Friday, December 14, 2012

Rage and Guns

Today’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut reminds me of a time I wished I had a gun.

When I was around 14 or 15, I stood by and watched a bully coldcock my younger brother in a random act of violence. I stood frozen about thirty yards away amongst some friends.  The terrorist stood over my brother while I silently prayed, “Leave, leave, just leave.” He did.

My mom arrived moments later to pick us up to find my brother nursing his head. I spilled the story with a rage I have rarely felt in my life. My sensible mother suggested we try to find the car of the culprit and report the license plate number to the police. As we searched, my rage grew and grew--undoubtedly fueled by the guilt of my cowardice moments earlier. At that moment, I wished I had a gun.

Not long after the incident, I was glad I didn’t have a gun. My guilt persisted, but the rage subsided. Life went on for all involved.

I have shared this story from time-to-time with students when deep discussions on gun control develop. Mostly my teenage, male students contend they would never have been in such a situation because, of course, they would not have let cowardice rule the initial incident. A few mature ones over the years admit that such guilt could have fueled their own irrationality.

“People kill people, not guns,” say gun-advocates. This is true, but guns make killing a whole lot easier. I won’t pretend to know what was going on in the mind of the shooter at the time of today’s incident, but I wish he didn’t have guns while irrationality ruled his mind. Life would have gone on for all involved.


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