Open Letter to Frank

In this post, I highlighted just one of the many devastating attacks by a deadly weapon that often occur in this country and in our schools.

Frank was good enough to respond to that post and in my response to him, I thought the ideas I expressed so relevant to how I process this issue that I would share it with you.  You can read his thoughts by following the link above if you would like some background as to what he wanted to express.

Dear Frank:

Thank you for your thoughts.  I’m not exactly sure, from your scenarios, whether you are being for or against gun control but here are some of my thoughts on what you have written.

Presumably these good people who take their concealed weapons into the mini-mart are the same ones who will blow away the ones who are already blowing away our children.  I wonder where they were in all the cases so far.  I would be more than interested in the news reports of those vigilantes who prevented the slaughter of schoolchildren. As it is, I am merely passing along information.

I wonder, though, just as an aside, how it would be better to have our classrooms and our mini-marts turned into armed “shoot-’em-up” / Wild West stand-off zones.

Frank, you may or may not be surprised to know that I myself grew up surrounded by firearms. The men on both sides of my family were and continue to be avid hunters and I myself was taught the use of a rifle for target shooting before my teenage years.  It was only when I had the chance to live in and travel to other countries and societies that managed to support a peaceable society free of firearms that I realized how very odd America’s gun culture really is.

I have heard your (presumed) argument before in defense of being allowed to pursue civilian justice.

No, I personally do not think guns will just “go away” if gun ownership rights are limited or revoked.

However, I do believe it is a step in the right direction (which would be to eradicate or severely limit this pernicious pest) to actually limit the right to own such unnecessary items as, say, semi-or fully-automatic assault weapons. What individual actually NEEDS that kind of weapon and wouldn’t it be better to say no one can have them in order to eventually get them out of the hands of criminals?

To me, this argument is one that seeks to maintain the status quo out of fear, that rejects the possibility of individual responsibility for the problem and that places the convenience or interests of the individual over the corporate good of the society as a whole.

The U.S. is the only “civilized” (and I use that term loosely in that context) country in the world with the kinds of gun ownership rights we “enjoy” and it is also the highest in terms of gun victims in the “civilized” world.

When I walked around the streets of major metropolitan areas in Korea by myself alone at night, a lone female, I was not concerned that I did not have an automatic weapon in my purse with which to “protect” myself.  I did not need it because, while the “bad guys” may have had guns, there were very few to go around and your average petty-assed thug did not have access to them.  I would not feel that safe walking around certain parts of US cities IN THE DAYTIME because of the risk of having a gun pulled on me.
And while there may always be a black market even if gun ownership were severely restricted, eventually the resources for them would dwindle over time.

I am curious to know, Frank, how many times you yourself (if you are, presumably, a gun owner) have needed to “defend” yourself by smattering the brains of “the bad guy” all over the convenience store wall?

Along with that, I really do not understand this idea that we must “defend” ourselves at all.  Do we live in the Wild, Wild West?   This kind of cops and robbers scenario in which the cops = civilians and the gun-toting evil villians lurk around the corner at every step only perpetuates the hysteria and is itself perpetuated by a violence-loving media, lapped up at every turn by the average American viewer through the news, at the movies and in TV shows like “Cops”, “CSI” and “24” (although, not being a TV viewer myself, I can only guess at the contect of these types of shows).

Maybe gun owners need to confront their own feelings of stranger-fear, take a few classes on how to resolve issues without the use of violence (or, if that is too much wishful thinking, pursue the self-defense offered through martial arts, which includes the rapid disarming of miscreants with firearms and other weapons as it turns your own body into en effective weapon, one that you are indeed never without and one that needs no concealing, except of course, for clothing) and take off their own blinders to the fact that the current level of gun ownership rights in our country do more to hurt than help our culture.

No, Frank, don’t worry. I myself am enough of a realist to know that America’s violence frenzy, fueled as it is by TV and movies, well-protects it’s enthrallment to guns and the gun culture and that saddening though it may be to me and, it seems, very few others, innocent men, women and children will continue to be caught in the crossfire and will continue to be the sacrificial lamb to this blood-thirsty and insidious god.

Yours Truly,

Michele

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