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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Assault Weapons, Violence and Anger.

(Above: Glock handgun with an extended magazine of bullets)

Why does anyone need an assault weapon except to kill people? True, it can be used at a gun range but the potential for misuse by an unstable person is too high. We need to re-ban assault weapons. They aren't needed or wanted when hunting. I'm all for protecting the 2nd amendment but believe that sensible restrictions should be in place too.

The shooter in AZ who killed or wounded a dozen people, including a duly elected Congresswoman, had an extended clip to his pistol, which means he had 30 bullets per clip!! That means he transformed a regular pistol into an assault weapon. Such a clip was banned under the assault weapons ban in America until 2004. It could have prevented this shooter from having 30 bullets, which would have greatly limited the damage. He was only tackled after he ran out of bullets. That would have been sooner had he only had a regular clip. I'm I'll for the right to have weapons and the right to hunt but I don't believe I'm a "radical" for wanting sensible restrictions.

Can assault weapons and extended clips still be found and/or bought? Yes, but it would make it harder and any thing we can do to make it harder will help reduce violence; not end it because that's nearly impossible but reduce it. It would also lower the lethality of an attack. Will it solve the problem completely? No, but we must do something to help curb the lethality of these attacks. In addition, we need to do better about screening people who shouldn't be allowed to carry weapons such as the mentally ill; for their own safety too due to high suicide rates. It's harder to get into college than it is to get a gun in some places!!

I don't think it's infringing upon anyone's right to bear arms to have sensible restrictions on a device that has the potential to kill mass people. Where do gun advocates suggest we draw the line? We don't allow people to have tanks or fighter jets that cause mass destruction but assault weapons of mass destruction are o.k.??? I don't want to ban your hunting rifle, your shotgun or your pistol, so don't accuse me of being anti-gun. I have many family members who own and enjoy guns--that's not my problem. I just want to make it harder for the unstable to get these kind of mass lethality causing weapons.

As a Buddhist who abhors violence, I struggle with how extensive gun laws should be. There is already enough violence and weapons on this planet to kill and evaporate every last man, woman and child. So, allowing people to own weapons and clips of bullets that add to that potential for mass death seems ludicrous. At the same time, it's important not to attach onto anger toward those who support the use of such weapons; anger never solves anything. If anything, it makes differences harder to reconcile.

The advisement from Buddha to avoid violence must extend to our speech but too often we (myself included) allow ourselves to wield angry words toward one another. In physical violence the person dies and thus the violence upon them is short but with angry words the violence upon them lasts sometimes for years. This is not to say physical violence is any less damaging but rather to show how angry words can do nearly as much damage to individuals. I struggle with anger and all too often succumb to it's primitive instinct but I will never give up in working to reduce and eliminate angry words. That doesn't mean we always have to agree with one another but we can disagree without being angry and disagreeable.

~Peace to all beings~

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Nathan said...

I'd say it's much easier to get a gun than get into college. And that's not a good thing.

It's astounding to me that people can still get assault weapons fairly easily. There is zero reason for allowing this. The hunters I've talked to about this have agreed with me. In fact, a few have even expressed desire for really tough gun laws in general because of overall concerns over recklessness while hunting, and a general lack of understanding about how to use guns safely.

They call him James Ure said...

@Nathan...I heard similar things from hunters as well. There are too many cavalier attitudes toward guns. I think we need to have a national awareness campaign in this country about gun safety and stewardship.

By stewardship I mean that the responsible gun owners, hunters and enthusiasts police their own ranks to report people that might seem deranged or misusing a fire-arm. It simply seems like common sense to me.

Laane said...

Here in The Netherlands guns are not allowed unless one has a special permit. These permits are only granted to policemen and - women, official hunters and people from a shooting organisation which allows them to take guns home.
Carrying guns is only permitted to and fro the location of use. And one should always carry the permit and a piece of evidence that one is allowed to have a gun at that location. (for example a schedule of shooting lessons). The gun must be covered by a bag, as they say be without reach.

Ofcourse we have had shootings here too. Guns can be bought without any problems in Germany and Belgiumm the neighbouring countries.
But we haven't had such great numbers of victims.

Sometimes I hear americans talk about the heroic killing of an intruder. It's like they rather kill someone than take enough precautions so people won't be able to enter their house.

To us here carrying a gun by ordinairy people is something done in cowboymovies. Not in this time anymore.

ZenWoman said...

you end by saying we don't have to agree, but I agree with every word. Could not have blogged better on this topic and was about to when I saw yours. I think I will simply link to your comments. I was wondering how a peaceful person speaks out on these controversial matters. Thank you.

BD said...

Coming from a Canadian perspective, I remember the first time in an American convenience store, looking around and thinking OK need milk, bread, and oh look ammo is behind the counter.I have to say I found it a little disturbing. I used to be in the military and have been around weapons before. I think you are spot on in regards to the cavalier attitude towards guns. We are having gun arguments too, here in Canada,we too have had shooters in Montreal and everyone has great hindsight,but what is still lacking is a collective national vision as to what to do for prevention.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to nitpick, but aren't all weapons for assault? You are nitpicking. Choose a side, liberty or tyranny. said...

I had determined from that verbal exercise of his that he was a gas bag. Thats when I decided to leave. I had met you, TL, and many other fine folks. I had accomplished what I'd set out to do. Sadly, the wind bag did not provide me a good ending to my Mercer visit.
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