After the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed Kasandra Perkins and then the Sandy Hook shooting, I considered the issue of guns, gender and violence.† Although I havenít changed my conclusion, it will be impossible to think about these things as a detached observer after the murder of one of my high school classmates by her husband in St. Paul last weekend.† I didnít know her well in high school and hadnít seen her since graduation, but she was one of those outgoing, friendly people in a small-town school and it is hitting me harder than I would have thought.
I know that itís nothing new for men to abuse or even prey on women with or without guns.† After reading the book ďDevil in the White CityĒ - recalling events from the early 1890s - I wonder how many other men have gotten away with things on the scale of Dr. H.H. Holmes.† He certainly didnít need or use a gun during his reign as a serial killer.
It seems like the arguments deflecting blame from guns can be summed up as more guns, more God (and again), or more of both.† And we need more guns, God or both because we are basically angry, uncontrollable people at heart bent on killing whether or not we have a gun. †And weíre told that guns are just a tool.† Guns donít kill people; people kill people.
Sam Harris seems to be recommending more guns based on viewpoint that I think is flawed in a way similar to my own misunderstanding of evolution when I was growing up.† I couldnít seem to wrap my head around how a cat turned into a dog, because once one cat turned into a dog there wouldnít be any other dogs to mate with and the new species would die out.† So evolution couldnít happen, right?† It wasnít until I educated myself and realized itís populations that evolve into different species and not individual animals that suddenly change that things Ďclicked.í
So it makes more sense to me to look at the culture and society as a whole instead of isolating each instance of gun death or mass shooting.† Certainly, in an individual instance, a gun in the hand of the target may have helped save a life.† But by the same token, taking the gun out of the hand of the offender may not have prevented a death.† An additional gun may have stopped the Sandy Hook tragedy or kept Kasandra Perkins alive or kept my classmate alive.† But just because we take the gun away from Jovan Belcher or Adam Lanza or her husband it doesnít guarantee a happy end to the situation.† The one view I saw over and over in editorials and on Facebook was that given he was a football player, Jovan Belcher would have found a way to kill his girlfriend so it didnít matter whether he had a gun or not.†
I would argue that, as a society, having more guns available isnít helping.† And I think Iím backed up by studies indicating that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit.† Just in the past two weeks I have read in the news of a man shooting his granddaughter in the middle of the night because he thought she was an intruder and a 4-year-old shooting his 2-year-old brother with a loaded gun found under his parentsí bed.† The granddaughter survived, the 2-year-old did not.† So are all these guns for self-defense worth these accidents?†
If more guns are the answer, then why donít places with restricted or lower gun ownership like Japan, Canada, Australia and Europe have murdered people on every street corner?
I can use the same countries as examples against the Ďmore Godí argument, too.† Why does India, China, Japan, Australia and Europe have lower rates of gun deaths if those countries and regions have either moved away from Christianity or never been Christian to begin with?
And the idea that ďguns donít kill people; people kill peopleĒ and ďguns are just toolsĒ seems patently ridiculous to me.† There are guns designed to hunt and there are guns designed to shoot people.† Certainly you can use shotguns and bolt-action rifles and even a bow to kill people, but you certainly couldnít do so on the scale of Sandy Hook or Columbine or Aurora.† Handguns and AR-15s may be tools, but they are tools designed for one thing: shooting people.† If there are other tools available that do anything similar with anything nearing the efficiency, then Iíd want those banned, too.
I wonder at the mindset of those who advocate wide-spread gun ownership.† Do we really have so much to fear that we need to own guns?† I know I donít.† I donít own anything thatís worth giving my life for or worth taking a robberís life.† How about my family?† I want to protect them, but I also know having a handgun in the home dramatically increases the risk of accidental shooting for those same family members.† And, taking the wider view, itís proven more likely to be a family member or acquaintance inflicting the abuse, injury or death.
I wonder about the morality of it from a Christianís viewpoint.† Are they going to get to heaven and be waved through because the person they killed was a result of self-defense?† Do Christians fear death so much that they need to delay Heaven?† Do Christians really value their possessions so much to delay their ďtreasures laid up in Heaven?Ē