Sunday, July 22, 2012

America versus the World

The latest debate is over gun control -- again -- as if no other weapon kills people. After the massacre in Aurora, Colorado this week during a Batman Rises premiere, people are screaming gun control and if only someone in the audience in this concealed permit state would have had a gun. My best friend and I discussed this same issue. I was for someone with a gun in the audience to take the shooter out and she was for not making a bad situation worse.

She was discussing the issue from a point of never having had a gun and I was discussing it from the point of someone who has owned guns (rifles, shotguns, handguns) and have been hunting.

There wasn't enough light, except the exit door was propped open because the shooter had to be able to get in and out again in a hurry once his massacre had been managed. There was a smoke bomb and there was plenty of room on the floor since people would have dropped to the floor after the smoke bomb went off and the shots and screaming began. They couldn't see him, except everyone saw him standing on the stage in front of the movie screen while the movie was still playing, so again plenty of light and a clear, clean target. More people would've been killed, except he was in plain sight elevated above the rest of the theater so it would have been a clear shot even with the disorientation of the smoke bomb, screams, blood, etc. Someone with a carry permit would have had some training or they wouldn't have a carry permit. Beanie, my youngest sister, took the classes and, though she has never liked guns, has a concealed carry permit -- in Ohio. He was wearing body armor, and his arms and legs and head were not covered by armor and would prove disabling if not killing shots, ending the massacre.

She and I regularly get into such discussions and we have discussed socialized medicine, another hot topic, especially from non-Americans, the same people screaming the loudest about gun control. One Canadian said that maybe the shooting in Colorado would get lawmakers moving to enact stricter gun control. It's also the same person who has been so vehement about the United States being behind the rest of the world in enacting socialized medicine because it's so good in Canada. I've heard stories pro and con about Canadian, European, New Zealand, Australia, England, and several other non-American nations where socialized medicine is the norm, and it all comes down to what several British citizens have told me repeatedly: It's different here. This is not America.

Well, it's different here. This is not ___________ (fill in the blank).

Why is it all right for the rest of the world to determine what does and does not go on in America while it is wrong for America to determine what does and does not go on in the rest of the world? Isn't America deciding that a democratic form of government is better for another country, say in Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan, the same as the rest of the world deciding that the United States need gun control and socialized medicine? Think about it.

I have no grudge against the rest of the world and I've seen a good part of it growing up. I have been to more countries that most Americans and will travel again some day when I can afford to do so. Pressure is pressure no matter what the issue.

Yes, people having easy access to guns does cause problems, but so does having access to a car, household liquids that can be turned into bombs, and illicit drugs for getting rid of the competition or somebody that hurt/maimed/abused/lied/etc. to you. How come there isn't a hue and cry for common household liquid control, but then we know how good the ban on illicit drugs has worked, especially when lawmakers and movie stars are filling their noses and veins and lungs at parties.

And socialized medicine is not the magic bullet that will make everyone equal and make sure everyone has affordable health care.

There is no magic bullet and each country must decide for itself, especially with a democratic government in place, what is and is not right for that country and the people who live, vote, and pay their taxes here. It's not for the rest of the world to demand that we enact strict gun control and socialized medicine. That's pressure and it will not be tolerated.

Americans, despite some of their conformities, are not conformists on the world stage. We are different and we reserve the right to govern ourselves without pressure from any other person or country in the world. America is revolutionary in some ways and a bit behind the times in others, but only Americans have the right to decide. We do not have a history of following the rest of the European nations or the country from which we fought for our liberty, England and it's Empire. Just because they have socialized medicine and strict gun control does not mean America must follow suit, must conform.

That is the thing about such hot issues where everyone has an opinion. In the United States you can have a lot of different opinions and discuss them, but we reserve the right to ignore anyone not living, voting, and paying taxes in the United States. You're entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to force your opinion on America or Americans. We will figure out our own destiny as you have figured out yours.

As tired as it is to say, guns don't kill people, people kill people using guns -- and cars, and bombs made from household liquids and items, and knives, and poisons, and garottes, and ropes, and trucks, and planes, and fists, and boots, and stiletto heels, and cars, and bulldozers, and any number of ways, even using medicine like insulin, potassium, etc. Until there is a way to control people while still leaving their right to freedom intact, there is no way to control the means with which people kill other people.

That said, I have no problem with restricting access to guns. I think everyone who owns a gun should be taught to respect the weapon and learn to use to properly. I don't have a problem with restricting who gets a gun, although that has never stopped someone determined on homicide or suicide from killing. I don't even mind registering guns. But taking away our right to keep and bear arms is not acceptable. My best friend and I agree on that point, even if we don't agree that taking out someone like Holmes when he gunned down 60 people in an Aurora theater this week is a good idea.

The world is changing, but the world doesn't change with countries in lockstep, except maybe in Europe and third world countries. Every country has their own way of doing things and that is fine. Just don't force your fears and ideas on me and on other Americans. This is our country and we have the right and the privilege to choose our own destiny. Get used to it. We've gotten used to you telling us that you do things differently in your country.

No comments: