Letter to the Editor: Guns are a much-needed ‘teddy bear’ to Americans

Recently, I received an email that asks that I sign a petition and send money to support the ban of assault weapons. I am not against such a ban, since I do not own an assault weapon, but I also know it will do little good.

moral compassWe can ban assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. But supporting change in our society would be more effective and prevent an uprising against it. For example, we teach our children math, history, writing and foreign language. However, we do not teach ethics, morality, anger management, relationship skills and other critical character attributes. As a society, we pass the buck. We leave it to others like churches and parents. The recent school shootings show that plan has failed.

With both parents lacking training in these areas and working eight to 10 hours a day, and with government, religious institutions and business ethics at an all-time low, is it any wonder that poor ethical and behavioral patterns are adopted by our kids, those with mental illness or those with low IQ? Schools are oriented toward passing tests, not turning out decent citizens.

If the only thing we do is ban assault weapons or magazines, we just limit the carnage to 10 dead students rather than 20 or 40 until the weapon is reloaded. Unfortunately, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to reload a standard rifle. Just a few seconds, and the deranged are off again, shooting the innocent.

The only way to stop the vast majority of the killing is to change society as a whole so we reduce the number of mentally unstable people. We need ethics taught in our schools and good mental health treatment at an early age. Why not demand that the school system test students for their mental health as well as their mathematical skills? Isn’t a moral and mentally stable society as important as math or reading skills? And when mental health issues are uncovered, why is it that our society does not provide treatment?

Perhaps it’s time that gun owners and those who could have access to them be licensed and tested for mental stability. Perhaps guns should be registered, identified through ballistic testing and stored properly by law. But banning a certain type of gun or magazine/clip is just a bandage and will not stop the killing.

As long as we ignore ethics, morality and the personal character of students, we will continue to have more shootings. As long as we ignore mental illness and socially challenged individuals, we will continue to have more violence.

As long as we cannot identify those who have guns, we will have problems. As long as we do not hold gun owners responsible for their proper usage and storage, there will be more unnecessary deaths.

Making a certain type of gun or magazine illegal will do little, except move them “underground.” The government’s war on alcohol and drugs did not work, and neither will a war on guns.

gun bible and constitutionPerhaps our government will once again consider taking them all away, but everyone knows this will never happen. In order to take them away, we would have to change the Constitution and live in a police state, where citizens have no defense against a possible corrupt and/or tyrannical government, a “crazy” neighbor or relative and/or an invasion by communists or the Taliban.

Guns hold a special place in our society because they act as a placebo against our fears. Guns are a much-needed “teddy bear” because our government does not protect us from ourselves or our neighbor.

They do not protect us by refusing to teach morality, anger management and relationship skills in schools. They ignore our safety by not testing for mental illness in schools, the workplace or the military. They ignore our safety by refusing to treat those with mental illness. They ignore us by not requiring mental acuity tests and licensing for gun owners and ballistic identification for guns.

Technology has advanced so that only the owner of the gun can fire it. But why require its application? Instead, let’s limit the kind of gun or clip available. Let’s put a Band-Aid on the problem and tell the public that something was done and we are safe now. Politicians must think the American people are idiots!

Remember this: As long as the above suggestions are ignored, so is the public’s safety. As long as the public safety is ignored, the public must arm itself, for we are fearful because our government ignores our safety.

Mark Snider

Hamilton, Montana


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