Guns and Problems

I woke up in the middle of the night tonight, dreaming I was in that classroom with the Connecticut teacher who hid her kids in closets and told the murderer they were at the gym before he gunned her down. This story has been on our minds a great deal. We are returning home to the United States next week, and we still have a school-age child, and we live in a rural area where most of the people believe very firmly in their “right to bear arms”, and some of them are our friends. We are frightened to know that our son goes to play at houses where there may well be guns. One of our friends has a daughter-in-law whose teenage brother killed himself last year, because of a phone conversation with his girlfriend, and used his father’s gun which happened to be right there and loaded. This friend is one of our more conservative friends. She and her husband are very pro-military as well. One of the things they say is that our freedoms depend on this right we have. There are a few things wrong with this notion.

When was the last time that citizens owning guns resisted the United States government in any way that had a successful outcome? The answer is never. Paradoxically, most of the people who believe they may need to resist the U.S. government in this fashion are the same people who insist on a huge military budget, beefing up that very same military they imagine they will confront someday. You’d think they’d be all for gutting the program! But they’re even more afraid of foreigners than they are of their neighbors, I suppose. I read the other day that people with guns in their homes are five times more likely to be killed during a home invasion robbery than people without.

That’s the thing of it, to me. We have this myth that using a gun solves a problem. We see this in  all of our so-called entertainment – movies and television shows and bestselling books. People are always whipping out a gun and using it to solve a problem, but using a gun does not solve problems. Once again, there’s a deep confusion of fantasy and reality. Our myths are so strong we can hardly begin to see their simple falseness.

We are leaving a country where there is certainly some violence – most of it domestic violence, just as at home – but where there is also a good deal more common sense about many things, and returning to a country where you really have to wonder what’s going to become of it. What is it going to take for guns to become more “incorrect”, like smoking in public or “using the N word”? Or are we just going to live with more and more of these dreadful news cycles, go through the motions, and then fuggedaboutit every time?

I saw a musician the other day who summed it up like this: we’ve become prisoners of what we own.

David Simon says it all

One thought on “Guns and Problems

  1. I want to share an amazing short film called “A Perfect Day” about a potential mass shooter on the morning of, and an unsuspecting stranger who opens the shooter’s eyes to the implications of what he’s about to do. Powerful stuff!


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