Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Laws vs. Morals

(The following is my opinion. It is not meant as a resource for you to use to form your own opinion.)

I wanted to write this huge piece on this topic that would have been researched to within an inch of its life and cited and all of my opinions and facts backed up by scholarly, or at least, credible sources. I might still do that, but for now, this is where I'm at with this particular subject.

Gun Control

gun control, guns, gun violence, 2nd amendment
I’d say about 50% of what I see on Facebook are those card things, pictures, articles, and opinions about gun control. Whatever they might be.  It’s in the news almost every day. Everyone has an opinion.

Whether or not I believe in gun control, I don’t think that’s the root of the problem when it comes to gun violence. The problem began way before all of these various teenagers and adults decided to get their hands on a gun and shoot up the handiest target. The problem began way before those offenders were driven to commit these crimes.

What causes gun violence?

·      Lack of parenting.

·      Lack of morals.

·      Lack of  consideration for the consequences of our actions.

·      The stigma attached to depression and other mental disorders.

In my opinion, and from what I observe on a daily basis, parents don’t parent anymore and teachers don’t provide structure and consequences anymore. Nobody commands nor demands respect from kids. We allow kids to walk all over us. They strut around tattooed and pierced, wearing enough makeup for ten people and clothes that wouldn’t cover an infant, pretending to be adults when they still act like irresponsible kids that they are. They show up late for school or just don’t go. They disregard their curfew if they have one at all. These same kids play in the streets and vandalize people’s property either deliberately or due to a lack of respect for other people’s things. They don’t turn in homework because there is little to no consequences for doing so. They bully other kids because it’s funny, because the other kids are different in some way, because their parents and teachers don’t tell them it’s wrong. NOBODY takes ownership of their screw-ups and EVERYBODY passes the blame off onto someone or something else. A kid is failing their classes. Well, it’s the school’s fault for not teaching them. No. It’s the parent’s fault for not making them do the work. No. It’s the kids’ fault for not doing their job as a student. Pick one. You don’t have grocery money. Well, it’s the government’s fault for not handing you money. It’s the economy’s fault for not having enough available jobs. It certainly isn’t your fault for spending money on beer, drugs, cigarettes and cell phones instead of food. We don’t teach our kids the fundamentals of respect, that they are not entitled to passing grades or iPods or cell phones or trips to the mall. We don’t teach our kids that there are consequences for their actions.

Society’s moral compass has become skewed. When did it become ok to walk around with your butt and/or underwear hanging out of your pants or out the bottom of your shorts or skirts? Sometimes I see women/kids/teens (who can tell with the amount of makeup on their faces and the provocative clothes they wear) walking around my neighborhood and I honestly can’t tell if they’re hookers or not. When did it become okay to portray drug use on regular, non-late night, non-premium channels? When did crass jokes of a sexual nature become every day on TV? Our society has become accepting of these things to the point where we no longer even notice them because they have become normal.

So, if it’s ok to be a half-dressed, potty mouth, when will it become acceptable to have, to talk about, and to ask for help for mental disorders? When I finally figured out that I have depression and social anxiety, I started talking about it out loud. Almost everyone that I have told, when they heard me talk about it first, they talked about their own messed up heads. This has led me to believe that there are a lot more people out there with some sort of mental disorder, whether mild or severe, than we realize because they are too embarrassed and/or ashamed to talk about it. Bottling this stuff up inside and then compounding it with shame only makes things worse or at least seem worse.  It’s sad that people have to feel this way about something that is largely out of their control. I certainly didn’t ask to feel anxious every time I’m around people. How many of our veterans return from combat only to silently deal with PTSD and then when it becomes too overwhelming, opt for suicide?? The stigma attached to mental disorders has to go away.

These are the things that lead people to picking up guns with the intent to do harm to others or to themselves. And you know what? They also go for knives, chemicals, and other means of violence. The invention of guns didn’t facilitate the invention of violence.  People have been doing violence to each other since cavemen were defending their mastodon meat from a neighboring caveman with wooden clubs.

