In reading a recent post by Michael Pusateri, a gun owner, that decided to no longer have guns, I realized something quite disturbing. The gentleman had taken his hobby guns as he called them to the police to be destroyed. He felt that was something he could do to stop the 'gun culture'. This was his heartfelt response to the most recent mass shooting. The police did their job and the gentleman returned home. He recorded the experience on Medium. I felt that had been a good response.
I began reading the responses to his blog in regard his action of having the guns destroyed. Many kudos were written from folks as far away as Australia. There seemed to be just as many people opposing his action of eliminating his guns. All of those responses were from US bloggers. Michale and other persons choosing to no longer own or have guns were called idiots, naive, irresponsible, etc. One ex police officer saw it as irresponsible as it now put the responsibility on police to protect Michael, his family and possessions. Another response noted the guns should have been given to victims of home invasions and stalkers so they could defend themselves.
Neither my husband's nor my family did much sport shooting as a general practice. We have one .22 rifle that was a grandfather's and a double barrel shot gun that was my great grandfather's. They were both used to kill food for the family or the critters common to farm life. One old BB gun is used against the occasional rodent on the patio. Does this make me part of a gun culture if I choose not to have them destroyed? I am struggling with the thought of destroying one of the few items I have connecting me to a past generation. I see neither of these guns as defensive weapons. I do not see a need to defend my possessions by doing harm to another person.
I do believe that a commandment of not killing trumps the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I do believe that no possession is worth taking a life. I believe that name calling is not helpful in any debate. Reference Matthew 5:21-48 for background as to why I believe this. I do not believe that comparing automobile ownership to gun ownership is a relevant argument. Automobiles are not manufactured for killing. Tanks are made to kill; guns are made to kill, but not automobiles. And there is the kitchen knives being outlawed argument. Again, not made for killing, made for use in food prep and consumption. The same can be said of steps, ladders, curbs and almost other every day items. Not designed to kill but certainly do kill in accidents or by persons seeking to harm others.
Some folks want to do harm to others. Some people want other people's possessions. Some folks will harm themselves. I cannot stop this type of behavior in any one. I can choose to not hate, to not use name calling as an argument. Yes, I'll keep the guns. No, they will not be used for killing. I will keep wrestling with the issue of how can I be a positive influence. It is a journey with no end in sight and no single magic answer.
This writing was inspired by The Spin Cycle hosted by Ginny of Lemon Drop Pie.