Sunday, December 2, 2012

In The Blink of an Eye

Trey Smith

When people talk about their hallowed right to bear arms, one of the first rationales proffered is that a gun offers a person protection from evildoers bent on doing them harm. Take away my guns, they bellow, and they make it sound like they are sitting ducks with bullseyes affixed to their backs.

Another rationale put forth is that the ability to own firearms will serve to dissuade an overzealous or tyrannical government. Yes, that's right! A group of inebriated rednecks can easily get a nation with the sophisticated firepower of the US to back down in the face of shotguns and, maybe, a few AK 47s.

Others will say that the right to bear arms is necessary to shoot defenseless animals or just because owning guns is fun. What you never hear such folks talk about is that the pervasiveness of guns often means the deaths of innocent people in the blink of an eye.

When a person becomes enraged AND a gun is handy, very bad things often occur. This is not to suggest that enraged individuals cannot and do not kill people with other weapons or their bare hands; it's more that a gun can be utilized so easily and quickly before the enraged person has a chance to calm down and think.

Yesterday morning Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher found himself in such a situation. He and his live-in girlfriend were engaged in a loud argument. At some point, Belcher's anger crossed over into rage. With a lack of apparent forethought, Belcher shot his girlfriend several times in front of his own mother. The girlfriend was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Moments after committing this heinous deed, it appears Belcher came to his senses. He realized that he had just murdered the mother of his 3 month old daughter. So, Belcher drove to the Chiefs' practice facility and, after thanking the team's general manager and head coach for believing in him, he put the gun to his head and ended his own life.

Every time I hear of a situation like this -- you can read about them almost every day of the week -- I'm left to wonder: What if guns in this country weren't so pervasive? What if a gun had not been so handy? Would Belcher and his girlfriend still be alive?

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