Before you attack my syntax, let me explain. Obviously I’m playing off of the ever-so-easy fall out of “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Well, um… yeah… we know that. In fact, if we want to go back in time, the first human ever to be born on this earth was a murderer. And even if you don’t believe that the Bible is true, and just know it as a human mythology, there’s a reason that the story is there. It explains us. And going back to the first recorded sins, that’s a pretty large degree of separation if you ask me. Something like the third story in the Bible is about murder!! But it’s interesting, isn’t it? I mean, it wasn’t a progression, as people like to put it out there: “In my day…. Back when things were good… In the good old days…” No, there were never ‘good old days’. People kill people and they always have. People are capable of the most beautiful and wonderful things, and at the same time, the most horrific and ugly things.
Now, let’s get back to the weapon part of it. Did Cain have a gun? No, of course not. Was Cain jealous, hateful, and selfish, and killed his brother, despite not having a gun? Yes. The first sons of man set up a dichotomy of a sort of tangible good and evil. They set up a relatable story of a loving family with territorial problems, daddy issues, and anger. Sadly, horrifically, regretfully, this is the way life is. This is the way humans are. They are good, and evil, and both at the same time. So let’s put aside the argument that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’. This is a moot point in so many ways.
Let’s talk about the gun problem in America. And yes, America DOES have a gun problem. Or, as this educational video explains so poignantly, America has multiple gun problems. But I’ll get to the details of that statement later. What I want to say now, to introduce these ideas, is that it’s not the machine that kills people, it’s people that kill people. WAIT, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?! DID I JUST GO BACK TO… Yes, I did. But let me explain what the “people” problem is and what I really mean by that, and why it’s really not what you’re thinking. It’s people, it’s a culture, it’s a community, it’s a nation that is so systematically wired to think that they need guns, that in the end, they do actually ‘need’ guns. I will explain this later, but what I want to say, what my whole point is all about, is that America needs gun reform, because gun reform is about systematically changing the dependency on guns and systematically changing the ideology and culture that gun dependency entails. This is it. This is what gun laws will do. It won’t fix the problem in a day, in a month, in a year, or maybe even 10 years. But it WILL fix the problem. Because guns make people do bad things. Because guns make people kill people. Gun reform will change the way we think, and therefore, the way we act. Gun reform will systematically change the way the people of America think, it will systematically change the way criminals (and non-criminal) act, it will lead to fewer deaths across the board, and it will ultimately bring a nation together, one that has been ripped apart.
Gun reform will systematically change the way the people of America think.
America (the World, really) is as divided as Cain and Abel, good and bad, jealous and virtuous, with and without daddy problems, and all of the other human things that people deal with. And why do I keep mentioning daddy issues? I’m simultaneously sticking with the Oedipus complex and keeping away from our good friend Freud with this one. What this complex is all about isn’t really about sex (or guns), it’s about the psychology behind it and the power that comes from independence. It’s not really about Freud or Jung, anyway. It’s more basic than that. It’s about kicking the authority figure off his pedestal because “I’m old enough and independent enough to know what’s good for me”. It’s this constant yearn for an authority, and at the same time, a break-away from it. It’s in our American blood to rip away from the power-figure and make it on our own, sticking it to the man, and in turn, become the powerful, independent and free! We didn’t trust that the government, the father, wouldn’t screw us in the end (because he tries really hard). We have the RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS so that no one can ever take away our freedom; the freedom we won with guns anyway!
Ok, yes. That happened. And yes, I am an independent, free-thinking American woman who has (serious) authority issues and struggled for my place in the world because of my fight, because of my will, because I educated myself (read: I’m white and went to a decent school taught by people who believed in me, and even though I was on food stamps and from a broken family as a kid… privileged), and even though I dropped out of college that one time (OK, fine, it was twice. Geeze, leave me alone!), I climbed to the top and got two Master’s and a PhD. Of course I did, it’s the way I was bred! Americans are taught to be independent. They are taught to be free! They are taught to make a goal and attain it! Perseverance! Innovation! Freedom! Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of this. I’m proud to be an American (despite the fact that I ran away and fled my country). I love Americans! But I also am frighteningly aware of the fact that I’m scared to be around Americans too.
Back on track. Americans feel a deep-seated need to defend their independence. I tell this to people all the time in Europe. America is still too young to have rid itself of its ‘recent’ past (I mean, I have a book on my shelf that’s older than my country, and the gun-slinging days of the Wild West was like two days ago). We’re babies. Well, we’re teenagers fighting, still, to keep tabs on the authority that we praise and hate at the same time. We love our ‘family’, our unity, what it means to be a community, what it means to be a pack who fights for each other, but at the same time have a fear and hate for our family members, a fear of our government, a fear of our father, a fear of our brother. We are afraid of each other! Because what’s mine is mine, and I earned it. Because ‘united and independent’ doesn’t work. We want it to, and it could, but the way things are now, it’s not working. Because guns. Actually, because we ‘need’ guns.
