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The Good People and The Criminals

In the wake of the awful shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last week I've been searching for the perfect words to say. I still haven't found them, and I may never will, but my high school friend Beth posted her thoughts on Facebook. They are pretty much the most reasonable words I've read so far, and with her permission I repeat them here...

There is something missing from the discussion about guns and violence and mass shootings going on this past week. The underlying assumptions about people. The "guns don't kill people, people do" folks assume there are two clear distinct groups of people: criminals and good people. If good people are armed, they can thwart the criminals. We can't "punish" the good people in our attempts to control criminals.

I reject that view of the world. We are all just people. We are all capable of being loving and caring. We are all capable of being selfish and fearful. We can all be overwhelmed by grief, terror and yes, even rage.

I readily confess to my darkness. I get pissed off while driving. I become too protective of the ones I love. I rage against the machine. I reach the end of my rope and become irrational. And when I do, the world is a safer place because I don't have a gun on my person.

I enjoy shooting. I really really do. And I have pretty decent aim. But I think we are all safer for me not having a gun on my person at all times.

When does a "good person" who deserves to have a gun become a "criminal" who we need guns to stop?

I maintain we are all a bit of both.

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