People With Guns Kill

The shooting in Newtown, Connecticut is just the latest in a string of shootings in the United States. After every major shooting, people pray, and talk about how we should test people for psychological problems, how there should be more financing for testing, how people should report others that they suspect may be dangerous.

The NRA and their conservative allies roll out their tired rhetoric about how guns don’t kill, people kill. Lets be clear, guns are killing machines. There is no other purpose for a gun. It is made to kill. It cannot be used for any other purpose, its singular purpose is to kill, whether it is a paper target, an innocent animal, or another human being, guns kill.

More relevant, people with access to guns kill, with monotonous regularity. The number of suicides is staggering, the number of people killed accidentally horrendous, the number of gun murders exceeds every developed nation by orders of magnitude. The fact is, there is no safe gun, no number of guns that is safe. Even people with years of training make mistakes and lives are lost.

People like to say that it is only those that are irresponsible that cause injury and death, but that is clearly untrue. People leave loaded guns lying around, hide them poorly, even for an instant and children find them and turn them on themselves or others.

People drive cars, and most people claim that they are responsible drivers. I have driven across this nation north to south, east to west, and the single constant is that people routinely break the speed limit. People are not responsible, and others are killed when people speed. The only sane answer is strict speeding laws, so it is with gun laws.

If people cannot be responsible with guns, they should not be allowed to own them. Since we do not know who will be responsible for gun deaths, the only answer is strict gun control. No-one should be allowed to carry a weapon into a bar, a restaurant, a movie cinema, to work, or in their car.

The idea that we should restrict guns to those who should not have them is not workable. How do you determine who should not have them? As soon as you have laws like this, people will find ways to wriggle out of them and obtain them anyway. We need to restrict guns to everyone, regardless of who they are, regardless of the excuse to own guns. If Japan can reduce their gun deaths to 11 a year, we can too.

Many people say that we should restrict guns to former felons or people on the terrorist watch list. That is all very well, but most mass shooters are in neither category, and given the numbers of guns available, criminals will obtain them. If we reduce the numbers of guns and access to guns, criminals will have a much more difficult time obtaining them.

Will we only finally take action against gun owners when one or more shooters walk into a crowded football stadium and open fire on the crowd? At what point will the number of deaths be enough for us to stop the madness?

As a society, we are to blame for these killings, for the ceaseless gun violence and death in this country. Every single one of us, because we do nothing to stop it, because we demand the right to bear arms, the right to buy dozens of weapons and endless ammunition. We have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, regardless of the destruction wrought by these weapons of death.

When we demand these rights, we enable the killers, the suicides, the accidents, the maiming of innocents. Our right to carry weapons we do not need causes the deaths of tens of thousand in this country every year. Instead of demanding gun control, to save those lives, we as a society demand the right to ever more guns, ever more dangerous weapons, assault rifles, guns with massive magazines. The courts enable us, the NRA lobbies for ever more access to killing machines.

This is a cumulative madness, a society out of touch with reality. Our leaders have abrogated their responsibility, blamed the killers, and not taken the hard steps of restricting guns entirely. Only when we do will the madness stop. Until then, people continue to die, and the NRA continues to increase the number of places that guns are allowed.

Society cannot step back and blame someone else, it is their fault. If other developed nations can have sensible policies towards guns that restrict the number of gun related deaths to less than a hundred, while our figures languish in the tens of thousands, so can we. We have to stop the extremists in the NRA and other organisations from holding this nation hostage to their insanity.

For people like me, who refuse to own a gun, we have a right to be safe, to be protected from gun owners, from people with assault rifles, from neighbors upset that I complain about their music, from drivers with road rage who pull guns on others. I should not have to own a gun to be safe in the society in which I live, that is what we pay taxes for, to enable law enforcement to protect us from crazy residents.

I want the right to walk down the street without fearing for my life, without fearing that I will get home and hear news of another mass shooting. I want to be able to complain to a neighbor about their music without fearing being shot. I want to go to a movie theater or a restaurant or a shopping mall and not worry that some lunatic with a dozen guns will start blasting away.

I want a life free of firearms, where wildlife is safe from marauding thugs with rifles. I want to be able to walk the hills and trails of the national parks without worrying that some hunter will take my life. I want children to be able to go to school without being terrified that the next shooter will be at their school, to be able to sleep without nightmares of their friends being slaughtered. When will the madness end?

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