I noticed this week, without even watching the news, that there have been an alarming number of public shootings. This week. It got me to wondering just how many people there are out there who think that the best way to resolve an issue is to pick up a gun and shoot some people?
Which led to my next thought: Why do they think that way?
Which led to my next thought: Because, quite possibly, their parents never taught them differently.
Now, I'm not saying their parents taught them it was okay to shoot people when you're angry. But the lack of instruction is just as powerful.
So much of who we are, what we think, what we believe, and how we live is learned in childhood.
There was a time in this country when many more families owned guns. Going back to the humble, courageous beginnings of our nation, every family was armed. Guns were necessary, both for protection and for providing meat. For a couple hundred years, guns were a mainstay, just like the cookstove.
But instruction in the proper handling and usage of those guns went right along with them. Fathers taught their children to respect the weapon, to always assume it was loaded, and to handle it carefully. It was a rite of passage for a son to become old enough to hunt with his father, or to defend his mother and sisters from danger.
Fast forward to the present. What is the main message about guns? They are bad. Fewer and fewer households have guns, so there is little discussion about them either. Guns are banned in most public places. The good guys must pass tests and apply for licenses for guns, while the bad guys attain them without the red tape.
If guns are no longer a part of the household, they are not discussed. If they are not discussed, children are not instructed in the proper use and handling of guns. Fathers are not teaching their sons that a gun is to be used for protection or hunting. They are not telling their sons that a gun is not to be used in anger.
So now we find ourselves in Bizarro world. The angry people have guns, and the rest of the population, believing them to be dangerous, have nothing with which to defend themselves. If a man is mad at his wife, he shoots her. If a man is unhappy about the outcome of a business dealing, he shoots his partner. If a teenager is mistreated at school, he shoots the other students.
We must go back to the old ways, and teach our children, not only how to handle a weapon properly, but also how to deal with disappointment, anger, frustration, and rejection.
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington
"Violence is an evil thing, but when the guns are all in the hands of the men without respect for human rights, then men are really in trouble. It was all right for folks back east to give reasons why trouble should be handled without violence. Folks who talk about no violence are always the ones who are first to call a policeman, and usually they are sure there's one handy." - Louis L'Amour, western writer
"Arms discourage and keep the plunderer and invader in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property . . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." - Thomas Paine, Founding Father
"A strong body makes a mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson
And then there's that teeny-tiny mention of our rights as Americans:
". . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." - The Bill of Rights
The laws that are in place today have only been put there in the last 20-30 years, and they are clearly unconstitutional. In Bizarro world, we punish the good guys and the bad guys continue to do as they have always done.
And it all goes back to parenting.
And if you don't like this post, don't shoot the messenger. : )
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