Friday, December 14, 2012

Lunatics with guns piss me off.  Lunatics with guns who feel that it's somehow necessary or fun or their duty in life to indiscriminately kill complete strangers that they've never met and that have never done anything to deserve to be shot to death. Thanks to our pretty much instant news cycle, we find out about way too many of these crazy people with guns going on shooting sprees and mowing down completely innocent people.  We hear and see way too many graphic details about these senseless acts of violence and then, thanks to the blood-sucking vultures calling themselves reporters, we get to see every single angle and backstory painfully dissected and examined.  Victims and victims' family members get cameras and microphones shoved in their faces all for the sake of ratings and sensationalism.  So, yeah, I guess the news media pisses me off just as much as lunatics with guns.

And then there's everyone else... on Twitter... on Facebook... who feel it necessary to voice their opinions and substantiate their beliefs by single-handedly identifying the one single person or thing or policy that is to blame for the tragedy of the week.  Like this morning's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut where another lunatic with a gun barged into an elementary school and killed 28 people -20 of them young children.  Moments after reading everyone's Facebook posts extending prayers and sympathy for the victims, the debates start.  Foolish statements like "If guns were illegal, this would have never happened!" or "If the teachers were armed, they could've stopped this lunatic!" or "If the school had a security guard, he could've killed the shooter as he entered the building!" Really?! How the fuck do you know what WOULD'VE happened if the circumstances were different?  You DON'T!  You CAN'T! 

This is some frightening shit, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm always saying to my wife, "Honey, we're surrounded by idiots."  We are.  I wish I were joking, but it really isn't that funny.  The really scary thing is a lot of these idiots also fall into the "lunatic" category.  It's a little unnerving when you realize that any one (or two or three) of the people you randomly come in contact with every day could be that next "lunatic" who picks up a gun or makes a bomb, or goes on a stabbing spree.  Just how the hell are we supposed to easily mitigate that kind of risk? We have to do SOMETHING.  It'd be nice to chalk it up to a "random act of violence" and move on, but when these random acts of violence start reoccurring with uncomfortable frequency, we can't just sit by and idly wait for the next lunatic to come unhinged. With each new tragedy, we become more saddened, more angry, and (hopefully) more determined to do something about it.  But singling out one thing -one issue- and lumping all the blame there is just plain idiotic.  Stop it, will ya?!  There are no easy answers or solutions when it comes to finding better ways to protect innocent people from lunatics with guns.  It'd be awesome if just making gun ownership illegal would solve the whole problem, but it won't.  We're at a point in our evolution/history now that anyone who REALLY wants a gun will GET a gun; one way or another. Legally or illegally.  And if a person wants to make a bomb and level an office building, they WILL make a bomb. One way or another.  So simply putting a ban on all gun ownership, isn't going to fix the problem.  Perhaps it would mitigate some of the risk -maybe- but it isn't "THE ANSWER".  Just like those who say "Every citizen should have a gun and know how to use it!" -wow, that is SO not the answer either.

Personally, I never felt the need to have a gun.  I'm not saying that wouldn't change if I were the victim of a home invasion or other violent crime.  I'm sure the thought would cross my mind "gee, if I would've had a gun..." But, so far, after 40 some years of life - eight of which was spent in the Army where I got to fire guns and other weapons on a regular basis- I've never found myself longing to own a gun and exercise my right to bear arms.  But hey, that's just me.  You want to own a handgun to protect yourself or your family - OK, I can see that.  You want to own a couple hunting rifles because you're an avid hunter?  OK.  You want to own a couple AK-47s and AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles?  Um, why?  That, I don't quite get.  Fine, you're a gun freak and you love to shoot.  OK.  Then go to a firing range and rent an assault rifle for an hour and fire away.  I think when our forefathers included "the right to bear arms" times were a little bit different than they are today and I don't think they were foreseeing folks owning machine guns or RPGs.  I'd like to think they were just trying to point out that we all have the right to defend ourselves.  I know plenty of folks will disagree with that interpretation. Fine.

Moving past the issue of gun control, there are many other angles to look at if we want to stop lunatics killing innocent folks.  I don't think we can ever truly prevent something like this from ever happening again.  Sadly, that's the world we live in.  But there are a lot of other things we can do -new policies, new procedures, new studies, new laws- besides wasting time arguing back and forth on emotionally charged issues.  Let's take all that passion and energy and use it to apply logic, objectivity, and understanding to this problem and come up with a multi-pronged approach to do as much as possible to avoid these types of tragedies in the future.