Guns Kill People, not Statistics

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This is not my usual happy-go-lucky fare.  But in reading another blogger’s post, I felt moved to do this.  Not to push a political agenda, but to tell a story.  One that should never happen.  Please go see Kylie’s blog post “The Right to Bear Harms”, and watch her video.  I cannot imagine her loss.  But I did have one of my own.

When I was nine years old, they told me that my grandfather had been murdered.  He owned a store that sold guns in a small Texas town.  He was shot by one of his own guns.  This was the first time in my life I had ever seen my father cry.  My mother only told me he was shot because she knew people would be talking about it.  It had been on the news in his home town, and they didn’t get much news there.

I wasn’t really close to my grandfather.  I heard later he wasn’t the best father.  But he was the only father my father had.  Mostly I remember going to his store and sitting on the pool table and listening to the jute box while I ate chick-o-sticks.  But no matter what kind of person he was, he didn’t deserve to die on the floor of his shop.  And my father didn’t deserve to have to live with the grisly death of his father.

People came to his funeral – people who didn’t know anything about him, because it was a scandal.  They were curious.  They thought it was exciting.  They didn’t think of his family when they crowded in that funeral home.  I was too young to understand this at the time.  I was told later.  I was also told later, by an aunt, just how he was shot, and how many times.  Now I have that imagery in my mind.

None of us should have had to see the special they had on TV about the executions in Texas, when they spoke about the execution of his killer, and put up pictures of my grandfather, a person, on TV.  Yet much of his family still support guns.  They watched the killer get executed.  Let me repeat this.  They watched another person murdered in front of them.  Have we really come that far from the Middle Ages?

I remember when hearing about a school shooting was a rarity.  Now it seems to happen once a month.  Remember how the media played up Sandy Hook?  How many people still even remember Sandy Hook?  Those parents do.  They will never forget that day for the rest of their lives.  Some of these people are working, tirelessly, reviving the memory of their children, over and over again in an attempt to get better gun legislation.  Too few are listening.

My father is a pacifist.  He went to Vietnam as he was told to do.  They had the soldiers raise their guns and shout “Kill!”  My father raised his gun.  But they couldn’t make him shout kill.  By sheer luck, he was able to be a medic during the war, and he was eternally grateful that he got to help people, not hurt them.  Soldiers even now return, having had to kill, and are forced back into everyday society where suddenly it is a crime to do so.  Many have nightmares for the rest of their lives.  Some have taken their lives.  Others have taken the lives of their family.  And for what?  Do we even know what we are fighting for anymore?  Do not misunderstand me.  I support the troops, every single man and woman and child, because, I’m sorry, 18 is a child.  I support them by wanting to keep them alive.

After Sandy Hook, many people wanted to put the blame on mental illness.  The man was mentally ill – that’s the real problem, not the gun.  We should help mentally ill people.  That’s true.  But here’s the kicker.  If he hadn’t had all those weapons – clips with so many rounds, he wouldn’t have been able to shoot so many children so fast.  Sure he could have used a knife – but chances are far greater he could have been stopped before killing an entire classroom.  Instead, he walked in, and blew them away in seconds.  Seconds.  In seconds all those lives were snuffed.  All those names of those babies were read on the news.  And what did people say?  Clearly, we need more guns.  We need to arm teachers.  We need armed guards outside the schools.  We need, apparently, to function like those war torn countries we send our soldiers to.  We need to do this to protect our rights.  Our rights to own guns.  Our right not to have to have a three day waiting period, a license, training in using the weapons, or child safety locks.  The NRA fights against any legislation having to do with gun ownership.  Any.

Recently, I wrote a post about the insane day we had at our college when a man robbed a nearby convenience store.  In wake of all these tragedies, the entire university was shut down for two hours while police officers tirelessly combed the area, making sure that an armed robber had not made his way on campus.  As it turned out, the robbery was all staged, and there was nothing to be worried about.  But because of the tragedies, we must react this way, because we don’t know when it will be real.  And that same afternoon I put up that post, there was another shooting at another university.  The same day.  Yet even with all this insanity, the university is considering letting people bring guns on campus – for defense.  Guess what?  When you’re acting like Rambo, the cops don’t know who the bad guy is.  You aren’t helping anybody, just making the jobs of the police officers harder.  At best, they’ll shoot you because, as part of their jobs, they don’t have time to check and see if you’re “good” or “bad”.  They see someone with a weapon, they shoot.  So please quit fooling yourself.

