Monday, June 13, 2016

God, Guns & Gays

Stereotypes abound, and I couldn't resist.

Our American lives are constantly touched by violence of all kinds. Guns are just a small part of it. Just a brief Google search shows statistics of 90+ gun deaths a day in America.  Roughly 7 kids and teens per day.

By now we are all familiar with the Orlando gay nightclub shooting. Horrible no matter how you might feel about "the gays". That shooting alone was 50 deaths.

We hear all about how guns are safe and it is the person that kills not the gun. There is concealed carry and happy courses to go with it. The fiction is out there that we are protecting ourselves by having guns in our homes. It's our right. But it might not be right.

It is indeed our right.  It's also our right to pick our nose in public, scratch our crotch, or say out loud how fat and smelly someone is. Mostly we don't do those things though, social mores and all.

So far this year, 6 months in, more than 1000 people have died from "accidental" gunshots.

Gun shots have been close to home this week. My oldest, whom I can barely call Little Mr. anymore, has identified with the LGBT community for a while. The shots fired in Orlando hit very close to our home. He is almost to the age where a club like that would be the place he and his friends would go. It was another moment that took away more of his illusions of what America is like and how safe he actually is.

Gun shots have been too close to home.

I was in a home last week where a gun was unintentionally fired. A very real bullet when through a very real wall.  A wall very near to me.

Now, before you go off, pun intended, read the rest of the story.

I have quite a few friends both on Facebook and in real life that have guns. They have all done the courses of gun safety. They have the locked safe to keep the guns in. They shoot only at the range when sober. They follow all the rules, whether for hunting or personal use.

These friends are God fearing Christians and law abiding citizens. They aren't drunks or addicts or gamblers. They don't beat or cheat on their spouses. They are parent volunteers in classrooms and churches. They vote and sing the anthem with their hand over their heart. They care about kids, the elderly, puppies and Autism. They wear their seat-belts and try to eat their veggies.

These are good people.

Good people.

Yet a mistake was still made. A gun was fired. A bullet went through a wall. The gun shot smell rose up to our noses. Our ears rang. It was real.

The shooting in Orlando wasn't an accident. The shooter planned and did this on purpose, whatever twisted purpose he had.

All of this isn't so much to say we shouldn't have our guns. It's our right after all, as Americans. It is to say though, that somewhere along the line we, as an American whole, have made some sort of mistake. We worked very hard to become a nation united and yet now we spend most of our time and energy and money bickering and killing.

Perhaps our answers lie in this God thing, or maybe even in the Gay thing. Both sides, often against each other, usually say the same thing when you get right down to it. It goes something like, respect, forgive and love unconditionally.

Maybe it's as simple as guns could help us kill food. Beyond that, they aren't much good for anything but murder, death and war.

I think my new policy is more God, more Gays and a lot less guns.

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