Why “I’m In Danger Til You See My Gun” Is Mistaken
The idea that “if some of the churchgoers had been armed this wouldn’t have happened” is victim blaming, and patently absurd. People being somehow culpable or contributing to their deaths for not being armed at a prayer meeting is remarkable, but the desire for such a weaponized existence is proof of our collective insanity when it comes to guns rights advocacy. Guns exist for a reason, and when used as created, can inflict tremendous damage upon living things. Gun ownership is not the cause of violence; however, there is no doubt it makes the capacity to commit violence more convenient and efficient.
Hypothetically, if the churchgoer had a gun, there is a possibility he would have gotten shot first as guns are not magical protection amulets shielding one from harm. The event also could have turned into a shootout with even more dead in the crossfire. Several things can happen when another gun is introduced and some of them are bad. Good guys do not always win, and a concealed weapon is not always going to cure the situation, especially if the bad guy is a sociopath with no remorse. The good guys have to be as determined as the bad guys to cause harm. I think too many gun rights advocates have some kind of romantic, cowboy scenario imagined in which they can be heroes saving the day and appearing in the newspaper.
The Cult of the Gun
Do not succumb to it. Whether it’s your gun or my gun, there is no mystical right to own them as artifacts of the divine. Exaggeration? Hyperbole? Hardly. Talk reasonable gun control to many gun rights advocates and see what happens. It’s fanaticism, pure and simple. Should we really be able to buy, in massive quantities, armor piercing rounds that our Police Departments decry? Should we be giving pastel colored guns to single digit aged children?
With that being said, I have never owned a gun nor felt the need to in spite of the fact that of anyone were to be a victim of gun violence, it would be me as a black male living in a city. I am not particularly bothered by people who feel otherwise. If someone wants a gun, unless they are a felon, it’s their right and really none of my business. When Charleston happens, I also realize that it really has less to do with guns, but rather with the hate (in that case racism) of the individual committing murder.
However, none of us should be encouraged by the prospect of everyone being armed nor feeling they have to which is as the heart of the “where were the good guys with guns?” argument. Examining history, particularly post Civil War westward expansion, I don’t think we will all be safer when everyone is armed at all times. Again, I am not knocking those who feel they have the need to carry, as some people indeed have a valid need to do so, but do we really wish to live in a society where we feel the need to carry? Do we wish to live in a society where people attending a prayer service feel the need to go to church armed lest a racist choose to attack them that day?
Murder rates are down dramatically. The world can be dangerous, but for most of us it isn’t all that perilous. Carry if you feel the need, but there must be a sense of balance. Violence does indeed have a logic all its own regardless of our wishes, but I can’t help but wonder whether heightened and unrealistic expectations of violence can lead to it breaking out where it otherwise would not.