I was in Arizona last week and, sure enough, in Old Town there was a John Wayne look-alike walking the street with his six-shooter at his hip and bullets in his holster. At first I thought this was a gimmick for a western goods store. But no. It was just an ordinary citizen exercising his constitutionally given right to bear arms. And in Arizona this means no background check, no license and no needing to conceal the gun.
This only one week after the tragic shooting in Tucson.
Then I read an interview in the New York Times Magazine with Will.I.Am, the frontman for The Black Eyed Peas. When asked by Deborah Solomon if he thinks rap music glamorizes guns, he said, “Just as much as Hollywood action films do.” He doesn’t advocate gun control, he said, because “Profiteers haunt America, and for everything we control, someone’s going to profit from it, more than you can control it.”
So those who put crosshairs on Gabby Giffords’ picture take no responsibility for the shooting and Will. I. Am takes no responsibility for homicides in the hood by glamorizing gun violence in his lyrics. Gun manufacturer’s take no responsibility for making weapons used by civilians that should be used only by soldiers, and gun dealers take no responsibility in selling guns to the mentally unstable because they, the dealers, aren’t the ones pulling triggers.
Here’s the analogy: The number of vehicular deaths continues to decline in the US because we have made cars safer, put in new safety features on roads, and enforce anti-drinking-and-driving laws with increased vigor.
Every American has the right to a gun in the same way that every American has the right to drive a car: you need to be a certain age, pass a test and remain law-abiding. And traffic deaths would decline even more if car ads didn’t glorify speed as the main selling point. .
If you put targets on political opponents, you are responsible; if your music glamorizes guns and shooting, you are responsible; if you sell guns without checking to see that you are selling to a legitimate party, you are responsible; if you market assault weapons to the civilian market, you are responsible; if you patronize movies and watch TV shows that romanticize violence, you are responsible; if you advertise sporting events as legalized assault, you are responsible, and if you can’t wait to watch crashes, concussions and cracked bones, you are responsible .
The list can go on because we live in a culture that has a difficult time weaning itself from violence. It’s time to grow up and drink the milk of human kindness instead.