Last evening when I laid down in bed I pondered the topic for today’s blog post. Actually, the topic came to mind fairly quickly, in fact. I had just walked past the living room where I saw my 16–y/o stepson playing video games in some bloodfest crazy violent game.
It seemed like a terrible note on which to head off to bed…but off to bed I went thinking about the few split seconds I saw where several people were killed in a ferocious firefight. Indeed, many times I regretted ever buying the video game system that perpetuates this sheer bedlam and violent chaos, but alas…he is far from alone among his peers attracted to this entertaining(?) nonsense.
So, I rested in bed thinking about how guns were viewed 35 years ago when I was his age. Oh, yeah, I know times change…but let’s face it the way guns are being viewed in our society today is a far cry from when I was a punk kid.
In my world guns were tools used to take grouse, pop an unsuspecting squirrel off some tree limb, quickly dispatch a trapped animal, waylay a deer, or perhaps end the swift flight of some overhead passing diver ducks. I don’t recall anywhere in my adolescent culture growing up where the word GUN = VIOLENCE in the streets, in the homes, in the schools, etc.
Not so today. And today of all days we get yet another taste of BREAKING NEWS…some mad gunman is loose at a Washington Navy Yard as an active shooter on some violent killing spree. It’s enough to just make a sensible person want to cry out for some societal sanity. This utter nonsense needs to stop. Both from the shooters, but also I lay blame on the media (and social media) fueling the flames of each tragedy to bring an awareness that is, pardon the pun, complete overkill in most instances bringing undue notoriety to bloodthirsty kilers.
Growing up my heroes with guns were the likes of Grits Gresham, Curt Gowdy, my favorite NFL football coach of all time, Bud Grant…and the names go on. These were gentlemen of honor, each of whom were not only adept with their guns at the taking of wild game, but they excelled as positive role models for aspiring youth.
It just isn’t always so today. Nope. Now, when kids look to examples of high-profile people with guns they have a seemingly never ending list of rogue and reckless athletes, shoot ‘em up rap singers, media-hyped mass murderers, schoolyard shooters, movie theater lunatics, the list goes on. What a shame.
To be honest, guns haven’t changed much during the past three decades. Sure, there are slight cosmetic differences, but they all pretty much still function like a gun always has performed in the hands of the person using it. What has changed is the mental aspect of why a person even puts a gun in their hands.
Sure, many of us still shoot grouse, squirrels, fox, deer and ducks. In my hands that is the main purpose for my guns. Yet, I fear we have groomed a dangerous culture through movies, video games and destructive television programming that is taking us down a path of great societal decay.
When I use a gun in the outdoors to kill an animal I pause, reflect on the act, and then contemplate the deeper meaning that taking the animal’s life provides to me. I guess that sort of thinking and behavior with a gun is quickly becoming “old school.” Far too often when today’s cold-blooded killers pull the trigger there’s no remorse, there’s no regrets, there’s simply no value shown to the life that has ended with the act of pulling a trigger.
Folks, I don’t have any answers. Guns are a big part of my life and always will be. They are tools I greatly respect. Guns are meaningful to me far differently than they apparently are to a select few in our present society.
Oh, sure, I certainly regret ever allowing violent video games into my home…but some things you just can’t take back. It’s like a cancer, once it begins to spread for some people there’s just no stopping it. They apparently lose all sense of reality.
Yet, it’s not the guns…it’s about the person bent on perpetrating the violence. Deranged folks are just as capable of inflicting pain and suffering with cars, with poisons, with pressure cooker bombs, any number of other ways cowards choose to murderously act.
©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.