Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 30, 2014

Gun Control

By Curt Swarm | Aug 06, 2012

We’ve all heard the saying, and maybe said it ourselves, “It’s not the gun that kills, it’s the person pulling the trigger. Guns are not evil, people are evil.” Also, a popular slogan is, “Take guns away, and a person bent on killing will just use something else, knife, club, car, explosives, etc.”

In Des Moines, in the late 1970s, there was an incident where a police officer was shot. The officer was able to draw his weapon and, while falling, shoot his fleeing assailant, killing him. This was obviously a case of an officer doing his duty, defending himself, right? The officer didn’t think so. He felt so badly about killing another human being, even though he was shot himself, he resigned his position, took a torch and cut his weapon into pieces. He believed guns were evil and caused people to do evil things.

Why are Americans so obsessed with gun ownership? Well, it’s a constitutional right, for one thing, along with freedom of speech and press. Take away gun ownership, and freedom of speech and press are next. Secondly, there’s the fear of big government. Gun enthusiasts are quick to point out that one of the first things Hitler did was take guns away from the people. They also point out, perhaps misguidedly, that the reason there has never been a major land invasion of the U.S. is because there are so many people with guns. Thirdly, there’s the fear of the gunman in a crowd. The NRA believes that if more people were allowed to carry weapons, potentially bad situations could be averted. This argument sort of goes out the window in the Gabby Giffords shooting. Arizona is one of the most lenient states when it comes to carrying weapons. However, there wasn’t a single person in the crowd with a gun when the shooting started. It was controlled by people sitting on the shooter.

Gun control is such a divisive, polarizing topic that most politicians don’t even want to touch it. However, a majority of Americans feel that 50-and-100-round clips are excessive and should be banned.

So, what’s the answer—more guns on the street, and gun violence will be curtailed?

If this were the case, why did the American Wild West outlaw gun toting? Too many people were being shot! One thing is for certain: the presence of a gun changes the situation exponentially. Reason often goes out the door and the shooting starts.

In Iowa, a law-abiding citizen with no record can get a concealed-weapon permit without even demonstrating that he/she knows how to use the weapon. That defies logic. Even gun supporters don’t like it.

There’s pretty strong evidence that an increase in the number of weapons leads to more weapon violence. However, with the loosening of gun-carrying permits in the U.S., there isn’t a single incident of it leading to a misuse of the weapon. There are cases of concealed-weapon carriers preventing a stickup or mugging.

Norway has some of the strictest gun-control laws in Europe. However, the worst mass murder occurred in Norway. By the way, most mass murderers are men.

We live in a violent world that glorifies violence. I just watched an Angelina Jolie spy movie where hundreds of people were mowed down with guns. When young adults reach the age of 18, they have watched 80,000 acts of violence. Video games are some of the worst culprits.

Should we have more guns, or fewer guns? Is it true that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns? Are guns the problem, or a symptom of the problem? There is strong evidence that mania increases with population. More or fewer guns may make little difference.

We need to have a calm, emotionless discussion about weapons. I’m not sure our political parties, who seem more bent on destroying each other, are capable of such a discussion.

Violent crime is down. There is some evidence that as civilizations advance, the more peaceable they become. That may be our only answer.

 

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com

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