Monday, September 30, 2013

Guns and Culture

I was reading one of the many outrageous zero tolerance story posts on Facebook the other day, the ones where little boys draw pictures of guns and get expelled from school, or glue army men to their baseball hat to honor the military for “hat day” and have their hat confiscated complete with the disdain and punishment that their “sin” for honoring our military deserves.  

I was thinking, why are people so frightened?  Why do people think that these little 7-10 year old boys need to be punished for their interest in guns?  Why do people think they are going to actually hurt someone?

In today’s culture, evil is glamorized.  Video games and television shows desensitize us and our children to the horror of violence.  The use of guns for evil purposes is featured in the news on a daily basis.  The stories of citizens protecting themselves or their fellow citizens with a gun are not featured in the weekly news, although they are happening.  Why is not heroism glorified?  

What was the original purpose of guns?  To provide for and to protect one’s family, property, and country.  

I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s father’s gun above the door.  Pa would use the gun to provide game for their family, to protect their crops, and to protect them from dangerous animals or people.  Laura felt secure with the gun above the door and the family dog, Jack, pacing with hackles up as the wolves howled outside the Little House in the Big Woods.

I think of early America. The original militia was just a bunch of farmers with their own family weapons, weapons used to provide.....and to protect.  Our country was founded by armed citizens.  If these weapons were taken from these families, our country would not exist with it’s freedoms intact. 

We have been a gun-owning citizenry for over 200 years, there have always been the evil and the insane, why has our view of the ownership of guns changed?  Because our culture’s use of guns has changed or...perhaps just the reported use of guns has changed.

The gun-owners I know personally are very intent on using their weapons for provision and for protection.  They are primarily hunters providing meat (non-hormone-laden, free-range meat that everyone is paying a pretty penny to purchase these days.)  I suppose their guns could be used for protection as well, like maybe protecting one’s livestock from the unexpected bear in the chicken coop, or the intruder turning the door handle of their home at 2AM!  

For sure, they follow the rules of gun safety and usage and they TRAIN THEIR CHILDREN TO as well.

Perhaps, instead of instituting draconian rules about mere drawings of guns, comments about guns, and possession of toy guns, we should be teaching and training our children the proper use of guns, gun safety, and respect for life.  If children only see the glorification of violence, and not the respectful use of guns or the sacrifice of soldiers or the emotional devastation of the misuse of guns, they will not respect weapons.  They will either see them as a tool of callous power or a source of fear.  

As we remove guns from our citizens this will only amplify the misuse of them.  Guns will be ONLY viewed as a source of power to wield over the weak.  Those who can obtain them will do so illegally and use them for evil purposes.  The obedient will become vulnerable and helpless.  I am not even getting into government use of weapons, government is made up of humans, good and evil.  Government individuals can misuse guns as well.  Even those delegated with the responsibility of protecting our citizens and given the authority to use guns cannot be everywhere at once, leaving the weak, vulnerable or dead.   

So, why not?  Why not have a gun course in schools?  You wouldn’t even have to use guns.  Just teach children the proper use of a gun, gun safety, potential dangers, precautions, etc. Today’s children are not taught the real danger or use of guns and they will not learn it by being punished for drawing pictures of them or creating one out of a stick.  I think more than likely, it will foster anger and rebellion, rather than fear and respect.  It certainly will not help them to act responsibly if they come across one unexpectedly.  Why not combat the violence with knowledge and wisdom? 

 We may not be able to remove the evil from our midst, but we could make wise the simple and strengthen the weak.

(This is just a website I found with a very detailed write up on gun safety. This guy is serious and that is what our children, our citizens, should think and feel about guns.  I know that in RI you must go through a gun safety course before getting a hunting license.  I know that it is extremely detailed, outlining multiple scenarios of potential danger, but the assumption is that people will behave responsibly and with caution while hunting, otherwise there would be a lot less licenses issued.)