Human nature + guns = bad news

Dear President Trump,

Did you catch wind of Ralph Norman’s antics yesterday? He pulled a loaded revolver out and laid it on the table in front of him during a meeting with his constituents in South Carolina. He said everyone was safer with him and his loaded gun there and that he wasn’t going to do a Gabby Gifford. I beg to differ. Unless he has super powers he’s not letting anyone in on, I don’t see how carrying a loaded gun is going to protect him. Whoever might shoot him isn’t going to announce their intentions and invite him to get his gun out. No, they’d count on the element of surprise and shoot, in which case, Ralph would be dead before he could even reach for his gun. Plus, if he continues to lay his weapon on tables in public meetings, someone may very well grab the gun.

Ralph’s show of phenomenally poor judgment has me thinking again about the debate concerning whether the problem is people who use guns to kill people or guns themselves. This isn’t a new take at all, but Ralph has helped put an even finer point on it – with as many careless people out there with poor judgment and impulse control it’s stupid to allow us unfettered access to weapons that can do massive damage in seconds.

Human beings are wired so that strong emotions short circuit higher level cognitive processing and if we happen to have a loaded semi-automatic weapon handy when we are riled up we are going to be a danger to ourselves and others. So really, it isn’t a matter of whether it is people or guns that are more the problem, it’s the combination that’s the problem. If people never, ever had access to them, there could be 17 guns per person and we’d be fine. Guns aren’t going to start randomly firing all on their own. Check. Got it. And, yes, if there were no guns, people would still find ways to hurt or kill each other. Check. Got it. But you cannot harm as many people with a knife or rock or brass knuckles as you can with a gun. So, how about this – as long as people are prone to violence, let’s limit our individual and collective access to guns. I think that’s fair and reasonable, and I bet if money weren’t such a big part of this whole sick equation, this would be the prevailing sense in the land.

May we be safe from gun-toting congressmen.
May we be happy to laugh at such idiocy.
May we be healthy enough as a country to admit our lax gun laws are killing us.
May we make peace with human nature and accept that guns bring out the worst in us.

Tracy Simpson

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