So I'm watching the internet go apeshit about gun bans after the Connecticut school shooting.
First of all, I get it. These kids are DEAD. We want a definitive solution to the problem right-the-fuck-now. Because sitting around talking about it feels useless and heartbreaking and reminds us all how ineffective and small we are. In light of that, the argument that gets pushed forward is if guns aren't around, then no one gets killed with a gun. Period.
It's hard to argue with that. Especially in the face of this kind of horror. But I'm going to do it anyway.
Personally, I view guns the same way I view my husband's circular saw: a potentially dangerous mechanical tool that requires extra training and/or education before use. I'm not very likely to put my hands on either one. (For the record, I got very explicit instruction - and some practice - in handgun use when I was a child. I just don't find them necessary to my life as an adult.)
I do think that fully automatic assault rifles should not be in anyone's hands. Seriously, I'd be just as happy to go back in time and smother that bit of technology. But as long as the technology exists, I'd rather it not be in the general public's hands. Not that I'm a fan of the police walking around with them, either, but at least those guys get some training. My point is, if you want a gun for hunting and/or home protection, you do NOT need a gun that can mow down 20 or 30 people per magazine. You just don't.
But to the people who say that less guns equals less gun violence I have a one word rebuttal: Canada.
Canada has more guns per capita than the US, but less gun violence. Your argument is invalid. (Interesting aside: You know what else Canada has that we don't? Socialized medicine, including mental health services.) I've heard the same is true for Australia, as well, but I don't have numbers to back that up. Another important difference? Less small arms and automatic weapons in those places. Gun ownership is more in the old-fashioned rifle category. I would call that effective gun control.
Also, I have a question: Is the entire world going to come together and say, "No more making guns, oh highly profitable and international gun manufacturers"? 'Cause I don't think they are. I don't think the gun genie is going back in the bottle. As long as guns exist, there is a danger that one will be used in the commission of a crime. And as long as our criminal justice system continues to do such a lousy job apprehending and prosecuting the criminals and guns we already have, I really don't want to have a discussion about how putting more pressure on that inadequate system is going to help.
I'm more for using our resources to address the mental health issues that lead to this kind of violence in the first place. And to the argument that "Hey, there will always be crazies, too," I'd just like to point out that tilting at windmills in service to your fellow human might be more effective that trying to drive them back to the stone age. Because stone age people killed each other with rocks.
Look, in a nutshell, my stance is this: Even if guns didn't exist, people would still be doing violence to each other and on a large scale, if they really wanted to (just ask Timothy McVeigh). But what if you knew that the behavior of your son, uncle, mother or whoever was potentially dangerous and your entire community rallied around you to say, "We can help with that"? Wouldn't that be a more effective solution than just taking away ONE of myriad possible tools for that person to use in a violent act?
It's not that I don't think gun control is a necessary conversation, because it is. I just think that there are other conversations that are equally (if not more) important if the goal is to solve the problem of violence in our society. If the goal is to be reactionary and stir up a political base, well then, that's a different problem (and it's called being an asshole).
But since being reactionary is pretty much a human's first response in a situation like this, can I suggest just grabbing up your nearest loved one and holding them tight? It might not change the world, but I guarantee it will make you feel better.