When debating guns, it seems impossible to not hear the saying, "Guns don't kill people." If you toss out a statistic about gun deaths, you will hear this retort.
I'm a gun owner. I own them simply because I come from a law enforcement family. I don't have any interest in them at all. Grew up around them. You point, they go bang. But that's not all that guns do, now is it?
Guns give people a sense of power. A command over many. They make men make rash decisions. They embolden people to do things out of arrogance and self-righteousness. If you were walking by a group of three young men whom were clearly out looking for a fight in a downtown area, you might decide to cross the street if you were unarmed. If you were armed, you might say,"Fuck it, I have a right to be here." and take on that path of resistance. A notable example of this being caught on video is the DC detective taking on a crowd for throwing snowballs. He drew his service weapon rather than walking or driving away. Link
There are other things that give people a sense of power and cause them to act as if human life doesn't matter. Cars. How many cases of road rage could we find? Cars are another thing that emboldens people to do stupid things. I had a guy attempt to run me down once while on a motorcycle. I waved him into a parking lot, got off the bike and he disappeared. As soon as I went to get back onto the road, he came at me. Being on a sport bike he had no chance and I was gone. But without a weapon, he wanted nothing to do with me. (Sremmed from him wanting me to pull out into the intersection that was blocked. Bad idea in the US, especially on a bike.) but you know what is rare... Murder in the first and second degree in cars. Killing someone in another car with the first car is difficult. We don't have enough interaction with pedestrians to get that provoked. Guns, however, allow that personal interaction along with the quick and easy solution that will give you that sense of power we have grown to love.
You can say that guns don't kill people because they are inanimate objects and be factually correct. What you ignore is that in a culture like ours where violence is regarded as being manly. Where winning a fight will get you patted on the back for years. Where people crave power over others from sports as a kid to watching movies and fantasizing yourself in the shoes of the successful violent character (Batman, Rambo, Kick Ass). Guns provide that sense of ability to easily win the fight and deliver justice when we feel wronged rather than letting the emotion settle. Gun ownership is the leading cause of homocide, 2 to 1. Nothing else compares.
We have a right to guns in the US. I don't deny that. But denying the reality that without guns we would not have nearly the same number of murders is denying reality. Without guns, people would take that extra second to think rather than simply react. There are anecdotal cases where the right gun owner wins and yeah, let's write that down. But don't forget that each year, there are 10,000 other cases where the outcome didn't have to be what it is. Guns cause people to act in ways that they wouldn't normally act. This is why I reject the claim that "Guns Don't Kill People".
The old if-it-saves-just-one-life argument.
The ONLY way to eliminate all gun deaths is to eliminate all guns.
The ONLY way to eliminate all traffic deaths is to eliminate all traffic. Both equally naive (at this point). By permitting motor vehicles, our society has given tacit acceptance of the associated risks. The same applies to guns.
For most of our modern lives, cars are a necessity. For most of our modern lives, firearms are not a necessity. When you suggest that our society has given tacit acceptance of the associated risks, this would not apply to firearms today. I don't think that you'd get a majority approval for the 2nd Amendment today. at the same time, I wouldn't expect that you could get the Amendment repealed either. That wasn't my point.
The point is that the rhetoric is poor and not well thought out. The arguments are robotic as this entire discussion shows. I (OP) write about one aspect, Gun Rights advocates ignore the content and launch into defense mode but wholly ignore the point made. It really says a lot.
Interesting topic. I look at Columbine and I wonder if those boys would ever have had the balls to go into that school with fists flying if they had no access to weapons. I'm guessing not. They needed guns to give them the courage to go in there and stand up to those whom they believed had wronged them, as totally clusterf*cked an idea as that was.
I am a gun owner. I have two hand-guns, gifts from my husband. I look to inherit all kinds of weapons from my dad, a life-long gun-owner. We are hunters. We live in a rural area. Our annual local gun show is held at the jr. high. It's just part of our culture. We don't have much gun violence, either, now that I think of it. Just the occasional accidental hunting accident. However, I can see how gun laws and just being more careful as to how guns are sold and who they are sold to would be beneficial. I do not believe in a gun-free America. I love that ol' Second Amendment. That doesn't mean we can't make America safer.
After I wrote this, I wondered why I own the two that I have. I sold an SKS recently because I really didn't want it. I fired it once. I bought it to give money to my uncle. My parents live in a rural setting so the .22 rifle is dead on accurate with 18 rounds and a good scope. Excess varmits cycle and the rifle keeps them in line. But I do have a handgun. Why do I keep it? I'm now wondering. it never leaves my closet and the last time that I thought someone was in the house uninvited I didn't even grab it, I was just downstairs and ready to go in my underwear. Note to self: I'm nearing 40 and charging in might not be as simple as it once was.
I'm just looking to disarm the conversation rhetoric that hasn't changed in my lifetime.
Get rid of it and use the money for something which would actually make you more secure, such as an alarm system or reinforced doors. Rifles make shooting vermin a bit of a challenge, but unsuitable for close quarters combat and self defense. (I'm more of a shotgun fan myself.)
How about if the teachers were allowed to have guns?
In that case it may have alleviated the problem.
But if all teachers are armed, the likelihood of atrocities committed elsewhere by a teacher which has had a mental breakdown increases. Teachers hold one of the most difficult and under-appreciated jobs in society and I wouldn't be surprised if they have a higher than average rate of psychological breakdown. There is an underlying reason I know the phrase 'going postal', and it's not due to unarmed postal workers delivering mail..
9/11 - the pilots having guns...
There have been more planes crashed by pilots committing suicide than large scale terror attacks involving airplanes. It might avert a 9/11 terror attack scenario, but it would probably also increase the number of planes being deliberately crashed. Some pilots barely earn a living wage, $10-$20/hr and no benefits, many of them are angry, some suicidal. "At least 292 American pilots have attempted suicide in the past three years. Another fifteen U.S. pilots have been diagnosed with, or been treated for, schizophrenia."
Arming pilots a recipe for repeated disaster.
Also a gun is pretty hopeless to wield in a crowded airplane. It exposes a hijacker to the risk of being overwhelmed. There are more people on the plane than bullets in the gun. Having the necessary skill to shoot someone on an airplane without the bullet also hitting a second person requires substantial training only law enforcement professionals have.
Why would it increase the rates of planes being deliberately crashed? One crashes a plane without a gun.
Pilots earn very good wages in the United States. In fact - they are extremely wealthy if commercial airline pilots.
And pilots and teachers can go through proper training programs in obtaining certification.
Suicidal persons don't necessarily act non-violent or care if others die. If you are willing to crash a plane with potentially hundreds of innocent people on board, I don't think a suicidal pilot would mind shooting the co-pilot before doing it. The co-pilot is the person which can feasibly avoid disaster in most cases (or vice-versa).
Pilots have human weaknesses such as flying drunk, on drugs or depressed. Adding guns into the mix doesn't sound like a bright idea.
I think that is a bit of a stretch you are trying to make.