Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Thoughts on the Recent Gun Control Debates

There have been a lot of debates about gun control in the past few days; debates that should have taken place long before the tragedies of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Tucson, and even Columbine. I have a unique perspective on this issue amongst my peer group. Unique, because I know exactly what it feels like to have a .44, hollow-point (also known as "armor-piercing" or "cop-killing") bullet tear through your body. I know what it feels like to have it break ribs, tear through a lung, and lodge in a vertebra, paralyzing you for life. I know what it feels like to lay on the floor, unable to breathe because you’re slowly choking to death on your own blood. I know what it feels like to have an incision made into your side without anesthesia and have a sharp, pointy tube shoved between your ribs and into your lung so you can finally, finally, FINALLY breathe again. I know what it’s like to spend months in the hospital re-learning how to do basic things like sit up without falling over, putting on pants, and learning how to manage your body so you don't crap or piss said pants because, SURPRISE, you have no control over your bowels anymore. I know what it’s like to live in pain 24/7; pain that will be a constant reminder for the rest of your life. And I know how it feels to feel, despite everything, lucky, lucky, LUCKY to be ALIVE, because so many others can’t say the same. 

But I also know how it feels to feel cheated. Cheated out of the future you should have had. Cheated out of the ability to run and play with your kids; to go to school programs or sports games; to take your daughter shopping for a dress for her first dance; to toss a ball in the yard with your son; to be the mother they deserve. I know what it’s like to feel a deep, dark depression slowly gripping you tighter and tighter and fighting tooth and nail to not give into it when it whispers to you that 81% of single people with spinal cord injuries remain single for the rest of their lives and you’ll likely die alone because what man could ever love a woman in your situation? 

The answer to gun violence is NOT more guns. And honestly, I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I do know that we need stricter gun control laws. We need a ban on assault weapons that are designed for war, with only one purpose - to kill humans. We need a ban on hollow-point/armor-piercing/”cop-killing” bullets. And we need a massive overhaul to the system we currently have in place for treating our mentally ill in this country.

So, I’m sorry I’m not sorry, but I value my life, the lives of my children, the lives of you and your children, and the rights we all should have to go into a public place and feel safe without the looming threat of having a couple of idiots start shooting at each other, way more than I value your second amendment rights. If you can look at someone like me and then into the face of your own child and tell them that you value your second amendment rights more than their life, then perhaps you are the type of mentally ill person who should not have access to guns.