it’s not about the guns

DSC_0211
Pacific Coast Highway 1, California

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
~ Albert Einstein

So it’s come to my attention that many of you thought my last post was all about guns. I guess I’m not surprised. The title had “gun” right in it and I suppose I did mention guns a number of times. The mere presence of that word really gets people going, sort of like “abortion.” (Annnd now people are going to comment on this post on how I’m a baby killer.) In any case, I certainly learned more about guns in the 24 hours after I posted than expected. So thank you to those who sent me informational links to videos about guns and other news stories and to those who legitimately tried to help me sort it out, correct my terminology, point out misunderstandings.

I like learning. But some things were more eye-opening than educational.

FACEBOOK
A friend of mine shared my post on FB. I always feel a bit guilty calling out people I don’t know, but then I remember this came from Facebook, where people choose how to identify themselves publicly. 

Fair enough. Except for this part: I didn’t state any facts in my post. Never once did I mention AR-15, and I most certainly did not call it an automatic weapon, because until this week, I had no idea what an AR-15 even was. Now I do, so, there’s that. I am not a gun expert. I never claimed to be. I made it very clear I knew nothing about guns, but booooy did I enjoy shooting them that one time I shot them. I deliberately made sure the only facts in that post were the actual guns I held in my own hands at the range. And I won’t even pretend to understand what connection was being made in the second half of that comment, but it wasn’t a one I was trying to make.

Buuuuut, now that I know a little more about gun classification, I do feel qualified to say this: I could give two shits how guns are “classified.” Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, while Meth classifies as Schedule II and we all know how much sense that makes. In case you’re not up on your drug schedules:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.

Marijuana in some form, is now legal in several states and medical marijuana has been a thing for quite some time. Apparently if you put the word “medical” in front of “marijuana” it’s magically less dangerous and more acceptable. And seriously, parents of America, would you be more upset if you found out your kid was smoking pot or smoking meth? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, that’s how I feel about your government classifications.

IMG_6483 (1)
This is me. Enjoying my first time ever shooting at the range. Damn, I’m good.

 

Back to the original post. So I used the words “assault” and “automatic.” My bad, I seriously had no idea there was such a semantic war in the gun debate. What I should have said, in retrospect, is WHY THE NEED FOR THOSE BIG GUYS THAT HOLD SO MANY OF THOSE LITTLE GUYS THAT SEEM TO REALLY MAKE IT RAIN DEATH?

Did I put that in words we can all understand and agree upon definitions? To clarify:

BIG GUYS = large guns
LITTLE GUYS = anything shooting out of the big guys
MAKE IT RAIN DEATH = Make it Rain Death

Now, I am a word person. I (now) understand that gun terminology is a hot-headed debate, and for that I apologize. I was scolded for incorrectly using the word “assault” next to the word “weapon.” Apparently “those damn Dems” are using the words all wrong to induce fear and what have you. I actually get it, I understand the stance. Words are extremely powerful. (A serious thank you to Brian F – your Facebook messages were quite informative and helpful.) Honestly though, as someone relatively new to this gun conversation, I wasn’t trying to call anything that it wasn’t, and I don’t think my choice of words was all that out of line.

ASSAULT
The full definition of assault.
WEAPON
The full definition of weapon.

I am simple layperson, someone in the business of stringing words together in hopes of making people feel and think, definitely NOT in the business of tricking anyone into thinking anything. And there is nothing in those two definitions that makes me think, oh shoot, you’re right. Assault doesn’t really fit next to weapon here. Because I, like many other people across the world, consider anything used to purposefully kill people an “assault weapon.” That’s why I used the generic term “weapon.”

DSC_0226
Tree.

Because a weapon can be anything. Imagine substituting “gun” for something else. Remove that sensitive word from the equation. Replace it with literally ANYTHING ELSE. If people were entering rooms and slaughtering people in mass quantities with scissors before being stopped, I assure you, I would feel the same way about scissors. Scissors would be the assault weapon. But when it came to the necessity of scissors, at least you’d be able to give some valid reasons as to why you need scissors:

But, tosha, I cut hair for a living. It’s my livelihood. I’m a tailor, I cut cloth. Sometimes during the holiday, I admit, I use my scissors for pleasure, like cutting out pictures of snowmen with my children, and making daisy chains. But you know what? These scissors are killing people. I can find a way to live without them. Hey, maybe I can try to make it work with those round-tipped ones. Oooh, or the fun ones that cut shapes into construction paper. 

