Guns Kill People

I grew up in a split-level house with a window in one of the bedrooms overlooking the roof of the garage. A couple of times, my brother and I (and maybe a friend or two) climbed out the window onto the roof of the garage and jumped down. We were free to roam around the neighborhood in the middle of the night. We could have gone out one of the sliding glass doors in the back just as easily, but there was more adventure to jumping off the roof. We didn’t cause any trouble – we just walked around in the wee hours of the morning and then snuck back into the house.

What if one of those times one of the neighbors had perceived us to be dangerous criminals, out to burglarize homes? And what if one of those neighbors had had a loaded gun? I shudder to think what could have happened to us.

I have to think that if George Zimmerman hadn’t been carrying a loaded gun, he never would have gotten out of his car to confront a person that he perceived to be a threat. And Trayvon Martin would still be alive. I know the comeback: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” I’ve never seen the logic in the statement. A person holding a loaded gun is much more likely to kill a person than someone who doesn’t have a gun. And, in George Zimmerman’s case, he even had the support of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

I know that parents of black children worry about racial profiling. I don’t blame them. As a parent, I also worry. I have two young adults who live in Texas. What if some drunk carrying a gun decided that my son or daughter looked threatening? It scares me. It scares me that it’s ok for people in Oklahoma and Texas and other states to carry around loaded guns as they go about their day. I have to think that a person carrying a gun thinks that at some point, he or she will need to use it. I would also venture to guess that a person carrying a gun actually wants to use it and may be looking at situations from that perspective.

A friend of mine told me a story about a college student who was staying with friends in an upscale, suburban neighborhood where the houses looked similar. He had been out drinking and the student went to the wrong house, tried to open the door and the resident shot him. These things happen. I personally know three people who have told me that a family member was shot and killed because that person just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I know my anti-gun stance is probably not popular, but it’s my opinion. There’s too much gun violence in the United States. I used to worry about my children going to a home where the family owned guns. I also worried when they were teenagers and they were out at night. Would someone mistake them for someone else and shoot them? Would they be driving down the road and be hit by a random shot? Now that they’re young adults, I worry about the fact that guns can be anywhere, carried by anyone. Yes, anyone. If you can sell guns online or at a gun show without a background check, that means anyone can get a gun. Does that make you feel safer? Not me.

Categories: Editor’s Blog