The U.S is mourning yet another mass shooting, this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. I’m going to spare you the statistics and graph charts; you can look those up on your favorite news outlet. I’m hoping some of you are getting to know my writing style by now, so you know this is another engagement piece.
I’m not pulling any punches on this one. Enough is enough.
I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Young men are allowing themselves to be consumed by their mental and emotional brokenness.
This isn’t about guns, I don’t believe it ever was. This is about broken characters and tattered spirits. No amount of laws, bills, or “movements” against any weapons of any caliber will win that kind of internal battle.
It almost doesn't surprise me that it's so difficult for the people in power to see the crystal clear distinctions between someone with a good heart and a bad one. It seems all they care about are the signatures on their black and white documents with no regard as to who will actually care to uphold them.
Useful Tools And Useless People Don't Mix
It's not difficult to understand that most people of strong, unwavering characters set out to accomplish good for humanity. They are hailed as heroes and role models. Oftentimes, these kinds of people have more than enough emotional maturity to understand that hurting the innocent isn’t in their best interest. Therefore, any weapon placed in their hands turns into a tool that is used for the good of themselves and others.
On the flip side, weak men who don’t bother to understand the ugly parts of themselves or care enough to integrate their shadows properly end up just like I described before: Comfortable in their misery and passing it on like a virus. When they get their hands on weapons, killing innocent children in schools, markets, or anywhere else there is a semblance of the peace they’ve yet to find within is never reconsidered. It’s a sick act of selfish envy and cowardice. A weapon here becomes a tool for evil.
Still, it appears that the argument is always going back to the tools that people use to accomplish the goals of their evil hearts; in this case guns.
It’s far easier to blame the tool rather than its user. That’s just lazy thinking. It’s fear-based thinking.
It really makes me wonder if people understand the purpose of weapons. It shouldn’t take decades to figure it out and regulate it if that's the ultimate goal. It’s not rocket surgery.
Weapons Have A SINGLE Purpose
Now, before you come over and start protesting outside my home, let me give you a little background story so you understand my level of expertise on the topic.
For starters, I haven’t been raised around guns all of my life. I grew up in a semi-decent neighborhood where fistfights were as common as the flu. The worst I had to deal with as a child was trying to fight off other kids who liked bringing knives to school. How I didn’t get stabbed is a miracle all on its own.
Learning to take these ‘scary’ experiences and make them a part of me - so as to not grow up in a bubble and think the world will be all unicorns and cotton candy - is even more of a miracle.
Like many others, I was sharpened by conflict during my earlier years. Everything from school bullies to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s safe to say that unless you live on a secluded island surrounded by coconuts and rocks, there’s not one person in this entire world who is exempt from conflict with others. Ever.
What does this have to do with weapons? Well, think about it.
Anyone that understands conflict and chaos understands that weapons are unfortunately a necessity. Swords, maces, bows and arrows, you name it. Firearms are the pinnacle of self-defense, next to being a clever wordsmith and talking yourself out of bad situations.
The sole purpose of any weapon is to wound and possibly kill. Generally speaking, guns are designed primarily to quickly stop a threat. I’m sure some gun enthusiasts will argue and say they can eat cereal with a handgun, but they know deep down that’s not its original purpose.
Just like the main purpose of a car is to get you from point A to point B, and the main purpose of spoons is to scoop up and measure your favorite foods, we give the tools we use their meaning based on their design and our desired outcome.
Back to my argument, we all experience some kind of trauma at some point in our lives. If this trauma goes unresolved, it leads to hardened hearts. Hardened hearts weaken the spirit. Weak spirits hurt the innocent. It’s not that guns just magically appear and whisper in your ear: “Hey, you know what would take this pain away? Shooting up a classroom full of kids that have nothing to do with your internal suffering.”
The tool used to commit the crime isn’t to blame. It’s that little internal voice talking to them.
The same one that most broken people can’t seem to keep under control or dare to shut up. The same one feeding people the idea that drinking in excess won’t kill them, that chain-smoking anything can be healthy, or that eating sugar isn’t making them fat…
That is the core problem and unfortunately passing more strict gun laws isn’t going to fix people’s broken mindsets and complete disregard for the value of human life; theirs included.
Yes, Weapons Facilitate Violence…
Surprise, surprise. Guns, which can stop a threat by means of deterrence, wounding, or killing, do make the task easier to accomplish. Just like it’s easier to cut a steak with a knife rather than a shoe.
Again, the problem isn’t that guns perform their sole purpose effectively. The real problem is centered around the mental and emotional stability of the person loading a gun and pulling the trigger.
Who is it aimed at and why? How can we educate men on the consequences of their actions or lack thereof? What signs should we look for and get these men to open up?
Why aren't these the main questions in this discussion?
We know evil brews daily in the hearts of people and often for reasons we don’t really try to understand. So you would think that making it more difficult for people to get their hands on lethal weapons would fix things, right?
It makes sense on paper, but you can’t apply rules to people who refuse to play by them.
