Monday, January 10, 2011

Gun Rights, Gun Wrongs

Everybody's weighing in on the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by Jared Lee Loughner, and why not? Nothing this horrific has happened since... well, since the school board shooting in Panama City, Florida just last month. Of course, no pretty female politician was killed in that act, committed by a black man, so you probably didn't hear about it. Acts of atrocity are really not that uncommon, if only one looks at the ruthless gang violence being deliberately fueled by our stubborn prohibition of cannabis. But I digress.

Some on the left are claiming weak gun laws. Those on the right are trying desperately to assure everyone that their harsh, militant rhetoric doesn't result in harsh militant actions. As usual, both sides are wrong.

And me? I've repeatedly said that I support a citizen's right to own and use defensive weapons. This incident allows me to put that to the test.

Loughner used a 10mm glock pistol. This is a weapon I would clearly put in the defensive weapon category, even with the extensive clips which store extra ammo, and which have been illegal in the past. At least one Wal-Mart was smart enough not to sell this crazy bastard ammo, but even the craziest of shitheads can act sane enough to walk into a store and buy a weapon without drawing too much suspicion. This doesn't rule out someone losing their sanity long after they've bought a weapon. So I can't attack accessibility. But I do have a point to make.

Loughner was described as a loner with radical ideas. He had a few friends, who lost contact with him for weeks at a time. This is a kid who was ostracized, outcast, and probably picked on in school. He found an outlet in radical violence because his crazy ideas were allowed to fester and grow. He didn't have a close circle of friends around him who helped hone his ideas. These friends weren't there to tell him his thinking was starting to go way out of line. They weren't there to make sure he was healthy enough to think better.

We humans are social creatures. While it's important to think for oneself, we also need friends, just as we need oxygen. People like Loughner are suffocating from this lack, and when they finally come up for air, wielding a pistol and shooting indiscriminately, we wonder what went wrong. What went wrong was that people let too much anti-social attitude grow in a corner of society, and it became a weed which choked the lives of many innocent people.

We seem to think being a loner is something of a virtue for some. The quiet kid is often thought to be pensive, harmless. But all too often such a kid takes his thoughts off into a dark place, and no one discovers it. We need to make sure that sort of thing doesn't happen. We need to strengthen our social bonds at every level of society.

I have a homework assignment for everyone: Find where, in your lives, the anti-social person may be festering, and go make a friend. Strike up a conversation. Be a positive influence. Who knows? That person may decide to sell his glock instead of use it.

We don't need tougher gun laws. We need closer ties to our fellow humans. Evil needs privacy. Don't let it hide in the corner!

Eric

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