Tip/Thought of the Day

The Wild West Was Really Pretty Tame

After a basketball rolled into his property a homeowner went on a shooting spree, hitting a 6-year-old girl in the cheek, her mother in the arm and her father in the back. He had been arrested in December for attacking his girlfriend with a sledgehammer and keeping her prisoner for over two hours, but was released on bail.

In Kansas City a 16-year-old young man accidentally rang the doorbell of the wrong house while trying to pick up his twin brothers. They were at NE 115th Terrace but he went to NE 115th Street. The 84-year-old owner fired through a locked glass door and shot him in the head and then in the arm after he fell to the ground. He was released from custody within two hours until he was rearrested days later.

In upstate, rural New York a 20-year-old woman was shot when she and three friends mistakenly pulled into the wrong driveway. Realizing their mistake, the driver turned around. As they were leaving, the owner opened-fired on the car from his porch, killing her. They never left their vehicle, they didn’t threaten the homeowner in any way.

In Texas, two 18-year-old women, both in their cheerleading outfits, were shot in a supermarket parking lot. One was transferring rides when she accidentally got into a similar looking car. Seeing a passenger, she immediately jumped out and back into her friend’s car. The man followed, pulled a gun and shot her through the window while she continued to apologize for the mix-up. She was grazed but her teammate was shot in the leg and back.

As a kid my brothers and I lost baseballs, basketballs, frisbees or even skateboards on neighbor yards all the time. They always smiled and waved. They didn’t open fire. I never thought twice about asking for directions when I became lost and needed help. I still use a person’s driveway to backtrack when I miss my turn. Others use my driveway as well. It never provoked anyone to shoot.

Next time it could be me, you, your child, friend, or parent.

We claim nothing has changed since our forefathers wrote the Second Amendment assuring us the right to bear arms. But we all know it actually reads, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Yet here’s what the NRA advertises it really means, “The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

A clear manipulation of the words.

Guns have always been regulated, until today.

Our forefathers believed in gun control laws. In 1792 every eligible man (except slaves, free black men and those who refused to swear loyalty to the Revolution) were Federally mandated to purchase a firearm for his service in the militia. Then they had to report for frequent musters where their guns would be inspected and registered. Even going so far as to allowing government officials the right to enter their home and inspect their musket at any time!

We’ve all seen Westerns. Every man strolling the streets, wearing a six shooter, or two, on their hip. Routine quick-draw contests tested to the death who was fastest. But that’s Hollywood. And like many fantasies Hollywood presents, they’ve taken incredible liberties in depicting a way of life that never existed.

Any city striving to grow, thrive and attract residents required everyone to check their weapons (even knives) upon entering, or be jailed and fined. It makes sense, who would want to put down roots, start a family, or own a business when gunfights and shootings could occur at any time?

Even Tombstone, famous for the shootout at the OK Corral has been horribly misrepresented and its true story abused. The entire confrontation was to take away the guns of those who’d entered and refused to comply with their 1881 law, prohibiting any deadly weapon within city limits. The fact that three men actually died in that altercation because someone refused to honor the law astonished the entire country and made headline news for years.

Dodge City, famous in countless Westerns as having regular gunfights in the street, passed laws in 1878 requiring all guns stay within the home or outside city limits. Visitors had to check their guns when entering and got them back when leaving.

Testing who was the fastest draw didn’t happen on civilized streets. People knew better than to allow firearms anywhere, at any time. Even the wild, wild west refused open carry on the streets in civilized towns, hoping to draw settlers.

The truth and facts have been horribly subverted.

We have the highest rate of guns per person in the world at 120.5 per 100 residents. The closet country is Yemen at 52.8 per 100 residents. We have more guns within our borders than people, and it’s growing every day.

Fear mongering and stoking anxieties by claiming we aren’t safe and guns could be torn away at any time has been tolerated for far too long. When children can openly tote weapons in some cities, gun restrictions are non-existent in others, and we can use “stand your ground” laws to shoot without impunity, getting shot because we rang the wrong doorbell, drove down the wrong driveway or lost a ball in a neighbor’s yard is the result.

The Wild, Wild West never allowed such behavior. Why do we?










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