Look at street fights for example. I’m not sure where people got the idea that the rules of regulated contact sports apply to street fights. You can’t really be too surprised if you try to fight someone who’s completely deranged, and you end up getting kicked in the face, robbed, or possibly killed because you play by "the rules" in your head and they don’t.
For you, it might be about “honor” or something. For some, it’s about survival.
So how exactly are more strict gun laws going to fix the issue? A criminal is a criminal. Someone with murder on their mind won’t care about the legalities or the speeches condemning their actions. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and when it comes to ill will, those ways multiply.
It’s astonishing how people persist in limiting access to ways of defending themselves against those with no regard for the laws of civilized people.
'Ban' Guns? Alright, Let's Say We Did...
Let's say we accomplished the impossible and passed more restrictions to obtain firearms. Do you sincerely think a person intent on chaos won’t look at all of the other possible options? Have we forgotten about the more sinister and calculated ways which people use to kill others? Homemade explosives, poisoning, stabbings, arson, and more…
What, are we going to regulate access to the tools that aid in the creation of those things too? Just like we regulated cough syrup and antihistamines so that naive teens stop abusing them for their stupid TikTok challenges?
Let’s not kid ourselves… Anyone with enough malice in their heart will set out to achieve their goals whether guns are present or not.
If you think limiting access to weapons and bubble-wrapping the world is the answer, then be sure to also pull tooth and nail so that aggressors don’t bite or claw their way towards you.
No, More Guns Won’t Solve Everything… But…
I will acknowledge that having more access to weapons won’t be the end of this story. This is yet another misconception that people who are pro-gun seem to have.
Be reasonable: This isn’t some old western film where all of a sudden more armed citizens are going to somehow stop mass shooters. I’ve had formal weapons training for years and I still don’t consider myself either an expert marksman or even an expert in situational awareness.
So no offense, but I sincerely doubt the average gun owner even knows what to do at the sound of gunfire erupting, let alone what to do with themselves and their own adrenaline.
There’s also the argument that if one person draws a gun, and two more point theirs, then who becomes the “good” guy? It’s a valid question and one that deserves attention.
Even though those kinds of split-second situations are very unlikely, let's say they happened. What can an armed "good guy" do? It does add more complexity to an already difficult situation. Thankfully, I've yet to meet a responsible gun owner who's going around playing Sheriff and stopping all perceived crime.
To be armed and prepared applies mostly to the obvious situations where a gunman is not expected and would typically be outnumbered. For example an office building or a school... Places where a shooter is clearly identified by a larger group and where his chances of causing damage are lessened by the reduction in “harmless” targets.
Yes, these outcomes are potentially deadly, and I understand not everyone is built for danger. But if I had to pick between being a harmless target or having a chance at saving myself or others, the choice for me is very clear. I'm not allowing any deranged individuals to choose my fate for me.
I will also agree that having more "commonsense" laws, such as more extensive background checks and limited access to military-grade weapons or high capacity magazines might help a little bit… But overall, by far the best solution to this never-ending epidemic is to allow people with good intent to defend themselves efficiently.
The only way to know if someone has good intentions is if you interact with them. As long as the intent remains good, there won’t ever be a need to draw a weapon. And if weapons are drawn, then well, I hope you have good aim.
Weapons - or any other tools for that matter - aren’t there to be feared. The only thing you need to fear is the untamed shadow living inside of you and what it’s capable of.
Men: Educate yourselves and others. Don’t just learn about conflict, but learn to shape your character. Seek mastery over patience, gratitude, and courage. Cast yourself into the unexplored forests of your psyche and dig a trench. Live there for a while. Learn what makes you tick and what you can do to escape its clutches. Raise your children to be brave in the face of adversity. Study the traps, gain the strength, bear the torch, and bring back the wisdom needed to guide other men who are struggling.
An unconquered mind and a broken spirit are far more devilish than any “assault-style weapon” out there.
I know this is a multi-layered conversation and I may not know every little thing about this topic.
What I know without a doubt is that no amount of laws or protesting against weapons will ever win against the hearts of evil men. How about mandated, biannual mental health screenings at no cost? Maybe that might help quell the war that rages inside them.
We can't continue to expect evil men to know rules, discipline, or empathy. They’re fluent in the language of violence. There’s far too much noise for them to hear others out, and they're far too selfish to try.
We can't continue to blame the tools we use to serve others in many other situations for the actions of weak men. There are simply no more excuses to not gain mastery over oneself. It's time to take some accountability.
I leave you all with a final word:
Evil men choose to be dangerous, therefore we must learn to be twice as dangerous and thrice as disciplined. Exploring our inner monster and taming it is key in the search for courage and bravery. This isn’t a call to exert violence - it’s a call for men to be brave and face the deadliest weapon there is: Their own shadow. This will hopefully prevent more needless suffering at the hands of those who were unsuccessful in taming theirs.
My condolences go out to all victims.
Read More: The Art of Patience, Gratitude & Courage
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