The truth is that this is a cultural problem.
How many killings in a year wouldn’t happen if you had to look someone in the eye and overpower them enough to stab them?
How many people calm down before they hurt someone because it’s hard to kill with your own hands?
How many people in the world actually have the guts and the conviction to kill a man so close at hand that his last breath blows in your face?
Yes, a man stands for his beliefs. With his pen or his keyboard or his ballot or even his dollar. Sometimes marching in the streets. But a man conducts himself with honor.
Used to be, anyway. Used to be that if you were man enough to do the deed, you were man enough to know that violence isn’t the answer. But a gun means you don’t have to be a man to do a man’s deed. Not anymore.
You’re absolutely right that guns don’t kill people. Cowards kill people, with guns.
A man looks you in the eye. A man will stand for what he believes in. But a man shows his displeasure with a Congresswoman at the ballot box, not with a bullet to her face. A man doesn’t blow abortion workers’ brains out, he works to change minds about abortion. A man doesn’t give a gun to his teenage nephew who writes about killing people because of their skin color, nor does he leave a soldier’s rifle where his autistic son can reach it. A man doesn’t buy guns for or sell guns to criminals. A man doesn’t walk into a nightclub or a movie theater or a shopping mall and shoot innocent people because he’s angry or embarrassed, or because someone or something made him feel like less of a man.
Guns don’t make you a man. Guns make it easy for a coward to look like a man. Guns make a coward into a bully. That’s all a bully is, really – a coward with leverage.
Gun crime is committed by cowards. And our society has a cowardice problem. We’re cowards too, because we’re too afraid to stand up to the cowards who hide behind the lawful equivalent of “That’s how we’ve always done it.” Or, worse yet, “I’d rather a few innocent people die than let you regulate one man’s right to own a coward’s tool.” Well, it’s not a few people. And it’s not a man’s right to kill.
We’re all cowards. Every one of us. Everyone who picks up a gun to handle a man’s business, and everyone who doesn’t speak out about the people who believe that your right to your own cowardice is bigger than another man’s right to keep breathing.
Deep inside, bullies are the biggest cowards of all. And our kids are dying because we’re afraid to stand up and tell the real cowards that we don’t buy their bullshit anymore. That these old arguments are justification for bullying, for the way things used to be.
I don’t want to hear another word about self-defense. You want a gun for self defense because if you have a gun, it’s easier to kill someone when you decide they need to die because of your own fear. Easier to be the judge, jury and executioner for someone committing the misdemeanor of breaking and entering or theft or whatever, than to respect the rule of law you pretend to revere.
I don’t want to hear another word about how banning guns means that only criminals have guns. That’s bullshit. 100% of guns in America are legally purchased when they first reach the streets. They reach criminals when they are illegally sold by their original owners, or because they were sold legally through a loophole or an exemption or a problem with the law governing gun sales. Criminals get guns from legal gun owners.
I don’t want to hear another word about good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns. Untrained civilians are just as likely to shoot an innocent person in a crowded mall or a movie theater in the dark, or ricochet a bullet off a block wall in a school or a church. Any person smart enough to own a gun would never open fire in most of these mass shooter casualties for fear of harming an innocent. And anyone who would is too stupid and/or untrained to own a gun.
I really don’t want to hear another word about guns protecting us from tyranny. Do you really believe that you and your buddies are going to hold off the FBI, ATF, or Homeland Security with things you can buy at WalMart? Are you that stupid? This is America – we overthrow tyranny at the ballot box, not the bullet box, and any change in that makes us no better than any tin-pot junta in South America. Grow the fuck up and put down the GI Joe fantasy. The shittiest soldier in the US Army could kick all your friends’ asses.
You want to protect your house from criminals? Prevent crime. Your ‘right’ to kill a criminal is a cop-out for your shirked responsibility to your community.
You want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Make legal gun owners responsible for everything their gun does, whether they’re holding it or not, whether it’s lost or stolen or borrowed.
You want to be a good guy with a gun? You’re too stupid to own one. Leave the hero bullshit to the professionals.
Want to protect your country from tyrants? Run for office. Write. Speak out. Vote.
But don’t pretend a man needs a gun to make this world a better place. Because that makes you a liar as well as a coward.
I’m through believing that lie. And I’m through being a coward.
Guns may not kill people. But cowards kill people because they have guns. And standing by and letting guns turn cowards into bullies, in clinics and schools and theaters and malls all over America, in discussion groups and debates and even in the halls of Congress – that makes you a coward too.
That’s the truth.