And why did everyone assume I was reacting directly to Orlando? Maybe you’re glued to the TV reliving the terrible details of the massacre again and again, correcting the newscaster on their gun terminology and all the facts they got wrong. But I’m not. I heard the basics: A dude walked into a club and killed a bunch of innocent people dancing. Do I need to hear more? And yes, it may be the most recent “newsworthy” shooting, but it’s certainly not the only one still on my mind. They’re all on my mind. Every one. Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed my coworker slowly realize his brother was the sole victim in the UCLA campus shooting. His expression is one I hope to never to see again, yet there it is, forever burned into my memory.

IMG_8544
In search for the beauty in an ugly world. Big Sur, California. Photo cred: my sister

America seems to be stuck in a tragic cycle of catastrophe, followed by a vicious defense of rights, sprinkled with go-to gun facts to counter any argument made, until enough time passes and emotions subside, but just until another tragedy strikes. We would rather argue over the definition of meaningless words than turn an internal eye on ourselves, because it’s easier than asking ourselves questions that challenge the beliefs we’re clinging onto for dear life. Don’t you see? I wasn’t referring to any one massacre, any one shooter, any specific blip in time. I don’t care what specific gun was used in Orlando. That’s why I never said a word about Orlando. I don’t care if it was an AK47, military grade, assault automatic bazooka Joe bubblegum. I don’t care if the words I used aren’t technically accurate. Because that’s not the point. I was attempting to paint a bigger picture, a picture of a huge forest with lots of trees. Yet for some reason, it was the tiny details I never even used that you focused on, that caught your attention. You saw the giant palm tree I never painted into my coniferous forest.

You filled details into the blanks I wasn’t leaving. You made connections that didn’t exist. You made points that I would never attempt to make. I try not to speak above my pay grade, above my knowledge base, which is exactly why I write about how I feel and the crazy thoughts running wild in my head instead of current events and factoids. I went to Journalism school and never became a Journalist for a reason. It’s not my thing.

DSC_0125
The clouds covering the ocean at the end of the world. Big Sur, California.

So no. I wasn’t trying to challenge gun facts, argue politics, scare anyone with creative terminology. Because that last post wasn’t about guns; it was about you.

In case you missed it the first time…

I was just questioning how you could justify the right to possess weapons which seem to exist solely for “sport and entertainment,” OR, if placed in the wrong hands, to assault people in mass quantities.

(Side note: even when I separate “assault” from “weapon” the end result is the same: People are Dying.)

I was just curious, as to how you could justify the need for these weapons, weapons that have already destroyed so many lives, unless you are planning to destroy something, too.

I was just wondering how an object, a thing, a possession came to mean more to you than someone else’s daughter, son, mother, brother, sister, father. And I was wondering when that happened, when Your sport and entertainment, Your needs and Your rights became more valuable, more sacred than Life itself.

I got a lot of emails, comments, messages. But it was so weird.

Nobody answered my question.

DSC_0203
Big Sur, California

4 Comments on “it’s not about the guns

  1. Self defense. If you have never had to defend yourself from someone quicker, stronger, bigger or better armed than you then you might not understand. Certainly the “right” of the police or military to posses and use weapons capable of killing for self defense and the defense of others is justified, isn’t it? When the 2nd Amendment was thought up and adopted there were no police officers. The military was all volunteer and made up of farmers and shop keepers, many of whom had to bring their own weapons with them to serve. The efficiency and lethality of weapons has certainly changed since the late 1700’s. Each technological “improvement” ultimately made the weapon’s capability of killing people expand, sometimes by a large extent. But a flintlock musket can kill a human just as effectively as a fully automatic machine gun. Maybe not as fast but just as dead. So somewhere in between there are limitations on who and what can be “legal.” And here is where we have to be careful what we wish for. Even the best police department cannot be Johnny on the spot to defend you anytime anywhere. So some people factor that into their self defense strategy. The choice between a flintlock single shot musket and a semi automatic rifle or pistol is an individual one. Both are legal to own but are very different in their effectiveness, Our constitution guarantees that each citizen has the “right” to make that choice. Your opinion on what method is best to protect you is valid for you and may not be valid for anyone else. Some people are willing to rely on the police to protect them and choose not to own any type of weapon. But others are not and choose to own the most effective weapon they can afford to protect their home and family.

