My first and last real experience with firearms occurred when I was six. It was a hot, dry summer in Las Vegas, and a desperate man came through our front door, wielding this shining piece of metal that reflected the glow of the afternoon sun blasting in from behind his dark and grave figure. This moment painted a beautiful image in my mind, and it became one of the first memories I truly own. However, what the man did was far from beautiful. He hurt me, and he hurt my family, and he is spending 37 years in a federal penitentiary for what he did.
However, I am not here to talk about how this day and this memory changed my life or shaped who I am. I am here to talk about the fact that, even as I laid on the ground tied up next to my father, watching this piece of metal transform into this omnipotent figure that determined my fate, not once did I thought about hurting this man. Perhaps it was my childish innocence, or perhaps it was fear, but I’d like to think that I knew deep down, this man and his actions on that day was just a result of his own circumstances and experiences, and that the shining piece of metal that controlled my fate in his hands is but another result of the messed up world we live in.
The fundamental argument that exists behind the pro-guns movement is simple. Gun ownership is engrained in this nation’s history and culture, as evidenced and embodied by the very Second Amendment of our Constitution. The ownership of a gun for many is a symbol of their American pride and freedom, and on the political spectrum, one can see this battle between almost our safety and our pride. However, there is a key point that we have been ignoring: the very fact that a gun is a tool, a powerful mindless tool. Just as a we wouldn't trust a child running around with sharp scissors, how are we any different when in the face of power greater than our potential control? Yes, one can kill another in countless ways without ever using a firearm, but the key lays in its simplicity.
I often think about that day back when I was six, and what would have happened had my family owned a gun, and used it against that man. Yet, no matter how many times I imagine the different scenarios and their different possible outcomes, the results were very simple. Either we would have been successful in defending our home, and perhaps injured or killed the man, or we would have been seriously hurt, perhaps even more than what had truly happened. Nonetheless, the endings are all tragic, and it doesn’t change the fact that that man was just a product of our society who was given too much power, and because of that power, he forever damaged me, my family, and himself to a greater extent.
I personally like guns, even after all that had happened. To me, they are incredible, gorgeous mechanical masterpieces that represent the pinnacle of modern technology. To some others, they are just fun to be used at a range or to hunt with. Nonetheless, in the face of the great dangers that challenge our nation, evidenced by the mass murders and shooting of police officers, amongst the many more dead American bodies filled with pieces of copper, I ask, can we truly allow ourselves as a society, this power greater than our control?