Following the tragedy in Newtown, various things have been reported about the mother and the…whatever you want to call him. In my personal opinion “human” doesn’t even apply. Many people are upset that there are suggestions his autism played a part in his actions. I admit I don’t know a lot about autism; I watched a program about it once, and a friend of mine has a son who has autism, but his is a very severe form and he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, even though he is an adult. My impression was that most forms of autism created “sensory overload”, that one of the reasons a person with autism shut themselves off from everything is because sensory stimulation, i.e. sights and sounds, were overamplified, for lack of a better term. It was just too much neural stimulus for them to handle. And going by the firsthand experiences of my friend, episodes of rage do occur.
However, what is being reported (if it’s accurate) shows a degree of premeditation that does not fit in with autism. There’s a good possibility there were other mental illnesses involved. But if the things being reported are true, the worst part came from the mother living in a world of denial. Only a person living in denial would allow someone with mental/neurological issues access to guns, and only an idiot would put a gun in that person’s hands with the intention of “teaching responsibility”. Excuse my French, but how f’d up is that??? If you want to teach a kid responsibility, you get a puppy or a kitten, give the kid the responsibility of making sure the pet is fed and watered, played with and loved. No one in their right mind would think that putting a gun in the hands of a mentally disabled/disturbed person and showing them how to use it would be teaching them “responsibility”. The latest report has him purposefully attempting to destroy the hard drive on his computer with a hammer or screwdriver. Again, premeditation. This wasn’t a two-minute major temper tantrum–there was forethought, and planning. The question in my mind is, was he communicating with someone online and was trying to hide the trail, or was he just trying to prevent anyone from looking into his world? He obviously knew he wasn’t coming back.
Now, onto the issue of gun laws/control. Yes, I own guns, a .357 and a Glock. I do target shooting, but the main reason I own guns is for the protection of myself and my family. I also have a gun safe with a combination lock. If I had to hunt because I was starving I could, but I prefer to fish. I believe in responsible ownership–learning how a gun works, how to clean it, how to maintain it, how to shoot it and most importantly how to keep them safely stored away.
There are a lot of people screaming about banning automatic weapons. Well, basically, they are banned. Some media won’t take time to point this out because they have their own agendas, so I’ll state it here. In 1986, an amendment called the Firearm Owners Protection Act stopped all future domestic manufacturing of fully automatic weapons for civilian use. Fully automatic weapons are still manufactured in the US for military and law enforcement use. So, there isn’t an issue with *automatic* weapons.
Semi-automatic weapons, assault-style weapons, fall into a different category. Personally, I prefer my six-shooter. There’s no possibility of it jamming, and if I can’t take care of business with six hollow-points, then there must be a riot going on. I like my “baby” Glock, but it’s not my preference. Assault-style rifles? I don’t see a need for them in civilian hands, but that’s just my personal opinion. A basic hunting rifle will do when hunting, the type of guns I own do fine for home protection. Anything higher powered is just over the top. Again, just my opinion.
I come from a long line of responsible gun ownership–grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc. My great-great-grandfather was one of the original Company D Texas Rangers. My great-grandfather and grandfather both served in the military during WWI and WWII, respectively. I’m married to a police officer, who was previously in the 101st Airborne. I will not leave my family defenseless. I’ve learned through my husband’s work, as well as many reported incidents across the US, there have been times a gun has meant the difference between life and death for an individual or family when their home was invaded by people intent on robbing, rape or murder. I choose not to roll over and just submit to whatever those perps have in mind and leave my family vulnerable. Again, that’s just my personal choice. Everyone makes their own choices, and whatever they choose is what is right for them. I won’t tell them they must have a gun, just as I expect them not to tell me I cannot have a gun.
I would not be against a ban of unnecessary, over-the-top high-powered weapons with regards to citizens. Those belong in the hands of the military and law enforcement. Here in Texas they do checks when an individual wants to buy a weapon as to whether they have a documented history of mental illness, have committed a felony, etc, which would negate them being able to buy a gun. Although that comes down to legally trying to buy a weapon. Criminals will always find a way to get a gun. And when it comes to a person wanting to commit murder, if they can’t get their hands on a gun they’ll find another way, either with a knife, or a bomb, or poison, or a car, etc, etc.
When used properly and by mentally stable individuals, guns provide protection. It’s the improper use and the mentally unstable individuals that create the problem.