The Good Guy / Bad Guy Trope
To the Editor:
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.
Based on interviews with people who knew Nancy Lanza – prior to December 14, 2012, she would certainly have been classified as “a good guy.” She grew up with guns and had a healthy respect for gun safety. She purchased her guns legally. As a single woman, she felt she needed guns for protection. She also apparently believed that owning and being able to handle guns would make her a helpful citizen should that be needed. As the mother of a son with emotional problems, she was always seeking ways to help him. She believed that by introducing him to guns, taking him to the range so he could become proficient, having him take the NRA gun safety course she was helping him to develop self-confidence, build self-esteem and be able to protect himself. This all sounds quite reasonable yet we are painfully aware of the tragic results of her good intentions.
The point here is that human beings can’t be easily divided into good guys and bad guys. Good guys sometimes make bad decisions and if they do so with easy access to a multitude of guns, bad things can happen. A good guy with a gun might have a few drinks and believe someone has insulted him. A good guy with a gun might get really angry with his wife. A good guy with a gun might think a criminal is trying to break into his house and too late find out it was a relative.
There are no easy or perfect answers to how we can stop the carnage that we face every day but it is imperative that we try. It would be a real dereliction of responsibility if we shrug our shoulders, hide behind the Second Amendment, and let the NRA make the decisions for us. Surely reasonable people – gun owners, hunters, sport shooters, parents, teachers, politicians, citizens – can come together and find reasonable ways to control gun violence in our country. More “good guys” with guns is not a solution.
66 Suzie Drive, Newtown April 11, 2013