I have often heard the phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. It would be a lot harder for people to kill someone if there wasn’t a gun in their hand. Every time I read the paper or watch the news there is another story about someone being shot by an angry lover, friend, family member or rival in life. Someone does something to hurt or upset the other person and in a moment of overwhelming emotion that person grabs a gun and takes another persons life.
Children find guns and shoot a play mate or sibling by accident, or in a momentary fit of anger pick up a firearm and shoot. A moment that can never be taken back. Consequences that last for eternity. A life gone, another life ruined and countless people left mourning and questioning why this happened.
Then there are those who are so distraught with life that they pick up a gun and kill themselves. At that moment they want the pain to end and they use a gun to do it. We have seen headlines of several suicides by guns. Guns are one of the most reliable ways to kill yourself. A night that seems dark and a pain that seems overwhelming become the final tragedy of their life, because a gun was in their reach. Guns are more accessible than mental health care, making it a more immediate answer.
Guns may not kill people, but they sure allow people who are not in a healthy frame of mind to do a lot more killing then would be possible without them. Just because the gun owner doesn’t have a mental illness that stops them from getting a gun, doesn’t mean someone with access to that gun doesn’t have one. Sometimes it is just a huge momentary lapse of judgement, fit of emotion or horrific mistake…one that wouldn’t have happened if a gun wasn’t there.
Having been suicidal in the past, having attempted suicide, and on a couple occasions coming close enough that doctors were shocked I survived, I am grateful that I’ve never had a gun in my home. I wouldn’t be alive if I had. Every time I took an overdose or slashed my wrists or starved myself close to death I thought I wanted to die. I truly intended to die. If I had a gun, in that moment I would have died. I would have missed out on so many glorious amazing moments in my life. I wouldn’t have realized how incredibly blessed I am with unconditionally loving family and friends. I wouldn’t have had my beautiful, awesome, brilliant daughter. I wouldn’t have known what joy, love and peace are.
I have only ever known one person that survived a suicide attempt by gun. He flinched as he pulled the trigger. He was permanently brain damaged and physically disabled. He had been desperate to end his pain over a relationship breaking up. A relationship with a girl he no longer could remember the name of. I asked him if he was sorry he lived and he responded “I’m sorry I pulled the trigger. It is hard to see that emotional pain will not last forever, this however will.”
Pulling the trigger takes a second of poor judgement, but causes an eternity of sorrow for all involved. Families bury loved ones because of a moment of anger or distress, prisons are filled with individuals who let emotion ruin their lives by pulling a trigger, people taking their own lives or the lives of others because they aren’t thinking clearly. Guns may not kill people but it makes it much easier for people to kill people. A gun can be the difference between life and death.