By Tanya Ward Goodman
A boy in my hometown of Albuquerque shot his parents and his three siblings. Before he his shot his mom, his nine-year-old brother and his two sisters aged five and two, he went to the closet and got out a .22 rifle. Before he shot his father, he went back to the closet for a .223-caliber AR-15.
Five more people are dead because there was a gun in the closet.
It doesn’t take much searching to come up with more news stories just like this one. In fact, today while I was buying groceries and thinking about what to write in this blog there was a shooting at Lone Star College near Houston. Last night, a Las Vegas police officer shot his wife and child, and some taggers near my neighborhood shot a person who asked them to stop writing on things that didn’t belong to them.
People get angry. This boy in Albuquerque is reported as saying he was “annoyed” with his mother. We all have disagreements with our spouses. It might be a bummer to have someone try to stop you from expressing yourself with spray paint. But you get over it. Unless you have a gun. The gun denies you any chance to get beyond anger.
In my closet there are running shoes and raincoats. There is a set of boxing gloves and training targets that my kids will sometimes ask me to put on so they can “punch out some madness.” My yoga mat is in my closet. So is the fire extinguisher.
Every day people are dying because guns are kept “in case” or “for comfort” the way I keep a raincoat or a fire extinguisher or a yoga mat. Guns are being kept as a symbol of safety, but they are not keeping us safe. If there had not been a gun in the closet five people in Albuquerque would be alive.