Growing up in the city of Detroit gun violence was a way of life. Watching the 11 o’clock news was a daily report of what happens when people use guns to fight over drug trafficking territory, domestic issues, and other senseless acts. In my life I have lost three friends to gun violence, one used his father’s gun to kill himself and the other two were killed by their girlfriend’s jealous ex-boyfriend. Living in an environment such as this, I have never understood the fascination with guns.

My father, who works for our church’s private security force, has a permit to carry a fire arm. He would talk about going to the gun range but he never wanted me to learn nor did he ask me if I want to learn how to shoot a gun. When I would ask my father about guns he would only talk about the responsibility behind carrying a firearm. I’m an 80’s kid. I grew up in the video game boom never once did I want to do harm to anyone after playing a shooting or fighting game. As a matter of fact, my friends and I would laugh at adults who would make a big deal about video game violence because “real” people were dying in the streets every day and nobody seemed to care about them.

As a teenager hell bent on changing the world I would talk to police officers asking them “What could we do to stop gun violence in the inner-city?” Their main issues were; the bad guys had access to more powerful guns than they did and that guns were too easily accessible in Detroit. As a young adult the Navy taught me how to shoot firearms and I enjoyed it, but the need or desire to go to the gun range after my service was over never took hold. I always thought of guns as a means to an end but not the ultimate solution.

I would never support denying a person the “privilege” to carry a firearm. Yes I know our Constitution says it’s a right! Doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit uncomfortable to know that in many states it’s easier to get a gun permit than it is to get a driver’s license? Just a little bit? I know there are many Americans with mental health issues and their needs should be addressed by our leaders at every level. Dumping the problem of mass shootings and daily killings in our inner cities that have occurred in the past four years on the mentally ill is lazy leadership coupled with gun lobbyists trying to take the easy way out. Video games are not the problem either.

Americans being able to go on the internet and buy an unlimited amount of bullets, now that is the problem. There is no need for any civilian to have semi-automatic weapons. These types of weapons should be reserved for the men and women in our armed forces. The last time I checked the United States military was doing a pretty good job at keeping our country safe. Besides a thank you every once in a while I don’t think they need the help of us civilians.

So why are we buying up guns as if we are going to war?

Why do Americans feel it is necessary to have a gun that can hold over a hundred bullets without reloading?

Is it fear?

No one is going to say it but I am, the 2nd Amendment was written in part to protect White Americans fear of a slave uprising, which at the time in history was the number one fear of almost every White American in this country. Understandably so, because in states like South Carolina the slaves outnumbered the White population 3 to 1.

I believe this country is still living in fear, the fear that the “outsiders” are going to rise-up and try to take over this country.

We live in fear because we don’t truly trust and love one another.

America will never reach its full potential unless we make a conscious effort to accept the fact even though we all don’t look like alike, talk alike, or believe in the same things we are all Americans and we all love this country equally. I’m sorry there is no legislation or Presidential order that can fix how we look and feel about one another. Therefore, if our gun culture is to change its starts with us my fellow Americans it’s not good enough to demand change from our political leaders we must also demand change from each other. In this holiday season let us strive to truly love one another, respect our differences, and understand that America is only great when we value the lives of all its citizens not just the ones you can relate too.

David Washington
follow on twitter@DWashington757

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About David Washington

Graduate of Norfolk State University Summa Cum Laude BA in Political Science, Political Consultant, President of the New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Navy Veteran, and Former Obama Campaign Staffer.
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