The Gun Debate
It is amazing how such a little piece of metal that has played such an important role in our country now divides it. On one side we have:
and on the other side we have:
Both feel strongly about their position and why they are undoubtedly in the right.
If you study the history of guns, you know that they were in the Asian and Middle Eastern societies well before coming to this continent. We have lived with guns in American society from our beginning. Like most other things, guns have expanded in both their varieties and their designs. They have always been used and misused for the same purposes. It really comes down to who is holding the gun.
The Value of Guns
America was once a predominately rural and agricultural society. In that setting, guns were a necessity as much as the axe and the cow. In rural America today, guns are just part of the fabric of that culture. Children are taught the purpose and power of firearms. There is a comfort with guns because there is an understanding of guns. This is usually learned in the family setting or at least by close friends. So is “gun control”.
Let me give you a personal example of how this works. I had known, from an early age, where my dad kept his guns. Since he kept them in a separate place, I knew they were to be treated differently than other tools. I was probably seven or eight when I started going on hunts with my dad. I pretty much just followed him through the woods and payed little attention other than to the birds chirping or how cold I was. For the most part, I was bored. However, over time I noticed how my dad handled a gun, what direction the gun was pointed as we walked, when he took a shot and when he didn’t. My dad taught more by example than by words. However, when it was time for me to carry a gun on the hunt, I knew the basics. Just to make sure I understood, my dad gave me few but clear instructions on the intent of guns and the value of life. I did not fear guns other than out of respect for life. With that core understanding, I was going on hunts alone after school at twelve or thirteen. My “background check” and “waiting period” had been administered by Dad.
By the time sixteen rolled around, I had shotguns, rifles, and had even bought a revolver. Since we could drive, friends would get together to hunt or to just target shoot for bragging rights. It was very clear very early who was to be trusted and who was to be culled from our gun gatherings. This was our form of “gun control”. If you either didn’t understand the power of a gun or the value of a life, you were to never be around me with a gun close by. That didn’t prevent us from being friends or getting together for other activities, but you had lost your “gun rights” with me.
You may be thinking “That is a cute little story of Americana, but that is not everyone’s story.”, and you would be correct. I tell that story because it is a reality that is completely overlooked or discredited by those calling for “gun control”. However, the real point to the story is not about the guns. So what is my point? It is this. Being in the possession of a gun demands that you make a decision on the value of life and how you will respond to it. That is what has really changed in this country.
The Value of Life
Look at what has changed, over the past fifty years, in what we teach our children about the value of life. Who are they listening to and what are they being told? Compared to fifty years ago, are they listening less to their parents and more from outside influences? Is that because the parents are teaching less and, thus, created a vacuum that is being filled by others? I think we know the answer is yes. We also know that those outside influences are teaching our children that the value of life is diminishing. Who is teaching such a thing? It is not always from “real” life but more so from “make believe” and “virtual” life. Take a look at what is entering their eyes and ears through all forms of media. What are the most popular movies and video games? But even in “real” life, what are they seeing? They are seeing that life is a “choice” and it can be conveniently disposed if determined to be inconvenient.
The Value of Responsibility
If the value of life is diminishing, it is because the value of responsibility has been lost at an individual level. It so much easier to blame groups of other people for the demise of our society rather than take personal responsibility for ourselves and those we influence. This is not going to be corrected by another government intervention or social cause demonstration. It is a lot harder and inconvenient than that. Unfortunately, we tend to get rid of what is inconvenient even at the sake of human life.
So what can we do? Yes, we can support political parties and social causes. I am not opposed to those, but, we must understand they are secondary. Our primary responsibility is to ourselves and those we mentor. Life is taught one-on-one. Let’s make sure we start there. Make the investment and don’t create the void that will be filled with death.
You do not have to be a parent or grandparent to have a personal influence. However, if you are in that role and feel a little (or lot) under-equipped, seek out resources. Look for counselors in your community, books and podcasts (see Mark Gregston in the Bookshelf section of this site), even movies with positive life lessons. Whatever resource you choose, share it together with those you love. Don’t pass it off and don’t put it off.
Tell me your thoughts about gun control, value of life in America, and personal responsibility. Agree or disagree, just be heard.