My Thoughts on Guns
by Dino Corvino on December 17th, 2012
I have never served in the military. I am not a hunter. I have lived in America my entire life. I am a three-time victim of gun violence. I have no idea about guns, none what so ever. The voices that I hear talking about guns seem so shrill to me that I cannot really hear them; they are like dog whistles. I know they are talking, but I am so not a part of the world they are speaking in.
None of us understand what the young man who killed children was thinking. It is irresponsible to try to put thoughts in his head, but we sure love the profiling of evil or madness in America, so that is everywhere. There a reports that the young man was mentally ill, so the internet is rich with talk about mental illness in America. This seems opportunistic.
The reality is we should have a better mental health care system in this county. I would like to see this come together like we have STI testing. We should demystify mental health, make getting a mental health check up like getting a herpes test, something that is almost expected. Especially if you have risk factors.
I know this though — guns are dangerous. But Dino, so are cars, and so is booze, and and and and. I got it. Let me respond by saying, cars are not specifically designed with killing in mind. Further, in this case, I do not really think I need to have a dialogue about the statement that Guns Are Dangerous.
By my hinting at the response to Guns are Dangerous, I think we can see where this is going. I do not have an idea about guns, what to do with them, how to change our attitude, how to stop people from shooting other poeple. Because that is really the problem, isn’t it? People shooting people. But Dino…but but but…yeah, I got it. People stabbing people. People hitting people with cars. People this, people that. FOREVER. Got it.
So far my statements are…Guns are dangerous. People shooting people is a problem. And we need a better mental health care system in this country. I do not think that any of this is in dispute, and if it is, I feel sorry for you.
In the front of my mind I recall Columbine, the Batman shooting, the Portland Mall shooting, the thing in Oak Creek at the Temple, the guy pushed in front of the subway, and now children in Connecticut. While I am fine that you are discussing guns, by all means talk about guns, I think that the larger issue is…
In at least 5 instances in my immediate memory there has been escalating interpersonal violence in this country. Most recently a human being went into a school and murdered children in a direct hands-on sort of way. This is a new thing, this is a new escalation.
I think that this is all somehow related to the idea of disconnection and dehumanization. I do not think you shoot something you see as a person if you are connected to the world. I just do not.
I wanted to close with this story, and it does relate. My best friend in college was a man named Kirk. Kirk was a Quaker, which turns out is a pretty cool thing to be (go ahead, tell me it is not). Kirk met a woman named Karen, fell in love, and wanted to get married. Karen was Catholic, and Kirk was Quaker. So, they split up the ceremony, had it in a pretty Catholic Church, but had a Priest, and whatever a Quaker church leader is called.
At the end, the Quaker explained to us all that when we left we would be asked to sign a document. It was not a document of witness, but a Contract of Responsibility. We were not witnessing the marriage, instead as friends and family we were taking responsibility for our beloved Kirk and Karen. I am prone to crying, but this made me cry.
We signed it. And we took responsibility for Kirk and Karen and their union. I was not just a guy in a tux with a hangover, I had signed a contract and felt responsible.
Maybe that contract is what we need, with each other. Maybe by stressing interpersonal connection we will be less likely to shoot each other.
Sure, it is not sexy like banning thirty round clips, but honestly I have no answers for the violence problem.