I feel like I have to apologize for skipping the usual "GEEKend" post, particularly when there are so many great events happening in Chicago tonight. ...but I won't. I've had too much on my mind since the Oregon shooting at Umpqua Community College. Sorry, not sorry- this post is going to be about guns. If we don't ALL start talking about guns, nothing will change.
I am anti-gun. I can't believe how uncomfortable that is to type. Being publicly anti-gun means I'll probably be disowned by several family members. It means MANY trolls who had never read GGC before will hunt down this blog and try to burn it down. Even with hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans getting shot, it's more important to huge swaths of people that they be allowed firearms.
I should know better by now, but I tried to have some civil discussions with pro-gun folks on Facebook. One man said, "I don't know where your generation gets this stuff," as if concern with gun violence is some flighty, stupid notion of people under 35.
One woman (and this nearly made me puke) said that violence is the fault of the victims. She explained that lovers who are beaten by their domestic partners are "idiots" and should "just shoot" their abusers... as if it's ever that easy. Apparently, these folks STILL believe that "give everyone guns" is the answer.
I do not believe in the "good guy with a gun" defense... not anymore.
For about 25 years of my life, I thought I could be a "good guy (er, girl) with a gun." I am smart. When I need to be, I can be very disciplined. I am clear-headed in the face of most problems, and absolutely respect the power of firearms. I repeatedly considered getting one, because I am a small lady. I bought into the "don't let yourself be a victim" schtick.
Two things happened.
First, my sister (who will remain unnamed) was the victim of domestic violence. When I heard about it, I was furious. It got worse. When I realized that the law wouldn't help her- that the courts would go easy on her abuser- I bubbled over with emotions I'd never felt before. I'd never wished harm on another human prior to then. That day, though, I was sure of one thing: If I had a gun, I would have gone after that man.
You know what? There's no law in the world that would have sided with me. There's no "Someone wronged your loved one so you're good" doctrine, even if that someone has a criminal record, is the scum of the Earth, and will most certainly continue his violent pattern for the rest of his life. In that situation, I'd have gone to jail. I might even have gotten the death penalty. I wouldn't have been a "good guy with a gun," I'd have be a murderer.
Second, a few years later, I went to my own, personal dark place. It was during my period of unemployment. My former employer was attacking me for money. On the day in question, I had just blown a job interview- one that was handed to me in private, on a silver platter. I was wrecked. My mind went to an irrational place. I told myself, "If you can't even get that opportunity, you'll never get one. You are such a failure. Your husband and your friends and your family shouldn't have to keep carrying your burden. You should just cease to exist."
I should point out that, before age 29, I'd never had a single suicidal thought. Despite a life of bullying, deep depths of misery after repeated surgery, and an emotionally abusive relationship in college, I never wanted to die. ...and then, for a fleeting moment, I did. If I had owned a firearm, I would have used it on myself. I would have been a "good guy with a gun," and then dead.
Traffic accidents. Domestic disputes. Heck, I literally had to pull grown men off of one another to stop them from fighting over LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND. We all go through emotional highs we've never experienced before; I don't trust people to quiet these impulses while packing heat.
Sure, you may say I'm just one person- that you're better, more worthy, and won't ever make a mistake. Sadly, I'd bet the woman whose baby killed her thought her permit, visits to the range, and special purse pocket were enough. Clearly, everyone surrounding that security guard who left his gun in a school bathroom thought he was trustworthy... until he wasn't. These aren't bad people. They're just like you and me- and they weren't even in high-intensity situations.
It boils down to this: Nobody can be 100% good, clear-headed, disciplined, and mistake-free 100% of the time. There is no "good guy with a gun."
There was an armed student at the Oregon shooting. He didn't go hero and save everybody. There was a brave veteran who stood up to the gunman, too, and he was shot seven times. We aren't dealing with action movie BS here, people. We ARE dealing with a person who had 6 weapons and a flak jacket. We've already proven that more guns aren't the answer.
What's my solution, you ask? Well, there isn't a single fix- and that's why we're so screwed. There are too many mentally ill individuals not getting help. Look at Illinois, where a lack of a state budget is shutting down detox clinics and putting people on the street. There are too many hungry, broke, desperate people who are forced to turn to violence. There are too many privileged, entitled, bigoted people willing to kill when their superiority is questioned or denied. Kids are finding guns in their parents' homes. Policemen are using their guns when their victims pose no threat. There are TOO many problems, but you know what the common denominator is, at least for now?
So, I am anti-gun.
My solution, in a nutshell, is that America starts prioritizing human rights: feeding and housing the poor, curing disease, and whatnot. The battles I see in politics right now disgust me: what women can do with their own bodies, which jobs deserve the lowest minimum wage, and what skin colors we should kick out of our country. Our focus is all backwards; we're talking about who should be lowest on the ladder, not how to help all of us. I'm betting if we started truly serving one another instead of fighting over scraps, we'd all be more satisfied with life.
...And maybe, just maybe, less people would turn to gun violence. I don't know. We don't know, so we should at least stop arguing and try something different.
Before I sign off, let me answer a few inevitable remarks:
"What if you are attacked?" This is just me, but I'd rather be killed than take a person's life. I'd be haunted if I killed someone, even in self-defense.
"Won't criminals just use knives and other weapons if there are no guns?" Yes, but frankly, I'd rather a knife-wielding psychopath come into my space than one with an assault rifle. You can't stab me from afar. You can't (very accurately) stab me through a door, through a storefront, from a moving car...
"Doesn't Chicago have the strictest gun laws in the nation?" Yes, but states that border us do not. Guns flow in from Wisconsin and Indiana. Dealers whose weapons wind up with gangs can pretty much continue to deal as long as they claim ignorance. It isn't (entirely) Chicago's fault.
"You know that cars kill people too, right?" Yes, but cars are designed for something else- to get you to your son's baseball game, to visit your family across the country, etc. Guns are designed to hurt, period. Also, if you want to take this analogy all the way, cars require tests, insurance, and licensing that must be frequently re-upped. They are taken away when someone drives them drunk, or intentionally uses them for harm.
"What about hunting?" Yea, I hate that, too. Modern society is awesome because food is available at the store. In cases of animal infestation, we are a genius species and surely could invent another method.
"But there are terrorists!" Please see this graph.
"I'll never give up my gun!!" Well, as much as I'd like you to, NO legislation has EVER been proposed that takes away people's guns. All of the chain letters, Facebook statuses, and right wing radio programs in the world don't add up to truth. No politician (including Obama) has EVER suggested rounding up your guns. Breathe easy, my gullible friend.
...So, I guess that's it. I don't like guns (despite how many of my cosplays include fake ones.) I think we should leave them behind. Like I said at the beginning, I'm a little scared of what will happen when I post this, but I'd rather be honest. True GGC fans will stay fans. As for any "friends" or family members that now have beef with me, well... at least I'm leaving town for Thanksgiving.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Ghostbusters burlesque show to see. THOSE guns (and by that I mean proton packs and bewbs) are fine by me. ;)
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