Guns and people

By Luskie Richards

People and guns should be held equally responsible. (AP Photo)

“Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.”  We have all heard this admonition, and, in the argument about gun violence, it seems that this quote seeks to exonerate guns and place all the blame on people.  It implies that we should focus on the people that shoot other people, and try to solve the problem of why they do such things, rather than focus on anything to do with the guns, themselves. It implies that various types of guns, capacity of ammunition clips, purchase methods and venues and how readily available guns are to anyone who wishes to buy one should be considered irrelevant by our legislators as they debate over new and existing gun laws.  I submit that such an argument presents a false choice. Why is it people, not guns? Why can’t it be people AND guns. Think about a deranged individual with no gun handy, who might take out his aggressions with a baseball bat or a golf club, most likely with a low, or no, mortality rate. Now, think of that deranged individual having a gun within reach. No matter what, things are likely to end up bloody, if not deadly. We know that there are mentally unstable people out there, and we know that they are not necessarily easily recognizable. They nurture hidden demons, while often appearing “normal” to the people around them. As a society, we must recognize the need to identify and attend to these individuals as best we can. Simultaneously, we should make sure that there is a process involved in purchasing an implement that is, let’s face it, designed for one purpose — to kill, and that any such devices that are designed specifically to kill people, such as assault rifles, are available only to the military and to law enforcement.  The blame doesn’t go to guns OR people, but rather, to guns AND people.