Guns

Guns

“You all know me, I hate guns.  I would like to see them all melted down and turned into jewelry for transgender vegans.”

Samantha Bee

Perspective

I remember being a Junior in high school and listening to my out-of-town friend telling me all about a terrifying lock-down that happened at her school.  She told me that a student had brought a pocket knife to school and was using it to carve graffiti into the bathroom walls.  I guess someone told on him and there was a school-wide lock-down in result.  She went to school in what we, in New Hampshire, would call a city.  Their school was one, giant building with one point of entrance that was locked at all times when school was in session.  If you wanted to get in, you had to ring a bell, hold up identification and be buzzed into the school.

I remember thinking about my own high school.  It was a large open campus in the woods.  Most of the buildings were on one side of the road next to Harvey Lake, and the larger “Smith Hall” building was on the other side of the road.  There was a tunnel that ran under the busy Route 4 that separated the two–so students could safely cross the street during the school day.  We had very short classes, and about six of them a day, so, once every forty five minutes, hoards of students could be seen moving across our large campus.  As I was listening to this story–about the boy with the pocket knife–I remembered something similar that happened in my school.  Once, a boy from my school drove his dad’s truck to school, forgetting that they had gone hunting that weekend.  In the back of the truck, were at least four hunting rifles.  While our school police presence, Officer Potter was doing her rounds through the parking lot–making sure everyone had their parking permit stickers displayed correctly–she found the pile of guns in the blood-stained back of a truck.  Rather than locking down the school, the truck’s driver was called to the office, where he embarrassingly recalled what he had accidentally brought to school.  They called his father, who came and got the guns out of the truck, and went home.  The student went about his day.  The rest of the school would never have even known about the incident if he and his friends hadn’t told everyone.

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

My friend, with the story about the pocket knife, although she lived in a house only thirty minutes from mine, existed in a different reality.  While we both may have been able to hear gunshots from our houses, they held completely different potential.  My small, wooded town, is made up of hunters.  Her home in the city, is a hot spot for drug busts.

Why Gun Culture Is So Strong in Rural America  March 16, 2018

“Many people own guns because they simply enjoy them — shooting them, the feel of them, their history, their role in protection. They want guns for the same reason you might want a particular kind of car. They also believe that having a gun makes them less likely to become a victim. Here, guns are tools. We hunt with them.”

***

Bias

I am very afraid of guns.  Whether or not that fear is irrational, I am still trying to figure out.

Once, last year, I was at my best friend’s apartment.  We were hanging out, watching television, doing homework.  She sat up and looked at the ground.  There was a backpack sitting there, camo in color.  She said, “Oh Zach (her boyfriend) must have left his bag here.”  We went back to doing our homework.  Then she sat up again, “Dude I think his gun might be in there.”  Immediate fear washed through me and we just looked at each other, unsure if we should open it and find out, or go back to our homework and ignore it.  She decided to open it.  Now, I know that a gun won’t just go off without someone pulling the trigger, I know that.  But, in that moment, watching her hands clumsily digging through the bag, looking for her boyfriend’s firearm, I felt a deeply rooted fight or flight response.  I was leaning toward flight.

I would love to say that I know the answer when it comes to gun violence.  I do say, regularly, that it is a very terrible problem, with a very simple solution.  But my feelings about guns are clearly far from simple.  My fear of their very existence is clearly far from rational.  How can I or anyone have a conversation about an issue this personal, this individual.  People see this issue differently, people cannot come to a conclusion about something that can never be looked at unbiasedly.

How to Win an Argument About Guns

“Usually pundits toss out their own best arguments while ignoring the other side’s, but today I’m going to try something new and engage directly with the arguments made by gun advocates”

***

Fire With Fire

While gun violence in the U.S. has grown steadily, the current state of our country is one of recognition.  The recognition not just of gun violence, but of police brutality, of the sexual assault and harassment of women, of the inequality of the LBGTQ community, etc. has swept our country in the last few years.  It feels as though people are finally saying, enough is enough–rightfully so.

High school students are leading this movement to end gun violence.  Children are fighting for their lives.

Image result for emma gonzalez

Trump Suggests Teachers Get a “Little Bit of a Bonus” to Carry Guns

“WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday enthusiastically embraced a National Rifle Association position to arm highly trained teachers to fortify schools against mass shootings like the one last week. Mr. Trump, who said the armed teachers should receive extra pay as an incentive, promoted his idea as demands for stronger gun control intensified across the country.”

“Stoneman Douglas Teacher Arrested After Forgetting Loaded Gun at Beach”   April 13, 2018

“By the time Mr. Simpson realized it was missing and returned to the restroom, at the Deerfield Beach Pier, a homeless man who was drunk had picked it up and fired a bullet into a wall.”

 

Guns are killing machines.  I am not trying to end this essay with any sort of a message about how to fix this crisis.  I want to say the obvious: people’s opinions, biases, fears, are all made up of a collection of individual experiences.  There is no one narrative about perspective.  I am sorry I don’t have more to give.  But I am just as guilty as the rest.

 

 

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