Do you think you need one for  home protection?  How likely do you think it is that you’ll be able to wake up from a sound sleep, grab your gun, and shoot the intruder, all while your body is reacting to stress?  And if you keep that gun in your bedside table drawer, loaded and unlocked, how likely is it that a child or someone else could get hold of it?  Many gun deaths happen because someone shot their own family members while defending their homes.  Many gun deaths happen because children shoot each other.

My husband is a gun owner – I’m sure that surprises you.  They were passed down in his family.  He shoots targets.  He would never harm anyone.  And he has been trained in operating his weapons.  But not everyone is like him.  As a compromise, the guns are kept unloaded in a locked gun cabinet.  I still don’t like them, but I deal with it.  So I’m not completely ignorant.  I know guns aren’t always used to kill.  But I also know that the only real purpose of a gun is to kill something, whether animal or human.  Unlike cars, and knives, that is their only purpose.

I could link you to the many, many news stories talking about gun deaths and statistics.  And I’m sure those on the other side could do the same.  But I’m not talking about numbers right now.  I’m talking about our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends.  Kylie’s father is not a statistic.  My grandfather is not a statistic.  Those children at Sandy Hook elementary school are not statistics.  They were people.  And now they are all dead.

We live in fear of the next shooting now, just as our elders feared the atomic bomb.  Why?

Go U.S.A.

Go U.S.A.

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59 responses

  1. Great post, I agree entirely.
    Living in the UK I don’t have much experience with guns and have never actually seen one in real life fortunately, but even here all the wrong people seem to be able to get hold of them.
    At least here we’re mostly spared the in-home accidents you spoke of (though they do happen as a shotgun licence is fairly easy to get if you live in the countryside).

    1. It is sad. I’ve heard the UK has a much lower rate of gun deaths, but I don’t have the stats to back that up on hand. I am amazed when people say well the criminals won’t obey the gun laws. So – what? We just don’t have laws? Not everyone stops at the stop sign. Do we remove the stop signs?

  2. The people are immediately turned into a number. On the news you hear 10 wounded and 3 killed, and those 13 remain largely anonymous compared to the person who wounded/killed them. The victims are referred to as a group, while the perpetrator remains an individual and becomes famous. It’s sick. The families can’t turn on their TV without hearing the name and seeing the face of the monster who ruined their lives.

    1. Yes, I think the media plays a huge part in this. Yes, they need to report the news, but they don’t need to sensationalize it. Often after a major tragedy, you’ll get copy cats. All they see is hey, look, fame – this is one way I can get it.

      1. There’s a lot of need for notoriety with these evil people. And the media complies.

  3. Thank you for this. Crying.

    1. Oh, I didn’t want to make you cry! I think it is really great what you are doing, getting involved. I haven’t found a way to do that yet, but I’m going to look into it.

      1. My kiddo has been up a lot at night this week, so I’m a bit on edge ;/

        Good for you; wherever you are, I’m sure your state has something going on. Moms Demand Action chapters have been forming all over the country.

  4. I agree with draliman. Excellent post wonder twin…

  5. This is so right.
    People alway say that it’s not because you’ve got access to guns, that you’re going to kill people. That is true. But it sure makes it easier. Compare the amount of shootings in America (US) and in Europe. We, in Belgium, did have people sabbing others to death, and also a quite recent shooting. It doesn’t only happen in America, but if happens way too often – and a lot more than over here. Giving everyone guns is not the solution. Hopefully people will change their minds and realise that the right to bear arms will only lead to even more tragedies.

    1. I hope so – Europe is ahead of us in many areas. Maybe we’ll get there.

      1. Ahead, in some ways. But still not perfect. Unfortunately. We should cultivate unicorns.

  6. Reblogged this on The Life of Kylie and commented:
    A lot of heart and a lot of smarts went into Alice’s post.

    1. It was inspired by you and your courageous video.

  7. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™.

    1. I think I’m going to like this site! I am an ObamaCrat.

      1. I am so thrilled to find like minded people. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and have some fun for me.

        😉

  8. Reblogged this on ASpoonfulofSuga and commented:
    A great post from the LovelyAlice, read it

  9. Nice work! I have two guns in my home only because I’m a police officer. The number of guns in this country is staggering. The number of those people who own them legally AND know how to use, clean and operate them properly is not. I’ve said this before, but to say that guns don’t cause more deaths is silly. In a fit of rage, it’s so easy to shoot a person without even considering it because it’s such an impersonal way to kill. I have so much more to say, but I’m not going to turn my comment into a mini post. I just wanted to say the nice work I already said.

