Peace in Speaking Up

I generally find that peace comes from within. And voicing my thoughts do not necessarily help me to find a calmer state. However, there are times when words must be shared. When ideas must be conveyed. When action is required.

What occurred yesterday in Uvalde, Texas is an atrocity. While it is clear that the shooter was responsible for taking the lives of children and a teacher, I fear each of us has blood on his hands, as we’ve sat by doing nothing to help the gun violence issues in the United States.

I cannot remain silent. The 2nd Amendment was drafted in 1791, during a very different time. In those days, every man between the ages of 16 and 60 was required by law to join the militia at any given time. It was also a time when pests and vermin were readily handled with a musket or a flintlock pistol. This was clearly well before semiautomatic weapons or magazines existed.

Today, people think they have a right to continue to bear arms. Individuals claim it is an “infringement of rights” to deny this. This is a cowardly, ill-fitted phrase attempting to give people the power to believe they have rights to do anything they please, when they don’t. You don’t have the right to keep rules in place that aren’t working, but are instead taking the lives of innocent people.

What does a modern society need semiautomatic weapons for?

Why can we purchase magazines of anywhere from 20-100 rounds of ammunition in a clip?

Why don’t we need background checks to obtain weapons?

Why haven’t we come up with a solution to end the gun violence epidemic?

Lots of people I love and care about enjoy using guns to hunt, which provides substantial food supply and a source of sportsmanship and entertainment. To that I say, there are other ways to get food and find entertainment. A bow and arrow, a crossbow, skeet shooting. Maybe if you live in Alaska and need to protect your family from a bear I could understand the need for a weapon. But semiautomatics? That’s like saying you need a tank to get to school. I’m calling bullshit.

I fail to see how or why any of this makes sense. We need legislation to take away the weapons responsible for killing innocent people over and over and over and over again. Other countries have restrictions in place that protect their populace.

The UK banned handguns after the school shooting in Dunblane in 1996.

In Ireland, “all firearms must be licensed individually, each applicant must have a good reason for having the firearm, must have a safe place in which to use it, must have a secure place in which to store it, and to be of sound mind and temperate habits.”

“Canada puts guns into three categories: prohibited (most handguns that have a short barrel or are .32 or .25 caliber, fully automatic weapons, guns with sawed-off barrels, and certain military rifles like the AK-47), restricted (some handguns, some semi automatic rifles, and certain non-semi automatic rifles), and non-restricted (regular and some military-style shotguns and rifles). The general idea is that more dangerous guns face much harsher regulations and restrictions on purchase, ownership, and storage” (Lopez, 2018).

In Switzerland, automatic weapons are banned to civilians. Further, “Private gun ownership generally requires a license, for which an applicant “must be at least 18 years of age, may not have been placed under guardianship, may not give cause for suspicion that he would endanger himself or others with the weapon, and may not have a criminal record with a conviction for a violent crime or of several convictions for nonviolent crimes,” according to the Library of Congress’s review of Swiss gun laws. The license is valid for six to nine months, and it’s usually valid only for one weapon” (Lopez, 2018).

Remember learning the rules in elementary school? Sometimes they felt a little silly because you were that kid who could handle yourself. Like gum chewing. I knew not to chew in front of the teacher, not to spit my gum on the floor or to tuck it under the desk, but we couldn’t chew gum. None of us. It was rude and we all had to abide because other kids didn’t know better. Rules are more often than not put in place to take care of the lowest common denominator. We’ve proven as an American society that we can’t handle the training, the education, the care, and the safety needed to keep children safe from guns. So, you lose. We all lose. And as a result, we need to clamp down on this NOW.

I’ve already written to two senators. I have more on my list for this weekend. We need to make a change. Because now, we have a culture of gun violence on our hands. This is what has become an American norm and I’m just not ok with that.

If you disagree, I welcome you to. But consider this: we need a change. Something. Anything. Because children are dying. Innocent people are dying, and we need to do something about it. You want to keep your guns? Figure out how we’re supposed to do that without losing more innocent lives. Cuz’ I’m ready to throw them all away.

Praying for peace.

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