Instead of pouring gas on the fire in the ever-incendiary debate over gun control (as in should we even have any), I thought it might be better, or at least more entertaining, to discuss why I, personally, should never be allowed anywhere near a firearm. After all, I cannot speak to the mental fitness and personal motivations of anyone but myself. Brace yourself.
First of all, as I have written before, I suffer from periodic bouts of depression. I don't handle setbacks well, be they personal or professional. Were I to have had a gun in my possession, up until now at least, I would be dead, disfigured, or disabled several times over. One of the aspects of my brand of depression is a tendency toward impulsive behavior. Thankfully, I rarely act out any more, but we should play it safe just in case.
The impulsive tendencies thing brings me to my second and more important issue: potential for homicidal actions. That guy that turned left on a red light and almost hit pedestrian me today? Oh, he'd be toast in a heartbeat. The person who hurt a loved one physically or emotionally? I would hunt. you. down. The next corporate big-wig who does something heinous in the name of profits? Ka-boom! The politician who caves to special interests while their constituents suffer? Do you feel lucky, punk?
Need I even mention the many inanimate objects that would be full of holes if not destroyed were I to have access to firearms? Another pro-fracking advertisement on television? Blam! The washing machine acting up yet again? Bang-bang-bang. Bang.....Bang. The mirror is making me look bad again? Ok, you get the picture. Many of you may have similar fantasies of justice by "execution," but I am inclined to have doubts about my sustained sanity and it is no doubt better to not have lethal weapons at hand.
How about you? Do you have better self-restraint? Do you practice not only your marksmanship on the firing range, but stress-reduction techniques? Are you impulsive, in a way that might jeopardize your own life or the lives of others? I trust my readers to make an honest assessment of themselves, I truly do.
What makes me fearful of the continuing proliferation of guns and gun owners is that I don't trust everyone who owns or purchases a firearm. I firmly believe that, ironically, it is a fundamental distrust of others in our society that has put us in this predicament. It started long before mass shootings. It started with the revelations of child molestation in the church, and the fall of others in positions of authority whom we used to trust implicitly, from cops to doctors to lawyers. Alright, maybe not lawyers.
Today, if we don't shoot first and ask questions later, we at least fire accusations like bullets before we have all the pertinent information. Impatience with our justice system, the explosion of opinion through mass media and social media, and dwindling empathy for others have all conspired to fuel a paranoia like we have never seen before. What does paranoia lead to? Impulsive behavior.
Those who argue that gun control would do nothing to stem the flow of blood in the streets may have a point. It would not cure what truly ails us. Rebuilding personal trust, a sense of community, and cultivating a culture of respect and empathy are what we need to do. I am not sure where to begin myself, other than trying to be a good example for others to follow. Right. Well, I can at least pledge not to murder the mirror of the television set.
Meanwhile, I do hope that should you decide to acquire a gun, you do so with a clear head and heart, and a keen sense of the responsibility involved with a decision of such gravity. I will try and trust your judgment, try not to fear you, and reserve my judgment based on your behavior, armed or not. I ask for your respect and understanding in return. Thank you. Hm-m-m, I wonder if they will print this essay. Oh, wait, it is on my own personal blog. Whew. We will probably have one less dead editor.