Automatic_Pistol_Ad_COD_1922In Indianapolis, we have a growing problem with murder and gun violence. Everybody’s talking about it. And talking. And talking. And talking.

Everybody’s talking about what we need to do. That’s good. We need to talk, and there are no easy answers. The answers may be as much about education and income stability as anything.

Still: It’s just too damned easy to get and carry a gun. Too. Damned. Easy.

What, after all, is the purpose of a gun? The purpose of a gun–if we’re being honest–is to kill something. It’s a tool that has enough power, when used properly (and very often improperly) to kill. Hunting rifles and shotguns are for killing animals. Handguns–if we’re being honest–are for killing people. That’s the purpose behind their design–they are portable, concealable, easy-to-use tools for killing a person.

You may feel protected when you carry a gun, but guns are not for protection: They are for killing. Were I a paranoid person or on some sort of mystery-solving adventure, I might also feel safer if I carried my eight-inch chef’s knife that is for chopping vegetables. I might feel safer carrying a baseball bat or accompanied by a dog. (P.S.: The purpose of a dog is not to protect you. As far as I can tell, the purpose of a dog is to be a dog.) But guns are only for killing.

So we have laws that make it easy for you and me and just about anybody to go to the gun store and buy a gun, and carry it damn near anywhere we please in Indiana, including our state parks. It only stands to reason that when lots of people are walking around the streets with tools that are made to kill people, people are going to die.

I’m sure that if people were walking around with butcher knives, more people would get stuck. I’m also pretty sure that if more people were walking around with shovels, more people would get whacked in the melon with shovels. But I’ll bet more holes would get dug, too.

And a gun is not for anything else. Except killing.

Yes, target practice. But there’s a reason those targets are shaped like humans.

Most of the rest of the civilized world does not permit its citizens to walk around with guns. But we have so many guns that you don’t even have to buy them to load up on them. Apparently, lots of the guns used in crimes have been stolen. Apparently, you can ram your car into the side of a pawn shop and steal a bunch of guns. We have stockrooms full of guns just waiting for buyers (and thieves).

So: Yes to more police. Yes to a more alert citizenry. Yes to more lights and more better control in areas where drunken idiots congregate. Yes–a million times yes–to programs that are trying to educate our kids and achieve some modicum of income equality in this very unequal nation.

But no to guns, too.

And if we’re going to make guns easy to have, let’s not be so outraged when people use them for their intended purpose. And let’s admit that it’s more important to us to cowboy up than to keep our streets safer from gun violence. We are in no way a safe society if we all carry guns. It was called “the Wild West” for a reason.

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Broad Ripple photo by Hailestorm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.