Thoughts on gun violence | Letters

My cousin asked, “Why are military weapons permitted and available? I can’t understand this, and those Florida killings…”

So I replied:

Military weapons aren’t normally available. Only criminals have stolen military equipment. Non-military guns may look military, but that’s just cosmetics. Appearance has nothing to do with function.

But that isn’t the issue, is it? The real issue is Cruz, the Florida killer, and how he became the way he is. Where was his mother, while he was growing up with “anger issues” (as several of his classmates observed)? Why were there no psychological interventions, after repeated police visits?

The term “gun violence” includes two separate concepts. “Gun” is an adjective, modifying “violence.” A gun is only a tool in the hands of a violent person. That person would be violent even without the gun. A violent person without a gun might accomplish something worse, like Timothy McVey, who destroyed almost 200 people with a bomb made of readily available, uncontrollable and unrestrictable materials.

How different it might’ve been if qualified teachers and administrators in that school had been armed.

We “protect” our children by declaring schools “gun-free zones.” Did Cruz respect that “gun-free” designation? Or did it disarm the very people the children depended upon for safety?

Violent, asocial people misuse guns, and also knives, baseball bats and rocks. We’ve now had three generations who were taught that “you are the most important person on Earth,” rather than that everybody else is important too. The result is that some are effectively clinically asocial. It’ll take at least three more generations to get out of this mess, yet we haven’t even begun to address the problem. Instead, we keep focusing on the gun, so we remain blind to the person wielding it.

The tool isn’t the problem. The mind of the tool user is the problem. Deny use of one tool, and he’ll find another: for instance, a truck driven into a mass of revelers. Can you explain why gun violence is worse than, or even different from, truck violence? Or fertilizer-bomb violence? You can’t.

Steve Henigson

Orcas Island