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Posts published in “Day: November 28, 2019”

Guns and chainsaws

schmidt

I went to a public forum on Federal lands in Idaho a few years back that the Idaho legislature sponsored. It was a traveling interim committee meeting the legislature set up to consider just what the Idaho legislature should do to take back federal lands.

It was Sagebrush Rebellion 2.0. The meeting was in my district back when I was a State Senator. I was amazed at the turnout. I never got that many people to show up at a town hall meeting I held. I was also surprised to see a sheriff’s deputy standing by the door. It seemed a pretty dry presentation to me. But then I noticed the guy next to me had a side arm. And then I noticed quite a few in the folding chairs around me. I hadn’t brought mine; hadn’t felt the need.

My church wants to pass a resolution that our church premises should be a “gun free zone”. I’m not opposed to it. I just don’t understand why we need such a statement. I think my fellow congregants believe such a statement might help quell the mass shootings we hear about in the media. I don’t. It just seems like common sense to me. But then, maybe common sense needs some support nowadays.

I think we all need to start thinking differently.

I see a gun as a tool, like a chainsaw. Both have their purpose. Both are incredible innovations our modern minds and industrial technologies have developed. Both can be misused. Both can be used for powerful purposes. Both have the power to cause lethal harm to oneself or others. Both have a specific function. One cuts so fast it has made getting firewood almost fun. The other directs a projectile with more accuracy and power than a human arm could hope to throw. And that can be fun.

But we have very different feelings about these two tools, don’t we?

If you saw a guy walking down the street with a chainsaw on her shoulder, would you be afraid? Or would you think them a bit silly? How about if the guy had an AR15 on her shoulder? Would you be afraid or think them a bit silly?

My liberal friends find guns threatening and react with umbrage, indignation, anxiety, outrage and fear. But I think that reaction is just what the idiot with the AR15 wants. She’s not going to use the gun, just like the idiot with the chainsaw wouldn’t fire it up on Main Street. When an idiot postures, sometimes the best reaction is to laugh at their folly.

But we can’t help reacting, can we? It is just such reaction, such a visceral response we need to learn how to avoid. Such a reaction gets us hooked to FOX News, CNN, or whatever click bait we fall for. Such reactions make us a tool of these powerful media machines we give so much of our money to. It’s time to look at the idiots and laugh.

But be alert.

Laughing at the guy with a chain saw might be a little easier than laughing at the guy with a semi auto. The guy with the chainsaw can’t kill you from across the street.

I don’t know of any school massacres that have happened with chainsaws. But they have been stars in some horror movies. We don’t live in a movie, or do we?

Tools have their purpose, as do people. It’s time we started reacting to the people around us and not just the tools they carry. Have we become a society that can’t know the people among us?

Banning tools won’t change people. People change people.

Be a people, not a tool.

(photo/Dan Schmidt)