1. The second amendment gives us the right to carry guns to defend ourselves from the US military should an authoritarian government attempt to kill us.
-I understand the deep distrust of government that our very democracy was founded upon. However, our government is currently armed with nuclear weapons. If we actually had a government intent on killing us and felt as though it was our responsibility to preemptively attack the US military, we would also need nuclear warheads. Should every American have an atomic bomb?
This may seem ridiculous but it is not. The Syrian government very recently released chemical bombs on it's own citizens. Would Syria have been a safe place if each citizen was armed with his and her own chemical bombs in retaliation? If our only recourse against violence is more violence, then we would need an arms race for each person.
2. If the people in the bar in Orlando would have been carrying guns, someone would have killed the shooter before he killed so many people.
- This may be true. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that an inebriated person who was shot in the dark would have had the ability to recognize and shoot the killer before he continued his rampage.
- But think about your position here. Please consider for a moment the type of society we want to create. Are we saying that every person should continuously carry a weapon to avoid violence? Are we saying that the only solution to stop violence is for everyone to be able to kill? Please imagine for me a society where every man, woman and child must at all times be armed and on the lookout for danger, able to shoot any suspected opponent. How could we live? Violence begets violence.
I lived in Detroit, Michigan for four years and in Camden, New Jersey for one. In those situations, I worked in dangerous neighborhoods and had no car. I walked past dangerous, high, drug dealing people. I never carried a gun. My method of safety was to know my neighbors and the street corner drug dealers by name, to greet them politely, and to avoid being intrusive. In both cities, furthermore, I worked for organizations that fostered neighborhood safety. It was not through violence. In both cities, I worked with unarmed neighborhood watch clubs (mostly senior citizens) and block clubs who reduced violence in several ways:
a. Creating relationships with their neighborhoods and better understanding who was around them.
b. From these relationships, being able to spot and report suspicious on- goings or dangerous persons in their premises.
c. Destroying abandoned buildings and monitoring local parks so that public spaces could be made safe.
d. Forming trusting relationships with community police members leading to better response times and more regular reporting of crime.
In this country, (I hope) we do not believe in dumping poison into our air and water and then saying that it is the responsibility of private citizens to clean up their own air before breathing and their own water before drinking.
Similarly, I do not think we as a community should relegate safety to a private good, which one earns through his or her own vigilance.
I believe and I have lived this fact: Safety can be achieved when we build a sense of community. It is not achieved through violence.
Finally, for all those who espouse gun rights as some type of religious good... How do the words of Christ, who did not even allow Peter to harm the men who crucified him, affect the way you live? Multiple times, Jesus turned the violent Zionist rhetoric of his time on it's head by radically proclaiming that a person remain peaceful and non-violent. Remember, he preached this to people who were in danger of being killed and abused by Romans on a daily basis.
If you disagree with me, great! Please give me your thoughts on how you would want to foster a peaceful society. Perhaps you have a better way. If so, I would love to learn about it.