On channel 4 the other night I watched a programme called the gun shop which was made by the documentary team, Cutting Edge. The show was all about a gun shop in a town in Michigan and it showed the type of customers that walk through the door to purchased guns of all kinds.
This show absolutely horrified me and explained without question why so many people lose their lives by being shot in America. The ease of buying a gun and then having a practice out the back of the shop, handing over the money and then walking out with a weapon, that if pointed at somebody will most likely kill them. It was possibly one of the scariest moments I have ever seen. However I have grown up in a culture of non violence with no guns what so ever in my life, and that’s why I found this so shocking.
I’m not going to say I agree or disagree with the gun laws because I’m really not that knowledgeable of their laws, but there were a couple moments that as a dad in the UK really disturbed me. The first was a family of four with two sons aged six and nine. The nine year old was shooting a gun in the practice range and they were teaching him the power of the gun. If somebody breaks into the house he said I will shoot him dead. He is nine years old. Which of course was not what he was thinking, but what his parents were instilling in his mind.
Listening to this nine year old child also made me think about myself. If an intruder was in in my home holding a gun and I had a gun would I pull the trigger? I have to admit I wouldn’t probably shoot and most likely I would end up dead. The answer is simple, I have never held a gun let alone pulled a trigger.
The second was how many random mass shootings they have in America and normally the culprit has no record and there was usually no legal reason why they couldn’t buy a gun so how do the police predict who may carry out the next shooting? They can’t. Very frightening because these people who carry out these atrocities are just like you and me.
Finally I was staggered that there are approximately 56,000 legal shops to buy guns and an estimated 100 million guns in circulation in America today. Those figures alone suggest that people will be harmed or killed by a gun in America.
My own view is simple. Thank goodness I live in the UK where guns are not easily available. Of course they are out in the hands of criminals, but thankfully on a general basis that doesn’t impact on the general public. I don’t even like toy guns and I won’t let my four year old twins play with toy guns or watch cartoons that have guns in. Maybe that is extreme I don’t know, but the vision or thought of my four year old girls pretending to shoot each other fills me with dread. It is in my opinion that make believe play that is not healthy, and to be totally avoided at all costs. It teaches violence against your fellow human being.
America is without question at times a powder keg waiting to explode. Can they change gun laws? No, in truth they can’t and most likely won’t because it’s a constitutional problem, the right to bear arms.
I’m not naive enough to think we don’t have gun problems in the UK, but in most cities gun crime doesn’t exist although in the larger cities there is gun crime, but thankfully it is usually related to criminal activity.
Thankfully the UK may have its problems, but gun law is not one of them and that makes me feel secure and happy that my children will grow up in relative safety.
Would love to know what you think!