|Image from Duggar Family Blog|
It's Jedidiah Duggar, of the Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting reality TV and evangelical fame, posing with the gun he was given as a 16th birthday present. Whilst the picture has attracted much criticism, defenders of the Duggars want you to know it's all okay. The official endorsed Duggar family blog posted that the controversy misses a key point, the Duggars' stance on gun safety:
The Duggars understand the importance of teaching their kids how to safely use firearms in order to prevent or minimize the likelihood of accidents.
Here is what Jim Bob Duggar said about the issue when it was brought up by the media in 2011:
"We believe it is important for children to learn safety about guns and knives. To learn how to use them properly and to learn not to use them to hurt others but to use them as a tool."
The Duggars, who defend their constitutional right to bear arms, only allow their older children who have been instructed in gun safety to use fire arms.
So, that's okay then? Well, no it isn't. Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot safer to just not have the gun in the first place? Even if he felt the need for a firearm for "personal protection", there's no way that thing he's holding is for protection. It's to kill stuff. And no doubt also to prove to liberals that ain't no one taking the Real America's guns away. Guns are seen as inevitable. Best learn how to use them safely.
But there's little point trying to appeal to the pro gun lobby on the issue of gun safety. It's been proven, over and over again, that having a gun in the home greatly increases your risk of violent death, and they don't care. They, the good guys, need their guns to defend themselves against the bad guys with guns. Donald Trump had at it this week, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
Again, guns are inevitable - so law-abiding citizens should expect gunfire to break out at any moment and be equipped to start shooting back. One of the most prominent proponents of this stance is former member of the Texas House of Representatives, Suzanna Hupp, who survived the 1991 Luby's Massacre, in which her parents and 22 others were killed, and believes she would have been able to stop the slaughter if she had been legally able to carry her .38 revolver in her purse. Hupp became an outspoken opponent of gun control, writing a memoir titled From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, and stating: "How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual... as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of".
It makes a neat soundbite, and gets at the heart of how gun control opponents see society. While most of us would view constantly having to be vigilant to respond to random gunfire as warfare, not civilised society they view it as well worth it to preserve their rights to bear arms. It doesn't matter if the bad guys have guns, the good guys can fight back!
To which I would ask, just how many innocent bystanders - collateral damage, if you will - are you willing to sacrifice in the time between when the bad guys start shooting and the good guys respond?
How would you prevent a Sandy Hook? An armed guard on every campus - whom the shooter takes out first? An armed guard in every classroom - at what expense? Each teacher keeping a loaded gun in their desk - to what risk to the children? If it was locked away, surely it would be useless if an armed intruder burst in? What if the gunmen took out the teacher first?
In a time where teachers are overworked, underpaid, struggling with quotas and standardised testing and changing curricula and children with varied special needs and training children for careers in an economy that doesn't exist yet - and now they have to add another duty to their roster, armed defence of the children in their care?
Is a continuous stream of gun massacres, smaller in death toll as they may be if, as you propose, the good guys get to shoot back - worth it for gun freedom?
Or wouldn't it just be a better idea to try and stop everyone, the good and the bad, from getting the guns?