Over every meal, during car conversations, or over coffee breaks, guns appear. No one seems able to turn away from them.
Guns are everywhere.
They killed the King of Civil Rights. They killed Hope over and over again.
They killed children, parents, and teachers.
But, we still love them—these guns we’re so proud of.
A recent conversation went like this:
“I think that no one here (in the U.S.) gets out of the car and fights anymore because we know that the other person might have a gun.”
I looked sideways at the person who said this. My heart beat faster. I told myself to calmly listen and do the same when I respond. I knew I would respond because, well, how could I not?
However, what made this an even more difficult situation was the fact that I respected this person and usually agreed with many of his views.
He said that in Australia people have been getting out of their cars and beating each other because of road rage. We happened to be driving when he said this. So, he continued with his theory that if only the Autralians had not banned guns….
“How can you say that?” I asked sharply.
I was answered with a slew of statistics about how many people in the United States have guns. But, I cared nothing about those statistics because all I could think about was those children and teachers being killed by a gun at Sandy Hook Elementary.
And, then, I spoke, loudly.
“You should be more careful about your opinions, especially because of what happened to those children and teachers. I realize people are the real killers. We do this. But, please, don’t tell me that giving people guns would stop the violence because of paranoia—the fear of being shot?”
He stopped. He realized how ridiculous he sounded.
As we talked more about guns and the people who use them, we also talked about why they use them. A gun in the hand of a hero might be a tool for protection either for himself or for another. A gun in the hand of a monster might be the end of any innocent life.
Then, we talked about what makes a hero and what makes a monster, and then, who’s responsible for making a hero and who’s responsible for creating a monster? I thought back to the last post here.
Could it be that simple?
Every adult reaches out to every child at one point or another. And, it’s not like the media doesn’t pick apart every angle of a killer’s life, a killer like that of Sandy Hook’s, Adam Lanza—lonely, withdrawn, anti-social. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget about the money. It seems he had way too much money.
So, what about the killers with no money?
I know a boy like many boys who plays an inordinate amount of violent video games, almost every one of them involves shooting people or zombies. I knew him before he did this all the time. And, yes, he was a brat sometimes, angry, happy, everything you’d image a smart kid growing up in the United States might be.
Now, at age 14, he’s withdrawn, angry, lonely, just like a lot of boys his age.
What makes a hero and what makes a monster?
Someone could’ve ripped the video games out of Adam Lanza’s hands, kept him in school, helped him understand why he was different, befriend him, give him the kind of attention he really needed.
Maybe. Maybe that would’ve made a difference.
But, it was the gun in his hand that killed all those innocent children.