Saturday, January 19, 2013

More on Guns and Gun Violence

Over the last week the whole issue of the discussion of guns and gun violence has exploded on the news, in TV ads and in social media commentary.  This post relates a running conversation that I had this week concerning guns.  I won't identify the other participant because I haven't told them I am publishing this here.

My original post on Facebook was this:

Wow - Look at that - He's not coming to get your guns! To all the conservatives out there the President didn't put out any executive orders to take your guns. Instead most of his executives order had to do with tracking information about gun violence. And keep in mind his legislative request for the assault rifle ban is just for the sale of NEW assault rifles. And Congress has to pass a law to make that happen. And if you have an assault rifle you get to keep it. So tell me - what is wrong with this plan? Is there anything in there that is unreasonable or wrong? And wow - he isn't a dictator coming to take your guns - absolutely amazing isn't it!  I then link to the following article from the Denver Post.

My point in originally posting this and linking the article was to counter the viewpoint from so many NRA backers and gun nuts that the President was going to use Executive Privileges to take away guns.  Of course he couldn't and didn't.

The following post was made in response to another one of my friend's posts:  I am a firm believer in OUR 2nd amendment rights. I am a gun owner, a law abiding citizen and a teacher. I have absolutely no problem with requiring background checks at stores, gun shows or private sales. Unfortunately, many tragedies occur, not bc of legal ownership, but through illegal gains. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone will), but the shooter at Sandy Hook illegally took someone else's weapon. I currently teach a "inner city" school & my 1st graders know how, where & how much it costs to obtain a "cleaned" weapon. If we're going to address this issue, where does that come in? I'm sure everyone out on the stoop will lining up right away to turn those assault weapons in. I agree that Sandy Hook was a tragedy & needs never to happen again but I think we are making decisions based heavy on emotion right now rather than common sense. I would echo the president's statement about being accountable to humanity for our children's welfare. And one more thing, my niece was at Columbine.

My response to this item was where I feel I made the best case against guns and the fact that the world is changing.  Though the second amendment says we have a right to maintain a well regulated militia it really doesn't not say we have the right to own guns.  Regardless, I feel in 100 years from now the second amendment has a fairly good chance of being stricken from the constitution.  (Remember the constitution can and has been changed including the elimination of amendments.)   

Anyway here's my response - I have paraphrase a bit to eliminate things that are not germane to this post.

The guns used at Sandy Hook were all legally obtained by the shooters mother. The guns were purchased by the mother for her (the mother) and him to have at their home. Additionally, the shooter was legally sane without a criminal record or any feature that would have raised his profile to police. The guns were simply around his house - he used them to kill her and then the kids and teachers at Sandy Hook. 

This is my absolutely biggest problem with guns. They are left in the house and anyone in the house can have access to them. There is no safe storage of guns in a home. If you have a place in your home that you think is safe - think again - your kids know how to get into it. Additionally they know where you keep the keys if you use gun locks. Guns are 43 times more likely to be used to kill an owner of a home (either by someone in the home, suicide, etc) than to kill or injure an intruder. I refuse to let my son go to any home in which a gun is located for this exact reason. Parents are away, gun is safely in a drawer with gun lock on. Kids decide to play.. one says - hey I know where my parent keeps the keys to the gun lock. Gun is unlocked, kids play, kids get killed. 

Everyone in the gun lobby is so opposed to any kind of rules - they say what did Pres. Obama did was so drastic - but it really wasn't. To me, the biggest thing he did was give executive orders that require the various governmental departments to track gun violence and gun deaths. It isn't a waste of money - we track cancer rates, work injuries, etc and provide volumes and volumes of statistics on those things. We are now going to do the same for gun violence and gun deaths. 

And if any one says the stats on cancer, work related mishaps, etc are a waste money, I will challenge you by showing you how tracking those kinds of issues have allowed us to reduce the number of deaths caused by those issues and reduce the cost of those things to the economy. The cost of tracking those statistics is totally off-set by the savings to society and the economy. I really think the gun lobby will have the hardest time with those issues because it will once and for all demonstrate how severe of an issue we have in this country. Over time those statistics will sink in and change peoples minds and turn the general population against guns. 

Change does happen on supposedly sacred issues like gun ownership. Look what happen in Colorado and Washington with legalization of pot. Look what happened in several states regarding same sex marriage. Times are changing and though it won't happen while we are alive, the gun culture of America will die. The gun culture is maintained by a demographic that is rapidly becoming a minority. Latinos, Asian-American and Blacks are more against gun ownership than suburban/rural whites. And the suburban/rural white will be a distinct minority by the end of this century. Times will change and what is consider taboo today will be the norm in the next century. 

Bring someone back who was in their 30's, 40's or 50's in 1913. I am sure they would be shocked to see women voting, women running for president etc - think of what they would think about racial equality!!! Today it is normal for us to see and accept those things. One hundred years from now, all these issues that conservatives hold so dear will be decided against them. 

To illustrate this last point, I am going to do a bit of research.  Within the next 2 or 3 weekends I am going to spend some time at a library reading microfilm of some of the headlines from 100 years ago.  I'll then present those headlines in a blog post just to illustrate how society has changed in 100 years.  It will be fascinating to see all the different areas in which our society has changed.  We can only imagine all that will have changed by January 19, 2113!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

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