Why do we use the excuse of the ‘right to bear arms’ when really we’re using them on each other and ourselves? Do you really think that your gun is going to stop the evil government from screwing you? Look at the government. They kill you with lies and corruption and secrets. They don’t control you with guns. And, sorry to say, if the American government tried to overtake you with force, you would lose, plain and simple. Your gun isn’t going to do anything against the American military, period. Our gun culture created the most powerful military force in the world. Your right to bear arms has nothing to do with a coup. It has nothing to do with the way your government is controlling you. Instead, we use them to kill each other. We were supposed to use guns to fight the authority and bring the littles together. Instead, we are killing off our fellow littles, one by one. The right to bear arms has become something else.
“Ok:, you say. “Fine. I can’t take back my country with a gun, but I can protect my property and my family with it”. Here’s where it gets tricky. You’re actually killing more of your friends and family with the guns than you are the people who are trying to take them away from you (more about them later). Research shows that access to guns greatly increases the risk of death and firearm-related violence. A gun in the home is twelve times more likely to result in the death of a household member or visitor than an intruder. And even if you counter this argument according to the numbers, even if it’s not 12 times more likely to happen, it still happens way more than if you didn’t have a gun. I personally know two people who have died from an accidental gun-related incidents. And at the moment, they were not defending themselves. They had never had a gun pulled on them, or had someone come into their house, or since then, for that matter. They were horrific, terrible, and sad events. They would still be alive if it weren’t for those guns.
Then you say, “Well, I’m still willing to risk having a gun in my home because if someone comes to kill us and I don’t have it, then what?”
That brings me to my second point, which is really, the supporting argument for my first. Gun reform will systematically change the people of America think, and therefore, systematically change the way criminals act. That’s right. A criminal, not a psychopath (remember we can’t get away from those) does not want to kill you. He wants free stuff. She wants YOUR stuff. They don’t want to take your life. Really, think about it. Their aim is to get stuff, walk away, and never get caught. They don’t want a murder, or a mess to clean up. Then why do they have guns? BECAUSE YOU DO! And they think you’ll use it on them if they get caught (and you will). Crime rates are not that different in the U.S. than in other countries comparatively. They are just more lethal. You have a gun because you think the intruder will have a gun. He has a gun because he thinks you will have a gun. Take away the guns, and you have less deaths (remember the intruder’s not the one dying in the end, statistically). A mugger on the street wants your purse. A knife in his hand is intimidating, but less lethal than a gun. The mace in your purse will get him off you (in the situation where no one has guns) but not kill him. If no one thinks the other one has a gun, they won’t think they need one and the circle of less-deaths continues.
Police violence (both on blue and off) will decrease. Every police officer in America has a gun because they know that we all (maybe) do too. In Europe, not all police officers carry guns. You might think this is crazy, but it’s true. They don’t need guns to control or subdue someone. They don’t need one because the person they’re trying to subdue or control doesn’t have one either.
But then you say “A psychopath will find a gun no matter what. Taking away guns won’t stop them”. No, it won’t stop all of them. But it will stop many of them. Do the math. If it’s easy for ANYONE to get a gun, then it’s easy for ALL killers to get one. If it’s hard for everyone to get a gun, then you could reduce the mass shootings by at least half, if not more!
Fewer guns equal fewer deaths, period. If the bad guy doesn’t need a gun, then neither do you, and the cop doesn’t feel trigger happy either. If you don’t have a gun in your house for safety, then needless deaths don’t happen. If you don’t fear that someone has a gun, you can defend yourself in other ways. If you don’t need a gun, you won’t assume someone is trying to kill you, and in turn, try to kill them.
Will gun reform stop crime? No.
Will gun reform stop murders? No.
Gun reform is about systematically changing the way that Americans think, and therefore act. It will lead to fewer deaths across the board, and it will ultimately bring a nation together, one that has been ripped apart. I love America, but where I live, I am not afraid to teach. I am not afraid to go to a movie theatre. I’m not afraid to walk down the street (I’ve been mugged once, and stolen from another and it never even crossed my mind that I could also die). Do crimes happen where I live? Yes! Are they gun-related with multiple murder victims? NO!!! I’m not afraid of the people around me, and they are not afraid of me. I’m not afraid that they can kill me in an instant. I’m not afraid! I’m not afraid! In fact, I feel more safe and (oh god, will I say it?) more free outside of the U.S. than in it, and that’s the truth.
Cain was the first, but he won’t be the last. So many American people are dying and afraid. So many American people hate each other, are fearful of each other, and form false bonds between groups that don’t really exist.
Because guns don’t kill (a lot of) people, (a lot of) guns do.