Dear America: Gunz

Despite my liberal leanings, I don’t usually care about gun control all that much. I actually think responsible hunters do us a service by, say, helping to control deer populations in the absence of wolves to do the job. (Though I would fight Sarah Palin tooth and nail about her “right” to shoot wolves from a helicopter.) I also think there are plenty of ways to kill people without guns, so I imagine Americans would just start poisoning each other a lot more if you took their guns away. A violent idiot is a violent idiot, after all. Guns just make being a violent idiot easier. But one of the things I am most confused by when talking to people who think we should all be carrying guns 24/7 is that they seem to think we have some grave need to protect ourselves on a daily basis. Where do these people live?

Normally, I assume they live in Idaho, Texas, or [insert other state known for having a large population of nutjobs] where it’s very likely that your neighbors are heavily armed militia men or members of a drug cartel…or both. But then I saw a survey about guns on college campuses on The Courant’s site today, and was disturbed by the results of the survey.

Now, I’m a single girl, who lives alone. I alternate between living in the hood, and living in the middle of nowhere. So, I have been stumbling to my door in the middle of the night on many occasions wondering if I will be caught in a gang war and/or eaten by a bear. But neither of those things have ever actually happened. I also assume there is always some sort of rapist lurking outside my place of residence and when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable (after a bad dream or some bad television) I sleep with a screwdriver. But, again, I’ve never actually had to use my screwdriver. So, I can’t help but wonder why these people think they need to be armed at all times, just in case.

I know people argue that if we were all carrying guns we could then shoot the maniacs who do things like shoot up classrooms or abortion doctors in churches. Somehow, though, it doesn’t seem wise to start making gun laws based solely on what some crazies might do. Furthermore, allowing random people on the street to decide whether or not they should “dispense justice” in a high pressure situation seems ridiculous. Police officers, soldiers, and other law enforcement agencies train for years to make these sort of high-pressure decisions…and they still mess it up on a regular basis.

I was once on a subway platform and saw a very old, slow-moving woman get stuck as the train door closed on her. She was also too weak to force the doors back open. I knew she needed help and I froze. Luckily, other people were quicker on their feet. I ask you, should I — who could not think quickly enough to help an old lady on the train — be allowed to make split-second decisions about whether or not someone needs to be shot down like a rabid dog?

Think about that, and then think about what would happen if you let a bunch of drunk, hormone-filled college kids carry guns around campus… Not a good idea, America. Not a good idea.