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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Responsible Gun Ownership

A responsible gun owner! Well, it's about time. Time after time, you seen news items about people abusing their "right" to "stand their ground". These owners are not responsible. They take out their gun at the smallest of circumstances. They do not warn their victim, they just shoot. Many don't even have to confront their victim. 

Zimmerman did not have to leave his car. In fact, he had been told not even to follow his victim. 

The recent case of Renisha McBride near Detroit was even sadder. She was trying to get help for her broken car. She was just knocking on doors. Maybe she was getting a little desperate but there was no reason for Mr. Wafer to leave his house. He could've stayed inside and dialed 911. When he finally did police were there in less than two minutes. Even if he did open the door to confront her, he should not have just fired -- in the face!! 

Every day I dread to see how many people have been shot carelessly since I last logged on to the internet. Now, I'll say right up front -- I don't like guns. Never have. However, I do accept that people should have guns. What I am more disturbed about is how people seem to act with those guns. Otherwise, law abiding, rational citizens don't seem to have any value of human life. Innocent people are shot by innocent people all because one of them has a gun. 

Today, however, I was pleased to hear about the case of Crystal McKinney of Milwaukie, Oregon. Now, I don't know if Oregon has a Stand Your Ground law. But, yes or no, Ms. McKinney exemplifies a great example of what you should do when put in a situation. Ms. McKinney discovered an intruder in her apartment. She confronted him verbally at first, asking him to leave. When he advanced, she retreated to her bedroom where she had a gun. 

Now, Mr. Zimmerman or Mr. Wafer might have just shot the man with no warning. Ms. McKinney aimed the gun and told him to leave again or she would fire, which he did. 

There are two things about this case that impress me. One, it's a case of defending yourself in your home. All this business about being able to Stand Your Ground recklessly wherever you are is dangerous. And, two, she warned him. I don't know what would've happened had she had to shoot. But I'd like to think she wouldn't be shooting to kill.

I know many people bring up race when talking about Stand Your Ground. I realize it is a factor. Blacks are far too often the victims in these cases. However, I think there is a bigger lesson to be learned. In these cases, it is often the surviving person that gets to control the narrative. The victim is always further victimized by being characterized as threatening. It becomes "might is right". This is very disturbing. It must be stopped. 

We cannot keep on going down this path just because gun owners (and the gun industry) seem to think they have an unalienable right to terrorize the rest of us. I don't think that's too strong a word. To terrorize (according to Merriam-Webster) is to create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress (in someone). Well, that happens to every mother of an African-American child when he leaves to go to the store. That happens to me every time I see someone openly carrying a weapon in a restaurant or store. 

Owning a gun should not be a right, it should be a privilege. When we see someone carrying a gun, we should have the security to know that they had to undergo a serious background check and investigation to acquire that gun. We should want to know that not just anyone can get a gun. 

We should also be secure in knowing that not just anyone can buy just any gun. There should be limits. There should be some system of deciding if someone has an actual need for that gun. Does a grocery store manager from Cleveland who never leaves the city need an AR-15? Does anyone?

Finally, gun registry should be reviewed on a regular basis. It should be monitored federally, not state by state. People should be allowed to report gun owners for certain behaviors that are risky and gun ownership should be reviewed regularly. 

I admit I'm no expert. But we have to take the emotion out of this. Now many may say I'm the emotional one. Maybe. I'll admit they frighten me. But gun owners need to realize that they're emotional too. Many have an unhealthy attachment to these things.

Thank God Ms. McKinney was thinking. 

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