Americans And Their Guns

Butch Cassidy's 1899 Amnesty Colt .45 Revolver SN158402. E. Dixon Larson, Guns Magazine. Photo taken by Aileen R. Watanabe of RMK Services, (PRNewsFoto/RMK Services)
Butch Cassidy’s 1899 Amnesty Colt .45 Revolver SN158402. E. Dixon Larson, Guns Magazine. Photo taken by Aileen R. Watanabe of RMK Services, (PRNewsFoto/RMK Services)

When I went to college in Atlanta Georgia, my friends and I would go to the shooting range at local gun stores in our area.  It was our hobby.  We normally brought or bought guns there and would use them in the shooting range and see who had the best aim with the targets we bought.  Sometimes we would take the targets and hang them on the wall in our rooms and apartments to brag about how well we did.  We would also attend some gun shows and trade our guns for others we liked.

I still remember all the guns I used to own.  My collection was an array of weapons. I had a Jennings 9mm handgun, a double barrel shot-gun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a Tech Nine handgun and a 22-caliber pistol.  Now, I didn’t own all these guns.  I have traded them in when I got bored with one and saw something else I liked.

When I shot my guns at the gun range I felt so powerful.  I had a tool in my hand that could end someone’s life, like I was God.  But my friends and I have never used the guns outside the range.  We never had any desire to scare or take advantage of someone with them.  We are fortunate we were never put in a position where we had to abruptly use them.  We were all responsible, healthy, educated young men who just enjoyed guns and firing them time to time.

When I look back at it now and see all the random deadly shootings that have occurred where innocent lives and young children are slain by the hands of guns, it makes me think I had a sick and twisted way of owning and enjoyed using my guns. In America, we live in a culture driven to desire power, might, strength and leadership through violence.  Since America’s infancy, war has kept this nation alive and growing.

We obsess about violence and hyper masculinity in our music, most popular movies, in sports and in our coverage of the news. Violence has become excepted and normal.  Even with these school shootings throughout the year’s people have accepted them as the norm.  It’s seems people would rather live in a society where they own a gun and might easily get shot from a psychotic gunmen out to kill, then live without guns in a safe environment.

Americans have trapped themselves in a paradigm of loving our guns and looking at violence with no end in sight.  After the first mass school shooting in which two Columbine High School students shots and killed 13 people, and wounded 21 more, we should have made our gun laws stricter but we didn’t.  All we did was make those laws looser and easier to buy, and all people did was go to the store and buy more of them.

So years later school shootings and random killings of innocent people continue.  After every shooting, reports all show gun sales go up, especially in the areas where the random shootings occur. Since we have trapped ourselves in the paradigm of guns and violence, we have also trapped ourselves in a constant state of fear and anxiety, which only grows because of these shootings and in return we buy more guns, which will in turn create more gun atrocities.

But if there is an end in sight, it is, unfortunately, in the distant future.  Guns are everywhere now and people are more afraid of not owning a gun than having one.  If the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was repealed and guns sales ended, there would be a huge black market that would sell to criminals and killers and the responsible citizens would not give up their guns.

It’s sad to say but we have effectively trapped ourselves in the violent state we are in with little end in sight. There is a little hope.  More and more citizens are favoring stricter gun laws, wanting to ban gun powerful lobbyists like the National Rifle Association (NRA) who have effectively made it easier to purchase assault weapons for people who shouldn’t own them.  People are slowly evolving out of this barbaric paradigm.

People now see lobbyist groups like the NRA as nothing more than a racket to enrich gun sellers which creates a society of gun dependency. More people have guns and in turn more people are randomly killing innocent people.  One of the most irrational arguments about guns I hear is that if more people had them we would be safer.  So I guess if someone pulls out a gun, we can all pull out a gun and have a good-old fashion shootout.

That kind of thinking doesn’t make us safer, especially for individuals caught in the crossfire of rounds and rounds of gun ammunition that have neither eyes nor conscious. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness means we should all work towards living in a safe society where we don’t have to own a gun or any weapon to feel safe.


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