Letter: People, not guns, responsible for killing

To the editor:

When tragedy strikes as it did in Florida there is an instantaneous and universal quest for motive, blame and solutions. The problem is we don’t have the courage to look deeper than the usual suspects. It’s far too easy to blame guns, demand fixes that won’t fix a thing and punish whole groups of innocent people.

Just a generation ago my father walked to school during rabbit and squirrel season carrying a gun. He hunted on the way home, was never a threat to anyone and no one thought a thing of it. Back then (not all that long ago really) guns were common tools, not excuses for social violence. Everyone knew what happened when guns were misused and treated them with respect. Guns were part of the fabric of life and not shrouded in mystery or contempt. You could lay one on a table and know that absent some other force, it would harmlessly still be there a hundred years later. There has never been a gun made that could aim, fire and harm someone all by its self, and that is the reality we don’t have the courage to face.

Today’s guns look different, but at the end of the day they are the same. They have the power to kill but not the ability. Someone has to pick them up and be willing to harm or kill a human being for that to occur. So if the guns haven’t changed and they still can’t operate on their own, what has changed?

We have.

We can’t fathom the existence of pure evil much less counter it. We are relentlessly told not to be judgmental, then required to report what we see. We won’t identify a sick mind for fear of hurting their feelings or being called “mean spirited.” We’ve twisted the meaning of respect to where it is no longer earned so much as demanded through physical threats. We’ve pushed religion out of our schools and our children’s hearts to the point where they recognize nothing larger then themselves. As social warriors and feminists we’ve destroyed the nuclear family. So fragile and self-absorbed have we become that we put our lives on display in social media and can’t function without its approval.

We can’t fix what we won’t admit to any more than guns get up and shoot people. Murder is born in the heart, not the trigger.

Mike Pflum