Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guns Don't Kill People

Once again, my silent writing self has been pulled from lethargy to respond to a Facebook post I have been receiving from numerous sources.  Many of the posters are people I love and respect and I refuse to engage in FB political conversations as I have seen too many of them deteriorate into nasty exchanges.  Here is the picture that has been posted:
Okay, this is a clever piece, meant to point out the ridiculous assumption that a gun could actually kill someone without a person involved.  In other words, the point that I DO get is that a gun, in and of itself, should not be blamed for the mayhem we have in our current society.  And right, spoons don't make people fat.  But here is another example of misplaced blame:
Yesterday I placed my car in the driveway, full of gas, key in the ignition, ready to go!  While I was gone, many other cars had passed and children had played in the street and even pedestrians were not killed or hurt. 
I think my drift here is obvious, so I won't belabor the comparison. Yet who among us argues about the need for licenses to drive, an age limit, driver's ed classes, speed limits, traffic lights, safer cars, airbags, drunk driving laws, road signs, insurance, laws about uninsured motorists, jail terms for those who, even unwittingly, kill or maim innocent bystanders.  Just this last week, we here in Seattle were heartbroken by a family being mowed down by a drunk driver while crossing the street. And today we have another example.  There is a hue and cry to make and enforce tougher laws, requiring ignition locks on cars to keep the impaired from driving, harsher sentencing in DUI cases, better signage and crosswalks on the busy street.  And how do we justify a law that requires us to wear seat belts?  Aren't my civil liberties being attacked by that law?  Is it enough that a seat belt law saves lives and saves taxpayer dollars in medical costs?  NO ONE suggests taking cars out of the equation, just as many sane and rational people do not suggest removing all of society's guns. But we are a society that makes laws when one person's liberties impact the life and liberty of others!

What continues to baffle me is that we are unable to bring that same rational thinking and conversation to the issue of guns.  Why do I have to read stories like the one in today's Seattle Times? Here's a quote:
Each year, lawmakers quietly tuck language into spending bills that restricts the ability of the federal government to regulate the firearms industry and combat gun crime.
It’s the reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can’t research gun violence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can’t use data to detect firearms traffickers, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can’t require background checks on older guns.
Since the late 1970s, more than a dozen provisions have been added to must-pass spending bills with no hearings, no debate and no vote, in a way that’s designed to circumvent the usual legislative process. . . .
Congress has approved stand-alone bills on firearms before, but as Capitol Hill becomes more acrimonious, lawmakers have attached measures to other bills. A provision allowing owners to bring guns into national parks, for example, was tacked onto a bill outlining restrictions for credit-card companies.
What will it take for our country to wake up to the fact that the rules around gun ownership and use could stand some tweaking and still allow gun owners to co-exist with the rest of us?  I'm not ready to give up my car, but I will respect the laws of the land and do whatever I can to protect the lives and liberties of everyone else while using my car!  Is it too much to ask gun owners for the same respect?