<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: Jane Smiley: "What I Think About Guns"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jane Smiley: "What I Think About Guns"

(From today's Huffington Post, www.huffingtonpost.com)

Some years ago, I was talking to a man about guns. At the time, I didn't really know anyone with guns (still don't), but he did. He had had guns himself. He said, "I gave my gun away, because when I had it, every time something happened that made me mad, my mind would start circling around that gun, and I would be thinking about using it. So I got rid of it and I'm glad I did."

Right up front I will say that I am opposed to casual gun ownership, but I also realize that Americans will always have guns. Period. It's a national fetish. But the mental state my interlocutor was describing years ago is the price we have to pay, along with, of course, the accidental deaths of children and other unprepared and careless people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and in proximity to the wrong gun. What I would like is for the gun-toting right wing to admit that there is a price we pay, that senseless accidental deaths and traumas are a national cost and that it's not so clear that it's worth it, but hey, we pay it anyway because so many guns are in the hands of so many people that there would never be any getting rid of them. I would like the right wing to admit that guns are not "good" and that the right to bear arms is not an absolute virtue and that the deaths in the US caused by guns are at least as problematic, philosophically, as abortion. But I'm not holding my breath.

Here's what I think about guns--guns have no other purpose than killing someone or something. All the other murder weapons Americans use, from automobiles to blunt objects, exist for another purpose and sometimes are used to kill. But guns are manufactured and bought to kill. They invite their owners to think about killing, to practice killing, and, eventually, to kill, if not other people, then animals. They are objects of temptation, and every so often, someone comes along who cannot resist the temptation--someone who would not have murdered, or murdered so many, if he did not have a gun, if he were reduced to a knife or a bludgeon or his own strength. I wish that the right wing would admit that, while people kill people and even an "automatic" weapon needs a shooter, people with guns kill more people than people without guns do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, gun ownership has a cost, and yes it is worth it.
take for example the shooting that recently occurred in a Utah mall. A muslim gunmen was randomly shooting people to death as he walked through the mall. an off-duty policeman, who happened to be carrying a gun, was able to confront the shooter and take him out.

the actual cost in human lives would have been lower, had he or another gun carrying citizen been on the scene earlier.

same with the VTech murders. had students been allowed to carry on campus, this tragedy would have had a lower body count.

8:02 AM  
Blogger waterdog said...

I am not opposed to casual gun ownership and I own several guns. There is a cost to gun ownership, but the cost in lives and dollars would be greater if we tried to legislate against it. If it were illegal to own firearms, a black market would exist for those who wish to intentionally do harm with them. The big difference is that they would be armed with not only a weapon, but the knowledge that you don’t have one. Everyone is safer because there are responsible gun owners among us.

Let’s not pretend that this tragedy would not have occurred if guns were illegal to own or even never existed. It’s a sad and scary reality, but someone who is willing to give their own life to do harm to others will always be able to find a way to do so.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are completely full of SHIT.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I think you are completely full of SHIT."

Of course you do, because you're scared to change your belief system upon which you have so heavily invested yourself. Believing somebody is full of it is an easy way out for you.

Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people. People need to be banned! In all seriousness, community development (education) is the answer.

Food for thought:
We hate rap music because it's too violent, but I'll be damned if I'm going to give up my gun! Rap music is just a reflection of society. And so long as you're going to keep your guns, violence in art will exist.


8:57 AM  

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