Tools are just tools

With the anticipation of the Dark Tower stories coming to a theater near you, I was reminded of a quote by the Gunslinger, and I am going to paraphrase (with respect to Mr. King): I do not aim with my hand, I aim with my eye. I do not shoot with my hand, I shoot with my eye. I do not kill with my gun, I kill with my heart.

(If I may have one brief comment, I’d like to say that I’m a big fan of Mr. King and have been since childhood. The way he crafts stories and paints my imagination is wonderfully amazing. Movies are great, but his printed words are genius.)

Now, back to the post. Folks who read my all-to-lazy blog know that I don’t have any issues with guns. I like them. I use them. I shoot them. I’m not political and don’t get into heated debates about their use, or their very existence. Of course, I have my opinions regarding all manner of public debate, but I’m not the kind of person that feels compelled to express them openly. We can talk, if you want. But it’s not a subject I’m going to bring up over coffee just because I don’t have another topic on hand.

That being said, I think this quote by Mr. King expresses what I think about gun violence. The people who commits acts of violence only use guns as tools. They could easily use other tools to commit the terrible acts they intend to. Guns are just the means. Folks who have already committed the act with their mind and their heart, only need to choose their tool.

I am saddened when someone has come to the point in their relationships with fellow humans that they choose to kill with their heart. That’s a sad place to be.

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Shooting

Many people around the world, who don’t have gun rights or property rights or public lands, don’t understand the American gun culture. They always ask why the per capita gun ownership numbers are so high. How is it that America is in love with the gun? That’s because they don’t stop to consider the context.

I can’t speak for the whole of America, and certainly never having lived in the giant cities of the United States, I can’t give any insight, but in the Great Plains and the American West, we have a lot of land. When I say that, I mean that we live in places where our neighbors live miles (kilometers) away. Aussie’s and people living in Africa┬áprobably understand what I mean. Because we have so much room, and that room is occupied by many game animals and few humans, we have a history and culture dating back more than 100 years (that’s old for us) where we actively hunt. Today, some hunt for trophies, but most hunt for food. It’s not that we need to, necessarily, although I suppose there are probably some that still do. We enjoy the sport and the meat. We plan to fill our freezers two or three times a season. We like the idea and practice of self-sufficiency. We like free food. We like feeding our family.

To that end, everyone in our families knows how to operate guns. We shoot shotguns and rifles, and we’re familiar with all manner of handguns. My grandmother carried a .38 caliber revolver in her car to shoot rattlesnakes around the house in south Texas. She was protecting her children, not her second amendment rights! But without that right, she would not be able to do that without breaking the law. Could she have killed it with a hoe? Sure! But who wants to get within five feet (1.5m) of a seven foot (2.1m) snake?

Yesterday, I went shooting with my son. Since the age of seven, he’s been shooting guns. He enjoys the plinking of a .22 caliber rifle, but as pulled the trigger on a 5.56 x 45 NATO and a 7.62 x 51 NATO. He likes small-framed pistols but has shot a 9mm, .40 cal and a .45 caliber handgun. All of this is to say that we Americans (at least the ones I hang around with) don’t have guns because we’re crazy. We have them because we like them. We like to shoot them, clean them, operate on them. We like to participate in competitions with them. We like to hunt with them. We have guns that perform different tasks. Could we own just one? Sure. But why? We could also only have one car or one child. But why? We have the means to have more than just one, so why stop at one? Some people have more than one house. Why would a family need more than one house? Because they want another one and they can afford another one.

So, yes. America has a gun culture and there are many people who have and use guns regularly who don’t also carry out nefarious deeds in the dead of night. Therefore, next time there’s some school shooting or bell tower incident in the States. Remember, we’re not all crazy; just that one person was. They intended to inflict harm. They had purpose. and unfortunately, they used a gun to commit horrible acts of violence.

Photo by John Reece. No alterations.