Thursday, March 31, 2005

Guns guns GUNS!

About two weeks ago now there was another school shooting. This time by one 16 year old, on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. Turns out he was heading in that direction. Lived with his grandparents, grandfather was a cop, had access to his guns. On medication for depression and in counseling. A loner, who loved Hitler and hated everyone else. The usual tragic situation. Second only to Columbine.

On my network, Jack (one of the very active posters) posted the original article. Everyone sort of blew it off. I’ll admit, even me. Every time we bring up guns it just gets ugly. I stayed out as long as I could, which was I think a new record for me and my big mouth. But he was suggesting that guns were the sole reason this tragedy happened, and if there were no guns it wouldn’t have happened at all.

I disagreed. Little did I know what trouble that would get me into! I explained myself badly, however. I did say that guns were not the issue at all, and that really wasn’t what I meant. He said that guns were the only issue, and I don’t think that is what he meant. I think we both just got so fixated in our disagreeing we stopped listening to what the other was saying. It happens to the best of us.

What the disagreement came down to was the solution. He feels you have to take away the guns first, then work on healing the people who might eventually use these weapons in a case like the shooting in Minnesota. I feel you have to work the opposite. I think we argued about it for two days in email. I was about to throw myself out of a window. Or go back on my medication- haha.

I think what really crushed me the most is that his view of me and what I believe changed, and I don’t understand why. Because the reality in my mind is that the gun control problem is not going away anytime soon. Neither are social problems and status. So you need to work from both ends at the same time to get your solution. The solution is to save lives. We both want to do that, yet because we disagree on how to approach the solution, he thinks I value human life less than he does. Frankly, that offends me. But what can I do? You think what you think about people.

In thinking about all of this, I thought of Michael Moore. I had not seen anything coming from him on this matter, and he made the Bowling for Columbine movie! Surely the fact that this new shooting is right up there with what happened in Colorado would have gotten his attention! After scanning his website, all I found were a couple articles posted about it, and those were buried in the archives. Much like the posts in my network get buried. The last letter from him was in January, where he was bragging about F911 getting the People’s Choice nod. Don’t get me wrong, that of course is excellent, and I love Moore, but why would he not make some sort of statement about the Minnesota shooting?

Which got me to thinking about the movie, Bowling for Columbine. I wondered if my view would be different watching it, since now I am someone who doesn’t value human life as much as previously thought (ok I must still be bitter.). So tonight I watched it again. It had probably been a couple years since I had seen it last.

There were two situations where I had two different reactions. Of course, Columbine. Would they still have gone in if there were no guns? It’s hard to say. With the things they were feeling, It would be safe to think that since they made bombs in their basement that they would still do the same. Still be able to go to school and place them where they wanted them. More time to set them all off if they weren’t walking around shooting. Would more have survived? Also hard to say, for the same reasons. Bombs can take out a lot more people than a 9mm. Then again, no one would have been shot in the head.

The other situation (that I actually had completely forgotten about) was the Michigan shooting of a 6-year-old, by her fellow 6-year-old classmate. He took the gun from his Uncle’s home and brought it to school. He was at his Uncle’s because his mother was about to be evicted from their home, and needed a place to stay. While working her two jobs at a mall 40 miles away. She took a bus there each day, and hardly ever was around to see her son. Even with that she could not make enough to pay her rent. And it was a government program she was in!

Again, lower class neighborhood. If I remember the story correctly the Uncle was a dealer or something. Though yes he should have been thinking about locking up the gun, in reality it’s not surprising he didn’t. In this instance, yes I completely believe that if the guns were not around, this would not have happened. I don’t think this 6-year-old would have constructed a bomb to take to school. Yet there are all the other social factors involved. If the Uncle had locked up the gun, the mother had been around more, if the welfare system worked better she could have been, etc.etc.

What is the cause? When the infamous “unlocked doors” in Canada scene came up I was all ears. How can they have all those guns and not even a fraction of the gun stats that we have here? Moore pointed out the television. The news isn’t so violent all the time- fear doesn’t get pounded into their minds at every newscast. Sure, they see all the same movies and have all the same video games, and yes they are violent. But they are not reading about crime after crime in their news. Is it because they don’t have the crime? I doubt it. The fear is just not pushed every second.

It’s so true, the fear in America. Just recently I’ve been noticing these stickers on just about every car I pass. A white round sticker with a blue car in the middle. I asked my husband if he knew what it was. Turns out if you have this sticker, you are giving the police permission to pull you over if they see your vehicle out after 10pm, because it means it is probably stolen. I thought he was joking! Are people REALLY that paranoid? I would never even think to put something like that on my car. Do you think I want everyone to see what an incredibly boring life I lead?

One thing that supported my opinion of starting small and working outward in this gun problem. The scene where they get Kmart to stop selling bullets. Excellent! Granted, they had Michael Moore. But it doesn’t take much to make a scene. Call the press, and head to WalMart. Get them to stop selling, since the government is in bed with the NRA lobbyists. And probably every other big corp in the US as well…

So, all in all, I feel exactly the same as I always did. If every gun disappeared overnight you would not see me complaining that I’ve lost some fabricated constitutional right. No one has a right to threaten another human life. Just having a gun in your possession threatens. It does not protect. It’s a false protection that only comforts the paranoid person with the gun. Who will most likely shoot themselves in the foot if faced with a dangerous situation, no matter what training they have had.

Which hardly make me feel any better about guns. Certainly not safer.

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