It’s ridiculous the number of times that I have heard “sane” people say “I wish I would have had my gun on me” or “They better be glad I wasn’t packin'”when talking about a mild confrontation with someone. It’s also ridiculous the number of “sane” people I know that has actually pulled a gun on someone -over little things like grocery store or highway encounters. Not life threatening events; encounters and mild arguments. These people commonly refer to the other (generally – but not always – of another skin tone) as crazy. They say something like “you never know about people” to justify their action. They fail to see that they are the crazy ones. They are the “people” they just referred to. They just entertained the idea of killing (or, at minimum, grievously injuring) someone. Taking a life. Not to protect their own life but to extend their views and ideals of how someone else should act – especially towards them…you know, because they are the next best thing to God and are due the appropriate respect.
Dylann Roof was just another “sane” crazy person. He was a legal gun owner. Yet his ideals caused him to murder people based on something they had no choice in; something that doesn’t affect the value of a person or their potential to contribute to society. He played God and decided to destroy the worlds of dozens of people with the sole purpose of extending – no, forcing – his own views on the rest of the country. By playing God, he devalued the lives of people God made – for the differences God gave them.
The disconnect is we all think we deserve respect; certain kind or level of respect because we are us. When we rise up with anger over being cut off on the road or otherwise disrespected, we think – in some way or another – “how dare them treat me that way.” The problem is two fold. 1) They (probably) don’t know you. So you are expecting them to play by rules when they don’t even know the name of the game. They don’t even know they are playing. 2) Whatever they did to upset you… I hate to tell you this… You’ve done that same thing to someone else. At some point, you have broken in line. At some point, you have cut off the car behind you. At some point, you have insulted someone and offended him or her to the core of their being. You are just like them.
The ONLY REASON any of us should be respected is because we have been created. It was decided we should exist. That is our common ground. There is no more reason to love each other than the fact that we are all human. The only reason there are more than one of us on this planet is to make life easier for the rest of us.
Guns put power in our hands. A power we aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle. We all have our limits (thresholds are diminished by current situations) and once those are crossed, we lose control and let emotions take over. We use whatever we can reach to prove our point and to right where we feel wronged. We allow ourselves to fall into a mindset that we have to do something. We hide behind the power of guns to shield our insecurities from the change of an evolving world. Behind that (and any other) shield, we start to act on perceived threats and not actual threats. We become paranoid. We become over reactive.
Beliefs, ideals, style, musical taste, how long you grow your fingernails, etc. are inconsequential to the beauty of life. When you think about murder – whatever guise you put it behind – you are pretending you are important enough to hold something as precious and miraculous as life in your hand. You are sentencing someone because of either something they can’t help or a mistake they made that you have likely already made yourself. You are contemplating something that will rob a loved one from God-knows how many people (by the way, you would magically know how many if you were indeed God) and, consequently, alter the directions of their lives.
Life is worth defending; the way you think everyone should live it is not.