We’re heading into another week or so of the gun control debate in the United States.
They’re sick of hearing about it, they’re sick of nothing getting done. They compare their country to ours and say the problem doesn’t happen anywhere else.
It’s endless hours of debate and shouting matches on cable news and the basis of Twitter arguments and insults until people finally get tired and go to bed, before starting up again in the morning.
The debate is one of many things: Is it gun control? Is it illegal weapons? Is it a rage-filled society? Is it selfish politicians? Is it all of the above? Here’s the thing: it’s their culture. Do they want to admit that? Depends who you ask.
I understand the vast majority of gun owners are responsible. But the fact that people feel they need a gun in their society is telling.
I’ve spent time in every big city in our country and, while some neighbourhoods might be a little sketchier than others, I’ve never believed I’d be comfortable — or more comfortable — with a gun strapped to my hip.
If I felt like I needed that kind of firepower, especially in my own house, I’d probably move somewhere else, even if it meant a different country.
Roughly five years ago, someone (or people) tried to break into my house while I was home. It was early evening and dark outside so I had no idea what was happening. My instinct, as my heart raced, wasn’t to find a weapon for protection and confront the potential intruders. I didn’t even think to call 911 because I wasn’t sure what was happening.
All I knew was the front and back doorbells were frantically ringing, before I heard a thump as they tried to kick in the back door. In that moment, however, I didn’t know that’s what happened. It wasn’t until I went to the door and saw a silhouette in the darkness that I figured out what was going on.
Would a gun have made me feel safer? No. I had two big barking dogs that didn’t put me at ease.
In that moment, you have no idea what to do when it all plays out in under a minute. You really don’t. After the incident, did I think, “Hmm, I should get a gun for protection”? No. I’ve never wanted one.
As Canadians, guns aren’t part of our culture. I have the news on right now and there’s the usual debate happening. I’m hearing familiar words and phrases (“a 45” and “AR-style” and “an automatic” and the “calibre” and the “gauge”) but I have no idea what any of that stuff means. And you know what, I’m fine not knowing.
The fact that that’s casual lingo to Americans, again, is telling.
That kids know the ins and outs of the mechanics of a gun is, well, you guessed it, telling.
So, laws can change and politicians can be voted out and more money can be spent on mental health and assault rifles can be banned, but when it’s so ingrained in your society because of the way people are programmed, it might be impossible for anything to change — ever.