In my opinion, there are too many guns in the world, and especially in the United States.
I was reminded of that again today reading about the death of a young father and gym owner in Arlington, Texas. Apparently, the victim was trying to act as a good Samaritan after seeing a domestic dispute involving a gun in a Walgreens parking lot. My heart breaks for the victim and his friends and family, particularly his wife and children. I also have no doubt that he was trying to do the right thing. It wouldn’t surprise me if he deeply believed the NRA’s de facto slogan that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Unfortunately, I think guns all too often only escalate situations from dangerous to deadly. To be clear, the bad actor here is the shooter who pulled a gun on his wife at her place of employment and fired it, hitting her in the ankle and causing non-life threatening injuries. I do wonder, though, if this tragic death could have been avoided if the victim had reached for a phone to call the police rather than his gun to confront the shooter, who apparently was trying to flee the area.
This tragedy follows a shooting and killing at a church last week. After a verbal altercation over seating was being resolved, a church member showed a badge (not officially law enforcement related) and a gun, telling one of the members to leave. The member then punched the gun owner, who fired two shots, killing the puncher.
That tragedy followed the tragic murder of former NFL player Will Smith last month. After a fender bender in New Orleans, it appears that multiple guns were brandished, escalating a situation from inconvenience into homicide, robbing New Orleans of a local hero who was known for his charitable contributions and work in the local community.
Sadly, escalating dangerous situations are not the only downside of America’s love affair with guns. Not a week goes by in which a toddler doesn’t shoot someone, often fatally. Sometimes the victim is the toddler. Sometimes the victim is someone else. It’s always tragic and horrible.
I have many friends and family members who own and like guns. I love them (the people, not the guns). I think they are responsible (again, the people, not the guns). But I do wish there were fewer guns in the world, and especially the United States. It’s not that fewer guns would end violence or pain or suffering or tragedies, but it could reduce them–perhaps significantly.
The data seem so clear that guns in the hands of civilians do more harm than good. Given the NRA’s stranglehold on the Republican Party, I don’t see much changing soon, but hopefully we’ll find a way to reduce the number of tragedies that are far, far too common.