No Guns Under the Tree

gunWhile visions of sugar plums dance in our heads, our brains are not fully focused. As a result, people
fall prey to an astonishing variety of safety and health hazards over the holidays. Ordinarily, the dangers that lurk are in the form of weight gain, choking, house fires, traffic accidents and the accidental poisoning of pets by Christmas plants…but this year, but after the recent spate of mass killings that have occurred in the US, I feel there is a much bigger hazard at hand to the public than burning Christmas trees. Here’s my first word of advice for holiday safety:

DON’T BUY ANYONE YOU LOVE A GUN.

Following the most recent spate of killings in California, gun sales in this country have skyrocketed. When people are scared, they don’t think straight. They react emotionally. The idea that mass killers are out there threatens our sense of security. I can understand the rationale: “If they have guns, we
need guns.” “I want to protect my family.” “It is my constitutional right as a citizen to arm myself.” OK, here’s the facts, citizens. You can draw your own conclusions.

The latest figures from the Center for Disease Control show 33,636 deaths in the US this year due to firearms; the category details are not in yet. The last completed CDC study in 2008, which analyzed just over 30,000 deaths, found that 17,002 of those were suicides, 12,352 homicides, and 789 accidental firearm deaths. In addition, there were also nearly 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms, leaving us with the reality that over 100,000 men, women and children are killed or wounded by firearms in America during the course of just one year. This translates into one death from firearms every 17 minutes and one death or nonfatal injury every 5 minutes.

In response to these statistics, an article was published in The New England Journal of medicine that stated: “By any standard, this constitutes a serious public health issue that demands a response not only from law enforcement and the courts, but also from the medical community.”

Why? Let’s look at those figures again. Approximately 18,000 out of over 30,000 gun deaths were self-inflicted or accidental. Only 12,000 of the deaths were homicides. And how many criminals were shot to death by innocent bystanders defending themselves? The figures were too inconsequential to
document.

We would all like to imagine that if a crisis occurred, we could jump in and save the day. It’s a nice daydream, but it is spawned of ego, wishful thinking and way too many shows on criminal justice. I trained in a dojo for 14 years and saw a very different picture — the average person, when startled by a
sudden attack, is so flustered that all they can do is react with panic. It takes years of training to react with a calm and level head.

The truth is that every person who buys a gun for their own protection is far more likely to shoot either themselves or a close friend or family member with it than they are an attacker. This is not an opinion. It is a proven fact. Here is another factor that gun enthusiasts do not seem to consider in their
defense of firearms: There are a lot of unstable people out there with grudges against humanity. Mental illness and sociopathic thinking seem to grow by the day, worldwide. Put a knife in such a person’s hand and they can inflict damage to those within arm’s reach. Put a gun in their hand, or an assault
rifle, and they are going to mow down an elementary school playground without pausing for breath.

The more guns that are out there, regulated or unregulated, the more deaths there are going to be. It’s a fact. If more guns made people safer, this would be the safest country in the world because we have more guns than anyone else. In reality, there are more people killed by guns in the United States than
any place else on the planet.

The terrorists and the criminals who are going to come after us are not people like us. They are hardened, well-trained and capable of being ruthless and indifferent to human suffering. I say this in a kind way, but most of us out here are freakin’ pussies. We are accustomed to being able to buy or talk our way out of anything. We believe in our own hot air. Unfortunately, bravado does not replace combat readiness.

Please. This holiday season, don’t set your tree on fire, don’t poison your pets with poinsettias and don’t drive drunk … but most of all, for the sake of all our children, do not buy any more guns. We need them like we need a hole in the head. Literally.

One response to “No Guns Under the Tree”

  1. Kev Degnan says:

    I've got two guns under the tree… Thanks for the advice anyway…

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