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Guns and Life

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

On Sunday evening, October 1st, 2017, a rich white man in Las Vegas opened fire with automatic assault rifles on a crowd of thousands at a country western concert. The death toll so far is 59, over 400 were injured.

If you have read any of my posts on this blog, you are well aware that I grew up on a farm in Iowa. I trace much of who I am today back to that time in my life. I am honest. I know how to put in a hard day’s work and get up the next day and do it again. I know a lot about the seasons, about planting and growing. I also know a lot about guns.

I grew up with guns. By the time I was 8, I had my own rifle and shotgun and I hunted both with the adults and on my own. My dad took my training in handling firearms very seriously. I learned to never to point a gun at someone. I learned to treat every gun as if it is loaded. Dad also taught me that a shotgun is far more deadly than a rifle up close and that a stray bullet fired from a rifle can still kill someone more than a mile away. He made sure that I was a safe gun handler, a responsible gun owner.

In fact, I was such a good shot, that after a marksman competition at a local gun club, I received a call from an Army recruiter. He asked me if I was interested in training as a sniper for the Army. I told him that I was only 13.

And now I’m over it. Really, I’ve been over it for years. The world has totally changed from when I was a kid.

Today there are too many mass shootings, too many stories on tv about another young man killed by police and too many toddlers shooting family members with an unattended handgun for me to put up with this anymore.

Here are the facts.

  • Your odds of dying from gun violence are 1 in 370 in the US (and that was before a Las Vegas country music concert became a shooting range).

  • Mass shootings (4 people or more people) averaged over one per day in 2015.

  • People carrying a gun for protection are four times more likely to die from being shot than an unarmed person.

  • Guns used in homicide and suicide have caused an average of 30,000 deaths per year since 2009.

  • Lawn darts, which killed 3 children between 1970 and 1988 have been banned since 1988. Go figure.

I don’t advocate banning all guns. Guns have uses in responsible hands - for hunting, for protecting livestock on farms and ranches and for protection in the wild. But assault style rifles and handguns are made for one thing - killing people - and they do it with remarkable efficiency and frequency. Ban the sale of handguns. Ban the sale of assault style rifles. Eventually, those who can’t be trusted with the guns they have will find them taken away and we can begin living as a sane country again

I grew up believing that owning a gun is a right. My dad was pragmatic back then about belonging to the National Rifleman’s Association, saying ‘You need the crazies on the right to keep the crazies on the left from getting too much control.’ It made sense to me then. I guess I hadn’t seen enough of the crazies on the right to know better. Then again, maybe the crazies on the right just hadn’t hijacked the conversation yet.

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