The Theory of Bevrything wants to get back to light-hearted content, witty humor and snarky jokes, but recent events force our hands to type more somber content. New readers, please don’t lose hope, although we interrupt our usually scheduled articles with talk of politics, death and policy, we will be back to focusing on food, flatulence and travel.
Media and lawmakers can quibble over the definition of mass shootings, but the real problem in the US is that we have mass shooters. The US has a lot of people with guns and those people are using their guns and there is no denying that fact.
Even though 1 in 22,000 Americans shot someone in 2014, even though mass shootings happen almost every day, even though I saw a cop draw his gun on an unarmed parent at my child’s school, and even though a mentally ill woman pulled a gun and tried to shoot teachers at a different school my child attended (her gun jammed), even though I was in NYC for 9/11 and remember the smell of burning skin, hair and plastic that was in the air for weeks and months, even though I grew up in a house with guns, and all of my extended family members have one, even with all of that, I still believe in gun regulation. Mainly because I don’t live a fear-based life.
Why are people so strongly opposed to gun regulation? Because they believe they will need to shoot someone one day. And this is actually the main problem. Graphic images have turned on their flight or fight reflex and they can’t turn it off.
Fear and stress force the human mind to work harder and think less logically. The brain is fascinating because oddly enough, people who have lived through a gun incident or life-threatening incident sometimes are less afraid of it happening again than people who just view it on TV. Because if you have lived through something like this, you know that you can. Maybe when you are close to a horrible event you experience the compassion of survivors in the aftermath, not just the constantly repeating video footage of the horror.
Illogical logic is what creates such divisiveness on the gun regulation issue. People believe that if they have a gun, they will be able to shoot a shooter like on TV shows. And they think that gun regulation might prevent them from having a gun, but somehow every sociopath out there will still get one. This logic makes no sense to me because the government regulates cars and driver’s licenses but everyone is still able to drive. And another statistical reality is that more likely to be shot with their own gun that someone else gains access to, or be shot while going for their gun instead of trying to escape a bad situation.
If someone has a gun and you pull your gun, you better not miss. Even if you take a gun safety course, even if you are on a shooting range once or twice a month, would you bet your life on your shooting accuracy? If you are able to walk, your walking or running ability is way more developed than your shooting ability, as it is used every day. Even if I owned a gun (which I don’t), I don’t trust that I would survive a shootout with another person. But more importantly, I don’t believe that I will actually be in a shootout situation with another person.
And even if you do think you will be in a shootout, is a gun really the only form of protection or preventative measures? Or a self defense class? How about an alarm system on your house? Or a taser? A Smith & Wesson tactical pen for close encounters? Or a gun with rubber bullets? You don’t have to actually kill an assailant, just detain them until cops arrive. And if if you want to protect yourself from a shooting, wouldn’t bullet-proof glass and kevlar vests make more sense than your own gun?
The people I know who are pro-gun agree that they don’t want to kill someone. They don’t someone to bleed out on their grandmother’s oriental rug. Most people who are against gun regulation haven’t thought about the PTSD that comes with brutally taking another person’s life. They haven’t thought about the years of therapy or the nightmares that come with looking into the still eyes of murdered human.
It is being covered by other writers, but fear marketing is being used by people who are selling guns and gun policy. The NRA benefits from every American trembling with fear. Fear is the main component of their marketing strategy. They want America to believe that guns are the only way to protect yourself. This map shows how much NRA pays politicians to ensure that more Americans have guns than not:
The NRA was created specifically for soldiers in 1871 by Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate. It was not created to make sure every mom in carpool line has a gun in her glovebox. It was not created so that private citizens can take down a shooter in a Starbucks, or senior citizens can go grocery shopping with a conceal and carry permit.
In 1990 the NRA became tax-exempt. Not paying taxes gave them access to more funds, thus promoting a successful pro-gun political agenda over the last 25 years. Their own words describe the NRA as a “major political force” on their website:
And they are accurate about being a major political force:
The money the NRA doesn’t pay in taxes is given back to the Senators that ensure that NRA agenda stays law. The cycle of greed is a deadly cycle that is hard to break. Although the majority of Americans want gun regulation, the majority of Americans don’t have an $30 Million slush fund to pay off elected officials like the NRA does.
US Senators are literally getting paid to ignore the gun deaths in the US, and turn a blind eye to statistics. So for the meantime, Americans will continue to be killed by US citizens and technically terrorists, since they have access to our guns. (Even terrorists who are on the no fly list are legally able to purchase firearms.)
This article was inspired by a Dec. 3 2015 New York Times Article by Liam Stack: