Working in a fire station, we have had so many interesting discussions lately about the terror in Newtown, CT. Many of my co-workers and fellow EMT’s and the fire fighters that work with me own guns. Many guns and some like the weapons used in the shootings. So this has opened discussion about guns, gun safety, gun laws, personal protection etc. Sometimes the discussions get heated, but so far have remained respectful. I ask because I really don’t understand or get the love of guns. I truly don’t! I’m not being funny or an activist here or anything. I simply don’t get it.
I’ve been a vegetarian and a pacifist for many, many years, so I respectfully just asked my colleagues to explain the need for all their weapons and ammo. Each had different reasons actually, and each had a different reaction to what should be done now in the wake of the horror. All agreed it was horrible, but not all thought gun laws should change. Some took pause and wondered if they should sell some guns, others staunchly said never. Some may buy more. But discussion always included the fact that guns were not the main reason this happened. And I agree.
Almost anyone agrees that multiple factors were at play to cause this tragedy. And we can never 100% know the reason. But the question I wonder about now is how our rights as citizen’s get curtailed, taken-away, or changed based on death, tragedy or bad circumstances based on someone’s behaviors? I was trying to point these things out to my co-workers: it’s not only gun laws that change in light of awful things, but other freedoms.
One I think of right off is buying things like Sudafed other ephedrine type substances. There was a time you could just go into a pharmacy and buy packages right off the shelf…a few packages if you want. Until meth labs starting using it to make crystal meth. Now an ordinary citizen must go and ask a pharmacist for it behind the counter, and I would imagine if I asked for too many, a red flag would fly up! This seems to me an infringement on my freedom. But it’s in reaction to bad stuff that’s happened. The government felt it had to step in a do something about it. Just like they are doing now about the gun laws (or talking about anyway).
We could use drunk driving also. The laws in place for this too. And making cars safer as so many people died. Speed limits lowering, seat belts, airbags, car seats, blah blah. Are these my rights being curtailed? Maybe I should be able to drive 80 everywhere? With no seat belt or anything. Maybe I don’t want to pay for safety equipment in my car? Do I have a choice? No, I don’t. As a kid I used to lay on the back seat of my parents car! No one thought twice about it. Not now.
My point is, we all make sacrifices as life changes, people change, society changes. Is society changing? Are we getting colder, harsher, meaner, more callous? Are semi-automatic weapons more prevalent and being used more for mass shootings? Are there more mental health issues and are these people not getting the help they need? Is TV, the computer, video games helping young people to be more violent? Is it time for our government to step in and curtail rights and for us to make sacrifices for the greater good? We have done it before. I don’t know…but I am asking myself these questions. And I’m asking others these questions too. I truly hope that before people just say no, I will never put my gun down, or I need 10 more guns now, they will at least think about some of these questions. The only way we can heal as a society is if we collectively try.
Please, tell me what I need to do so school children don’t get murdered again and I will be happy do it.