—-Dostoevsky (in The Brother’s Karamazov 1879)
I just read another article on gun control, and once again I feel the lack of compromise in congress will be the collapse of our great nation. It seems obvious to me that our country, like any solid marriage, is populated with individuals who carry their own thoughts and ideas. If we want this country (or our marriage) to work, we must recognize the fact that no-one will have his or her complete way all of the time. Isn’t it better though, to live in a compromised harmony than to suffer through the results of uncompromising inaction.
I do see both sides of this issue. Although I am a proponent of gun control, I don’t think it would have prevented Columbine...or Sandy Hook...or MSDouglas. In a case where a mentally deranged individual is determined to gain the worst type of notoriety, that person will find a way to arm himself/herself whether we are controlling guns or not. I also understand the fear of many who believe “if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” On the surface that is a valid reason to oppose gun control.
If we dig deeper though, we find my reason for wanting gun control. While in theory guns in the hands and homes of stable, law-abiding citizens will save lives, the reality is starkly different. Our homes are populated with curious children, nervous homeowners and teenagers who have not yet learned consequences. Data collected in 2015 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells a frightening story to those who comprehend:
“Homicide is the third biggest killer of children ages 1-4 (369), and for teens and young adults ages 15-24 (4,733) and 25-34 (4,863). Unintentional injury was the top killer among those age groups: 1-4 (1,235), 15-24 (12,514) and 25-34 (19,795). Suicide ranked second for those 15-24 (5,491) and 25-34 (6,947)”
It is human nature to believe that bad things won’t happen to us, because we will be smarter, more careful and always in control. There are those moments though, those split seconds, that change our lives forever. Checking that text just once when driving...taking a minute to answer the phone while bathing a child...forgetting to lock the gun cabinet just one time...all understandable moments in a lifetime...all moments we can never take back.
I will admit that the second amendment gives American’s the right to bear arms when needed to protect themselves from an overzealous government, although I am sure that ambiguous amendment would have read differently if our forefathers could have predicted its consequences. They did not have the luxury of foreshadowing, and so they did what they saw as best. Now it is time for our leaders to do what is best for the world that we live in today.
Certainly not all members of the NRA are gun manufacturers, and not all board members want to hand out AK-47’s at birthday parties. Most members just want the right to have what they believe they deserve. The organization is a wealthy one though, being subsidized by manufactures who have a lot to gain or lose. Unfortunately the bottom line is big corporations often blur common sense, and gun control will most certainly affect quite a few pocketbooks.
Our congress can be heroes to all. Instead of worrying that any compromise might prove a “slippery slope” they can join together and save the lives of those who need protection from realities, not possibilities. Although I would like to blink my eyes and live in a world where guns don’t exist, that is never going to happen. We need sensible leaders on both sides, giving a bit and taking a bit, making our country safer for everyone. The days of the Jets and the Sharks settling differences with knives while dancing to music might have been entertainment once upon a time, but the reality is a great deal starker. To relate back to Dostoevsky’s question, we can not build the framework of our country on laws that will sacrifice even one innocent child. We need to back the politicians who will not be bought and who believe in compromising in order to live in a safe and harmonious world.
This week’s book kept me on the edge of my seat once again. Someone to Save You, by Paul Pilkington is a good choice for those looking for a thriller to keep them busy.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.