Gunning for everyone to care about #GunSense

I don’t know how to write this, other than to climb onto my soapbox and plead to the skies to be heard; to have my thoughts acknowledged and recognised – for once not by the people who visit here (because I’m pretty sure most would be in agreement, and if not, the disagreement would at least be respectful) – but by the people who could be instrumental in changing The Way Things Are. I just need to figure out how to get them to open their hearts to my message…

Bang Bang Dont Shoot Me Down

It’s a point of national pride that England never features in any ‘top’ lists, when it comes to fatal shooting statistics. Whether it’s drive-bys, children accidentally unleashing bullets from weapons which were never intended for play, maybe-criminals shot by gun-toting police officers, actual criminals wreaking havoc, or a kid driven to the brink, venting their hurt in a hail of indiscriminate bullets at school, we just don’t have it here.

In light of the recent Oregon shooting (big news, which occurred whilst I was Stateside (feeling all the more poignant for that)) the Huffington Post UK examined the statistics for gun deaths in the naughties, suggesting that at no point between 2000 and 2011 were there more than 100 recorded gun deaths per year in the UK. Compared to never less than 10,000 per year in the US.

10,000.

10,000!

Thing is, it’s rarely just the victim who is impacted. If you take into consideration the family of the person whose life was ended by bullets (shall we say an average of 5 each?) that’s 50,000 people. And their friends (Muricans are exuberant, on the whole, so let’s say an average of 10 each) then we’re up to an easy 150,000. How about their colleagues (though given the stereotype that many gun crimes occur in the ‘bad parts of town’ where unemployment levels may be higher, I’ll go with a conservative guesstimate of an average 4 colleagues each) and just like that we’re looking at the best part of 200,000 people impacted by the loss of someone they know (and may well love) to gun crime each year.

If we’re as committed as we say we are to #BlackLivesMatter and #EveryLifeMatters, then we have to acknowledge that the people of the United States are being devastated by gun deaths, because every loss counts, and every person who grieves, counts.

Every life counts.

And whilst it’s easy to sit smugly on the laurels of English law and preen a little that our little island nation isn’t ravaged by a plague of bullets in the same way because our policy-makers have the good sense not to legislate guns into common usage, it’s far too simplistic to do that. There are reasons for the Second Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Supreme Court rulings thereafter. Reasons which we, still nursing an Empirical hangover and in constant incredulity at the latest stunts pulled legislation passed by our own government, might find hard to grasp.

So yes, the politics matter, even though on the whole, the regulations in place seem set to preserve life, rather than destroy it. And yes, population size and urban density and the ease with which guns can be procured also count. Maybe even the prevalence of gang warfare and pride in the right to bear arms have their places amongst the arguments which always shoot back and forth in the wake of each new (publicised) shooting.

And it matters that schoolchildren in the US have routine gun drills, just in case. It matters that parents panic when they get a text message, their thoughts flying to the latest school shooting, wondering if it’s happened again, to them. It matters that guns are idolised, glamourised, and sold hard to a population desensitised by the overwhelming number of deaths; that the ability to kill is commonplace, and placed into people’s hands more easily than a driver’s licence.

They matter.

But those things would pale into insignificance if the politicians, bystanders, parties with vested interests, rent-a-mob crowds, and bandwagon-jumpers could all just stop for a moment and feel.

If they could feel the matter of each one of those lives lost.

If they could feel the shock of suddenness; the anguish of violence; the agony of absence; the despair of a future without…and if they could feel that at a minimum rate of 27.3 times per day.

Things. would. change.

If only every life counted.

If only people could find a way to tap into empathy.

Because in the end, it’s the people who matter.

Whatever the laws of state and nation, it’s people who buy firearms. It’s people who have their own justifications for owning them. People who choose to ensure that the guns they own are kept securely. Or not. People who think that it could never happen to them. Or people who think that they will be able to retain self-control at an emotional flash-point. Or people who just damn well don’t think. Even people who obtain guns with the express purpose of harming others. They’re all people.

Leisure. Security. Protection. Profession. Bravado. People.