    1. I have great respect for police officers. My husband is a mechanic for the police department here. You take great risks going out there, and the last thing you need is a bunch of wanna-be gun slingers running around in the middle of everything.

  10. I’ve told this story before, but at a town-hall meeting here in CO a younger woman said something about self defense on campus and how guns are so important for that and dadada, and there I thought “what about all those people who feel less secure because so many people around them carry guns?” What about my perception of safety? Nobody has a flag that goes up that says “law-abiding citizen” when we meet a person, not even gun dealers.
    I’m sorry for your family’s tragic loss and for my (usual) ramble.

    1. No, I love all comments, and all my comments are rambles. I have the exact same thoughts when I hear this kind of stuff. And I hear it all the time. It’s the Bible Belt after all (which doesn’t seem to go together to me, but eh.)

    2. I just had a thought…inspired about your comment about safety. If you think about it in terms of that old quote of not giving up liberty for security. Our current gun laws make certain people feel like they have more security. But in exchange, everyone is held hostage to fear of someone shooting people. In claiming the “right to bear arms” means the right for every Tom, Dick, and Jane to tote a piece for personal self-defense in a well-policed society, we’re giving up actual liberty for an illusion of safety.

      And now Alice can faint with shock because I usually fall on the other side of this issue.

      1. Yeah, if we look at it that way it’s quite the dilemma. The statistics bear out that we’re only talking about a perceived safety if you own a gun, but not an actual one. If all those people who feel safer with a gun have a gun, carry a gun, possibly use a gun, the perceived safety of the people around them decreases.
        So how much do we respect each other’s feelings and whose feelings are more reasonable and/or logical. More guns surely can’t be the answer to any of the problems, Alice so eloquently wrote about above.

      2. I am shocked, but impressed. Well reasoned, there. If only everyone had reason.

        1. Reason alone doesn’t do it.

  11. When the (4th? the right to bear arms one) amendment was added, “arms” were blunderbusses that took: gunpowder; paper wadding; a fuse, sometimes, and a way to make fire. The flint-lock was a big innovation, because you could just cock the hammer and pull the trigger and, if the whole mess didn’t blow up in your face, it would shoot the lead ball that you had to make yourself (I have a collection of lead ball-making molds). If you were at VERY close (“whites of their eyes”) range, you might hit something. So the Teapartiers and their ilk are talking about very different kinds of “arms” than what our forefathers and ‘mothers had the right to bear.

    I am so sorry about what happened in your family. That is a terrible legacy to have to live with in these times, when the technology of weapons is racing along at light-speed but the mentality of the humans that use them seems to be equally quickly devolving.

    1. Very well said. That’s the thing about the Constitution. It was made to be an evolving document. That’s why we have those things called “amendments” in the first place. They weren’t in the original writing, they were added later. Our forefathers looked to the future, yet some of us keep looking to the past while plowing through the present.

  12. Reblogged this on tomwisk and commented:
    Please read this, call your state represenitives, Congresspeople and work to do as much as posible to keep weapons restricted. I don’t want the government coming in a conficating all weapons but I think assault weapons and extra large magazines should be removed from the market.

    1. Thank you. I hope my words help.

  13. The very simple fact is guns are made for killing. There is no other way round that. They are made for efficient killing, quick killing, with a silencer – silent killing. It is appalling. Every time I hear about another terrible gun attack in a school in America I am relieved to live in the UK. No child should have to worry that they might be killed at school. Apart from home it should be the safest place in the world.

    Gun crime is a lot lower here in the UK but we do have issues with stabbings and knife crime in relation to gang wars. I pray that the American government will see sense and change their ways.

    If it was about self defense, couldn’t something less permanently damaging like pepper spray (I think its called mace in some places) be used.

    A great post and very good point.

    Amy

    ps. I’m dressing up for a party soon and going as Alice from Alice in Wonderland inspired by looking at the background on here when I was picking a costume!!

    1. It is very scary. I think I was the only one who really was a little scared when they locked down the university. Most people think it won’t really happen to them, even with the drills. But it could.

      They are beautiful drawings – I got them from a site called Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland page – he has scanned the drawings from the book onto a web site, making it very easy. I bet your costume will be great!

