Saturday, March 06, 2010
wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Friday, September 7, 2007
I recently read where a 13-year-old Arizona boy was suspended from school for 3 days for sketching a picture that "resembled a gun" on one of his papers.
In contrast to this boy's school experience is my own from not even 30 years ago. By the time I was his age I was also doodling on my books and papers like any normal teenager, but not only did many of my doodles "resemble a gun" but most were damn good representations of the real thing! In 9th grade art class I even made a sculpture of a Colt Python. As I recall my art teacher at the time tried to talk me out of it but after I insisted nothing else was ever said about it. If I were in school today no doubt I would be removed from class and my parents custody then sent away for intensive psychiatric counseling!
I really have to wonder if we Americans aren't going collectively nuts. We are coming to a point where a large portion of Americans are not only afraid of real guns but even a doodle of a gun on a schoolboy's homework is something to fear and is even considered by many to be an act of violence! And give a kid a real gun, forget about it! Americans afraid of guns or even pictures of guns, Americans! This country wouldn't even exist if it weren't for private firearm ownership. I am starting to feel like I am living in some kind of bizarro universe that has no real connection to reality or the country that I grew up in.
All of this hysterical anti-gun behavior has come about because of numerous cases of school violence and instances of children killing children in the last several years. I have no doubt of the good intentions of many people involved in this who sincerely want to put an end to this horrible violence but they have fixated on the wrong thing, children's access to guns is not even the real issue here. American children have had access to guns for the entire history of our nation but it has only been in our recent history that we've seen such an incredible increase in violence, why is that? American children being exposed to guns is nothing new at all, and up until recently was considered a natural and normal part of growing up for many Americans. I myself have been shooting since I was 8 and have been a gun owner since I was 12 and I don't consider that to be really out of the ordinary. I think my experiences were similar to many of my generation and older. Okay, I know what you're thinking, no 12-year-old can own a gun and you would be technically correct. But at that age I had my very own rifle that I could shoot (anytime I could get my dad to take me). Not only could I shoot it but when I did I was required to clean and take care of it. After a while I was even allowed to hang it on my bedroom wall. So while not "technically" a gun owner I guess you would have to admit I was pretty damn close. What I am saying here is that I have been exposed to guns and shooting since a very young age and I don't think I had any adverse effects from it. I never wanted to go on a killing spree; I never wanted to take a gun to school to kill someone. If I did want to take a gun to school it would have only been to show it off to my friends not to hurt anybody.
Guns have become a scapegoat in our violent society, if we could only get rid of the guns we could get rid of the violence. If we could only cure America of its gun "problem" we could end all of the senseless death that surrounds this nation. But kids today have considerably less access to guns than kids of my generation had and yet the violence has increased substantially since the years of my youth. Today you have gun safes, gun locks, gun boxes etc. etc. all created in an effort to keep kids and guns apart, but my generation had none of that. As a kid I had access to a gun and ammunition since I was 12 (actually a lot earlier than that), guns that were just as lethal and "evil" as anything available now. But not once did it occur to me to take them to school and start shooting people. When I was a boy my father had a gun "cabinet" not a gun safe. That cabinet was a flimsy wooden box with a cheap lock and a glass enclosed front, he even kept the key on top. It wouldn't have taken much effort to get inside it where I would have had access to over a dozen long arms and pistols (probably some already loaded). But you know what? It never even occurred me. Not once did I get the idea to break into his guns, take some to school and start killing people.
So what's the difference between now and then? So why weren't the children of my generation (and earlier generations) taking their guns to school to kill, or shooting up churches or in general causing mayhem, death and destruction? That's the real question that needs to be asked. You won't stop this violence with these current methods, all you will create will be an entire generation of kids who either have an unreasonable fear of an inanimate object (who will later turn into the hysterical, irrational gun hating adults we have now) or you will create kids that will become obsessed with guns because adults have made them a "taboo" subject not to be discussed or even thought about. If we are to ever stop this youth violence problem we had better start asking "why" this is happening instead of "with what" did it happen. To become fixated on an object while ignoring the true causes is just a recipe for more of the same.