by | Feb 25, 2009 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

So everyone has a gun.

Let’s start with that idea. Everyone has a gun. What will this mean? In the minds of some people – those who think last week’s Supreme Court decision protecting gun ownership was wonderful – it means if you come after me now, I can take you down.

If you try to take what’s mine, I can defend myself – by shooting you dead, if need be.

If I’m scared, I don’t need to be, because I have my gun. If you scare me and I want to scare you back, I can, because I have my gun.

The next burglar who tries to rape or kill an innocent party? He gets shot instead.

The next lunatic who tries to shoot up a restaurant? Five people can take him down from five angles.

Everyone has a gun. Everyone can shoot. And as soon as the other handgun laws are dismantled (And great news! Many now can be!), the good guys won’t have to cower anymore. The bad guys will have to worry. This evens the playing field. Hallelujah. Finally, the Second Amendment is interpreted correctly.

Our long national nightmare is over. But on the other hand …

Everyone has a gun. What will this mean? In the minds of the other side – those who found the Supreme Court’s decision disastrous – it means bullets flying everywhere.

It means people shooting first and asking questions later. It means domestic arguments now resolved with pistols. It means thousands of more guns out there, which means thousands of more guns stolen and used for the wrong reasons.

It means 4-year-olds finding Daddy’s gun. It means teenagers, angry and misguided, grabbing guns from their parents’ closets.

It means homeowners thinking they’re crack marksmen and shooting the wrong people instead. It means workplace violence and domestic violence. It means suicides.

It means the challenging of every gun control law out there. It means the worst interpretation of the Second Amendment, an amendment made during revolutionary times, an amendment about militias, an amendment that was never meant to re-create the Wild, Wild West.

It means bad news rising.

Our long national nightmare begins. Always a difficult issue

Everyone has a gun. What does that mean to you? I have given up trying to convince people on this issue. Already in this column, I’m sure people are dashing off angry e-mails – and I haven’t even stated where I stand.

We love guns in America. Our nation was forged in a revolution. Our western frontier was established with bullets. Our movie heroes fire big weapons. Our video games allow children to go pow-pow-pow.

We love guns – more than any other country in the world, something that baffles the rest of the world – and with a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court essentially decided that every American can have one in his or her home.

This is the same Supreme Court that the previous week was blasted as being ultra-liberal over prisoners in Guantánamo. This is the same Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia, who dissented from that Guantánamo decision by claiming it “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed,” now writing the majority opinion on this gun ruling, but saying nothing about how many Americans may be killed.

Everyone has a gun, the bad guys illegally, the good guys legally. Will this make us more safe or more dangerous? I simply don’t know.

But when I read an NRA lobbyist named Chris Cox telling the media that law-abiding Americans had a “God-given right to defend themselves in their homes,” I must take exception.

God isn’t in on this. God doesn’t want us armed to the teeth. God didn’t create bullets, gunpowder or triggers. That was our doing.

And so is this ruling. It is men deciding more guns are the answer and wrapping that decision in idealism. God has nothing to do with it.

So everyone has a gun. That’s the new norm. And when that’s the new norm, perhaps all we can agree on are these two words:

Watch out.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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