Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Shoot First, Ask Questions Never.
After the Newtown School Shooting, at Sandy Hook Elementary school, I was sure our nation had reached a tipping point, when it came to seeking stronger, more effective gun control measures. The national discussion was alive with references to Assault Weapon bans, stringent background and mental health checks, stricter regulation of ammunition; Furthermore, all of this was coming from both sides of the political theater in Washington, making it seem like a political possibility in our near future. Then the NRA came along and started frothing at the mouth, like a rabid dog about how Obama wants to take their guns, and we should have armed guards in every school.
The NRA went a step further and began proposing more guns on the streets as a way to deter future gun violence. My first reaction is, Are you!@#$% Insane! People in general, here in the United States are unstable enough as it is, and you propose arming more of them? We've seen what less restrictive gun laws produce, look at Florida and the stand your ground law. First Trayvon Martin is murdered, for walking home from the store with an iced tea and a bag of skittles. Next you have studies done by Texas A&M, which shows how Homicides have increased in Florida with the implementation of Stand Your Ground, due to the fact altercations, which normally would have been handled in other ways, are quickly escalating into homicides.
So my question is, why put more guns in the hands of people? What rational reason could there be to arm more people who will then be in a position to resort to lethal force, whereas they may have avoided confrontation altogether without the gun. Look at Michael Dunn as the perfect example; a group of teenagers were listening to music in their car, at a gas station when Mr. Dunn confronts the teens telling them to turn down the loud music. He then walks back to his car, grabs a gun and fires eight shots into the teen's car killing one of them. He claims it was self-defense, but how would someone need to defend themselves from loud music by murdering a teenager? Isn't this what police are for, to call and report issues such as noise complaints? Wouldn't it have been prudent for Mr. Dunn to have called the police, than to have shot up a car over a loud stereo? I think we can agree the answer is obvious here, but this is a direct example of what happens when more people have guns and laws are loosened to enable people to use those weapons more freely. A further example is Michael Jock, a resident of Petersburg, Florida who shot another customer waiting in line at a pizzeria. According to witnesses, Jock grew upset over the customers complaints regarding the speed of service, an altercation ensued, leading to shoving between the two, with Jock pulling out a revolver and killing the victim.
All it takes is a google search to find hundreds of similar incidents all over the country. As a society, we have gone from an enlightened stage, where we solve differences and conflicts through peaceful negotiation, to a stage where lethal force is now an acceptable first step in conflict resolution. Either our society has completely lost it or civilization is about to completely come apart at the seams, or there is something seriously wrong with these types of laws, as well as the people who staunchly defend them. When I was a kid I was taught, don't hit. As I got older, I was taught don't steal, don't lie, don't fight. Now I see our society, defend thieves, by enabling Wall Street Banks and Corporate Conglomerates to loot the Federal Treasury and our tax dollars. We defend and encourage lying, by voting in the same politicians who praise out of the left side of their mouth, the same things they condemn out the right side. People in our society approach conflict resolution now as an all or nothing game, where anything goes so long as I win. Arming more people, will inevitably lead to more homicides, by people who will resort to lethal force for a myriad of reasons, where they may have avoided conflict altogether before.
Putting more armed people in our society, such as; Guards, Police, or Security, will only further serve to raise the anxiety level of most people who feel we are moving further toward a police state, encouraging them to have even itchier trigger fingers. Police, who are already suspicious and jumpy would be quicker to pull a weapon and use it, knowing more people will be carrying firearms with such policies. Rent-a-cops who have very little power, would have the ability to shoot first, ask questions later, turning a Police Academy reject, into a want to-be Dirty Harry.
Imagine an armed guard at a school, who encounters two kids having a fistfight. This wasn't completely uncommon when I was in school. Kids sometimes resorted to fights, it is a part of growing up and learning appropriate behaviors. Now take someone who is armed, who is supposed to be there to protect the kids. They could be an off duty, or even an on duty cop, private security, or even an armed Janitor, as the NRA recently suggested. This person has the ability to bring a lethal weapon into the picture, turning a normal childhood altercation, into a crime scene. High-strung rent-a-cops, have already proven to be a liability with Tasers, if you look at various news articles. From Seventy-year-old grandmothers, to Six-year-old children, we can't trust security officials with appropriate use of Tasers, let alone weapons around our children.
I don't see the solution laying with more guns on the streets and in the hands of the general public. This would be a recipe for disaster, and has already proven to be destructive and counterproductive in those areas where the laws reflect this approach. The fact a national organization like the National Rifle Association proposes these types of backward policies, and they are supported by Millions in the United States, says a lot about the moral standing of our society today. People who oppose Gay Rights, Claim to Support Life, and use Christian ideological principles to justify their own moral behavior, are the same people who support the Freedom to shoot first, support the use of lethal force first via Stand Your Ground laws, and lord their moral superiority over others. Again, I am amazed at the level of hypocrisy these people show and how far detached these people really are from the teachings of Jesus.
I'm not a Christian, but it doesn't take a Christian to recognize a Jesus from the Bible would not support lethal force first, would not support a political party who acts in direct contradiction to his teachings; helping the poor, being humble, turning the other cheek. Maybe I'm wrong, as I said I'm not a Christian, so I don't know Jesus the way Christians do. My point is, Conservatives and Evangelicals who make up the bulk of the NRA and their supporters, need to do some soul searching while their holding their open carry rally's, and demonizing those of us in society who are actually trying to make a positive difference on the issue of Gun Violence.
We need more rational, clear thinking heads to combat the problem; people who are willing to sit down, compromise and come up with solutions, which are in the best interests of the general public. People who refuse to compromise, who want to emotionally knee-jerk, or who are incapable of looking beyond partisan divides need to be dealt with by our society. We need to stand up to these people and shame them back under their rocks, into the shadows where they belong, because they are doing more harm to our society than guns ever could. The only way to solve this problem is by working together as a society.