  14. This was very powerful. Thank you.

  15. I am sorry to hear about your grandfather, and I remember Kylie’s video very well.
    No one in my family have been a victim of gun violence, or even owns a gun (though my dad was very passionate about how he’ll have to get a gun if Obama is re-elected, but, of course, the promised communist jihad never happened, so he probably won’t be buying a gun after all)
    So, because I personally wasn’t affected, (and mainly because of my personality type) I do tend to look at the statistics more than at the personal stories.
    It’s not that I don’t realize just how horrible Newtown was, or how a family must feel after a toddler accidentally shoots and kills a sibling – but I am really horrified by the big picture. I know that no one has to go through what you and Kylie did – but I know that something like 100,000-150,000 people will have their parent, child, sibling, or spouse taken away by a gun just this year, and next year, and every year, unless something changes.
    And one of the reasons that nothing changes is that there also are hundreds of compelling personal stories how a gun saved someone from being killed or raped.
    Too bad that neither personal stories nor statistics sway the people who value their insane delusions above everyone else’s life.

    1. Oh, I know about the statistics, and they are staggering. But when you add numbers in, it almost always turns into a pissing contest. Someone comes up with some other bunch of numbers saying guns aren’t harmful, or whatever. On the other hand, while personal stories bring a human side, people can accuse you of being too emotional and getting away from the issue. I’m not sure how the issue could not be emotional, but I’ve had arguments where people have told me this. I can’t see clearly because my grandfather was murdered. What? That’s why I pointed out that I wasn’t that close to him. It still affected me, but I’m not so lost in emotion I can’t see straight. (And frankly, I don’t believe those who were very close to loved ones who were shot are either.)

      It’s also sad that sometimes it takes having lost a loved one for people to see, and worse, that even when this happens, it doesn’t change the person’s mind. Hence my family members who are gun fanatics and watched an execution. That creeps me out beyond measure. It’s like you said, people who value their insane delusions above everyone else’s life are not likely to be swayed by anything.

      You top ten list on this subject was great, as usual, and I’ve tried to remember some of your points as, er ammunition.

      1. And I would probably get “you can’t see clearly because you weren’t personally affected”.
        I don’t know to best argue with those people – not because personal stories or statistics aren’t convincing, it’s because those people refuse to see anything that doesn’t match their preconceived notions. Though I was able to talk my wife out of buying a gun and joining NRA, mostly using statistics, so it could work for the people who are on the fence.
        By the way, I actually wrote at least 5-6 lists dedicated to guns and NRA, including even one on Kylie’s blog. So this subject has been one of my favorite targets.

        1. I was able to talk my husband out of joining the NRA a second time by threatening him with household weapons. I’ll have to go back and look over your old lists. I love them all, of course.

  16. I’m American and living in England. I find the whole gun-love puzzling now that I’ve stepped away from it a bit. And, yes, I agree 18 is a child. People in England can’t believe that you need to be 21 to have a drink but at 18 you can have a gun.
    Do you know that English police don’t ordinarily carry guns? They have a club thing and apparently its effective. They get armed as the situation warrants (if they know they are going into a dangerous situation). I was floored. In New York, where I’m from, an unarmed cop yells “stop” without a gun, he’s toast. Apparently here it works. I blame my English husband’s ancestors — if they hadn’t been so gung-ho about taking away weapons during pre-Revolutionary times, the Constitutional fathers wouldn’t have need to enshrine the right to bear arms in the Constitution. The irony that England is a more peaceful country….

    1. I am amazed. Here we have criminals able to buy the same bullet proof clothing as police and enough weapons to arm an arsenal. What’s funny about England taking away the guns is that it clearly did not stop the colonists from fighting back. These days, though, even if every man in America owned a gun, it wouldn’t do much against the power of the US military with tanks, missiles, etc. And that’s if the government for some reason decided to blow up it’s own citizens. But if you’re a conspiracy theorist, then of course they’ve been doing this all along.

      Sometimes I want to move where they fight with sticks.

  17. Very good post. I think no matter the subject it’s the real stories that change hearts and minds. Well done. 🙂

  18. […] Guns Kill People, not Statistics | aliceatwonderland. […]

  19. It just baffles me how much Americans hold on to their right to bear arms when it is clear something needs to be done. This was a great post Alice. Off to check out Kylie’s now.

    1. Thank you. If the loudest voices could ever be shut up for ten seconds, maybe some one else could be heard.

  20. I just got to read this now. Your points are all my points exactly. Everyone is afraid of gun regulation, but what they don’t see is that it is for safety. And no one is going to take away a mentally stable person’s gun. My uncle is a right-wignut and is terrified someone is going to come take all his guns. Some people have absolutely no common sense. It’s sad. Really, really sad.

