Why do you need a gun? Edited.

In the wake of the shoot­ings of tele­vi­sion reporter Ali­son Park­er and her cam­era­man Andy Ward by some ass­hole, there has been a renewed vig­or to the gun con­trol safe­ty debate.

I have been tak­ing advan­tage of this by ask­ing peo­ple on Face­book (an excel­lent venue for thought­ful dis­cus­sion, btw) why they need a gun. I can imag­ine why they want a gun, but I am curi­ous as to why they feel they need one.

Some peo­ple may legit­i­mate­ly fear for their safe­ty, because of where they live, or because of some­thing that may have hap­pened to a friend or neigh­bor, or because of some­one they know. But there are always oth­er steps that can be tak­en to help, besides (or instead of) get­ting a gun.

I hope those peo­ple know this, and can see a way out of their trou­bles. Get­ting a gun would be a last resort to me. After all, it can only do one thing.

I don’t know if I’ll get any insight, if I do I’ll report back.


It’s been a year. I got busy. I did get respons­es, and the most thought­ful ones came down to one thing: fear. Guns, for these peo­ple, are a secu­ri­ty blan­ket against an unpre­dictable world, whether sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sound or not. Since I post­ed this, we’ve also had addi­tion­al mass shoot­ings. But there is one fact that I ate across in the last year that real­ly sur­prised me, and crys­tal­lized my con­cerns about guns.

In 2016 so far, there have been 328 mass shoot­ings, with 426 peo­ple killed and anoth­er 1,238 wound­ed. Mass shoot­ings are often blamed on guns, but also on men­tal health care, par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances, the shoot­ers them­selves, etc. (Source: massshootingtracker.org)

In 2016 so far, there have been 9,908 gun deaths in Amer­i­ca, with anoth­er 20,646 injured. These aren’t just mass shoot­ings, these are mur­ders, sui­cides, acci­dents, etc. These are inci­dents caused by a myr­i­ad of con­di­tions, from depres­sion to stu­pid­i­ty to abuse, to yes, men­tal health. (Source: gunviolencearchive.org)

But it is clear to me, from this, that guns are the prob­lem.