Black Heart Magazine is presenting ‘Disarm, A Gun Sense Anthology’. It has my short story in it along with many others. Please keep reading before reacting 🙂
I am sensitive to the fact that not all guns are created equally and that this is a hot button issue that is something that makes people on both sides of the fence bristle up with emotion almost instantly.
I recently had a conversation about gun control in a post I made that was a quote from Eisenhower. I have a wide range of friends from right to left and I enjoy them all, so long as we can keep dialogue open I’m happy to talk about nearly anything. I don’t make a lot of political posts or statements, not because I don’t have beliefs, but because I respect that everyone has beliefs. Sometimes, especially on social media anything even vaguely controversial can blow up out of all proportion and I think there’s enough in the world without me adding to that powder keg without good reason.
It was with good reason that I posted this quote by Eisenhower: I wanted to point out the cost of weaponry. This quote comes from the man who made it his mission to arm America and then realized the price it cost to buy and maintain the unnecessarily huge amounts of munitions that he had acquired.
There are so many better things we could be focused on than weapons. We could do so many things as a species. We’ve come far in our understanding and knowledge in a short period of time. Instead of our learning bringing us peace, it’s brought it more fear and a need to buy and create more and more weapons.
When I posted this quote a friend of mine said, ‘now, Virginia, remember your pioneering roots. You wouldn’t have had food in the freezer if it hadn’t been for your parents and grandparents having guns’.
I agreed wholeheartedly with my friend and I continue to agree with him. I’ve shot a rifle before, I’ve hunted before. I’m not afraid of guns and I grew up eating venison and moose more than I ate beef or pork. I’m from Northern Canada and up here, it’s still pretty wild. We have long, cold winters and a short growing season. Lets say, it’s not an easy place for aspiring vegetarians (although I’m sure people manage it somehow now).
But my parents, grandparents and great grandparents settled the land here and it was a dangerous job. There were big, scary animals out there. In fact one time when my dad went out he got treed by a moose! One of the only times he left the house without a gun and he spent the whole night up a tree with the moose trying to knock him down from his perch in the branches.
But even though the guns in my house were necessary they still ended a life. One of my best friends was killed by one of my Dad’s shotguns.
After Philip died, my dad couldn’t fire a gun again.
Not too long ago half of a family was murdered, a woman and her thirteen year old daughter by a man they had invited into their house who then shot himself. Again, they had guns in their house for all the right reasons but it still ended in tragedy. I spoke to one of the relatives who said, ‘at 9 his wife and daughter were just fine and by 9:30 he got a call that they were both dead’. The other daughter found out about it when she saw an RIP for her own mother on social media.
I don’t think guns are inherently evil or bad. I’m not afraid of them, I know how to use them.
The problem with guns is that it’s only a split second of the evil side of human nature to make a gun a fatal weapon. To a person who is in a pit of despair, a gun is a way out that is quick and easy. Too quick and too easy. It doesn’t allow the human mind time to repair, time to make better choices and time to move on.
In a moment of rage someone who could never bring themselves to attack someone in a way that would put actual blood on their actual hands can pull the trigger from across the room without looking their victim in the eye. The danger of guns is that they are split second evil machines and once the trigger has been pulled there is no undoing of that crime.
They are such simple devices. So clean, so easy to use. Even a child can learn how to safely use a gun and even a child who knows gun safety can make a mistake. Bravado and guns often go hand in hand. I’ve seen people who’ve rested their rifles on their foot while out hunting and shot their own foot off. It happens.
In Canada, gun control keeps anything but rifles as a difficult commodity to acquire. Everyone who operates a rifle must take an exam and course that stringently explain gun laws. Guns and ammunition must never be stored together and both must be kept under lock and key. Even with these precautions stupid accidents happen and public shootings happen as well.
Guns aren’t nearly as common here as they are in America, but they still take a toll. The planet is getting more crowded and tempers and differences in race, religion and creed augment our differences in a way that makes some people lose all restraint. In a case like that it’s too easy for the snick of a trigger to make the difference in the lives of the person pulling the trigger as well as the victims.
We’ve all heard the mantra a thousand times, Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yes. That’s true, but guns make it possible for cowards to kill without fear. Guns let people hide their humanity behind a scope and without so much as a splatter of blood end a human’s life at their whim. Rage is out of control. We need to give people more time to consider their actions, not less time as a gun gives.
People aren’t nearly as easy to kill if you have to struggle with them physically. It gives people a chance to fight back and guns don’t. That is why I contributed to this anthology and suggest that you give it a read. Whatever your stance is on guns know this, for however well armed you are, there’s always someone who can sneak up on you from behind. There is no way to make yourself completely safe from other people with guns by the use of guns. The folk who collect entire arsenals of guns are the ones who particularly alarm me.
Each gun must be maintained and cared for or it will be useless in a crisis. How many guns can you shoot at once? How much of these needs are driven by fear rather than a sense of empowerment?
I’m not asking you to agree with me on all these points, but I am asking that you take a moment to think about it.
Virginia Carraway Stark