Panicking. Raging. Defending. Hunting. Enforcing. People.

Falling. Bleeding. Dying. Dying. Dying. People.

And We the People – not just of the United States, but the world over – need to wake up to the fact that every gun death is one too many, and we need to let ourselves FEEL it. Comparing statistics and feeling smug is unconscionable. Pointing out the bullets in another nation’s eye and ignoring the target in our own, is irresponsible. And trying to take any kind of side in this debate, which puts law, or right, or reason, ahead of people, is indefensible. Because until our neural pathways for empathy are back on track, no change will occur, and We the People, as a whole, will remain divided on the matter; arguing semantics whilst more and more lives are lost.

And that is something to grieve over.

 

Many thanks to Kerri, of Undiagnosed But Okay, for the suggestion to write into the topic of #GunSense – it matters, and too many have been complacent for too long. I hope that there will soon be a majority of voices who demand, together, to be heard, and that the wheels of change can be put in motion. It’s no small ask, but something has to give, and at the moment whether it’s at a rate of 3ish a week, or nearly 30 a day – too many lives are still being taken.

Join in, at Kerri’s blog, and please share this with the hashtags #GunSense and #1000Speak

1000Speak

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45 thoughts on “Gunning for everyone to care about #GunSense

  1. I often feel when reading about the latest American shooting tragedy, that as a good Northern neighbour I ought to sit my friend down for a lengthy chat, and that it would probably start out something like, “you in danger girl.” Because really? Do.They.Know? I don’t think they know. I think they still cling tight to their frontier ideals, when it’s their children they should cling to. Because let’s face it, the past is the past; but that future? It’s just beginning to unfold, and don’t you care that it’s literally being shot down in it’s prime? The land of the free? Oh dear dear friend, I say this with love: the only thing worst than being a prisoner; is being a prisoner who doesn’t know they are captive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope very much that at some point there’s a critical mass – a tipping point, if you will – at which sufficient numbers of people will be prepared to stand up and ACT on the whole “NO! NO MORE CHILDREN DYING BY GUN!”, because until action takes place, we’re really all just shouting into the aether.

      Land of the free is as much a facade as anything the Tory party says about caring for the poor/disabled.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Why does it have to be all or nothing with so many people?
    😦
    I don’t know who is saying ban guns completely. I am not saying it.
    I grew up with a gun cabinet in my uncle’s house, when I would go there for visits. My grandfather had shot guns, in his closet, for hunting.
    I just don’t understand the fear. I am lucky to live in a safe place, but why does having a deadly weapon, in many cases around little children, why does this make someone feel safer? I will never understand that. The need for protection, I hear that, but I am really afraid of a world where everyone has a gun on them. I don’t wish to live in fear.
    This is not the wild west. Going from what we always tell kids, use your words, not just jump to getting physical. We never follow the rules we force on our children. Common sense isn’t common at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know. It’s so frustrating! There NEEDS to be a middle ground – a place where good sense (agreed, perhaps it’s less common these days) can meet with intelligent dialogue – so that things can be discussed, alternatives offered, and changes put into action.

      I don’t profess to understand the viewpoints of either end of the extremes, but I do know that at some point, something’s gotta give. And I’d prefer it not to be further lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This was a wonderful and absolutely correct read. I don’t feel the need to get into depth about how much all of your words need to be taken seriously because probably most, if not all, of us commenting are in agreement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s always silly politics that gets in the way and of course, organizations that get people riled up by campaigns that lie about what gun laws would do. I’m glad California has taken a step to have gun laws in place that would lead to more background checks, but we need topics like this to have a more humanistic discussion of how gun violence impacts people.

    Like

    • I think that’s why Kerri’s other tag of ‘create dialogue’ was so good. It has to be more stringent laws and testing, but I’ve really got no clue. I think the argument has to come away from GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! to legislation and empathy and understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It has become out of hand here in the states when it comes to the gun situation. Way too many people dying. One of the problems here are the crazy amount of illegal guns on the streets and not enough harsher penalties, the gun lobbyists on Capitol Hill, and the money made by the gun and ammo companies too. Our politicians speak a big game but never really do anything about it. The NRA is way too powerful. It’s a sad scenerio.

