Guns Are Not Culture

I barely paid attention to the news story about the shooting at Santa Monica College the other week.  Here we go again, I thought.  And then I went about my usual routine.

It’s actually a horrible tragedy.  But you find yourself thinking that the numbers are the real reflection of just how tragic.  If only five people died, well, that’s not as many as in 9/11, or at the movie theatre shooting a couple of years back.   Not as many, so not as important.

Which is the real tragedy.  Since then, that story has faded from the news.

Last month when my husband and I were in Las Vegas, I noticed that one of the “tours” you could take, according to a pamphlet, was to a shooting range.  They even have pink guns for the girls, someone told me.  Pink guns?  One day we set out to find the old Welcome To Las Vegas sign and saw about 30 military guys in uniform, complete with their automatic weapons, running toward the sign.  At first I thought something bad was up, of course.  But when I saw the smiles on their faces, I realized that they were just heading over to the Vegas sign en masse to have their picture taken.  Yikes.  One of the last “tricks” in the Penn & Teller show we saw in Vegas involved the firing of guns in the theatre.  That was the only thing that turned me off in a show that was otherwise very entertaining.

I guess I will never understand what some call “gun culture”.  Kind of an oxymoron, really.  I can only imagine, however, that if you were brought up around guns, being without them would be equally as strange.  There’s a kind of casualness that comes from people who own them and use them that makes me uncomfortable;  an indifference in the shrug of their shoulders.  So what?  And that casualness is why the U.S. will continue to lose 32 people PER DAY to a homicide by firearms.

“I wouldn’t mind firing a gun”, someone said to me recently.  She was just curious as to what the experience would be like.  I can kind of understand that too.  But I would be leery of even that temptation.  What if it made me less determined to be against them?  What if I actually enjoyed the experience? That’s what would scare me most.

Guns are bad, they are just bad.  They were made to kill, and how could anything…ANYTHING be good about that?  Then I read this story today, about a 5-year-old girl in New Orleans:

“A preliminary investigation indicates the child was home alone and had somehow come into contact with a .38 revolver and accidentally shot herself in the head,” police said in their statement.”

Well, that is pretty much the only argument you need to make about not having guns.


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