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Guns Are Not Spoons

Stop denying reality: guns do kill people.

 

THE GUN DEBATE raging now in our community tests the vitality of the oft quoted NRA slogan “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” It is true that people kill people. And it is equally true that the manner in which our society approaches mental health issues, especially among our nation’s youth, needs serious rethinking. But is a terrible oversimplification to claim that guns do not kill people.  

In fact, guns do kill people. And as is apparent in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, certain types of guns – semi-automatic assault weapons in particular – are capable of killing a lot of people in a very short amount of time. Keeping that in mind, it is easy to imagine that a person who enters an elementary school brandishing a knife will be capable of killing far less children than someone in the same position who wields a semi-automatic assault rifle.

We know the consequences of our current gun regulations: the stark number of gun-related deaths in our country is proof alone that change is needed. But we will never make any measureable gains toward the comprehensive gun reform we so badly need unless gun ownership advocates acknowledge this reality: guns are not the solution to our gun problem; they in fact consume the lion's share of the problem.

Gun right’s advocates, however, want to curtail the public gun debate in a manner that avoids accepting any responsibility for the role guns actually play in (not surprisingly) gun violence. For example, one picture posted in several social media outlets and which is surfing its way across the internet makes this bogus analogy: “If guns kill people then pencils misspell words, cars make people drive drunk, and spoons made Rosie O’Donnell fat.”

This is a clear example of an attempt to skirt responsibility for the role guns play in gun violence with a misleading use of imagery. The comparison attempts to place the relationship guns play in gun-related deaths on equal footing with the relationship between spoons and obesity. But this attempt is not forthcoming: this type of red herring denies the reality of the situation, it tries to conceal the horror that guns inflict on our community.

That is not to say that drunk driving is not a legitimate concern. It is. And that is not to say that obesity is not a legitimate concern. It is. But just because discussions are unfolding about these issues simultaneously with our gun control debate is no reason to turn a blind eye to the thousands of preventable gun-related deaths that affect our friends, neighbors, and family members each year. 

Instead of imagining utensils when thinking about the current unfolding gun debate, the images that must come to mind are the ones that actually happen; we cannot deny ourselves the reality of gun violence.

That is, we must remember the little eight-year-old girl who walks to school one winter morning thinking only about innocent things as the day’s show-and-tell, only to soon be huddled beneath her desk not completely understanding why, but knowing this: she is deeply afraid and she wants her mom. We must remember the terror racing through her mind as she meets her premature death at the hand of an automatic assault weapon. And we cannot forget the parents who will later come to claim her lifeless body; the parents who will come to take her home.

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Trent Latta is an attorney and he can be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe M January 24, 2013 at 08:44 PM
If shutting up is the only way to stay far away from you and your guns, I will be happy to do so. But I do stand by every one of my claims. You are welcome to have the last word. Don't hurt yourself.
Trent Latta January 24, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Mark, You’re incredibly oversimplifying the issue. My original post was not to make the point that only guns kill people; I fully acknowledge that people have a major role to play in gun violence. And reform is desperately needed to our mental health system. But your abject refusal to admit that guns play any role whatsoever in gun-related deaths and gun-violence is a prime example of the exact reason why our society cannot have an engaging, adult conversation about this issue. This kind of ear-plugging, nah-nah-nah stubbornness in the wake of a sea change of public attitude toward guns hurts, and does not help, the situation. Trent
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Joe: If you had even so much as a scintilla of firearm knowledge, you would understand the difference between a gun being loaded and one with a live cartridge chambered. But a lack of knowledge or understanding never stopped ignorant gun grabbers from shooting off their big mouths. Thanks for agreeing to never commenting publicly about gun issues again.
Mark Bennett January 24, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Trent: We could eliminate all crime by exterminating every human being. Is that something you would support? Do people misuse automobiles and kill people? Yes? Why don't you call for eliminating cars? More people get murdered by blunt objects than semiautomatic rifles. Why don't you call of the elimination of golf clubs, baseball bats and all other blunt objects that could be used to crush a skull? I do understand that a tiny, miniscule percentage of firearms are used illegally to harm others. That is the price of freedom. It is a small price when one has perspective. Occasional acts of violence by people spaced-out on anti-depressant drugs have been a problem lately. Perhaps the cause isn't the existence or availability of the weapons but the effect of the drugs. Maybe the drugs should not be so readily prescribed. Lastly, the impartial studies done show that guns reduce crime, not increase it. About 33 years ago I was in a nightclub when Larry Moore entered and shot 24 people, killing four. He had enough time to step outside and reload his weapon and then re-enter and start killing again. Several weeks later, another man entered a tavern several hundred miles away and started shooting people. Two patrons pulled their sidearms and sent the miscreant straight to hell. I wish I had been armed the night I saw all of those innocent people murdered. You want to deprive honest people of the right and ability to defend themselves and I find that deplorable.
Ronald Long January 26, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Mr. Bennent seems to be having much fun with his cleverness, now that pretty much everyone else has left this conversation. Unfortunately, he revels in half truths. Yes, guns don't kill people --- directly. A gun is a non-autonomous piece of technology, and requires a human "user". Guns are an enabling technology - making a task we would otherwise have to be done by hand, or with other technology. And that task is killing/disabling a living something. The quality of being semi-automatic, and of having a large magazine, also have specific purposes . They enable the task of killing many of these somethings (usually humans), with a minimum number of steps, and in a short period of time. Who benefits from this technology? Does the NRA's mythic "good guy with a gun"? I would argue no. S/he is well trained, skilled with their weapon, an accurate shot. From them once expects one, at most two carefully aimed shots to kill another person. This is a very asymmetric technology - killing a large number of humans/animals as easily as possible is almost always something done by "bad people", and by supporting this technology being accessible, that is who you support. And - as "gun rights" supporters correctly point out, as long as these tools circulate in the public marketplace, "bad guys", who are the beneficiaries of this technology, will find ways to get them.

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