I am going to go off the rails here. I promised myself a long time ago that I would not post political items to my blog, but the past six weeks have left me in a state of shock, sadness, and just flat out anger. Fair warning, the content in this post is going to piss some people off, it will be an opinion that others that read my blog will not agree with, and it will generate plenty of anger, backlash, and above all else, questioning their friendship. I can’t help how you will react, I can only use this as my platform, and since it is my blog, I can post what I want dammit.
In the last six weeks there have been 3 instances of gun violence that have shaken this country. Charleston SC, Chattanooga TN, and now Lafayette LA. On the surface, the motives are seemingly unrelated between the three of them. The Charleston SC Shooting was racially motivated, angry white guy with a gun shoots up a church made up of a primarily black congregation, supposedly hates black people and wants to start another Civil War. Then Chattanooga TN occurred, apparently motivated by ISIS, depression, drugs, the answers here are still not clear, but because the shooter, at least on the surface, appears to be Muslim, he is called a terrorist, specifically targeting the military, thus causing most to think it an act of war. Now, another movie theatre shooting, this one in Lafayette LA, where another angry white guy shoots up a movie theatre, causing two deaths, and injuring several more, before turning the gun on himself. It has been discovered thus far that this shooter was linked to radical right wing thinking, with the president and women being the main focus of his anger. He was a regular guest on right wing radio, and had a history of mental illness and violence.
As I mentioned, these three instances look separate and unrelated on the outside, but in reality, they are connected. Connected in such a way that it is time we stop playing politics when someone with a gun decides they are going to commit mass murder. Let me just say a few things before I start to piss people off. First, I am not a gun owner, never have owned one, and probably never will. I have shot guns in the past, the most recent in 2007 during a private dove hunt on private land owned by my employer. I had a great time, drank a lot of beer, and bonded with some of my co-workers. I can honestly say I enjoyed myself, but it did not cause me to run out and buy a gun. Just not something I would do. Second, I am in favor of the second amendment, in that the government should not interfere with my rights as a stable, law-abiding citizen to own a firearm for either sport or for my own personal protection. I am of the belief that despite the ramblings of those in the “militia’s” in this country, the President is not coming for anyone’s guns, and a ban is not anywhere in the foreseeable future, and the government is not going to put us in “FEMA camps” or infringe on our rights at any point in the future.
This is where I will go off the rails with some of you, and frankly it is what it is, and it is my opinion. What I DO BELIEVE is that not everyone SHOULD own a gun. There needs to be certain criteria an individual should have to meet before being allowed to own a firearm. What is that criteria?. Well that is for men and women smarter than me to figure out, but for starters, if you have a history of mental illness, serious depression, heavy drug use, or if you have been convicted of a felony, you should not be allowed to own a gun. I have experienced depression, and I know the thoughts that can go through someone’s head while depressed. If you have a mental illness, that indicates you don’t have control of your emotions, you don’t have a stable brain, and you are in need of some serious help, and if you have heavy drug use, (no I am not talking about Pot) you are a criminal, and do not deserve to own a firearm. Same goes with committing a felony, this above all else should disqualify anyone from purchasing a gun in any instance, any situation or in any way, period.
Will this criteria prevent future mass murders in the future? probably not. BUT.. I believe it will REDUCE the frequency of them, by keeping guns out of the hands of individuals that do not have the mental capacity or the sense of responsibility that comes with gun ownership. We can discuss the constitutional ramifications of such laws, and there are a lot of opinions on this subject, but you can not deny that the possibility of mass shootings like those that have happened recently would be reduced had these individuals been submitted to more scrutiny when it came to coming into possession of the weapons they used to commit these acts. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Aurora, Tucson, and Ft Hood, if JUST ONE of these events could have been prevented by stricter gun laws, then it is worth it. too many people are dying, and we are the most violent society on the planet when it comes to guns (except maybe Somalia). This isnt about the NRA, this isnt about rights, it is about decency, protection of our citizens, and above all, the rule of law. Gun culture is so embedded in our society, that the even mere mention of gun control sets people off, and it is on BOTH sides of the issue, not just one or the other. I am not naive enough to think that implementing these safeguards will prevent all gun deaths, they will continue to happen, but if these measures will prevent just one mass shooting in the future, the lives they will save is enough to move forward.
Call me a bleeding heart liberal, call me a radical lefty, call me what you will, I don’t care, cause this is a hot topic in the country right now, and I for one am tired of seeing people being murdered because one individual has the mental capacity of an ant. You want an AR-15 with a 60 round clip? Fine.. pass the background checks I mentioned above and you can have it. It isnt about the type of guns, its about the people using them that’s the issue, and I for one and tired of seeing people slaughtered in the name of freedom to own a gun. Freedom has responsibilities, and we have a responsibility to future generations to provide them with a society that wont cause them to be afraid to go to school, go out and see a movie or go to church, let alone just walk down the street.
That’s my two cents…
Scott Wright “The Sports Nerd”