Last week, tragedy struck Santa Barbara County as a deranged young man named Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree, leaving six innocent people dead and 13 others wounded. Again, many are asking why. Again, many are shocked, stunned and left with unanswered questions. And once again, the NRA and pro-gun activists are being blamed for it—even though the shooter posted a YouTube video giving a disturbing warning, especially for females who snubbed him:
“I will punish all of you for it,” he said with a sinister laugh, saying he would enter a sorority. “I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blond slut I see inside there.”
Oh, and also, just a few weeks ago, the cops checked up on Rodgers in a well-being visit requested by his family, and reported that he seemed "polite" and "courteous."
Image: © Gene Blevins/ZUMAPRESS.com
Families of the victims, though, and gun-control lobbyists, however, are pointing the finger at "politicians" and "the NRA." Wait, what? Did all members of the NRA somehow conspire this and caused the shooting? I follow the NRA on Facebook, and I guess I must've missed that post or memo. I asked some NRA members I know, and they seemed to have missed the memo, too.
So the gun-control lobbyists and the like want to tell me that guns kill people. Okay. You know what also kills people?
Drivers who drive recklessly, sometimes drunk or sometimes sober—but the driver's phone conversation is way more important than the safety of themselves and others on the road. People will use knives to brutally stab other people ... but no one is outraged about people buying and using knives for various things (from hunting to cooking). Heck, anyone remember a man named Timothy McVeigh who used fertilizer and plastics to make an explosive? Yet whenever there is a shooting involved, everyone immediately goes into an anti-gun frenzy, debating on gun control while meanwhile, completely disregarding the suspect and what could have been done to prevent this from happening.
This gentleman was clearly seriously disturbed, and what's even more mind-boggling for me is that his dad works in Hollywood, so I assume that his family had the resources to be able to give their son the proper treatment. I believe that nobody just wakes up and decides, "I think I'm going to shoot and kill a bunch of people today." Before a gunman takes action, there are usually plenty of warning signs and red flags that people choose to dismiss ... or they just downplay it, with the attitude of "out of sight, out of mind."
Train as if your life depends on it. For some, that day may come when it's not your life on the line but others. What action will you take? (Circa 2012 at a firearm training course.)
Now, I LOVE shooting guns. I love shooting handguns and guns classified as "military assault rifles." They are a lot of fun to shoot at targets. Does this make me deranged and thirsty for people's blood? Not necessarily. It's a hobby I enjoy—and, heaven forbid, if I'm ever in a crisis situation where my life and the lives of my loved ones are in danger, I know how to handle a gun and aim properly to neutralize the threat. I know the rules of safety, and can probably take apart and put back a Glock-17 together in my sleep. Am I tooting my own horn? Maybe a little bit. But my point is, when stuff hits the fan, I'll know how to properly handle a firearm and hopefully prevent someone from taking innocent lives.
Does this mean I'm going to wake up one day and go on a shooting spree? Um, no. Because 1.) I'm pretty sane, and 2.) killing innocent people is ethically and morally wrong, and can land me in jail for life. I don't want to kill or hurt other people, and I don't want to go to jail. You know what? That's also the majority of other gun owners and hobby shooters. Guns, knives, cars, cell phones, bats...are merely tools. In order for someone to commit a horrendous act of murder, there needs to be a "malice aforethought", or an intent to not just think it but deliberately carry it out (California Penal Code 187-88).
You want to blame someone for mass shootings?
For starters, let's actually blame the gunman who commits the act. These gunmen are evil, evil people who do not place value on their own lives and the lives of others, obviously. We can also blame other people who may have played a role by ignoring the warning signs or being in complete denial about it. I'm not saying blame the shooter's family, and it's not yet clear what led up to this latest shooting. But we have a serious issue with mental health treatment in this country, and I believe we would rather drug up patients than sit down with them and really get to the core of the problem. And, worse, we often ignore it with hopes it will "go away."
But I know one thing for sure: Don't you dare blame the NRA or other gun enthusiasts like me, who have absolutely nothing to do with such atrocities. That's like blaming me when you've gained five pounds, because I brought a box of doughnuts to work and you happened to eat half of them.
Remain vigilant at all times. Be familiar with your surroundings. Take mental notes on something or someone that feels "off" and DO NOT ignore it thinking it'll go away. Take appropriate action. Educate others on firearm safety and what to do when confronted with a situation involving firearms.
“We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” ― Ronald Reagan
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