Whenever I write, it usually takes me days because I reach points where I get stuck and don’t know what I want to write; even if in my head I know it. And then I proofread like crazy to make sure there’s no mistakes, and that it has a flow to it. But in moments like this, after hearing about the shootings in New Zealand, I know what’s in my mind. How? This isn’t the first time we’ve heard on the news about shootings in which people were killed or seriously hurt. Lives forever changed. Lives forever lost. It was almost midnight last night when I stumbled upon a “breaking news” Youtube video from a New Zealand news station. It took me awhile to fall asleep after that. As I awoke, not wanting to get out of bed, I still thought the same thing: How? How does one decide that they’re going to pick up a gun, and go shoot innocent men, women and children.
We all have our safe places. For some, it’s their bedroom. For others, it might be a quiet lake not far from home or work. For many, safety comes through faith and their place of worship. A chance to take a break from the world, be amongst others who share something in common with you, and think/pray/worship. But when our safe place is ruined, it’s so hard to be comfortable again. Through time, and rebuilding though, we can try to go back (if not grow stronger) than before. But moments like this shouldn’t even happen to begin with. Now I’m sure many will once again call for the selling of firearms to be limited or banned. It’s such a tricky subject, it really is. See we’ve changed so much from just 50 years ago, with technology ever expanding our reaches into new places. We went from sending mail that would take weeks to reach someone across the country, to telling people to get off the phone so we can try and send an electronic mail across the internet to someone, to today where we get on an app and can instantly meet and make friends with people from around the world we, otherwise, would’ve never known existed.
But so, too, has weapons changed in those years. People can now look online for making cheap, homemade explosives. They can follow instructions on how to use a 3-D printer to make gun parts; even if it’s not very effective, it still exists. And there are many other ideas they can draw from online. So even if we all decided to ban guns, humans adapt and they find other ways to get what they seek. Sadly, even if we did that then it would make the underground black market for it grow, and groups will try to rule that realm; similar to drugs. So what can we do? We can certainly try and control everyone, and not allow people to buy such things; not even for those who hunt animals. But I just mentioned what could happen, and I’m not sure we’d really want that. Or we leave the status quo unchanged, and accept that maybe we’re heading for a future where it’s like a new “Wild West” where we all need to learn to defend ourselves. This is where Ben Franklin comes in.
For my non-American friends reading this, Benjamin Franklin was a famous man who was around during the formation of the U.S.. One of his popular quotes that he’s known for is, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” . This quote was meant for taxation at the time, but many today refer it to government surveillance. In my case, I’m applying it to gun control. We all want safety, and we all wish no one had access to weapons to hurt others. But by doing so, we give up a part of our freedom and the ability to defend ourselves. Police can only do so much, and they can’t be there for everyone at the same time. I believe we all should have the right to bear arms (right, not need, for the sake of defending ourselves), but to a certain extent. We shouldn’t have access to heavy weaponry or bombs. In fact, bearing “arms” doesn’t mean owning just guns. It’s another way of saying to arm one’s self with a weapon; in the past it was for combat purposes, but in society we try to define it as defending ourselves. Guns are also known as firearms, which is why many think bearing arms only means guns. It could also mean a bow & arrow, an ax, or even a sword. Yet the way things have been, this past decade especially, it seems we may all need to learn to defend because we don’t know what is safe anymore.
After what has happened in New Zealand, and the numerous prior gun shootings around the world, the sad reality no one wants to acknowledge is there will never be peace. There is always bad to go with the good. We can certainly come close to peace and equality, but we will never achieve it. Because the truth is, there will always be someone who wants more than you. Someone who wants the concept of power, and has selfishness, and will take advantage of others to get it. We can all have courage (hope), wisdom (knowledge) and power throughout our lives, but someone out there will feel the desire to grab more, if not all, of it. Whether you want to attach the reasoning to race, religion, gender or a specific scenario in your life, there’s someone out there who believes that and will want more. Those who may feel they’re at the bottom of the totem pole may have a different idea of equality. After many years of being in the minority, they may want to suppress others and say “now it’s your turn to experience what we did”. That’s equality to them, rather than shaking hands saying “All’s forgiven. We’re good now.”. Some just simply like violence, and try to find ways to justify it. Others want to know what it’s like to be on top, and never let go when they see what they can have; knowing no one will succeed in stopping them. Greed consumes people, and their agenda takes priority over the people around them. Just look at those countries being run by rulers with so much power, while the country’s people struggle everyday. Just look around you, and you’ll see.
After 2019+ years on this planet, we’re still learning who we are, what makes us human, what is right to do. Some of you reading this may not like what I say, and even I hope I am wrong about our future. I hope we can find an answer to this, and reach a point of happiness for all, but the past and present suggest otherwise. We’re all different, and some people are afraid of what’s different. Some hate what’s different, and that fear or hate can go across time. It’s really hard for us to let bygones be bygones, even if it’s something small or happened a long time ago. But as humans, we are capable of many things and proving others wrong. All it takes is courage and our own self-power to grow and achieve something; in this case change, change to stop violence. Today we once again unite, not just in New Zealand, but around the world for those who lost their lives. Thoughts are with them, and those affected. Stay strong. One day we will all be fully united, and not worry about these things anymore. But as I started this post, I still ask the same question: How?