Gun Culture +/- Gun Control = Complicated
This week I read a post on Medium from a guy who turned in his guns to his local police department in Pasadena. I found the blog thought-provoking, and I wrote my own blog on how I grew up in Pennsylvania in gun culture (my dad and uncles and many males I know there hunt and I was taught to shoot as soon as I was deemed strong enough and responsible enough to hold and fire a gun).
This past week I researched the statistics and discovered that in the first five years of this decade, more incidents of school violence have occured than in the two previous decades combined, and that school shooters have been from almost any race, including international students who are here on visas (not just the proliferary of white males I seemed to remember).
And I talked in this blog how my viewpoints on guns have changed from those that I learned as a child and young adult. I spent part of my 20s working for a school violence prevention company that wrote safety manuals and helped schools do mock drills to prepare staff and students for the event of manmade or natural disasters. I also wrote for School Violence Prevention Report on a regular basis. In my 30s and early 40s, I was a professor and academic administrator, who occasionally taught or worked with students who were violent prone or troubled. I’ve seen the issue of school violence from multiple viewpoints.
But the problem with what I was writing was, that even with all of the experience, I could find no answers to this very complicated situation. Our country was founded in part on its fire power, and in the past decades and the present our government has agreed to export our military and be the world police. A study in Injury Prevention, as reported on NBC News states that one in three Americans own guns. All of these things combined make our nation a gun culture, regardless of what some people wish.
I applauded those trying to bring light and changes to this issue. I love the spirit behind the #CocksNotGlocks FB campaign, but doubt it will affect statue in Texas. I fear for the safety of all faculty and students at universities where concealed weapons will be permitted starting next year, and part of me wonders if an airport-like screening for all buildings wouldn’t be a bigger deterrent than more fire power. But again, I don’t think a simple solution will solve the problem completely. This nation is very divided on the issue of guns, just like it is divided on many issues right now. The only thing I think most people can agree on is that school violence is a huge problem in this country and it should never be seen as a solution to anyone’s personal problems.
(And in an effort at full disclosure, I own one gun, a BB gun that looks like a Glock that was bought for the sole purpose of a photoshoot I did years ago for the Scars Publications’ Sexy Poets Calendar. Inspired by the Medium blogger mentioned in the opening sentence, I think I’ll turn it in, because even though it only shoots BBs, it’s still a gun, and I am not military nor police so I have no use for guns.)