It goes without saying that the tragedy that occurred in Orlando this past week was just that – a tragedy. A big tragedy! A huge tragedy!
It also, by coincidence, occurred on the day that I returned from living in China for the last nine years. My Chinese wife stayed behind to finish packing and I frankly have my doubts that she will ever make it here. That’s tongue in cheek, of course, but the reality is that much of the world, including the average Chinese, believe that America is totally out of control when it comes to guns, drugs, violence, hate, etc.
And we are. Call me what you will. A Commie, if you like. I grew up in rural America and have been shooting guns – real guns – not BB guns – since I was eleven years old – more than fifty years. I’ve been a hunter off and on – mostly waterfowl – find real enjoyment in shooting skeet and trap, and I have, in fact, owned a gun for a good portion of my adult life.
But I’ve lived in China for almost a decade and no one there, of course, is allowed to own a gun. Even the police don’t have guns. Only the military does. And while that all sounds pretty authoritarian to the average American I have never heard of anyone ever getting shot there.
And while they’re older now and living in North Carolina, I never hesitated to let my young daughters wander the area around where we lived – despite the fact that it is home to 22 million people. Violent crime just doesn’t exist. (I’m told I would get arrested in the US now for such lax parenting but we actually picked teams when I was in school, I walked to school on my own, and, yes, we played dodge ball. And somehow there seemed to be a lot less violence back then.)
And, no, you can’t hunt in China, and I truly get the fact that hunting is part of America’s social fabric. As I said; been there, done that. I understand the whole family tradition issue.
But you don’t need an automatic weapon that holds 50 rounds of ammunition to hunt. So I really don’t get it. Why can’t we get past this argument about the Second Amendment and the right to own assault rifles? It makes no sense to me. Like the torpedoes of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870) fame; slippery slope be damned!
For those that would argue – and I know many very intelligent people who would – that the Chinese are victims of the lack of private ownership of guns because they can’t overthrow their government as the colonists did the English monarchy, I would say you need to go there. I firmly believe that you could give every Chinese citizen an assault rifle and there would be no regime change. Nor have I ever heard a Chinese citizen express remorse for the inability to hunt or own a gun.
I am not defending the Chinese Communist Party position or the NRA’s. But there is context to everything in life and this notion that you must own assault rifles to prevent the loss of individual liberty is pure folly. Look around the world if you need proof of that.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all is that when an incident like this occurs the gun manufacturers get rich because everyone runs out to buy a weapon. What are people thinking?
They’re thinking, of course, that if they are armed and a guy walks in a bar with an assault rifle they can kill him first. I don’t think so. He has a bigger gun, a lot more hate, and the element of surprise. You don’t stand a chance.
I will never own another gun. Now it’s personal. I will protect my wife and my daughters but owning a gun has nothing to do with that.
I do applaud, by the way, the fact that many media outlets are refraining from providing the name of the shooter. He doesn’t deserve the glory. What I find perplexing, however, is that every account refers to the shooting as taking place at a ‘LGBT’ bar. Whatever your position on sexual identity, why does that matter? Hate is hate. Death is death. If we continue to categorize each other on whatever basis we aren’t going to get around the violence.
My parents often told me that there would always be someone smarter, faster, and/or more handsome than me. They wanted to keep my feet on the ground.
A corollary of that is that there will always be people who hate more than you. Don’t buy what they’re selling.
My condolences to all impacted by this senseless violence, and the rest of the senseless violence that affects millions of innocent victims around the world on a daily basis
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Contact: You may contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org