That was my first serious exposure to what guns could do.
Guns were bad. They killed my friends.
We can go on arguing about the mental capacity of an 8th grader and the responsibility of parents who own guns but those kids ain’t ever coming back. And I can’t help think if there was no gun there that day those boys would still be alive.
My second encounter was during a high school exam. I was 17 at the time and my exam center was unfortunately in an area more prone to violence. Hence, while filling out answers on my sheet of paper, I could hear gunshots being fired right outside the Center walls. Interestingly, I wasn’t terrified this time. I knew the gunmen were political activists and firing at each other (as was predicted by the tension in the city) but they would not enter the Center – hopefully. I was safe as long as I didn’t get caught in the crossfire – and as long as that crossfire didn’t cross the Center boundaries. And so I went on writing, secretly praying for a ceasefire that did come about in an hour. My paper lasted for three hours so…yeah; there was peace for that time.
Again, it could be said that if only someone in the Center had guns they could’ve put a stop to that gun fight had some ruffians tried to get in but I beg to differ. The kind of ammunition we were dealing with in Pakistan then, we needed an army to fight off those blasting guns. And this was back in the 1990’s. The situation has only gone further, further south without hope of ever getting better. May I also say that we weren’t always this trigger-happy? Nope. It’s taken us decades of hoarding and romancing guns to bring about our doom.
Like Americans, we constitutionally believe in the people’s right to bear firearms. The Constitution of Pakistan respects that right. It’s an honorable culture in rural areas but a bit frowned upon in the cities. Yes, it’s an interesting divide – or was.
In my city, while I was growing up, the common, respectable, good family person never owned a gun.
We didn’t like guns. We didn’t talk guns. We didn’t need guns. We, the common city folk, had no business with guns because guns were weapons used by the police and the army to ensure peace, and by the bad guys to terrorize and disturb that peace. Carrying an unconcealed weapon invoked fear and considered a misdemeanor. Carrying a concealed one spelled untrustworthy. If someone walked into a store or restaurant or wherever we were, carrying a gun or was known to have weapons, we would not want to be in the same vicinity as him. I suppose this fear came from the psyche that guns in a civilian environment only meant one thing unless they were on the person of a law enforcer: corrupted power.
Corrupt political giants always kept well trained thugs ready to be unleashed on the opposition for a variety of reasons – yes, very warlord mentality. And so we were subjected to hearing gunshots more often than not. And then it was routine. I saw my country being armed bit by bit, party by party, and individual by individual; in the name of self-defense, in the name of constitutional rights, in the name of political and religious warfare and in the name of power.
And hearing those guns blast again and again and again desensitized us to the dangers and threats they posed.
More guns didn’t help my country. It hasn’t helped any country. Why should the US hope to be any different? Unless you’re Sparta breeding an army, I don’t see the rationale for everyone to arm themselves. And where does more guns end? Am I to carry arms while shopping for teddy bears with my kids at Toys R Us? Or at Kroger when all I really need is a bag of baby carrots or a carton of milk? And what happens when I’m not with my kids? Just to be safe, methinks I should train my nine year old in how to shoot…better yet…gift her a handgun instead of an iPod on her next birthday so she can pull a trigger when she thinks she’s in danger.
What happened in Denver, in Newtown, in Columbine, in Aurora and other places can happen anywhere. And there are always a million reasons to carry out a massacre – mental instability is just one.
This past September after the 9/11 anniversary, when I went to drop off my sons in daycare and my daughter for her kindergarten class in our small Muslim community school, I was told by the principal manning the main entrance to take the kids home. There would be no school today, he said. Why? Because someone had slashed our school flag the night of 9/11 and the school authorities had reason to believe it was done as an act of rage against the Muslim community. They sent us home till further notice, till they got a go-ahead from the precinct that it was safe for the kids to return to school.
Well, as unfortunate as that was, the thought of my kids being in as much danger as those at Sandy Hook never crossed my mind. Now, I can’t stop thinking about how possible that could be!
Call me paranoid. I’d call myself that only if Newtown hadn’t happened. But it did. I’d feel better if Islamophobia was a myth. But it isn't. You just have to tune into certain media gurus to learn how real it is. I wonder how many average real life Muslims they’ve known personally to believe the things they propose…but that’s a different topic entirely.
Then, we have some who blame the media for sensationalizing such killings and hence, creating more killers needing to go out with a bang and such. I’d agree with them – right after someone tells me the name of the news agency sensationalizing murders before and after the Cain and Abel incident. What? None? How odd. And he still committed the crime? Well, how very imaginatively evil of him.
M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village makes just that point and although it wasn’t a huge box office sweetheart, or so I heard, it seems relevant.
I also wonder how many military-style assault weapons that fired about 200-500 rounds a minute were available to the public to own at the time the second amendment was made part of the US constitution? I’m guessing the firearms that civilians were granted the right to bear then were not in any way comparable to our darling Bushmaster today. The rifle at that time probably was a single shot gun that required to be manually loaded every two minutes after it was fired. Now, two minutes is all the killer needs to carry out a full scale massacre.
I’m simply curious to know how far the advocates of more guns are willing to take their stance. How many guns does a person or a family need to feel or be safe? Three? Six? Forty-seven? How about every neighborhood having its own militia to fight away any intruders or any suspicious looking person? Put a twist on neighborhood night watch by shooting people at will. Wait…I think somebody already did.
I will not be exaggerating if I said this so reminds me of the ways of all such terroristic mindsets that have made this world a hell to live in. And no, not all are mentally challenged. They just have a lot of guns. And a lot of will to keep and use them.
More guns. More blood. And of course, God bless the children.