Any of the young men pictured in this article could be me…
I entered high school in 1977. Before I graduated in 1981 I had been taught rifle marksmanship; we pushed back the desks, set up traps, and actually shot 4-position 10-meter air rifle *in the classroom*. I received the Tennessee Hunter’s Education course as part of the curriculum in JROTC; as part of that we went to the range and shot rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and archery. Nobody shot up my high school.
I entered college in the fall of 1981. Before graduating in 1985 I was taught the operation and maintenance of the M16A1 and the M60 machine gun…and how to use them in the field. Never mind my schooling in the employment of the hand grenade, the Claymore mine and construction of field-expedient booby traps. Nobody shot up my university.
And even before any of this took place, I had been educated in the use of firearms by my father, at home. I owned guns. I used guns. When people ask me the first time I ever shot a gun, I truthfully tell them that I have no memory of it. I have had access to guns ALL MY LIFE. I have never attacked anyone, anywhere, ever.
Some will say, “But Dave, you’re different. Not everyone grew up like that.” And on a certain level, they’d be right. The difference between then and now is not the guns, it’s the people, and it’s the times. I…and people like me…are not the problem. The problems are multiple, and complex, and societal, and many are outlined in the linked article. You really ought to read it.
But the problem is not the existence, presence, or availability of guns. They have been widely available in this country since the founding, and no matter what law is passed, they always will be…at least to those unconcerned with breaking the law. To suggest we “just get rid of all the guns” is just as feasible as suggesting “just get rid of all the heroin.” While it is tempting to reach for a simple solution to a complex problem, it is also folly.
New laws and regulations which would restrict my access to firearms will protect no one. New laws and regulations which would restrict access to firearms by the over 100 MILLION gun owners who have never harmed anyone will…obviously…protect no one. So let’s drop the foolish notion that gun control will fix any of this. Nothing could be further from the truth.