I am about to write about a subject that I feel strongly about and want to "get my say" out without personally offending individuals. Some would say, well then stay quiet Marla - don't bring up something that is a "hot button" subject. Stay away from politics and religion. Most times I do.
Today a couple of things have happened to me that has me thinking…and trying to understand. First, this morning I saw in the local newspaper that the SC House voted to approve a law to allow concealed guns in public restaurants and bars. Once the governor puts her stamp on it, it will be law. The SC governor, Gov. Haley, is a gun owner (in fact she got one as a gift for Christmas and tweeted about it) so I see her signing it without delay.
Thankfully there are stipulations. If someone decides to bring a concealed weapon into an establishment they are not allowed to drink alcohol. If someone is caught drinking in possession of a gun they can be penalized up to $2000 and can face up to 2 years in prison. Also, restaurants and bars have the right to post that they do NOT allow concealed weapons.
This morning I posted on Facebook that I was concerned about this new law and that I see our "love of guns" turning our world into a new wild, wild west. The whole idea of letting people carry guns into a drinking establish is really, really scary to me. People act stupid when they drink and say really dumb stuff - and sometimes they even "look" for a fight. Now, even if the gun-carrier is not drinking, hot heads can get out of hand and the idea of having a "killing machine" right there is downright frightening to me! It's not a good combination.
I know I will prefer to eat out at a restaurant, or have a drink or two at a bar, that does not allow concealed weapons. I will look for those signs before walking in. But, what's to stop someone from carrying a concealed weapon anyway? Will these places have to frisk people or buy X-ray machines?
We have seen an increase in school shootings this year, and we have seen people get mad and shoot & kill in public movie theaters a few times. One shooter was a retired police officer! It's just so crazy to me!
So, the second thing that happened this morning is as I was scrolling along on Facebook I came upon something from the Mothers organization that has joined together to push for stricter gun laws. Too many children have been accidentally shot by negligent family members or others who leave loaded weapons sitting around. This group is working together to get the word out. I "liked" the organization on Facebook so from time to time I get informational posts from them. This morning's post was about the Lamar Company billboard in Chicago…the one that shows pictures of an apple pie, a baseball glove, and a rifle. The idea was all 3 things are items are "American." The Mothers group asked that we post on the Lamar site if we disapprove of the billboard. So, I did. I wrote that I personally found it offensive and I felt it was harsh for victims of gun violence. Well… within an hour I had 4 or 5 reply posts from those who support the billboard, and of course our "Bill of Rights" was acknowledged…and the freedom to defend ourselves.
I could not help but think that these "replies" on the Lamar site on FB were from people just ready to say something back. Waiting. Yes, yes, I know it's their right to do that. But, I did feel it was calculated.
Here's my real reason for writing this blog. Am I REALLY in a small minority that sees the dangers of guns everywhere? Am I the crazy one? I am questioning myself…what am I missing?
Here's my stance - it comes after much thought and a lot of years living in this world! Guns kill people when they are aimed at them…even from afar. When someone shoots at an individual it is not usually just to harm them. It becomes a "killing machine." Guns are easy to hide. EVERY individual person in this world gets mad at times. We all just do! We feel cheated, or overlooked, or have our space invaded. It rubs us the wrong way. We are not feeling or thinking rationally during those moments.
I'm not even talking about those who are diagnosed (or should be diagnosed) with clinical mental and emotionally issues. I mean YOU and ME. We all get mad at humanity at times.
An available gun in that situation, at that moment, is a killing machine. It's something irreversible. It changes lives forever.
Yes, the founders of the US gave us a right to bear arms. The country was "wild" with animals. Communication was not available. Police forces had not been established. People had to fend for themselves at that time. But - it's different now!!!!
The United States of America is one of the only countries that still holds on to this "right"… and we are the ones with the most horrible killings due to guns. The numbers are staggering. Both accidental, and planned…and in rages - against family members and others. I find it embarrassing that we allow it to continue.
I am NOT talking about hunting, and about those who own guns for "sport" (and yes, I do not understand that either… killing innocent animals. Why?)
I really worry about our country's mentality. I worry about the way people think about "defending" themselves at the sake of others, often other innocent people. "Collatoral damage" are lives with rights too.
One of my new year's resolutions was to TRY and accept other people's points of view. So, I really struggle with this. I WANT to see it. I just can't. I understand we all have free will and live in a country with freedom in business (2 new gun companies are setting up shop in SC) and really…. I try.
Am I the only one out there with this concern??