On Trayvon: Is the issue of race distracting us from the real issue? Scared, angry people with guns

Bryan Cones| comments | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Wading through a disturbing morass of arguments about whether George Zimmerman is white or Hispanic, whether Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman before Zimmerman killed the unarmed 17-year-old, and, stupidest of all, how much anxiety should be produced by the sight of a hoodie, I'm a bit dumbstruck that few seem to want to argue about the obvious: The direct cause of this tragedy was a frightened (and unbalanced) man with access to a handgun.

Given the American fetish for buying and displaying firearms of all types, maybe we shouldn't be surprised. But when things like this used to happen--Columbine, for example--there was at least some debate about whether and when certain types of weapons should be available to the general public. Now it appears that the National Rifle Association has so handcuffed, straight-jacketed, and bought the political conversation about guns, no one bothers to ask the question anymore.

But the fact of the matter is undeniable: Guns may not kill people by themselves (as a rule anyway), but scared people with guns do, angry people with guns do, mentally ill people with guns do, racist people with guns do. Remove the guns from the equation, and it gets a lot more difficult for those scared, angry, mentally ill, and racist people to kill anyone, not to mention all the other people who use guns driven by other motives.

I'm sure the NRA will start waving the Constitution if anyone raises this issue too strongly, but if the 2nd Amendment actually means that we have the legal right to pack heat anywhere and everywhere, it's a dumb, immoral law that results in the deaths of thousands of innocents every year. It ought to be repealed.