    Thank you for writing this.

    1. I know. It’s like saying why should anyone stop me from operating my car? It’s my car, and I’m an A-MER-I-CAN so I don’t need a driver’s license.

  21. Rather than going on and on as I could I will simply say I AGREE WITH YOU 100%!
    Peace to your heart, Sara

    1. Thanks. It’s good to know there are other sensible people out there.

  22. I always feel like the sentence “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is extremely reductionist and true enough, if you really wanted to, you could kill someone with a spoon…but it would sure be harder and chances are someone would take you down before you can hit a classroom of babies and I have never heard of anyone accidentally killing someone else with a spoon!
    Guns don’t have intent but as mentioned in several other comments, they also have no other purpose than to do harm. We have a saying in France that loosely translate as “your freedom stops where the freedom of others begins”. Aren’t people entitled to feel safe walking down the street or even driving around without taking the risk of getting hit by a stray bullet? This brings a new meaning to road rage.
    I feel extremely grateful and privileged to be living in the UK where even the police actually doesn’t carry guns (except some special units)…It is a damn shame that the gun lobbies have still too much power (and money) to influence the laws and that some people still think that the only way to protect themselves from people with guns is to arm themselves with bigger guns! Isn’t what the cold war was all about until someone realised it was probably not a good idea….but what do I know, right? I have never even seen a gun in real life, not even a hunting riffle.

    1. If we could do something about the lobbies, that would help with so many issues. Right now our politicians are enslaved to them, so it’s no wonder we get nowhere. I heard that George Sr. got out of the NRA as soon as he left office. He had to play along with them to get elected, but many conservatives are not as insane as they are. I might not agree with them, but they’re sane. It’s just that you don’t hear them over the loud, noisy ones that naturally run everything.

      I wish I had never seen a gun before either. I am very fortunate to have never personally witnessed or been a part of a violent crime. Sadly, there are many people who can’t say that. And yes, you’re right – trying to kill someone with a knife or a blunt object might work with one person, but taking out a huge group would be a bit more trouble than something that can hit long range like that.

      As far as the “your rights end where mine begin” that is a good point. I feel that way about smoking. It’s fine if you do it, but do not blow it in my face. I have asthma and it can really mess me up. That’s why I support not having smoking in public facilities.

  23. The “problem” weapon here in the UK seems to be knives, but what usually happens is that the inexperienced knife-wielder gets the knife taken off them by the person they’re attacking and it used against them. Seems to be a little like natural selection in progress, if you think about it in a twisted sort of way.

    But even knives, there are regulations about buying them – you have to be over 18 and be able to show ID to buy anything bigger than a vegetable peeler here in the UK. That doesn’t stop someone grabbing mum’s carving knife out of the drawer, in the same way it doesn’t stop someone stealing dad’s firearm out of the drawer/cupboard/wherever in the USA.

    Having rules and regulations about guns, having people apply for a licence, having to take classes in proper use & care and to keep said item in a safe place seems just like common sense to me. I mean, we have these rules in all countries for use of cars, right? So why not for guns too?

    Random fact, there was an article in the paper about a former special ops person here in the UK being convicted of a gun crime. Can’t remember any of the details because I only saw the headline. But the point is that it should be equal rules for all.

    My apologies for rambling and for being so late to comment!

    Faith xx

    1. So glad you posted! And you know I love rambles. I wish we had the kind of laws for guns that you do for knives. It’s insane how they think there should be no regulation, yet no one complains about getting a driver’s license to drive. Just – what? Also, no one leaves a knife where a child can get to it, either. But they’ll leave a gun?

      1. It seems the problem is that common sense isn’t actually all that common. Pity we can’t put all the gun nuts in a pit with their guns and leave them there to shoot up each other…. (And we could do the same to the rapists and paedophiles too – same pit, why waste the bullets?)

  24. Alice,
    You know, we’ve been meaning to do a “gun” week on The Outlier Collective… This could be the right topic for you… And see if Denise would be up for it, too.
    Le Clown

  25. Excellent post. As a Canadian, I cannot understand some Americans’ arms fetish (Armericans?). Just take a look at Detroit’s and Windsor’s (Windsor is the Canadian city just across the river from Detroit) murder stats. What a difference a patch of water makes.

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