    As to terms, again we have to be careful. Having instructed firearms training for over thirty years (I am thankfully now retired), I sense that many do not even begin to understand the lethality of different types of firearms. Semi auto rifles and pistols are often the subject of those who wish to “ban” or “outlaw” certain firearms. They are described as too powerful and shoot too many bullets too fast to suit the banners. Trust me, a six shot revolver or a hunting shotgun can kill just as quickly. And just how long does it take for an armed and trained police officer to arrive and end the threat of an active shooter. Scary.

    Your question is indeed a thoughtful one. One that is not easy to answer. In a perfect world self defense would not be an issue. Until then we will struggle to find your answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your thoughtful reply Mike (I always appreciate your responses, actually). And to your point, you are correct, I haven’t had to defend myself from someone bigger or stronger…at least not physically. Verbally, now that’s a different story. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I rely on the police to defend me either. Because I personally don’t live in a manner or a place where I feel threatened by life. Sure, anything can happen anywhere, I understand that. Just a few weeks ago, my dad found himself in a situation with an intruder/robber in Chicago, and I will say, it’s a comfort to know he had a gun AND knew how to use it. I’m actually not totally against having a gun in my own home. I’d like to know more about them, and learn how to correctly use them.

      Protection is one thing, though I would maybe argue if a six shot revolver or a hunting shotgun can kill just as quickly, why can’t everyone just be happy with those guys. But then I read this statement: “Your opinion on what method is best to protect you is valid for you and may not be valid for anyone else.” You’re totally right. While hiking the AT, I hitched a ride with several locals who thought I was “batshit crazy” to not have a gun with me for protection. I thought they were batshit crazy to think I needed one. Different strokes.

      I don’t have any answers. I wish I did. That’s why I ask a lot of questions.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well let me chime in here Tosha and see if I can help you in your search for the answer.

    None of us can control when or who may want to attack/hurt/smear/destroy, (add whatever you want here) us. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. We also cannot control what someone thinks, which leads others to doing some of the previously mentioned.

    And Most of us really want it that way, we don’t want others forcing their ideas on us, in discussion or legislation. We enjoy the freedom of our ideas, our lives, which makes everyone want to,”Be Like Mike”, you younger folks van look up who Mike was, hint basketball was in his life.

    What we can control is how we react or respond to those who insist on forcing issues on others, either in simple dominance, muggings, robbery, or murder. I waste very little time thinking how I can control what others might do, I just prepare as best I can for what I might encounter in my day to day lifestyle.

    Possession of a weapon, a drug, a belief, or any ideology can and has been abused, shoot cars kill more people very day than we admit, but We Need cars, right. Food kills, everyday someone dies overweight or food poisoning or lack of it.

    So it might become clearer, if you think about the Person who eats too much, eats the wrong stuff, shouldn’t drive the car, owns a gun, on and on. Some problems cannot be solved, they can only be managed.

    Never hurts to keep asking questions though, I once asked a very wise man, “Why would anyone do that?” His response was very simple, ” Because thats what liars do, thats what murders do, thats what thieves do.” Thats what people do, you, I or anyone will not change that. It has been illegal to kill people for a long time yet somehow people just keep on doing it.

    Focus on what you can do in response to prepare for such things, and I don’t mean going extreme into making it your focus of life.

    Love ya,
    Dad

    Like

    • Yes, Food kills people, but each person has a choice to eat what they eat. And the government has a hand in telling us what people can sell people to eat, but no one seems to mind. They define what’s good and what’s bad, organic, all-natural, farm fresh. Expiration dates aren’t even real, and yet still people throw out good milk when the date on the carton tells them to. Some of the stuff on the shelf in America is banned in every other country in the world (thanks FDA!). But gobble up, you’s.

      Yes, cars kill people. But there’s a reason they are referred to as car “accidents” and not car “massacres.” And the government puts restrictions on our use of these death machines as well. They tell us how fast we can drive in designated areas. They fine us for not wearing seat belts. They make us take classes and tests before we can legally drive on the roads. They tell us at what level of intoxication is safe to operate a vehicle. And they take away our right to drive when we break the rules.

      And part of the government is STILL trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. (Trust me, I hear ya when you talk about not wanting others forcing ideas upon us…)

      But somehow owning a gun remains this untouchable institution. You want a gun? A big one? Lot of bullets? And body armor to boot? Here you are, sir/ma’am. Enjoy.

      Yes we take risks every day. I’m just hoping to improve my odds of being alive while still enjoying the freedom of my ideas by lessening the things that can kill me while doing so. Unfortunately, I do not have the “if you can’t beat em, join em” attitude on this one.

      Your death and the death I am referring to is not the same (mostly because of the murder part).

      Love ya.

      Like

Talk to me, Goose.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: