12.16.2012 No Comments

Guns DO kill people!

I tend to use these columns to reflect on the life of growth and the development of spirit.  But today I want to reflect on this horrific event in Conneticut. 

Ross Duthat reflected in the NY Times that there is evil in the world and that no town is immune from it. He writes of the loss of innocence and the existence of violence, cruelty and meaningless attacks.   Fair enough.  He's hinting at the common NRA and Republican trope:  guns don't kill people, people — crazy, mad, evil people — kill people.

What he didn't mention, what this Republican trope tries to ignore, is that guns don't kill people, but they sure as hell help.

About a month ago, a crazy, mad, evil man went the kind of bezerk that led Adam Lanza to stage this week's attack in Newtown, Connecticut. 

The chinese man staged an attack in Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan province, in Central China. Another elementary school in a small town. 

In Newtown, as we all now know all too well, 26 people were killed, mostly children.  Know how many people, how many children, were killed in the Chinese attack?  No one.  Not one kid. 

Why?  He was equally bezerk, equally violent, equally mad.  But that crazy madman didn't have access to a gun.  He certainly didn't have access to two guns and an assault rifle!

Two crazy men.  Two moments of madness and of sheer terror.  But in one the attack led to the bloodshed of innocents, and then a long process of healing.

The other led to the bloodshed of innocents, and then a long process of mourning.

Of course people go crazy sometimes. Of COURSE there is madness.  And some people go bezerk. There is evil in the world.  People do become lunatics. 

But to put assault rifles in the hands of human beings, some of whom go crazy, is itself crazy.  Yes people go bezerk. But with the addition of guns, we ourselves are allowing this madness to continue. We are contributing to the very evil we abhor. 

"But we have a second amendment right …" goes the retort. Yes, the second amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms was indeed enshrined in our constitution. But it was enshrined in the context of a recent war with a distant country that had once owned ours, which we felt was unjust, which gave us no votes.  It was enshrined in a period in which the right to bear arms had made it possible to rebel and to become independent. 

Since the late 18th Century, the second amendment has been taken to protect peoples' right to hunt.  That was never the intention, but hey, it's a decent thing to protect. It's  also become a symbol of our right to live free or die, our independence. But never was the second amendment intended to enshrin peoples' ability to shoot other citizens or to protect our right to use assault weapons to kill children. 

So lets stop this misleading "people kill people" rap. Of course people kill people!  Of course there's evil in the world.  But guns make it a hellova lot more likely for people to kill people. 

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