I'm glad this journal is more or less locked in the sense that I am much freer to accept friend requests for my Facebook page (yes, I have one) than here; in addition, I also tend to put what I really think about things here rather than on Facebook. I never really post anything of any substance there. If I do post something of substance (in my mind, at least, ha ha), no one says anything. If I post a picture of the baby, seventy-five people say something. It's a damn shame all my clever wit and sarcasm is lost on them. Also, Facebook only lets you use so many characters before it shuts you up, and if nothing else, I am rather verbose. I'm sure that at least half of my Facebook friends, if not more, would un-friend(?) or de-friend(?) me if they read this.
Anyway, I made my first enemy at work this week. Typically, being a rather non-confrontational person, I don't seek out arguments with others. If I don't agree with a person's position on something, I know that I understand the difference between personal opinion and public argument. So in such cases, I give people the right to their personal opinion and leave it at that no matter how much I might disagree.
But a week or so ago, I just couldn't stop myself. I just couldn't muster up enough Christmas spirit to let it go. It was a time when a person should not have brought her personal opinions into a public forum. Or at the very least, she shouldn't have been so cavalier about it--it was probably her tone that troubled me just as much as anything else; a sort of "oh well" as if she were discussing just having missed a big sale at the department store; a regrettable thing, to be sure, but not that important in the grand scheme of things.
I was sitting quietly at my desk, doing my own thing, and this other woman seated nearby, Karla, was going on and on and on about gun ownership rights. I suppose she has to because she's made it known that she and her husband own around ten to twelve guns—one of her own personal favorites is pink, as if that were cute—and even take their son, who is eleven, to the range and let him target shoot. I myself have seen pictures of this child (posted on Facebook, where else?) at the range with a loaded gun in his hand. Karla thinks it's--I don't know--manly? Whereas I, on the other hand, am terrified and disgusted by such pictures. I suppose the alternative position, which is to reconsider the wisdom of keeping an armory in one's home, never even crossed her mind.
Okay, now, here is my position on this issue: I do not own any weapons. I do not intend to ever own any weapons. I do not want my children to handle weapons. I will not keep guns in my house, locked up or otherwise. I don't care if people hunt or whatever, but for the most part I am opposed to gun ownership. Therefore, in the wake of the elementary school massacre a couple of weeks ago, I could not listen to Karla's bullshit anymore. What sent me over the edge was when she said: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." She fairly chirped this wisdom. This is one of the more favored mantras of the pro-gun group.
I put down my pen and turned to her. "That statement is demonstrably false. And if one premise of an argument is false, the conclusion is false."
She started to splutter, partly because I guess I surprised her—as I said, I typically don't use work as the place to proselytize my views about anything, so I said, "The fact of the matter is that guns do kill people. That is what they were designed to do. People don't collect guns to sit and admire their beauty and examine them the way one would, say, coins or stamps. They collect them to shoot them, sometimes at targets which unfortunately at times happens to be a person if the shooter is angry enough or crazy enough. Do you really think those parents whose children died from being on the wrong end of that Bushmaster semi-automatic assault weapon believe the gun didn't kill their children? Are you really asking me to believe that?" I was very quiet but she could tell I was furious. Everyone else stopped to listen.
We went back and forth a bit about it, with her, of course, talking about the second amendment (which states, if my memory serves me correctly, that "Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the right to bear arms in a well regulated militia"—"Are you part of the National Guard?" I asked her), and the tȇte-a-tȇte remained unresolved, of course, as such issues tend to be. Finally, I held up my hands and said, "I give up. I guess what you're telling me is that your right to own weapons means that with frightening regularity, we have to tolerate massacres and view them as tragic and regrettable but we have to tolerate this anyway so you can shoot your pink gun. We have to tolerate it in schools, in workplaces, theaters, and anywhere else someone with these weapons chooses to go and shoot the place up. It boggles my mind that people like you believe the solution is to have armed guards everywhere in this country—yes, let's all carry weapons and no one will die. I just really wish that you might think for one minute about that classroom where those six-year-old babies were, some of them with multiple bullets in their bodies. I really wish you could reconsider the necessity of weapons like that. Because in my mind, as long as people can have access to such deadly weapons, the crazies will find a place to go with them. What's next, I wonder? The newborn nursery in a hospital? A retirement home? It's just insane. If I were in your head, I'd probably want to reconsider my own desire for power through weapons after this last round of unnecessary deaths, but I guess you won't. But please don't ask me to believe that guns don't kill people. They do."
So now she's really angry with me, but I don't care. I only hope while we're all on Christmas break she has a sufficient "cooling off" period and doesn't bring that pink handgun to work and take care of the likes of me.