As pointed out by one reader, this isn't addressed to every gun owner. In fact this is really intended to a minority of the most ardent. If you're a reasonable gun owner whom this doesn't apply to then please take no offense.
I know that the vast majority of gun owners aren't looking for open carry laws, or advocating the overthrow of the tyrant Obama. This is only intended for those.
Dear Concerned Gun Owners,
I appreciate that you have concerns about gun control. I understand you have the need to defend yourself, your home and your family, and I understand you even may feel you have a need to defend your country.
Having said that, can I ask you to consider that you aren't the only with concerns? Furthermore can I address new concerns that you maybe haven't considered?
I have concerns too. Mostly, I'm concerned with the tenor of the conversation and how the more some gun advocates dig in, the more ardent their position becomes.
Today I read a Facebook meme, "Not only do I have a right to own a gun, I have a social responsibility."
I feel I have a social responsibility to not kill anyone. Does that make me weak? I contend your fear makes you weak.
You have a social responsibility why? In case you need to kill ATF agents if they come to your house?
You have a responsibility to carry guns into a mall, school, or movie theater so that you can "defend" those of who aren't carrying?
What about your responsibility to walk into a public place without scaring the crap out of everyone there? Has this ever occurred to you?
What about your responsibility to follow the laws of the country? Just because you didn't vote for the current President doesn't mean you get to determine that he's not a valid President.
What give you the right to decide when the government has gone too far and overstretched? Where is that in the Constitution?
Because you have guns doesn't mean that your vote counts more than mine. We have a democracy. We have a constitutionally elected President. We have a system of checks and balances.
It's not up to you and your guns to determine when that is insufficient.
My concern is you, and your self-designated power to determine what is best for me with your "social responsibility" is going to end up in a lot of deaths, perhaps even mine.
I say this to you sincerely and genuinely, with an honest concern that fear-mongering will end up in people getting killed.
Sooner or later, two of you and/and or someone like-minded, are going to walk into the same mall on the same day. You two see one another, and both aptly armed, (and both amply amped with testosterone from online rants), start shooting to "protect" the other people in the arm.
But since I know that the reason you need that Uzi with the 33 round clip is that once the bullets start flying it's harder to hit your target, so you need that 33 round clip that's in the gun, as well as the other one that's in your pocket.
So does he.
And so as 132 rounds of lethal ammunition are flying around have you given thought to where they're going, or how many of them are killing those whom you are "protecting."
Or maybe it's not at the mall. Maybe it's just on the neighborhood watch.
How many more Trayvon Martins are there going to be as we have more and more George Zimmermans patrolling the streets, protecting us, and fulfilling their "social responsibilities."
How do I know that one day I'm not going to get accosted by someone who is "protecting" the neighborhood because I am carrying a lethal bag of Skittles in my pocket?
Of course you're not George Zimmerman. You're just a socially-conscious, law-abiding citizen. So was George Zimmerman before he killed Trayvon Martin.
But even if it's not you, are you willing to vouch for every "law-abiding" gun owner in America? It seems from your gun appreciation day, even if you're not an idiot, there are plenty of idiots out there.
And it's not always the idiots who get shot with the idiot's gun.
So here's the concern I wonder if you have ever really considered. Are your ready to kill?
It's a concern I have.
It's why I never have bought, nor will buy a gun, regardless of whether you believe I have a responsibility to do so.
I have a concern about killing someone, even if it's in self-defense. If I had to chose between killing a person and living with that on my conscience, or being killed and dying with a clean conscience, I chose the latter.
I know you have concerns about you and your family.
I have concerns too. I have a concern that you're going to kill me, or someone in mine, in your zeal to protect your own.
I have concern that you don't have enough value for life to even absorb that 33,000 is too many people killed by gunfire. Or that when confronted with how that rate compares with nations like Great Britain, which has 1/40th what we have, you're not even willing to consider with an open mind that we could learn something from them.
I have a concern that you think that you have the right to decide when our democracy has stopped working, and that you feel it's your right to kill when you determine it has.
I have a concern that you aren't concerned about where all those missed rounds are going to go if you end up in a shootout where you're "protecting" us.
And maybe you aren't a wing-nut-crack-pot-half-baked-gun-toting-Charles-Bronson-wanna-be. But if you're not one, are you willing to assure me that none are out there?
Are you willing to assure me that when 20 of you walk into the mall at the same time on the same day, and there's this massive 20-person Mexican standoff that not one single innocent is going to get killed while you all play real-life paintball?
I have a concern that for all your tough-guy talk and protectorate rhetoric you're not really absorbing the value of life.
If you want to have a gun, that's fine. I'm not going to say you don't have a 2nd Amendment right. You do. I just wish you weren't so eager to use it.
Would you please set aside the importance of your 2nd Amendment rights for a moment and use your 1st Amendment rights? What we need is real conversation, not inflammatory rhetoric and a push towards violence.