It’s strange. I love Call of Duty. I love watching them in action scenes in movies and tv shows. I have nothing against hunting; it’s a part of American culture. What I am against is the notion that every household needs to be armed in order to guard themselves. Or that literally everyone should have one as a symbol of American pride.
First off, I’m kind of biased. As someone dealing with depression/anxiety, I see the potential risk of keeping a deadly weapon nearby. But then again, that’s just me. Some people may not deal with certain diagnosed mental health conditions. Then again, those ARE the people more likely to kill someone with a deadly weapon. People with mental illnesses make up an extremely small percentage of gun crimes.
But enough about statistics. Regardless of your sanity/insanity, I don’t think that owning guns just because someone’s lurking behind you at every street corner (or could be) is very good reason to keep a weapon by you that could easily be used on someone close, or accidentally by one of your kids. Suicide makes up a very high percentage of gun crimes (more than 60%), which is more than gun-related homicides.
Guns don’t kill people. You do. And keeping one close raises the likelihood of that happening, especially when you consider other contributing factors: interpersonal conflict, drinking, confrontations that can potentially lead to outbursts. Everyone can lose their temper, regardless of mental health. Add bottled rage to the fact that you’ve got a handgun tucked away nearby. Or persistent disappointment, in the case of suicide. Add carelessness in the case of intoxication.
Again, it’s my bias. I don’t think guns are horrible. I love watching them in movies, shows, and games. I just don’t like our attitude towards them. I understand that what I see on the screen is a fiction. That’s good enough for me. I don’t need to keep an assault weapon locked away in my home. I don’t think a burglar is going to come leaping through my window late at night. I’m more wary of what could happen to myself, or the people around me. I think about times of suicidal ideation and am incredibly thankful that such an easy escape wasn’t nearby. But for a lot of people it is.
Plenty are responsible owners. But just because you are doesn’t mean every other American is. Cultural factors expose people to different mindsets and perspectives. To promote ownership as an absolute good for everyone ignores other contributing factors to violence: factors that can easily be exacerbated to the point of force, based on access to a deadly weapon. Obviously these factors won’t affect everyone. But, unfortunately they are too prevalent in our society and, in many cases, go unacknowledged in the case of guns. Promoting ownership as a necessity, while ignoring these problems or dismissing them as non-sequiturs simplifies the conversation.