The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Guns and Games

            My parents are about as American as human beings can get. They believe in Jesus, the Constitution, the sustainability of the Ford Motor Company, the reality of the American dream, and the moral decay of the nation’s youth. They’re unapologetic fans of baseball, apple pie, and Jeff Foxworthy. They proudly fly a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in their front yard. Aside from not being morbidly obese, they’re a model American family. To them, that means being unabashedly pro-gun.
            My parents are what political analysts would call single issue voters. Some people vote based on a candidate’s stance on abortion, some people vote based on legalizing marijuana, my parents vote on guns. In simple terms, they believe that more guns in the hands of more good people will make it harder for bad people to commit violent crimes against them. On this issue, they cannot be moved, even a little. The Second Amendment is and objective moral absolute. They believe that the only purpose of gun registration is to pave the way for gun confiscation. They believe that an assault weapons ban is just a prelude to a complete gun ban. To them, the term “reasonable gun restrictions” means “the government is coming for your guns.”
            That was the environment I was raised in. If we are to believe the arguments bandied about by both sides of the mass shooting debate, I should be a prime candidate for a shooting rampage. I’ve been surrounded by guns since I was born, and I’ve been proficient in their use since I was 8.  I spent an absurd amount of time playing violent video games and an obscene amount of time watching violent movies. Yet, I never once had the impulse to act out violently. That’s not to say I’ve never had violent thoughts. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I sometimes fantasize about a bear breaking into their car and eating their face. But it never once occurred to me to take one of my parents’ dozens of guns and kill even the most difficult of human beings.
            It’s worth noting that, when trying to find the common traits of the perpetrators of mass shootings, they all seem to be young, white, male, fans of violent media with access to guns. If that really is the cause of gratuitous violence, then it should be rather easy to legislate our way out of it. Ban guns and games, fix the problem. But what about people like me? There are millions of us who fit the description of a homicidal maniac in every way except being homicidal and maniacal. In fact, people like me make up about 99% of young, white, male, gun-loving gamers. Is it really fair to punish all of us for crimes that so few committed? I’m inclined to think it isn’t, but what do I know? I’m a potential homicidal maniac. 



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