasing a gun are the law-abiding citizens. The “others” know not to try the legal way and why would they? They know where else to shop! And you’d better believe their options are neither limited nor taxed based on any legal stipulations or licenses the rest of us try to abide by.
So other hot topics this all leads to are usually those of “automatic” weapons or “assault rifles.” Take your pick…usually the loudest, most opinionated voices in our nation have no idea what those terms really mean, yet in one particular wind of change, they pushed for such stringent and ignorant legislation that WWII relics such as the M1 Carbine gets put on their bad list while its much more powerful and more lethal big brother, the M1 Garand would stay legally available. This oversight is representative of how too many American politicians and voters operate; they need to do some simple research like they would HOPEFULLY do before voting one way or another on any issue or before voting for a PERSON — don’t vote as a political “party guy” (right, MJ?) — vote for them because you know and understand exactly what you’re doing with your vote…
Back to the semantics of the ever popular gun legislation. Politicians have no idea what the gun terms mean, but despite their ignorance, they ban one gun and not the other…period. Most of it was probably based on the number of rounds each rifle can hold at one time. Likewise, when people talk about limiting the number of rounds available in a single magazine (it’s not called a “clip” btw! *See M1 Garand for “clips” or ask one of the ever-decreasing number of WWII vet’s we owe our existence to, and you’ll understand), they are ignoring the fact that several of the horrible acts of violence they reference were committed with multiple guns and/or multiple crazy PEOPLE…not solely with one gun and a huge “clip.”
Proof that politicians are not experts on guns whatsoever…
Also please educate yourself on the term “assault rifle” so when people talk about what they think they are, you will either be able to contribute to the conversation without sounding like an idiot OR correct them in their careless misnomer concerning a very specific (and not widely available) type of weapon! Our country’s ill-informed have homogenized the terms to the extent that “assault weapon” confuses many on both sides of the debate, while gun-haters fail to realize they’re not promising all they think they are. Much of that was already promised almost 80 years ago and has not changed. The politicians pushing for such “change” must not know what the National Firearms Act of 1934 was and is (Title II), or maybe they just lack focus as badly as I do!
The experts act like everyone else worldwide has it right, and Americans are behind the times. Hmmmmm. Look up the gun laws on places in Europe where politicians and “anti-gun nuts” want to praise them for their civil societies and lack of violence AND crime. NORWAY is usually mentioned for their peaceful nature! Remember Utoya Island in 2011? Look it up and educate yourself. Police forces are now re-arming themselves in many parts of the world b/c strangely, the criminals still get their hands on guns and use them. It wasn’t supposed to work that way when they collected “all the guns” and left law-abiding citizens defenseless and the police “only minutes away when seconds count.” (Did I say that right, Dad?)
I’ll close before my un-medicated ADD forces me to delve too deeply into my original college major and rant about differing opinions on criminal punishment, but look at the smirk on the face of this Norwegian murderer (below), and tell me 21 years of “preventive detention” equals “justice.” He claims to have planned his attacks for close to a decade. Criminals will always find a way to get what they want.
Do you think a few of his victims’ families might have found a place in their personal beliefs for “capital punishment” to become a necessary part of an effective criminal punishment platform?
I would bet an empty Rite-Aid bottle and a high-capacity “clip” that the anti-gun folks stopped reading a half dozen paragraphs ago, but just in case…If I’ve offended anyone, please borrow a Lortab or even a Xanax (or a handful) from your friend or family member (with or without asking) and forget that I or guns or criminals with guns exist — but leave a note just in case! 😉
Best regards, with love, sincerely-rific,
J.C. “uplifting guy” Russell