When it comes to guns, I am sure of one thing: Just acquiring a gun never solves a personal problem for anyone.
And the introduction of a gun into the life of a person who is already struggling with deep issues can only have negative potential.
But the marketing of guns by the mega-million-dollar gun industry will have you believe that just having the right gun will solve a lot of problems.
And so some have started seeing the giving of a gun to a young person as a right of passage intended to help solve a problem that they are having inside of themselves.
The most recent example is Dylann Roof who has now been charged with the murder of 9 black people in Charleston, in a historic black church, after sitting in a Bible study with them for an hour.
It takes someone who is deeply infused with a mixture of evil and insanity to carry out such a crime.
And that crime was easier to commit because his father had given him a handgun for his birthday.
Yes – gun enthusiasts and defenders of the Second Amendment – the gun didn’t commit the crime, the person did.
But the crime was easier because of the gun that his father believed was something that you would give to your son as a rite of passage into manhood.
That birthday gift of a gun did not make him a man or solve any of his problems. It made his problems more deadly for others.
Another horrific example of providing a troubled person with a gun was Adam Lanza, who was given an assault weapon by his mother because she thought that would somehow help him become a man.
Instead, he was still the video game infused, shut-in, struggling boy, only armed with state-of-the-art weaponry, all purchased by his mother.
Twenty-six deaths later, it was clear that his problems were not solved by his mother’s providing him with state-of-the-art deadly weapons.
A sorrowful lesson of natural consequences is that Lanza’s first victim of his well-planned assault on innocents was his own mother.
I grew up around guns and have owned them since I was 13. It was usual around my farm family who hunted quail, rabbits, and squirrels, and ate what they took from our land.
Just to see a gun is a shock to some people; but to me, it’s no different than seeing a hammer or a pair of pliers, which were also a part of the landscape of my youth.
Although I stopped hunting many years ago, a series of intersections of dangerous work, and the need to keep my family safe about five years ago prompted me to earn a concealed carry permit. I’m glad those circumstances no longer exist.
And so my view of the value of sole-purpose self-defense guns continues to change and evolve.
The possession of hunting guns earlier in life and then self-defense guns later in life has sharpened my awareness that guns are deadly tools that make it much easier to get hurt or hurt someone else than any other type of tool like a club or a knife.
As I argued in an earlier post, Armed Teachers Are Not the Answer, without a whole separate set of deliberate, conscious efforts to keep deadly mistakes from occurring, guns in your possession in any kind of way add a large measure of negative potential that just isn’t there in a gun’s absence.
The seldom-achieved positive potential to avert a threat is seldom accomplished any other way except to harm someone else. That leaves us wondering how to define what is positive, even in the best of circumstances.
Personal doubt, problems, and wrestling with evil, are in a different realm than the existential dynamics of people shooting at one another.
Maybe you don’t feel like a man.
Maybe you are angry with your husband or parents.
Maybe you are angry with a whole class of people.
Maybe you want desperately to feel like you have more control of your life.
You can solve those problems, but it takes your own effort from the inside out.
A gun won’t do that for you.