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Commentary: Attachment to guns should never take priority over human lives

El Paso shooting
A family places flowers at a memorial outside the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were shot and killed by a gunman on Aug. 3. The El Paso massacre was followed the next day by a gunman’s killing of nine people in Dayton, Ohio.
(Mark Ralston/ AFP / Getty Images)

There’s nothing better for your brain than when you take the opposite view from what you really believe and make someone else’s argument.

It’s pretty amazing and sometimes changes minds. So in the wake of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and now Dayton, Ohio, I tried to take the opposing viewpoint from what I believe.

I thought: Under what circumstance would I own a gun? When I was a kid my favorite toy was a Red Ryder BB gun.

Because we lived in Portland, Maine, my dad, uncles and other assorted male relatives went out into the woods for a week every winter. It was common to see the cars bearing dead deer and their proud hunters in their red shirts driving down Congress Street all winter long.


Not my dad, though. He never got a deer because he was too kindhearted. I think he just went to drink and have a kind of “man week.” However, for some reason he taught me how to shoot a .22 and a shotgun. He laughed when the shotgun threw me back about 5 yards the first time.

Apparently, he wasn’t always so “kindhearted,” but I did learn to handle a gun.

I think if I lived alone in an area that was a little shady, I might think about getting a handgun ... maybe. I would never get a shotgun or an AR-15.

If I sit very quietly and try to think like someone who has a family and believes that he is protecting them, I get that. But protect them from what? Gangs? Yeah, depending on where you live. Thieves? Got it. Crazy relatives? Do you really want to kill them?


The government? I’ve heard this a lot and don’t get it. If the government really wanted to invade your home and put your family at risk, they would have other methods and it wouldn’t matter how many assault weapons you had — you would be blown away and your puny cache of weapons wouldn’t help.

All right, I admit it. I just cannot take this point of view, not when we have these killings happening seemingly every other day. Sorry, this just doesn’t add up.

We now have a country with people who have guns galore. We have a country with young men who want desperately to be part of something and have been brainwashed into thinking they are doing something heroic and wonderful by killing as many people as possible.

What is happening is killing all of us, in a way. We are becoming afraid — afraid to go to the movies, the fair, the park, the grocery store, the local club and, so tragically, school.

Nope. I can’t even imagine the continued attachment to AR-15s and other assault rifles. Their only function is to kill human beings with bullets that can make someone’s liver look like a Jell-O mold dropped on the floor and can turn 3 inches of leg bone into dust.

I cannot replicate the argument of someone who is scared of whatever against the little broken fingers of a 2-month-old baby whose mother and father died saving his life.

Your guns versus a 6-year-old child gunned down at a garlic festival? Your guns versus 20 small children in school? Your guns versus local police? Your guns versus people in a synagogue? Your guns versus people in a church? Your guns versus people at a music festival? Your guns versus teenage students?

Your guns? Just can’t do it?


How could you?

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Sandy Asper is a resident of Newport Beach.