I’m watching some of our own elders weigh in on gun issues through facebook, and I’m aghast at some of the conversations that are coming up from them, their supporters, and their opponents. I’ll be honest: I’m a fan of guns. It’s not politically correct to say that now, but I have to be honest. I grew up in a household with rifles and handguns. We used them to hunt; we used them to protect our home. Living in the country without a gun is a dangerous thing – rural living can be dangerous living, and we’ve had to put down rabid animals or other wild predators that threatened our lives and safety (honestly).
I’ve always said, and I will always say, that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. And I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment.
People cannot be trusted. The olodu Obara and its entire family of odu teach us that people at their core are liars and opportunists. Science believes that lying is hardwired into our nature. It is a survival mechanism. Mental illness is rampant, and children are raised in a culture of violence. The brain still grows and the personality still develops until about age 21, and even in a healthy young adult, actions aren’t always paired with consequences. The olodu Okana teaches us that the mind of a man (or woman) feels two things: the rage of the heart and its desire to love. If one pairs that with the mind of a traumatized individual or a mentally ill individual, instead of being a tool for hunting or a weapon of defence, a gun becomes dangerous.
Cultures change. Times change. Technology changes. I don’t believe, not for a minute, that our Founding Fathers envisioned a culture in which things like automatic rifles would be a possibility. These are the same men who denied women the right to vote; and they are the same men who wrote into our original constitution that blacks were only 3/5 of a human. And in today’s world, I can’t think of a single reason in which an automatic or semi automatic weapon should be in the hands of a civilian. They’re not tools for hunting. They’re not tools for protecting your home. They’re tools of war and tools of murder. There’s no practical reason for anyone to own such a gun, at least none that I can think of.
It’s past time for gun laws to be updated. In my field, nursing, I can’t lay a single hand on a patient, not even to change a soiled diaper, without first being fingerprinted by my employer and having a national background check done. I can’t clock in without first having a drug-check or mental health check or a complete physical at the beginning of my employment, and again every five years. Six months ago I filled out a volunteer application for the a charity in my community, and finally my background check is complete and I have an invitation for orientation. That background check included (believe it or not) access to both my facebook and twitter feeds. It took that long for them to complete it all before I could be considered for a volunteer service position. And at forty-something years of age, I can’t buy a single pack of cigarettes or even a beer without showing ID first.
Yet anyone can walk into the local Walmart and buy a gun.
My opinion is simple: owning a gun might be a right, but it’s a right that comes with huge responsibility. Responsibility should be proven and not assumed. And no responsible individual would want to own a weapon capable of mass murder. It’s not a responsibility that I would want to bear, not even after growing up in a culture of gun ownership.
Responsible religious elders should be more responsible in their advocacy. Just as a semi automatic weapon in the hands of an irresponsible individual can cause the mass murder of 27 innocent individuals, so can irresponsible advocacy do the same. And, ethically, which is worse: advocating the right to own a weapon of mass murder, or being the mass murderer yourself? Simply – you are what you advocate.