Guns N’ Roses is the name of a hard rock band from L.A, which was formed in 1985. Their name seemed the only appropriate title for this post. I remember these guns firing: President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, feeling sick watching the news about Columbine, and I remember being unable to grasp that 20 first graders were shot dead in school, and John Lennon had been shot and killed, leaving my generation to grieve his loss and…. The list is so long I can’t even remember all the mass shootings which have occurred in my lifetime, or even this year. They have increased exponentially over my lifetime. I did not have active shooter drills in elementary or high school. We did practice for nuclear attacks by hiding under our desks, but at least the enemy was unseen and we didn’t have to watch our classmates bleed to death. It is now realistic for children to be afraid of being shot to death in school and to be taught how to “protect” themselves from another child or young person with a gun. Now I even need to worry about how safe my son is because he teaches high school.
Trying to explain the increase in mass shootings without talking about how many guns are sold in this country, a 40% increase from last year, and how rabid the support for the second amendment is, is ignoring reality. A U.S. Congressman’s 2021 Christmas card photo is the members of his family all smiling and holding guns, several were automatic rifles like AR-15. To top it off they were asking Santa for ammo. This came a few days after a 15 year old shot and killed four of his classmates with the gun his parents said was his Christmas gift. Some gun owners have crossed the line into the twisted, absurd world of gun worship. I thought the Christmas card was a SNL skit, but unfortunately not. Soon, I’m sure there will be wedding photos and baby announcements featuring guns. Maybe bridal registries will list ammunition for an AR-15. Bullets for Brides has a nice ring to it!
My father and my brothers were not hunters. In high school I came home from the Oscar-winning movie, “The Deer Hunter”, profoundly moved. I believed the “deer” was spared because it stood for the good in humankind. I truly do not understand the fascination with guns. Guns, and flagrantly displaying your guns may be legal, but am I missing something? Is it he who has the most guns wins? How much “protection” do we need? I am very frightened by the gun toting people I see in public and feel like the real purpose is to instill fear in those who are witnesses. When a gun is introduced into any interaction, immediately it becomes the arbiter of inequality. I have the gun so your “ideas” don’t matter, and as we all know you can’t argue with a gun.
How is it the rest of the world does not suffer from the mass shootings that happen in America? Canadians hunt and get mad at each other, but they are not shooting each other in schools and on the streets. Canadians own about 30 million guns while the US has over 310 million. Canada has much stricter gun control laws than the US. These two factors: the huge number of guns in this country and very lax gun control laws obviously contribute to the high number of mass shootings in the U.S. My theory is the fundamental difference is the gun culture that exists in the U.S., and not in Canada or the rest of the developed world. If it is cool for Mommy and Daddy and Billy and Susie to smile and showcase the guns they are holding on their Christmas cards, what are we communicating? Americans seem to have a set of assumptions and demands about gun rights, but pay little attention to the responsibilities of gun ownership.
Scissors, paper, or rock. Or guns, scissors, paper, or rock? Or guns, guns, or guns? Sadly, school shootings and gun deaths are rampant. I don’t want to see any more roses thrown on the caskets of our children as they are lowered into the ground.