Don’t be fooled. It sounds clever and witty and even smart, but find a moment and think about it. For those who use this line as a knock-down argument for opposing stricter gun control please humour me and read on.
Cigarettes kill. Bombs kill. Drugs kill. Speeding kills.
No, cigarettes don’t kill, people kill themselves. No, bombs don’t kill people, people kill people. Drugs don’t kill people, people kill people. Speeding doesn’t kill people, people kill people. Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?
You see, the not so witty play on words might fool some people into thinking that guns are not the issue here, only bad people, but for the rest of us we see past the pithy line. It’s a patronising catch cry, which is at best naive and at worst, well, look around.
Clever word plays aside we all know that cigarettes kill, and not only the one smoking the Winnie Blue but those who also inhale the toxic fumes that the smoker exhales. Cigarettes kill the smoker (a person) and also the passive smoker (a person). So we could say that cigarettes kill people (plural).
Now, even though the cigarette is not a sentient being that wills the death of the would be inhaler one is linguistically within their right to say that cigarettes killed the man. He died from lung cancer aged 63. Yes, it was the lung cancer that actually killed him, but we understand that the cigarettes that he smoked for 34 years are what caused the death.
[I can’t believe I am explaining this]
Similarly, even though the gun has not morphed into a sentient being that wilfully engages in the destruction of, say, 12 lives, on the semantic grounds given above, when someone uses a gun to kill a person or people, one is fair to say that guns kill people. If you are struggling with this then a question might help: how did they die? Answer: People. Wrong! A fatal gunshot wound.
Cigarettes kill, bombs kill, drugs kill, and guns kill. So what do we do?
Well, one very basic thing to do is to look at the thing that is causing the deaths and weigh up whether the deaths are worth the value that the thing adds. Generally, in the developed world we reject things that have the dubious distinction of bringing good and death simultaneously. For example, when it comes to new drugs that come on the market, just because it might relieve some kind of ailment, if it has adverse affects, I don’t know, say it kills you, then the drug will no doubt be shelved. It will be shelved for much less than killing someone too.
Let’s be less dramatic and look at cars. Car deaths attributed to speed or whatever are a horrible thing. But we don’t just say, ‘Carry on,’ we put measures after measures in place in an effort to stop silly people doing stupid things with their cars because speeding kills. Do we care more for speed thrills and getting to a place fast or people living? We choose lives!
The gun control issue is not about (not so) witty word games, but about three things, at least: lives (as in whether people live or die), recreation, and rights. Guns kill people. Guns are valued and are a treasured part of a given countries recreation culture. Guns are an indelibly inked right. These three things are fact.
One of the mistakes of this discussion is the blinkered attitude that many enter the discussion with, that is, that gun control is just about recreation and rights. No, the recent and not so recent events are showing us that guns are affecting more than just a Saturday morning’s shooting trip – they are ruining families, futures and lives.
Is the right question then to ask what do we value the most: lives (as in whether people live or die), recreation or my rights? Well, as a question it must be getting close. If it doesn’t give the answer it surely exposes one’s real attitude towards the debate, like what I found on Twitter today. It’s a doozy:
- Comment 1: The Second Amendment. I don’t need a reason but what if I said I like them? I don’t need a reason.
- Comment 2: for fun and sport u idiot (sic)
There you have it, all three in a nutshell. The person railing against the high profile lobby group in favour (I imagine) of tighter guns laws; the person reverting to their inalienable rights; and the third person loving the lifestyle. Each person shows their priorities in these statements.
So what gives? Well, clearly nothing! This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing if the state of play is ideal, however, I humbly put forward that two killing rampages in the last two weeks, and a track record to boot of such shootings is not ideal.
Where to start? Thinking and talking about how evil people are and how much they need Jesus won’t help. Further, the idea that (some?) people are evil should sound the alarm bells that action is desperately needed. I agree the people are evil and need Jesus, but this view does not stop someone from finding what they need to kill the next 12 people.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but clearly there is a vast percentage of the population that don’t value life (as in whether people live or die) over their recreation and/or individual rights.
In the meantime, we weep and mourn and pray for the families that have lost loved ones, while clinging to our hunting trips and our God given right to bear arms.