Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arizona shooting & gun control

On January 8th 2011 the shooting in Tucson, Arizona shocked the world and has been headline news ever since. 6 People were killed, the youngest victim being a 9 year old girl (Christina Taylor Greene). 13 Others were injured, among whom congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, who took a bullet to the head.

It is no surprise that this tragedy has yet again highlighted the issue of gun control which is currently under the spotlight in America. Should we have stricter gun laws or not? In thinking about this, I can’t help but think a bit bigger than that.

Fire was discovered an estimated 1.4 million years ago. Fire – a friend: used to create weapons to hunt, used to cook food and boil/warm water, warm up a dwelling, protect from predators, etc. Fire – a foe: can be used to
burn down things (homes, crops, nature – animal habitat, buildings, etc.), used in setting off fireworks in animal cruelty, as well as dynamite. Unattended candles have killed or deformed countless babies, or have been used as a deliberate means for abuse. Does this make fire a bad thing?

Alcohol – a friend: used as a steriliser, disinfectant, anaesthetic and cleaning agent (solvent). It can be used for cooking (or even as an ingredient in food products, e.g. vanilla essence). It is used to make perfume, as well as it is flammable. Of course the best known use is drinking it as a social affair. A little red wine on a regular basis is good for cholesterol and blood pressure. Alcohol – a foe: Alcohol abuse has destroyed thousands of lives - drunken driving, broken families, beaten and abused wives and children, even to the extent of death – if not death, then scarred physically, emotionally or spiritually for life. It causes health issues, e.g. liver disease. Does this make alcohol a bad thing?

Money – a friend: used to feed millions of hungry people across the world, to dig wells to give fresh water, sustain safe places for abused people to find help and hope for a future somehow. It buys blankets for the homeless who would freeze to death otherwise on a cold winters night. Money pays for organ transplants and medical treatment. It provides help for those struck by natural disasters, such as floods, tornadoes, etc. – it helps many who would never be able to help themselves sometimes. Money – a foe: The pursuit of it, motivated by selfishness, a hunger for power/superiority/materialistic things, and/or greed destroys families. People will kill for it. Others seek their identity in it and will stop at nothing just to feel a sense of worth. Some is addicted to gambling in pursuit of that one “lucky strike”. Money pays for sex, drugs and alcohol that destroys many other things that took years (or even generations) to build. Does this make money a bad thing?

So, what about guns? A friend: Guns are used to hunt and put food on the table. This is also part of managing herds and helping nature. It can be used for recreational purposes. It has saved the lives of many innocent people by using it to enforce the law. A foe: Guns are used to kill people, to take by force which does not belong to you, to kill animals carelessly without respect for nature, or the consequences of uncontrolled, irresponsible actions. Guns are recklessly left where children can find them and hurt or even kill themselves or others. Guns are used in family violence and for suicide. Guns are used in war, but sadly it also kills the innocent as much as it defends the innocent. Does this make guns a bad thing?

I am sure that in each case many more ideas could be added to each item, and even many items that I have not even mentioned in my writing. I do see a pattern though and I draw one conclusion: Maybe the problem is not the things.

Maybe we should start with ourselves; taking a real close look at who we’ve become. Maybe then we will realize that fire, alcohol, money, fast cars, drugs, guns, etc. etc are not our worst enemy; things are not our worst enemy. WE ARE!

A knife will serve you or cut you, as you seize it by the handle or the blade.


  1. That was a great read.. Thanks for posting it!!!

  2. Good post, Lee. A very sad incident.

  3. Thank you, Cindy. It is indeed.

    John, glad you enjoyed it :)