Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tauy Creek Digest #44: Gun

In the early morning hours of February 16th, the father of one of my students was shot and killed. This came not even two days after a 19-year-old opening fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people and injuring 14 more. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes shouldn't have even had guns and taking those weapons away from them should've been easy but for whatever reason, they were able to possess them. I can't even tell anymore if the people who are so adamantly against gun control are really pro-gun, anti-government, or just children doing the opposite of what somebody wants you to do. I do know that they are acting selfishly, putting themselves above everybody else which is fine but when people are dying--when your actions involve other people--then you don't get to have a choice anymore. Your rights end where someone else begins.

When I worked on my middle school paper, my first article was about a school shooting. While it wasn't a massacre like some of the others that have happened, it will still so weird to write. I am not positive which one it was--either Greensboro, North Carolina or Blackville, South Carolina--but it has always stuck out in my mind especially after Columbine in 1999. The shooting in Greensboro, in 1994, was because a student was suspended for smoking. The student shot and wounded the assistant principal and then killed himself. Blackville occurred exactly a year later in 1995. Again, a suspended student shot and killed a math teacher and wounded another math teacher before turning the gun on himself. Little did I know that school shootings would end up becoming a theme in local and national news over the next 25 years.

I wrote a story about a school shooting back in the 90s and revamped the story a few years later. I haven't published or posted it anywhere because it seemed like whenever I had it planned, a real school shooting would happen so I'd postpone it. When Stephen King announced that he was allowing his book "Rage", about a school shooting, go out of print after several school shooters were revealed to have read it for inspiration, I decided to quit trying to publish it and just forget about it. When people, especially friends in high school, read the story, they were shocked. A couple even wondered if I was going to shoot up the school. Clearly they didn't know me that well because I didn't have access to a gun even if I wanted to and that's the whole point of the gun control we're talking about.

People who want to use guns to hurt others shouldn't be able to acquire those guns and those who enable their ability to get them should be punished. Maybe it would make gun dealers think twice about the people they are selling to if they could also be arrested for murder. Maybe parents and friends would keep their guns better secured and put away if they could be charged as an accomplice when shootings happens. Would doing this actually create fewer shootings? It certainly wouldn't stop all of them but it would stop a few and to think it wouldn't is just ignorant.

We could also beef up our mental health system. Since Sandy Hook, conservatives and pro-gun people have been pointing to mental health being the real cause of all the shootings and that is true and it's great we're talking about it but, just like with gun control, that's all we do. You would think that the people in charge would, even if they didn't want to restrict guns, would at least commit to fixing our mental health care system but I think that shows us that they don't really care about fixing the problem and that they hope we'll just forget about it, which is what usually happens, or that we'll finally just throw up our hands and say "This is the way it is."

But we shouldn't have to do that and the fact that people out there feel that we should all live in fear of one another and arm ourselves to the teeth to protect our bodies and our homes is just bafflingly backwards. I will always firmly believe that humans are basically good. I've seen people say that we are less safe than we've ever been and that's just the way it is now but I don't believe that at all. If we are less safe it is because we are making ourselves less safe. We refuse to learn about other people, we move away as soon as someone "undesirable" comes into our neighborhood, we cling to our opinions, our religion, our guns with no regard for people who have different opinions or a different religion or a fundamental difference on who needs a weapon.

You could also look at this way. We could work together and compromise to create sensible gun control laws and better mental health now or we can continue badgering you about this every single time this happens, which as you know, is a lot.