On Guns in the USA

I am deeply saddened at the attacks that have become so seemingly commonplace these days. Yet after living in Japan, I know that humankind will find a way to perpetrate horrible things without guns. Drive-by sarin gas attacks, bombs on the subway, and a lot of knife killings (including one where a guy broke into an elementary school and sliced up a classroom of kids before taking his own life). I’m all for better controls and checks on guns – but don’t think a ban would do much more than change the weapons of choice, or only give those who already disobey the law an advantage. Pipebombs, ricin, pressure cookers, explosives made from manure that took out an entire building, these have all been used in the not-too-distant past here in the US. We need to address underlying social, psychological, and spiritual issues much more than pass a few laws.

These attacks cause such tragedy and injustice. Especially because these were not carried out by some external power seeking to tear our society apart, but by citizens, some with criminal intent, others with delusions. The weapons used were whatever was expedient, and guns are ubiquitous, on sale at grocery stores. However, if guns were not so readily accessible, other options do abound. Daily items such as manure, turpentine, chlorine bleach, gasoline, LPG, kitchen knives, axes, chainsaws, fireworks, motor vehicles – all are useable for destructive purpose. Broadly banning anything that could possibly be used to cause harm is not the long term way to fix our problems.

Many have a deep distrust in our institutions, our police, our seats of power. We have removed God and faith and therefore, a reason for acting sacrificially of personal rights. And we have enshrined violence as the way to deal with frustrations and issues not immediately conforming to our felt needs.

Dealing with these three failings (and others) will have far more impact on the safety and solidarity of our nation than merely passing laws about a specific type of weapon. Although such laws may help in the short term. They would be but a band-aid over a chainsaw wound to the chest.