The battle rages on about whether this country wants to further restrict the availability of guns, the types of guns and the ammunition to be used in those guns. On one side is what is referred to as the Gun Nuts with the point being taken by the NRA. Then there are the Anti-Gun Nuts - you don’t hear that term do you? They are being led by many -- including our President -- who states he is just proposing “common sense” changes. Then there are those of us caught in the middle of a gun fight.
There are plenty of people like us who don’t own a gun and are appalled by the whole thing. We abhor the violence, but seriously question the arguments to restrict the second amendment. The only proposal we can see as logical is the expansion of background checks. Logic makes us question why you have to go through a background check if you go to a gun shop or Wal-Mart, but if you attend a gun show you don’t have to go through a check.
But we are not duped by the idea that background checks will put the kibosh on guns being sold to criminals. It will make it marginally more challenging, but bad guys will obtain guns in ways upstanding citizens cannot envision. The worst part is that it will do nothing to stop these mass murderers from arming. The proposed provisions will alter nothing to stop a Jared Loughner, who was blatantly mentally ill, from getting a gun. The Medical Community, with HIPAA (privacy) laws which protect medical records, and people soft on this issue have stopped that from happening. This is certainly something the NRA has on their side as they have been attempting to restrict gun availability for the mentally ill for 20 years. Adam Lanza was obviously severely mentally ill. After shooting his mother up close and personal, he went to a school, pointed a pistol at small children and shot them one by one. He was not only sick; he was clearly evil, yet not institutionalized.
There are two things that particularly irk us about the arguments from the Anti-Gun Nuts. They use these mass murders as a launching pad for their new laws whether there is a connection or not. These mass murders are usually done by deranged white people against other white people. Think about it: when are the most memorable arguments are made against guns? Here are a few: after Ronald Reagan was shot, Columbine, Gabby Giffords and Newtown. Yet, Black people are slaughtered on a daily basis in major cities from Boston to Los Angeles, with the worst cases being our nation’s capital and the new king of murders – Chicago. While these mass murders are going on daily we rarely hear anything about new gun laws. There are two principal reasons. The first is that in most of these areas there are already stringent gun control laws without any concealed weapon laws that would allow private citizens to protect themselves. The other reason that we have to face is that this society does not care that much. As long as all those killing are over there and not near “us,” who really cares? We have our private patrols, secured buildings and gated communities.
The other reality for us caught in-between comes down to the fact that, in the end, we don’t have faith in our government to protect us. The Anti-Gun Nuts sneer at that thought. We recently saw a quote that encapsulates their thinking. Police Chief Ken James of Emeryville in Northern California stated “One issue that boggles my mind is the idea that a gun is a defensive weapon. That is a myth. A gun is an offensive weapon used to intimidate and used to show power.” But if you are in your home and someone is entering that home to possibly rob you, rape your wife and maybe severely harm you, a gun is not an offensive weapon. But James like many Anti-Gun Nuts thinks we should have total faith in the police to protect us.
Those of us who lived through the Rodney King riots would argue with that. Let us remember when that riot began -- after the verdict was announced. A man was dragged out of his car and beaten to near death. What did the police do? They withdrew. There was no immediate show of overwhelming force and thus the fuse was lit that set off the bomb. It was not until the fourth day of rioting that the National Guard showed up and matters began to get under control.
The rest of us sat in our offices, restaurants, and homes wondering whether the rioters were going to leave South Central (Los Angeles) and start moving into Beverly Hills, Century City, and the San Fernando Valley. We were scared that Chief Daryl Gates’ decision to pull back and not engage left us defenseless. People who never thought of gun ownership before talked of changing their minds. Assuredly from that time, many have acquired guns while questioning the level of protection the police actual provide. That large event plays out daily on a smaller scale every day in communities across America. “To Protect and Serve” may be the motto of the LAPD, but they are almost exclusively a reactionary force appearing after the crime or murder has occurred.