Reflections on someone’s statement about gun violence

Image - graph of children and teen gun deaths per 100,000 pop

Children in the United States appear to be more at risk for death due to shooting than children in other developed countries.
By Delphi234 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 My father was a Mennonite. It bothered him that we kids learned “Onward Christian Soldiers” at church. He never bought my brother a toy gun. Me, either, of course – girls didn’t play with guns when I was a kid. There has never been a gun in a house I’ve lived in – my parents’, or my own. No one in my immediate family has, to my knowledge, ever even considered owning a gun.

My father wouldn’t kill spiders; I don’t kill spiders. I don’t eat animals. So hunting is one of those things I only “accept” because I have an intellectual commitment to “seeing the other person’s point of view.” In reality, it feels to me almost like murder.

For me, the concept of “guns” is the concept of things for which there is no legitimate purpose. They play no part in the world I live in; they’re part of some world other people live in, a world I learned as a child had something wrong with it. It’s a world in which people willingly have things in their homes or on their persons that they could use for killing, or think they might; a world in which people feel comfortable killing animals; a world in which people think it’s OK to kill other people, at least sometimes. I probably know some of those people, without knowing it – the way people know people who are gay, without knowing it. If I found out that a friend of mine owned a gun, it would change my feelings about them. I know this from experience.

So when I hear people talk about “gun control” and “2nd amendment” and “NRA” and things like that – all of the above affects how I hear that. The statistics always seem to me to be on my side. But I doubt anything like communication has taken place for decades. The thing is … why on earth would I ever change how I feel about guns? I don’t feel like I’m the one with the problem.


About HAT

Heather Thiessen (HAT) is a happily married 60-ish, Bible-reading, Presbyterian Church Sunday School teaching and choir singing, small fuel efficient car driving, still pretty much 2nd wave feminist and generally out lesbian Hoosier mom. (There are no monochrome states.) From time to time she teaches religious studies to students at a small liberal arts college in Louisville, Kentucky.
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