    Look, I’ll admit to being a guy that enjoys going to the shooting range, has family in the military and law enforcement, and parents that own guns. All very safe and secure the way they handle and treat their firearms. Yet, something needs to be done here in a deastic way to change things with what is going on.

    I just don’t know if it will change anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with shooting ranges or hunting or using guns professionally or personally as long as it’s reasonable and containable, and the risk of harm or accident is purposefully minimised. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having or owning a gun, and I certainly don’t think the second amendment should be changed…but I DO think that lots of legislation needs to take place to enable more testing and training and winnowing of people suitable to own a deadly weapon.

      Illegal guns are another matter, and there should DEFINITELY be more to prevent it, more powers to intervene with it, and greater penalties in order to deter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are all kinds of idiotic points for everything, but it pains me that any child should have to live in fear like that, and have to take active steps to safeguard their life from potential madmen πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. As a survivor of a violent crime, and a woman who carries, I apparently am the odd woman out. I support RESPONSIBLE gun ownership 100%. I hate to say it but it is true, guns do not kill people, irresponsible, untrained, mentally unstable people, kill people. What is needed is a more thorough screening process, of course then we’ll have people crying invasion of privacy. We need more parents to be more in tune with what their kids are up to. We need more training for teachers. Education is key. My family is military, and hunters. We grew up with respect and responsibility of people and firearms. A gun is an inanimate object, it’s the hand that holds it that has control.

    Liked by 2 people

    • YES! To all of that. I don’t think it would be right or sensible to prevent gun ownership in the states, or even to suggest it! But the level of responsibility required before owning a gun, and the testing and training prior to taking one home…those should be far more intensive and winnow out a LOT more people as unsuitable candidates for gun ownership. Thank you so much for sharing your viewpoint – it’s really very helpful to have your perspective shown.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Lizzi, and thank you for not suggesting a gun ban, you’re the first to seriously write about this issue and not propose a ban, I appreciate that. Firearms do have a place in society but they must be in an educated, responsible place.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree 100%! And if you have a look through the rest of the posts linked to Kerri’s hop, I think you’ll be pleased to see that there are more advocates out there for KEEPING guns, but having better legislation and education surrounding them πŸ™‚

          Like

  9. Sigh… yes. If only people would stop for just a minute and think about the fact that these are people. People with families and friends and hurts and fears and lives. I can’t imagine living with the idea of taking another person’s life. Yet so many seem to think it’s their right if they are offended or disrespected. There’s so much, so much wrong that got us here. And this: guns are idolized, glamorized and sold hard. That pretty much says it all. Thank you my friend. Thank you for always caring and speaking out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your post – it helped to solidify a few thoughts for me ❀ And thank you – I think people are being sold down the river as regards guns and how much they do or don't matter…there seems to be a lot of smoke-screening at work 😦

      Like

  10. Oooh yay for REALS Frist!!!! πŸ˜€ That makes me so happy!
    But secondly – Lizzi, Lizzi, Lizzi. I adore you. You got this so much. This is so what I want people to do here… to actually FEEL and HAVE EMPATHY. More than absolutely anything this is what I want, because if people could feel that, and know the gut wrenching agony that us survivors feel, I have to believe somehow that they would never want anyone to experience that again.
    THANK YOU for this. Perfect, perfect.

    Liked by 3 people

    • YES, for reals FRIST! Well done πŸ™‚

      And thank you. That means a lot to me, that you like this so much. I honestly cannot think of a single way OTHER than people allowing themselves to feel empathy – to connect with that pain and grief, and take on board how devastating it is – that will change the world, and its gun laws, for the better.

      SO glad you like it ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • EXACTLY I can’t think of a single way, either, other than empathy. I think that’s the road. To feel the devastation behind it, even just getting a taste of how gut wrenching it is… I doubt very many would turn their backs on change if they knew that.
        I LOVE it. I’m so so so glad you wrote this!

        Liked by 1 person

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