As far back as the 1700s, the famed explorer Daniel Boone said that "All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife."
Not my definition of happiness.
In modern day New York City, guns are a part of our life. People shoot and are shot almost every day, and a disproportionate number of those people are people of color. How do you deal with that?
I'm scared of guns, never played with guns, and jump whenever a firecracker pops. Gun violence is quick, devastating, and impersonal. Can't we human beings figure out another way of conflict resolution?
I played a cop in a movie once, and when I put on my costume and the big belt to hold my billy club and gun, something weird happened: I looked in the mirror - A black woman with a badge and a gun? Yeah, I was super-bad! I was "Christie Love," and Emma Peel on "The Avengers," and all three of "Charlie's Angels."
(I probably looked more like Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show").
I caught myself posing with the gun and was stunned. What was I doing? Guns aren't toys, they're not sexy, and they're not some accessory. They're for real. I put the gun back in my belt and never touched it again.
According to the NRA, there are an estimated 200 million privately-owned firearms in the United States, including almost 65 million handguns. Good grief! Who owns them? Private citizens, and members of groups as varied as Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty, 126 Women State Legislatures, and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
I know they don't all think like Daniel Boone, and I wonder why some still hunt when you can get meat already wrapped at the supermarket. I'd like to understand them better.
The comedian Chris Rock had a brilliant idea that I think both gun owners and gun control advocates could agree with (or "agree to").
Instead of gun control, he says, "we need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost five thousand dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn't have any innocent bystanders."
Sounds like a good start to me.