Bang, bang / by kevin murray

The United States has more guns in private hands than any other nation, in sheer quantity as well as in per capita statistics.  So too, the American military is the most powerful in the world, along with the domestic police force of America  being extremely well armed.  As much as critics may decry all the firearms that America has, or the reason why they have them, or the danger of having all those firearms, ad nauseam, those firearms are not going to go away anytime soon.


One of the main reasons why so many Americans have firearms, is basically the belief that having a firearm is necessary in order to have a weapon that will stop a criminal, or basically to have a weapon for practical self-defense.  Not too surprisingly, when  people believe that they need a weapon to protect themselves, that belief in and of itself, creates it own little arms race, of which until such a time as the mindset changes from the conventional wisdom that firearms are necessary for a good self-defense, than firearms will continue to be seen as a valid choice for that defense.


Lost in all the confusion about firearms, is the fact that people that buy guns, vary considerably in their experience with guns, of which, some people buying guns, have a military or police background, meaning consequently that they are usually quite competent in their knowledge of guns and their usage, thereof.  So too, there are people that while not coming from a military or police background, have utilized guns or rifles in hunting or other sporting endeavors.  Then there are others, that have utilized guns in target practice and finally there are other people that have never fired a gun, of which, some of those people, have barely a working knowledge as to how to properly handle a gun.


It almost goes without saying, that those that have bought a gun, and subsequently never take a course on how to utilize that gun, or just have had a modicum of gun usage training through target practice or similar, but, not on a regular basis, are probably fooling themselves if they believe that in a truly dangerous situation in which the thought is that the usage of a firearm is necessary in order to protect themselves, that they will actually be able to competently defend themselves.


Having said that, all this truly pales in comparison, to the very salient fact, that guns are extremely lethal and that shooting a firearm at a target, or at an animal, is never going to be the same thing as shooting it at another human being.  In point of fact, there isn’t much of a good reason, to own a firearm, if consciously or subconsciously the owner of that gun knows that they do not have the character to actually use it against another human being, with the exception of possibly being able to do so, under the most extraordinary circumstances. 


In point of fact, with the exception of a very small percentage of Americans, the vast majority of people, while perhaps capable of drawing upon a firearm, just can’t really bring themselves to actually use it against another human being, because their conscience of the gravity of the situation, precludes them from doing so.  This is why, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to own a firearm -- because many owners will simply never use one for the purpose that they bought it for, should that situation occur.  While life can indeed be full of potential dangers and moments of fear, it is truly the exception, and not the rule, when a bad guy is actually shot by a common citizen, for most people when confronted in a fearful situation by someone that is human, will not pull the trigger.