Guns Kill People, But the People Who Have the Guns Matter by Matt Beat [Guest Wreckers]

07 Matt BeatLet me begin by writing that killing is wrong. The ultimate goal, in case you didn’t already know, is to preserve life. Therefore, the only time to kill is to defend life. The goal is to maximize life, and minimize death.

As a normal human being, I was extremely disturbed when I heard about the Connecticut elementary school massacre last Friday. As a teacher, it’s hard for me to imagine something like that happening at my school. When I first heard the news, I didn’t know whether to cry or to be sick. It’s about as evil as evil can get.

That said, 26 people are killed at one time, in one place, by one apparent psychopath, in a gruesome way, and all of sudden we need to debate about gun control. It’s as if children weren’t murdered by guns and bombs everyday already. All of this reactionary and scripted rhetoric always predictably follows mass media tragedy. It’s like gun control proponents have a pile of talking points hidden and waiting to be unleashed the next time a mass shooting taps into the emotions of the masses. (side note: maybe if the mass media didn’t cover such shootings the shootings might happen less?)

It is disturbing to me that people take notice that people are murdered only now that it is mostly young children. This is morally hazardous. Innocent children being murdered is disturbing, of course, but anyone being murdered is disturbing, for goodness sake. Killing of any sort is the most evil action humans are capable of doing. I am equally disturbed that a baby is killed as I am a 110-year-old is killed. Maybe that’s me. I guess I am a weird, normal, human being.

Nearly everyday in this country people of all ages are murdered. Simultaneously our President is dropping bombs everyday on suspected terrorists, though nearly every time they are dropped they are not hitting suspected terrorists, but civilians. Where is the outcry for that?

But anyone, it seems, can get a gun in this country. Sure, there are background checks, but often guns get in the hands of people anyway who haven’t had background checks. In fact, our own government has (accidentally?) given guns to both Mexican drug cartels and Al Qaeda. If people want guns, in a country with 300 million of them, they are usually going to find a way to get them.

Very few in this country want to ban guns from all civilians, but should we increase regulation? Very few in this country also do not want any form of gun control. In fact, even the NRA is even for some gun control.

I would say that psychopaths and sociopaths should not have guns. Again, many of them would still find ways to get guns. People who want to become police officers have extensive background checks that can last over a year before they are trusted to own a semi-automatic gun. It’s reasonable that background checks at least are thorough enough to determine if someone is mentally ill. Psychological evaluations, though longer and more expensive to conduct, would be a great investment to our nation’s security. Many of our country’s mass shooters did not have any criminal record nor an apparent sign they had mental illness. Oftentimes it is after the fact when detectives discover what was inside the shooter’s home that would have been signals to a mass shooting.  So I will be the first to say that background checks must be more thorough.

However, people absolutely must have guns to defend themselves. Have you ever heard of any mass shootings where someone already had a gun at the scene? Of course you haven’t. Have you ever heard of a mass shooting at a gun show? What about a police station? I hope you get the point. If every school had a police office with a gun planted in the front office of the school, school shootings would drop dramatically. Some of the safest neighborhoods in the country are ones where everyone in the neighborhood owns a gun. According to this website, the average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29, and the average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33.

Let me conclude with the main message I want to get across in this blog: guns kill people, but the people who have the guns matter. The overwhelming majority of human beings are good people. They are not psychopaths or sociopaths, although some such psychopaths and sociopaths somehow wind up in our government. They generally may be selfish, but, when push comes to shove, the do the right thing, no matter what their religious upbringing. I know it is easy in times like these to forget this. But I believe in humanity. Violence worldwide is going down.  Violent crime in this country is even going down overall.  People tend to forget the big picture.

The bigger issue at hand is the fact that we need to find out a way to treat psychopaths and sociopaths. My wife works with people who have mental illness, and based on her anecdotes I can tell you that a lot of people are sick, and they certainly aren’t born that way. Something in their upbringing, or some kind of trauma they experienced, caused them to get sick. Mental health clinics do not get much government money, and are usually the first things to be cut. My solution to gun violence, or really all violence? Take some of the hundreds of billions spent on our military (whose main purpose is to kill) and allocate it to help more people with mental illness. Take some more of that money and pay it to foster parents willing to take care of kids from broken homes. Do not let a human being own a gun unless they have been undergone a thorough psychological evaluation. Take care of the psychopaths before they ruin life for the rest of us.

Matt Beat is many things.  He is a father.  A middle school history teacher in Overland Park, Kansas.  And indie rokker as one half of the power duo known as Electric Needle Room.  His writing has appeared in the likes of the Kansas City Underground Examiner, and the charity based book about independent music, Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From The World of Independent Music.  Recently Matt has combined his love for american politics and history with his love for music with a collection of songs about all of the Presidents of United States of America, released annually on, you got it, President’s Day.  Vol. 1, 2, and 3 (45 tracks in all, get it?) of said albums are available on Bandcamp.  Matt and Electric Needle Room have also released a great short mockumentary entitled, Electric Needle Room is the 1,536th Best Band in the World, which you can watch HERE.  You can read more insight from Matt at The Beat Matt Blog, where this blog originally appeared on December 18th, 2012.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to Guns Kill People, But the People Who Have the Guns Matter by Matt Beat [Guest Wreckers]

  1. Pingback: Matt Beat – Story Time with Mr. Beat [Video] | Trainwreck'd Society

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