Are you aware of the countries where gun ownership is already against the law or where they have very strict (I’m aware that’s a relative term) gun laws? Let’s take our neighbor, Mexico. The following are the types firearms Mexican citizens are allowed to own:

            1.            Semi-automatic handguns of caliber no greater than .380 (9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Short, and 9×17mm). Left excepted are calibers .38 Super and .38 commander, and also calibers 9mm. [Such as] Mausser, Luger, Parabellum and Commander, as well as similar models of the same caliber of the excepted, from other brands.
            2.            Revolvers of calibers no greater than .38 Special, left excepted is caliber .357 magnum.

Land tenure owners, common land owners and farmworkers outside urban zones, may keep and carry, upon registration, one weapon of those already mentioned, or a .22 caliber rifle, or a shotgun of any caliber, except those of a barrel length shorter than 25 inches (635mm) and of caliber greater than 12-gauge (.729" or 18.5 MM).

Additionally, Article 10 of the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives states:
(translated) The firearms that can be authorized to participants of shooting or hunting, to keep in their home or to carry with a license, are the following:

            1.            Semi-automatic handguns, revolvers and rifles of caliber .22, rimfire ammo
            2.            Handguns of .38 caliber for Olympic shooting or other competition
            3.            Shotguns in all their calibers and models, except those with a barrel length shorter than 25 inches, and calibers greater than 12-gauge.
            4.            Triple-barrel shotguns in the calibers authorized in the preceding section, with a barrel for metallic cartridges of different caliber.
            5.            High-powered rifles, of repeating or semi-automatic function, non-convertible to full-auto, with the exception of .30 caliber carbines, rifles, muskets and carbines caliber .223, 7 and 7.62mm, and Garand rifles caliber .30.
            6.            High-powered rifles of greater caliber than those mentioned in the previous section, with special permission for their use abroad, for hunting of game bigger than those present in national wildlife.

Anything of a higher caliber than those listed above are considered to be for military and police use only. Additionally, Mexican citizens are only allowed to own up to two firearms for home protection.

·      The percentage of homicides in Mexico committed with a firearm:  54.9%

Now let’s consider our other neighbor, Canada, which doesn’t have a guaranteed right to bear arms law at all.

·      Percentage of homicides in Canada committed with a firearm:  32%

 I didn’t bother to look up statistics on gun violence that did not result in death. Call me lazy.

The point I’m trying to make is that countries with strict gun laws have not eliminated gun violence and I feel safe in predicting that they will not do so, at least not in my lifetime. Probably not my children’s lifetime either. When and if various countries eliminate gun violence, people will still have the ability to strangle each other to death with their bare hands. What's the solution to that?

Limiting or eliminating American’s right to bear arms isn’t the solution to the problem of gun violence. All this will serve to do is to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens while ensuring that criminals will remain armed. You can’t end gun violence until you get rid of all the guns on the planet, including those used by the police and military. Then you also have to get rid of all the facilities capable of producing and manufacturing guns. This includes getting rid of the minds with the knowledge needed to manufacture guns. What would you, those of you in favor of eliminating gun ownership, propose that we do with those people? Take them out back and shoot them?

Dreaming up stricter gun laws is easy. Taking away guns is a tangible so-called "solution". Actually owning up to our lack of morals and ethics as a society is hard to do. It’s not something that we can actually put our hands on whereas guns are and therefore the "obvious" answer is to take them away from law-abiding citizens. Again, admitting out loud that we are making mistakes with our kids and neglecting them by not setting rules and boundaries and then enforcing those rules and boundaries is hard to do. As is not making excuses for their bad behavior. It’s hard to admit and it’s even harder to figure out a solution and then act on that solution. You can’t look at incompetence and societal degradation and then take it away and melt it down into something else the same way that you can a gun. Gun laws are easy and America is kidding itself if it thinks an easy "answer" is the actual solution to this difficult problem. It’s not even a starting point.  

And for pete’s sake. Don’t you realize that the politicians who, yesterday, didn’t have an opinion on gun control or had a relaxed opinion on gun control but today they are all about writing new gun laws to "protect" their constituents are only doing so to get or keep your vote?? Can’t we think with our own brains and stop eating that crap up with a spoon?? Hello! Obama and gay rights. Just saying.

Further Reading (may or may not have anything to do with my opinion):

A vast repository of articles on the 2nd Amendment as well as a plethora of other political-type subjects. 

More: Do your own due diligence. Form your own opinion based on valid research, your own sense of ethics, and information presented from both sides of the issue. If you attend school, use your school's library to find scholarly, researched, peer reviewed articles.

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