Why we need gun control

By Samuelson Shain, Special to the BDN
Posted Dec. 25, 2012, at 2:09 p.m.

Who are gun owners really protecting themselves from?

In 2007, the Small Arms Survey reported that the U.S. had 88.8 guns per 100 people. The country with the second-highest ratio, Serbia, reported 58.2. Switzerland, a country that does not have a military, ranked fourth at only 45.7.

Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in history have occurred since 2007. A common ideology, especially directly after shootings, is: “I need to get a gun to protect myself.”

A lot of people literally think that adding guns into the mix will bestow fear upon criminals who are thinking of committing a heinous crime.

Imagine if everyone carried a gun, and psychopaths began to get second thoughts about planned attacks on schools, malls and movie theaters.

Where does that go years after implementation? Kids going to school seeing their kindergarten teacher with a gun in class? Walking around the mall with everyone packing heat? Going to a bar wondering if the intoxicated guy with a pistol is going to make the worst drunken decision of his life?

I have no problem whatsoever with someone owning a gun. The Second Amendment is important, but this is not a society I want to live in.

I just cannot buy into the idea that adding guns to an already locked and loaded society is the answer. If people refuse to acknowledge that guns are partly to blame, they need to understand the domino effect of adding more firearms to society.

It would mean that owning a gun wouldn’t just be a right — it would be a necessity.

In addition to the apparent desire to have a bunch of gun-slinging, homemade sheriffs everywhere is the general feeling that “Hey, criminals are going to do bad things, gun control or not, so we don’t need new laws.”

What a pathetic, lazy outlook on a legitimate problem. Imagine if people said, “Why bother to make new laws?” in reaction to drunks getting behind the wheel.

Another outlook is: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” But guns should not be completely off the hook. The pair of alcohol and a vehicle is a deadly combination. So is the combination of psychopath, unfit gun owner and a gun. Guns need to be held accountable for their role: the murder weapon.

Take an illegal drug, heroin. Isn’t it similar to say, “Heroin doesn’t kill people, people kill people”? It is a personal choice to use heroin, which often results in suicide, or one junkie hooking others. The drug, rightfully so, is illegal. Somehow, guns are on a pedestal, removing them from blame.

Another thought: Beverages such as Four Loko are now regulated or banned because a handful of people drank too much and suffered health consequences. Wasn’t it their own personal choice to drink? Why does something like Four Loko, or a drug like bath salts, get unanimously punished, rightfully so, but gun violence has a much more vastly rippling effect on lives and is simply chalked up to the personal choices of psychopaths?

Sadly, it is easier to buy a gun in this country than affordable healthcare. Ironically, I would venture to say that the same people putting full blame on troubled humans are the same people that cast those same humans aside and chalk them up to “wasted tax dollars” and “free-loaders.”

Stricter guidelines could easily be implemented without abolishing the Second Amendment. The man (his name should be forgotten) who killed those 10 innocent children and six brave teachers, had a mental disorder and lived at a location with several guns, purchased legally by his mother.

Also, is it really necessary to own high-powered assault rifles? Containing 30-round magazines, these weapons are death machines made for killing quickly and mowing people down. The only reason I have heard for these guns to be legal is, “It protects me from other gunslingers.”

Another argument: “He could have used a knife, baseball bat or chain saw.”

Knives are used in the kitchen. Baseball bats are used on the playing field. Chain saws are used to cut wood. With no other primary function, a gun is for killing or practicing killing.

There is a reason that people choose guns in mass killings: They work best. There is no chance that 26 people would be dead in Connecticut if the killer went in with a bat, chain saw or knife.

There is no immediate solution. Something needs to change, and guns certainly need to be viewed as part of the problem. One idea to require guns in schools is completely ludicrous. Since there was no discussion after Columbine 13 years ago, our fearful country has sadly manifested into gun owners protecting themselves from gun owners.

Samuelson Shain, of Hallowell, is a former newspaper reporter at the Village Soup and currently work is an ed tech III at Spurwink Services.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/25/opinion/why-we-need-gun-control/ printed on July 25, 2014