We quit smoking. The government didn’t ban cigarettes after it was discovered smoking was killing us. Yes, the tobacco lobby pitched a fit. Yes, smokers were offended and bitched about their right to smoke. Yes, people who said “enough already!” were treated with derision.
This didn’t stop the medical community from stating the obvious: smoking is bad for your health. This didn’t stop Congress from raising taxes on cigarettes to pay for health care. And, this didn’t stop family members from saying to loved ones, “You stink. Quit smoking.”
Gradually, the tide changed. Hollywood stopped glamorizing smoking. Celebrities proudly declared they had quit. The momentum continued to the point that it is now difficult to find a legal place to smoke. We’ve essentially shamed people to stop smoking.
Why don’t we insist that arsenals of guns and ammunition have no place in our safe homes? The statistics are clear: stranger-danger is a myth. We are far more likely to become the victim of gun violence perpetrated by someone we know and love than we are by a stranger.
John Parker, a military veteran, was carrying a concealed weapon during the shooting rampage yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon yesterday. Fortunately, he wisely contained his bravado:
Veterans are trained. . .to go into danger. . .Luckily we made the choice not to get involved. We were quite a distance away from the building where this was happening. And we could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was, their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were. And if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.
I was intrigued that he pointed out during the interview that he doesn’t believe people are out to get him. He’s a military vet, and he lives in an area of the country where guns are part of the culture.
I’m painfully aware of the gun culture in Oregon. As many of you know, an appellate court judge pointed a loaded gun at me and said with conviction that he could kill me and “get away with it.” The cops told me I’d be arrested for theft if I brought his arsenal of guns into the police station.
What did I do? I hid those damned guns where I knew he wouldn’t find them: deep in the linen closet. Oh, he was pissed. I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to allow him access to weapons which could end my life. I knew the cops weren’t going to protect me because he was a powerful judge.
I’m done watching politicians wring their hands and spout their public relations grief after each shooting rampage. It is abundantly obvious that they don’t have the integrity or strength of character to challenge the gun lobby and pass meaningful gun legislation.
We the People don’t have to wait for politicians to pass gun legislation. We can make our own rules for our own homes.
We can stop the epidemic of gun violence just like we stopped smoking: We can collectively say, “not in my house!”
How do you know you and your children are at risk? I’ve been working on research into shooting rampage perpetrators. You are at risk of gun violence if someone you know:
- Is an injustice collector
- Has perpetrated, experienced, or witnessed child abuse and/or domestic violence
- Owns an arsenal of guns
The judge collected injustices like they were rare gems and frequently engaged in vicious retaliation for perceived slights. He was a serial pit bull abuser and stalked every woman who had ever been in his life on a weekly basis. He kept an arsenal of guns because he was paranoid. He fits the profile of a shooting rampage perpetrator.
If you are living with someone like him, you’d be wise to get the guns and ammunition the hell out of your house. If you don’t, I’m not going to be shy about asking how your misguided passion for guns is working out for you after someone you know and love is killed with one of those guns.
Millions of Americans are alive today because we collectively shamed people to stop smoking. We can similarly shame people into jettisoning their arsenals of guns.