Originally written on Twitter, February 21, 2018.
Nothing has changed, except it’s gotten worse.
Reposting it here, now, because there is no room in my heart to say this again.
(Note: read the link if possible. I like the gifs.)
I’ve spent my entire professional career putting people back together after trauma, especially gun trauma. 19 years.
When I say I’m tired of it, I’ve earned it.
When I say I find the vast majority of gun owners insecure, immature & lacking empathy, I’m speaking from experience.
Let’s talk about avoidance. It’s what we do when we don’t want to do something, but can’t just say we don’t want to. It’s having a headache instead of going out with a difficult friend, or pretending your mother’s voicemail got garbled instead of admitting you just X’ed it.
As a culture, we’ve been avoiding the gun discussion for decades. We talk about metal detectors in schools, background checks, or hardened safe rooms. When we talk about these, we’re not talking about the simple premise that a gun is a tool that does nothing but kill.
That’s a gun’s sole purpose. It’s not about protection or self defense or hunting. It’s about intentionally killing. Even when we only use them for target practice, the paper target is practice for killing. And the people who advocate for guns are practicing murder.
We need to stop avoiding this and start thinking about it. The people who believe their gun rights are more important than other people’s right to live in safety are prioritizing their desire to own property that kills over other people’s lives. It really is that simple.
Most gun owners hate hearing this. They want to believe they are an exception. They want to justify their fears & anger & self-interest. But they’re driven by fear of other people, by their own sense of insecurity, and selfishness.
We have to face this, as culture. Gun owners need to face this.
A home with badly secured guns is more likely to be robbed, b/c the *guns* are the object of desire. A home w/ a secured gun safe? Less likely to be robbed, safer for everyone who lives there. There is nothing in your house worth taking a life. It’s just stuff.
A person who keeps a gun for home protection is more likely to fatally injure a family member in the middle of the night. Your kid may sneak out. It’s what kids do. That transgression shouldn’t risk death. Most of us don’t trust ourselves w/ snacks at night. Guns aren’t snacks.
Women who own guns to protect themselves from stranger rape or domestic violence are more likely to have those guns turned on themselves. Domestic violence kills 3 of us every day. That’s 3 times the per capita rate in the UK, and 5 times the Swedish rate. Most rapists are known.
Half of medication suicide attempts fail, and the vast majority of people who attempt suicide do not want to have died. 95% of people who attempt suicide with a gun succeed. If more of them failed, perhaps we’d know they didn’t want to die, either. But we can’t ask. They died.
I’m not saying don’t hunt; I know elk herds need management. I’m saying there’s a perfect tool for meat hunting& it’s neither a hand gun nor a semi-automatic rifle. It’s either a compound bow or a long-range rifle. The bow is better for you. It improves your core strength, and… …and we know that elderly people with good core strength are less prone to life-threatening falls, and maintain their activity levels deeper into extreme old age. Bow hunting is good for your brain and body. Learning new skills protects against brain degeneration.
In terms of hunting, gun hunting is low skill, high consumption. It has a low challenge rating, says the practitioner is unwilling to work on their skills. With a semi-automatic, it’s kind of contemptible, trading ammo money for accuracy. If you want fun & rapid, try paintball.
Of all guns, the semi-auto is the easiest to give up, with the lowest skill rating, the least utility, does the most damage for the least return. It’s not even good for punching holes in paper targets. Use the right tool for the job, and we have no arguments.
But we’ve got to stop failing to think about what we’re allowing. We cannot prioritize the individual fantasy of Wolverines! Over the Wall! John Wayne Rides Again! against the whole of society.
If a patient comes into my office telling me they think they have a right to hit their child or spouse, we dig into that error of thinking. Because it is an error. Gun ownership is that same error, writ large. It says,“I have the right to decide who lives or dies in my presence.”
That is monstrous arrogance, bordering on sociopathy. And it’s time to face it. We need to call the arrogance and fear by their names and stop avoiding the reality we’ve created. #StopTheNRA #StudentsStandUp