When I first moved to Singapore, I was a little frightened of moving to a place where they execute people for importing firearms and drugs. Not that we have anything to worry about, since we didn’t have these things in our home in places where it was legal. I’m just not much of a fan of capital punishment, mostly because I think it is too easy to convict innocent people. I guess that’s the lawyer in me. However, that being said, now that I have moved here and I enjoy the freedom of living without the threat of gun violence and drug war fare, I have to admit that it opens up a new level of peace and safety inside you.
Last night we went to see the latest Batman movie, and, as an American and a human being, my thoughts and heart turned to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado mass murder. I couldn’t help but think it could have been me, or my six year old, or my husband, in that theater because you really never know when a crazy will do something like that. Yet instead, here I am in Singapore, where there are no guns, and I realized that actually it won’t happen here. We are safer. Nobody will invade our homes, shoot up our children in school, kill a dozen or more people in a crowded restaurant or movie theater, go “postal” on my husband at work, or any of those things because guns are not a threat here. I can leave the door to my apartment unlocked. I can sleep on the patio (if not for snakes). I can go for a jog at midnight and not worry for my physical safety. There is something to be said for that.
It makes me think that maybe the US could do a lot more to limit gun access and ensure the safety of its citizens. For example, why was this guy able to ship large quantities of explosives, ammunition and gas to his apartment? Who needs explosives besides mining companies and government entities? Why should gas canisters be a right?
As an attorney, I studied constitutional law in law school, and believe me, I understand it is part of the Constitution. However, I believe that those framing the Constitution back then had a different set of worries on their minds. They we worried about being able to defend themselves militarily, against an oppressive government. The thought of criminals toting handguns and automatic weapons, gang warfare and mass murder probably were not even on their minds.
I grew up in a family that hunts, and I understand the draw. In fact, I have been to deer camp and I have learned to shoot a rifle and a handgun. I’m not so bad, either, and I can knock a beer can off a fence post. I love duck, pheasant, grouse, venison, elk, moose and even bear. I was raised in the south, and in Alaska, both big hunting regions of the country. I lived in Texas for five years. I get it. Yet, at the same time, I hate feeling insecure in a dark parking lot, I hate running from my car to my front door for fear that someone is lurking in my bushes with a handgun, and I hate locking my doors when driving through East Oakland. I even had an uncle who died in a hunting accident when he was only 14 who I never got to meet.
Once you are away from the threat for 11 months, you relax, you can breathe, and you realize just how tense you were back home. I am not scared anymore. I sleep well at night. My kids are safe. Isn’t physical safety something the guns are designed to protect, and if so, why do I feel so much safer without them? Maybe if nobody had handguns you wouldn’t need a handgun in your house to protect your family. Batman had a no guns rule. What’s wrong with a fair fight?