I’m a Texan. Have been most of my life, as in all but eighteen months of it. For those who haven’t lived here for an extended period of time, there is a mindset that seems to take over us. We’re proud of our state and, on the whole, proud of our country. That doesn’t mean we always agree with what the administration in Washington DC might be doing. Far from it, in fact. It means we are proud of the United States of America and the foundation it was built upon.
It also means we have no problem voicing our dissent when the pols on Capitol Hill or in the White House do something we see as exceedingly stupid. Of course, we have been known to aim that same voice of dissent toward Austin on many an occasion. But, like most families, where we can beat on our own and call them names, no one else had better or we’ll come after you.
Well, one of the hot button issues for many of us down here in redneck land is gun ownership. Yep, I said it. I said the “g” word. And I’ll keep saying it and, no, I’m not going to be politically correct. Fair warning. Of course, I’m rarely politically correct as most of you know.
What set me off this morning is an image I saw on Facebook. I’m not going to post it here, but I will note the caption on it. “3,542 American soldiers died due to combat during the 8 year Iraq war. 3,775 Americans have been killed by guns just 4 1/2 months since Newtown.”
Now, I’ll admit I had to read the caption twice to figure out what the point was. Was this something being posted by someone pointing out the idiocy of those liberals sitting in their ivory towers complaining about all the “unnecessary” deaths in Iraq and elsewhere as a result of combat? Or was this something posted by someone in favor of stricter gun control? Or maybe, just maybe, it was something posted by someone who believed both.
While I don’t always agree with the Administration’s policies on Iraq — or any other scene of battle — I recognize that there were reasons for us to be there. But, like the reasons or not, the reality of the situation is, any time you send troops into a war zone — or anywhere else where there are opposing factions — there will be casualties and deaths. War is not and never will be something that can be fought without collateral damage, much less harm to the men and women in uniform. Of course, the problem with today’s vocal idiocy is they think war should be fought like that episode from the original Star Trek: some dispassionate computer picks who dies and you calmly go to the death chamber and meet your fate. No muss and no fuss and no one gets caught in the cross-fire. Then there are those who believe that there should be no wars at all — happy thought that, but the only way that will happen is if there is no life on the planet. Sorry, humans will always take umbrage at something someone else says or does and violence will, on occasion, result.
As for the numbers of soldiers killed, I mourn each of them. I also honor their memory and pray that no one else has to die. However, I’m a realist so I know people die in war. Like it or not, that’s the way of life — and death. Frankly, I wish those raising a row over the number would revisit history and look at how many soldiers died on D-Day or at Gettysburg. Or at any number of other battles throughout history. The fact that so few soldiers have died as a result of combat is something we should all be thankful for.
We should also remember that those soldiers were volunteers who knew there was a very good chance they’d one day have to go into battle and they accepted that possibility. They were serving their country and gladly. So quit using them as political tools and honor them as the heroes they were and are.
Now, assuming the folks perpetuating the image on Facebook are those who advocate stricter gun laws. I understand the knee-jerk reaction after Newtown and other mass shootings to do whatever possible to limit the number of guns on the street. But there’s a problem with making it more difficult to pass background checks: it won’t stop gun violence. What those who advocate stricter gun laws oh-so-conveniently forget is that those who want to commit a crime using a gun won’t go down to the nearest gun shop and submit to a background check before robbing the neighborhood store, etc. They will, instead, buy their gun off the black market or will get it from one of their buddies, etc.
Now, I can see those advocating stricter gun laws — and those who think we should take away guns from the common citizen — puffing up and pointing out the crimes of passion that are committed with guns legally obtained. Or the few crimes where the defendant is actually dumb enough to go buy a gun days or weeks before shooting the cheating spouse or slimeball business partner. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
What I want to know is how these same gun control advocates would react if someone happened to be breaking into their house with the intention of raping their daughter or wife or killing their son, etc. Wouldn’t they want to do whatever is possible to protect their family? And before they say they would round the family up and run out the back door, let me ask you this: how many of you can actually run outside your back door and to a neighbor’s house without having to jump a fence at the very least? In our neighborhood, it is code that you must have at least a six foot tall wooden fence between houses. Now, I might be able to make it over such a fence but my 81 year old mother wouldn’t be able to.
For me, I want the ability to legally obtain a gun, get trained in the proper care and use of it. I want to be able to protect my family should the need arise. Why? Because I know that the bad guys don’t give a flying rat’s ass about obeying gun laws. They will find a gun if they want one and will use it. All I want is to make sure I have a level playing field.
Fortunately, our state legislators here in Texas understand that. They also know that criminals are less likely to try something stupid if there’s a chance someone — or a number of someones — might be armed. Criminals might be stupid — okay, a lot of them are — but unless they are out there trying to commit suicide by cop, they want to live. Which means the higher the risk of running into a store to rob it where not only the store clerk but the customers may be armed, the higher the likelihood of the crook not going into that store. Same thing applies to college campuses if we allow those with CCH permits to carry there as well.
But let me ask you this, those of you who feel guns should be banned, or made so difficult to obtain they might as well be banned. When this Eden you think will occur with the tighter laws doesn’t come about, what are you going to do? Will you then push to make it easier to obtain guns for the common man or will you push for further regulation of things like knives and anything that can be used to make explosives?
That echoing silence you hear is the sound of their brains shutting down because there is no right answer in their lexicon. After all, guns are the source of all violence just as money is the root of all evil. And I so will not get started on that particular argument today.