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Home Letters The problem is not guns

The problem is not guns

February 23, 2018

Dear Editor,

“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” — Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 15, 2001.

I seldom comment about issues in the United States, but the trend that Belize is taking seems to indicate that we are poised to make some of their own mistakes. I grew up with guns in my household, on the farm and in the vehicle. It was not a mystery nor a curiosity. All my siblings knew what it was, how to use it and what it was used for, which was for protection and to gather food. We were all shown how to use it safely because it was nothing to be feared but rather a tool like a hammer or a saw. I did the same with my daughter because I realized that by the time my daughters were born, guns were being looked at in a totally different way. It had now become glorified by Hollywood movies and violent video games; the respect for it was totally gone and it was now just a fashion item like a purse or an expensive tennis shoe.

I believe strongly in the right to bear firearms because of two things. I believe that man should have the ability to defend himself, his family and his nation and the first things that tyrants do to a population when they want to take over, is to disarm them. Guns become concentrated only in the hands of the police, military and security forces, which add a convincing effect in population control. Citizens should have the ability to defend their nation from threats both foreign and domestic. However, my views on the United States Second Amendment are not an open cheque. I think that with everything else there have to be a certain amount of regulations and controls with guns, as with everything else. I think that background checks are an integral part of this, since there is that segment of any population that should not own guns. Age limits for ownership must also be set because weapons in the hands of a reactive impulsive teenager should not be the norm because the school shootings show us what that can lead to. I am always also for a waiting period for buying a gun because I do not think that buying a gun should be as easy as getting a can of milk or a loaf of bread.

The immediate impulse to buy a gun on the spot may be a symptom of something great, like the need to use it in an irresponsible way. I am against the banning of automatic or semiautomatic weapons in the hands of civilians because in a case where the citizenry has to defend themselves against the police or the military, rest assured that they will not be coming with pea shooters and the response has to be reciprocal. Owning, using and keeping any type of firearm is a great responsibility and one that must not be taken likely.

The school shootings in the United States have more to do with other issues rather than guns. I am convinced that if guns were totally banned for the citizens to own, that determined killers and those include students, would find a way to commit mass murder. Just go on the internet and the know-how to make a bomb is readily available. Still not convinced? The attackers in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 used a simple pressure cooker. The problem, and one of the reasons behind what is happening, plain and simple, is that we are raising a bunch of brats. Parents are the problem! They no longer teach their children manners, respect, courtesy or how to get along with other children or adults. The one thing we instill in them is that they are ‘special,’ and most of the time we lead them to believe that they are always right. Want to see a parent get real upset? Just have a teacher discipline their child in school and they will be at that teacher’s doors in a matter of seconds. There is no longer any respect for teachers and adults when it comes to someone’s child. Students go to school with the most expensive footwear, clothing and school bags, yet have nothing to eat in the morning and no school books or school supplies. Who provides them? Yes, the teacher. When the kids are failing the first blame is on the teacher, yet most of these same parents never attend parents-teachers meetings, check regularly on the progress of their kids or even ensure that their kids are studying at home or doing homework. Parents with their extremely busy schedules now expect the teacher to play parent, teacher, doctor, counselor, psychiatrist and even security guard for their kids, yet they find the time to live on social media.

We have totally transformed the dynamics of the classroom and the bringing up of our children. We no longer allow spanking in the classroom and maybe soon in our own household because some white doctor said that it’s bad for our kids, when we have been doing this for generations upon generations and all indications are that it works. As soon as we stop, the kids start acting up and breaking every conceivable rule. The world has become all about feelings and emotions. We are bringing up a young generation based totally on their feelings and emotions and nothing that has to do with right and wrong. No wonder we are having so many psychopaths, because the first reaction is aggression when their feelings are hurt or they cannot get their way. We teach our kids that they do no wrong and condemn law and order, and they develop a hate for the instruments of rules and authority. Our movies, music and culture celebrate drugs, gangs, murder, degrade women and promote cheating in relationships, yet we expect to have model children.

The same entertainment industry makes millions upon millions from crime, murder, sex and gun fights in everything thing they produce, and then they turn around and tell you guns are bad. Ever seen a movie lately that does not have some sort of violence? Single-parent households are on the rise, and we have totally removed morality from the equation. Clothing has become more and more revealing as kids emulate adults, and respect for our bodies has lessened. It is not uncommon now to see 12, 13 or 14-year-old girls dressing in the most revealing clothing, and sometimes it’s in front of the parent.

Then there is this new trend about bullying. This is yet a new fad that we have swallowed hook, line and sinker. While I will agree that any type of aggressive teasing is not polite or even tasteful, in life it’s real. If you think bullying is bad now, wait until you get out in the real world, on the job, in business or in society, and then you will really get a taste of what life is like.

We cannot continue to nurture our children based solely on their feelings, because in the real world no one cares about your feelings. Wait until they get out there and realize that there are people out there who hate you for the colour of your skin or complexion or intellect and let’s see how they will cope with that. We need to stop raising a generation of softness. But back to the gun debate, if I cannot trust the government to provide me with basic services and security, then how can I trust them with banning my weapons?

It’s all about the people!!!!

Neri O. Briceño

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