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Gun Control and Common Sense: Mutually Exclusive?
I just read a very disturbing article about a two year-old girl being accidently shot and killed by her five year-old brother. It seems the boy had a .22 caliber rifle that he had received as a gift, and while “playing’ with the rifle, it went off, striking the little girl in the chest. This rifle is a model manufactured and marketed for children, and they even come in pink and blue colors. While this story is beyond tragic, it brings up a hot topic on the minds of many Americans today, the issue of gun control.
A Simpler Time
I grew up in the south, in a small town, and have been around guns, mostly rifles, nearly all of my life. While I don’t hunt, most males in my family do. I served in the United States Army, and as a soldier I was trained to use a rifle, among other weapons, in defense of my country. I believe that as an American we should have the right to own a gun, as our constitution provides for. What seems to be missing today, in my humble opinion, is any shred whatsoever of common sense.
Please Follow Instructions
When I grew up, I went to summer camp. One year at camp included a course in rifle safety, and we walked through the woods with a rifle, under the watchful eye of an instructor, of course, and were educated about how to safely handle a rifle. I believe I was ten years old at the time. Even then, one thing was paramount in our instruction; the first and foremost rule of gun safety, any gun, is to always, always treat any gun as if it is loaded and ready to fire. A gun is not a toy, and in my opinion no five-year old should have a gun, and definitely should not be “playing” with one. Again, common sense.
Chicken or Egg?
Should the gun be to blame in this tragedy? Do you blame a car for getting you lost? In light of recent political events, a story like this could be seen as a blow to gun advocates, illustrative of the fears of gun control campaigners, and will surely be used in someone’s agenda, one way or another. My agenda here, rather than a gun-control debate, is a cry for common sense.
I think that most people will agree that new laws, however they are worded or enforced, will mostly only affect law abiding citizens. After all, if criminals obeyed the law, they would not be criminals. However, I balk at the idea of real guns being marketed to children. I abhor the idea of a child “playing” with a real gun. I firmly assert that anyone who owns a gun, of any kind, should know, or become educated in, gun safety. I believe that if simple common sense were in use today, this little girl would still be alive.
The Middle Ground
It seems that the problem today is extremes. There is no longer any middle ground. People are either passionately ‘for” or “against” something. The abysmal situation in our Congress is a perfect example. Members vote along party lines, or in favor of special interests, or even, sometimes it seems, just out of spite. As a result, the work that needs to be done dies a slow and lonely death; a victim of neglect. Our founding fathers created our system of government through compromise; a shining, historical moment of common sense.
The Golden Rule
I believe that every thinking person is entitled to their opinion. I believe that gun control is an issue that should not be ignored. I believe in the inherent goodness and honesty of my fellow Americans. What I struggle to find faith in, however, is the strength of common sense in our society today. Whether the issue at hand is gun-control, abortion, immigration, or social security, let us please try to remember that there are two sides to every story, without darkness there can be no light, and above all, the Golden Rule: “ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Common sense at it’s finest.