By now, we’ve all heard the republican meme that people would be safer if they all owned a handgun and were able to conceal carry. If one person decides to go on a rampage, then someone would be around to kill them. Actually, this is a very simple argument. However, is this the answer to the dangerous gun culture that is plaguing our country?
Police officers are allowed to carry guns. Each police department, across the nation, has standards in training. Every police officer has to demonstrate their ability to accurately shoot a firearm every 3 months, 6 months, or every year. Many police officers will spend the most of their career without ever having to discharge their service weapon. Others, however, not so much. The police officers primary job is to respond to the needs of the people. They also have to respond to the demands of their superiors.
The average American has to abide by the letter of the law. We all have freedoms, but we are also live in a nation of laws. We should not murder, rape, assault, steal, do drugs, illegally posses a firearm, commit arson, etc. If one violates any of these, and gets caught, they have a right to remain silent. For some, laws won’t stop them from doing what they want. For many, however, they will do everything to protect what they have. For many, prison is not a desirable goal.
I’ve said this a thousand times; I might not have much in life, but I’ve never served time in jail. There is something to be proud, in the fact, of having a clean criminal record. There is also something to be said of being a proud gun owner.
I’m a liberal, and I am also a gun owner. I’m also a veteran, so I’ve been trained. For many years I’ve been blinded by the republican meme on gun rights. There was a time when I could have been easily persuaded to subscribe to the meme that if everyone was allowed to conceal carry a firearm we would all be safe. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
So, what made me come to this conclusion?
Police officers have to make split-second decisions that usually involve their lives. If they perceive a threat they take out the threat. Usually this involves drawing their service weapon and unloading their 15 round clip. When there is a police officer involved shooting authorities will always side with the police officer. This is why their decision to shoot first is often an easy decision. They can always say their life was threatened, and that they had to take action. Since police officers hold a position of authority they also are perceived to have a great deal of credibility. John or Jane Q. Public, on the other hand…
You’re walking down the street. You run into a guy that has a couple youths held at gun point, and you have a concealed firearm. The youths look to you and plea for help. You look at the man, and he points the gun at you. You draw and shoot your firearm at him. The bullet makes contact in his chest. The youths run away. You make your way to the man, and as you get closer you see a gold police badge on his belt. Panic starts to set in. You look around for an escape route, but there are dozens of people looking at you. You feel stuck. Moments later police arrive, you tell your side of the story, but they are not listening. You just killed one of their own who was doing his job. Your life is forever changed by that one moment.
The scenario depicted isn’t a fictitious one. There was a similar scenario that happened in Providence, Rhode Island with my cousin Cornell Young. Cornell was a Sergeant with the Providence Police Department. He was off-duty at a late-night food joint when he witnessed an act of violence involving some youths. He heard shots, he drew his off-duty weapon and held them at gunpoint until police arrived, but when the police arrived they viewed Cornell as the aggressor and they shot him–killing him. All of the officers involved were clear of wrong doing, but what if the people who shot and killed Cornell weren’t police officers? What if it was just a regular person trying to do an extraordinary thing?
It’s scenarios like this that would make people turn their backs on the real people who are in need of help, and it will only embolden the people who really want to do harm. The republican party needs to do some serious soul searching to make this a truly more perfect union.