-From a conversation I had with a friend online about how we talk about AF-15 assault rifles in the public sphere.
For me, it’s relatively simple. I am against guns, of any kind. I don’t even think police should use guns, though I don’t know how that would work with so many guns on our streets today. But the culture of violence that we live in has got to stop.
I am also not a hunter, so it’s hard for me to understand putting hunting rights ahead of our children’s safety. Or the public’s safety. I know not everyone feels this way and were these normal times, then this could be a normal debate about gun rights. But this isn’t normal times, and we are not having a normal discussion. We aren’t doing ‘normal’ right now. We’re not doing much of anything at all, except point fingers, yell, and try to make this a political issue with sides, -rather than the public safety issue that it is.
We aren’t having a legitimate debate in Washington or in most of the media, where they are still debating whether to pass background checks-or not, whether military-style assault weapons should be banned- or not.
We’re arming teachers, we’re yelling about second amendment rights, and ignoring the 70% of people in this country who want these guns off our streets.
For me, this isn’t whether or not people use AR-15 style assault weapons to hunt with, modify them to shoot bean bags, use them to hunt for food or protect their home from ‘invasion’.
To me, whatever else that gun may be used for, that tells me what I need to know:
This gun was designed to shoot the most amount of people as possible as fast as possible.
It is designed for war.
It is designed to kill,
Why would we arm a public with guns designed to kill people in war? Why would we think this doesn’t send the message that anyone you have a problem with, you have the “right” to kill as though they are an ‘enemy combatant’ of war?
Would we allow the public to indiscriminately arm themselves with bombs that similarly could kill a lot of people quickly?-bombs designed for war or mass destruction?
Are we going to war with our neighbors? With school children? With nationalized citizens? With innocent bystanders?
-Where do we draw the line?
The truth is, no one needs military-style assault rifles to hunt with.
No one needs them to shoot beanbags, or for safety. The only thing anyone would “need” a gun like this for is to kill a mass amount of people as quickly as possible.
They have no place in our communities, our schools, our public spaces, in the hands of community police officers, or even in our homes. And apparently, 70% of America agrees -that’s a clear majority.
The guns themselves are only a part of the gun violence crisis we are facing. But they are a big part of that problem. We are the only industrialized country in the world with this kind of gun problem.
Yes, we need to do better in the way we talk about these issues. To me, this means not getting sidetracked by political talking points or inaccuracies in the media that obscure and supplant what we all in our guts and hearts and minds should know.
We need to get real with ourselves and each other about gun violence and lead with discernment:
Arming our citizens with military-style guns designed to kill people is simply wrong and it needs to stop now.