Just over a month ago I woke up to a man creeping into my apartment. He was at the foot of my bed, a shadow, vertical blinds sliding off of his body as he made his way into my home.
I kickbox, I’ve taken self defense classes, and I consider myself a pretty tough chick. I screamed. Short shrill screams that were at an octave I’ve never heard came out of my mouth.
He grabbed my purse from off the couch and ran, knocking things over and breaking the blinds as he did. Luckily, my boyfriend was with me and turned into a Jedi Master. I’ve never seen him move that fast…like ever. He chased after him. I crawled to the end of the bed and climbed down to get a good look of what was happening. My boyfriend stood there holding my purse. It was over.
This all happened in 15 seconds.
I screamed. That was my defense and I hate it. Everyone says it’s alright and what if he had a gun or a knife, but what no one understands is that my mind wasn’t calculating consequences or what his intentions were or what weapons he might have had. That was my instinctual reaction. A scream.
What baffled me the most was after hearing this tale, several people asked me if I owned a gun or if I planned to purchase one. What? Where in that 15 seconds do you think I would have had time to pull a gun out of a locked safe and load it? Am I missing something? Do you spoon your loaded guns while you’re sleeping? I’m fairly certain a frying pan would be more effective, although if history repeats itself it won’t matter because I’ll be too busy screaming like every helpless girl I’ve ever made fun of in a movie. Furthermore, how is a gun the solution?
And before you start yelling about the 2nd amendment let me make this very clear: I am not suggesting that we take away all of your guns. As you read, please remind yourself of that. I am simply suggesting that we reconsider the types of guns and rounds that are available to civilians. My brothers own guns, my Uncle hunts for a living, hell I spent an entire Christmas shooting at clay with my grandfather’s rifle. I don’t have a problem with guns, but this country has a gun problem. The 2nd Amendment is what now justifies tragedy after tragedy. It has become a shield for responsibility and action which is extremely unfortunate because the majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens.
We can blame religion, mental illness, and terrorism, but we cannot deny that the gun helps. It is a fact, it is a common denominator, it is undeniable. It’s a people problem, it’s a heart problem, and it is most certainly a gun problem. Guns are designed to kill. Last time I checked guns are made for people, hence the trigger. So guns and people go hand in hand. You can’t seperate the two. And if you wanna compare guns to cars or abortions or food or whatever analogy you have up your sleeve, be my guest. Just know I think it’s cowardly and very much in spirit of a tiny child who is reprimanded and then rats out all the things her siblings haven’t been caught doing as if it cancels out the original issue.
If we’re gonna go the comparison route, let’s say I LOVE lollipops. I eat them all day everyday. However some people have been crushing up these lollipops and using them as poison. People are dying. Lots of people. Consequentially, people are trying to take lollipops off of the market. There are arguments that it’s not a lollipop problem, it’s a people problem. Yet, the lollipop death toll keeps rising. I can’t imagine sitting there, eating my lollipop thinking ‘that sucks’. I can’t imagine not having enough love in my heart for human life that I wouldn’t be ready and willing to do my part, whatever sacrifice it may be. I can’t imagine being more focused on how it would effect me personally. If lollipops are too avant-garde for you let’s try freedom of speech. If someone told me I could still say whatever I wanted except this one word and any variances of it and in doing so would save thousands of lives, what kind of person would I be to say ‘No. I want all my words! You’re infringing my rights!’ Help me understand that mentality.
We are in a great divide because some Americans want ALL of their guns, including THAT one. Here’s a heavy dose of truth: You don’t need it. You want it. And here’s the thing, nobody likes being told what to do or what they can or can’t have. I get it. No one likes being punished because of the actions or opinions of others but that is how our society works. Apparently a 5oz bottle of contact solution is going to take down a plane, Hannah’s spaghetti straps are gonna send Tommy M. into a sexual frenzy during science class, and here’s a trophy because we are ALL winners! America is constantly adjusting at the expense of the majority. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
I have a right to vote, but I can’t just waltz into any polling booth and scribble out my opinions. In fact, I think you should have to take a test before you are qualified to vote but that topic is for another day. Why is buying a gun any different? It’s a right and it is a responsibility and it should be treated as such. As a responsible gun owner, I’m surprised you wouldn’t be more concerned with who is being allowed into your club. Because the truth is, these people are quite literally tearing our country apart and bringing that amendment you cherish so dear into question.
And this isn’t because we’re politicizing a tragedy. It’s because we want answers. It’s because we are tired of the script we’ve been following on average every 200 days. It is because we don’t want to wait and see who’s TURN is next. It is because we want to take preventative measures in saving human lives. And to the gun community, for a group of people with so much pride and and conviction that this truly is not a gun problem, I suggest you take a look outside of yourselves. The chances are, if you’re reading this, that you’re not the problem. The problem is that the same laws that protect you are also protecting psychopaths. If you’re a normal, mentally stable, non-criminal human being, you have nothing to worry about. All I’m asking is that we make sure, 100% sure, that these weapons are being placed in the right hands. Yes, there are cracks in the system, yes if there’s a will there’s a way, yes several individuals have ruined it for the majority, but we have to do our part. We must make sure that these weapons are being sold to healthy, capable, non-terrorist affiliated persons.
The number one reason people say they have guns is for protection. This idea is obviously something very important to them. Rightfully so. So when fellow Americans are asking specifically for protection, how is it that the reaction is to hold on tighter to the very thing that time and time again threatens and tragically ends the lives of so many? It certainly is a heart problem. I reiterate, I am not suggesting a ban on all guns. I am an advocate of stricter policies, more thorough evaluations, and extensive background checks that are actually enforced with unquestionable precision. I support this type of gun reform because I value human life and I am tired, so very tired, of this conversation.
We can no longer sit back and settle with complacency. We can no longer rattle off excuses. Someone argued with me that guns are no more dangerous than anything else. (Deliberate long pause). My mind imploded. I could name a billion things that would never stand a chance against a gun. And then there’s the ‘if they want to kill people they will figure out’- SO LET THEM FIND ANOTHER WAY. Let’s stop literally handing out guns and making it that much easier for them. Let’s not brush it to the side because statistics imply heart disease and cancer are the bigger problems. Let’s not shrug our shoulders and point to the constitution as if it’s unamendable. As if those powder covered wig wearing men had the foresight to imagine the horrors this country has seen.
Our hesitance and our inability to reason with each other diminish the lives of those lost in mass shooting tragedies. I could rattle off the statistics and facts but I’m sure you’ve heard it already. I assure you the families that have lost loved ones and had to say goodbye all too early don’t give a crap about statistics. They want to know how this happened. They want to know how we can prevent it from happening again. They want to know how such characters managed to legally get their hands on a weapon capable of so much devastation in such a short amount of time. They want to know why so many people can’t seem to understand that if we had tighter regulations when it comes to gun control, that they may still have a son coming home for supper or a girlfriend they planned on proposing to or a pre-schooler with their whole life ahead of them. Instead they are left with closets of clothes, an empty chair at the table, and a memory of a voice they’ll never hear again. America’s love for this thing somehow manages to outweigh our love for each other time and time again. It must end or we will become the nucleus of our own demise. It is a people problem, it is a heart problem, and it is a gun problem.
This is my opinion. It doesn’t have to be yours…but it should be.