The first time I shot a gun, I was in my early teens, and several of the men at the ranch where we lived were out hunting ground hogs – always a menace to the garden, and their holes a real danger to a horse’s leg. The men let me fire a few rounds. I don’t even remember what kind of gun it was, but I remember the thrill of hitting my target, a piece of paper tacked to an old railroad tie.
Years later, when I was newly divorced and living alone, I bought my first firearm: just a .22 rifle. I didn’t buy it for self-defense, or to feel safe, or anything like that. I just felt that a new start in life should mean learning new skills. A friend taught me to skeet-shoot, which was fun, but I like a rifle better than a shotgun. More elegant and precise. Over the years I had the opportunity to try out many different firearms, and decided that my preference is for an old-fashioned revolver.
I don’t hate guns.
Nevertheless, I believe we need gun control. I say this because, somewhere along the line, I picked up this odd idea that personal tastes and desires are not adequate moral guides. Desire to possess a thing does not translate into a right to possess it. I also picked up this odd idea that these “tools” we were handling are, in fact, designed to kill. That’s why we use them to hunt, or to protect the chickens from varmints. That’s why, when we teach our children firearm safety, we emphasize: this is not a toy. This could kill you. Treat every gun as loaded.
I didn’t start out with some kind of leftist agenda to restrict access to guns and repeal the second amendment, but rather arrived at this position in spite of my own personal tastes and desires. Soros isn’t paying me, for this, or for anything else.And yet there is this prejudice circling, that people calling for gun control are a part of some kind of sinister plot. It couldn’t possibly be that we believe that the right to life trumps the right to own a mechanism of recent human invention, or that we want our children to be safe in public places.
Even the teens who survived the Florida shooting, and are now rallying for gun control, are being accused of being “coached” by shadowy leftist groups. Because it’s ludicrous that they could possibly care, on their own – or that they could possibly organize and rally, on their own. “Their emotions are driving them” some suggest.
Adults spreading such paranoid and cruel rumors don’t seem to realize that in so doing they are proving just how gravely they have failed the younger generation, to the extent that teenagers feel the need to take things into their own hands. They clearly don’t respect these high school students as persons – don’t respect their grief, or the sincerity of their love for their murdered friends. Their own indifference to the validity of the students’ responses reflects the moral grossness cultivated by right-wing media personalities they follow: about as immature as they come.
If people who grew up shooting and owning guns can see the clear need for real solutions to our gun violence problem, without being handed secret Soros bucks, then young people who saw their friends mowed down by gunfire have even more reason to stand up and demand a solution.
Ironically, these adults who refuse to respect these young people, who mock and belittle their bold efforts, are the same who regularly castigate “kids these days” for failures of morals and maturity.
And I feel they’re going to have quite a few surprises in store for them, as this rising generation steps into public life.