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April 6, 2013

Teenhood Today: Responsibility is at heart of gun debate

The Daily Star

---- — I’m a hunter. That means that I know exactly where my meat came from, and I know that the animal died in a humane way. Plus venison is my favorite meat. 

If you’re not a hunter, that’s fine. If you’re against hunting, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions and beliefs. I’m not going to throw a gun into anyone’s hands and force him to sit in the cold woods for hours and hours waiting for game to walk by. I’m not going to force anyone to go hunting. That’s your own personal decision, wouldn’t you agree? 

Why, then, is the Constitution at risk of being edited, taking away my right to bear arms? 

I know all of the arguments for the gun laws, but it still doesn’t make sense. Making something illegal is not going to automatically make it vanish. The prohibition act in 1920 made the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol illegal. However, by 1925, thousands of speakeasy clubs were prospering underground. What did the prohibition act accomplish? Nothing but to jumpstart the natural human instinct to rebel. 

I know a major argument is that guns harm others. That’s correct, but only when they’re not used properly. Anything can be harmful with the wrong intentions. Then you say, “But a gun is practically begging to be used when people get angry.” Well, so is the kitchen knife. If someone gets angry enough at other human beings to want to kill them, the problem is not that there is a gun somewhere near, it’s that that person wants to take a life. That person needs help. 

People have been harmed by others in the past, long before guns were ever thought of. What if the Cave-Men-Committee had banned the use of fire because too many arguments ended in a human barbecue? Then we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today. Fire has helped in the development of so many of the things we enjoy today! 

Now, I’m not saying that guns are as great of a thing as fire. Believe me, on cold winter days nothing beats sitting by the wood stove with a cup of hot chocolate, but I am saying that if we were to outlaw anything that was a potential threat, humanity would not be as advanced as we are today. 

People who are fans of the gun laws usually play the school shootings card next. And believe me, that almost stops me in my tracks. Not because it’s a valid point for why guns should be illegal, but because it sickens and saddens me that someone would be able to cause that much pain. On days that we learn of these tragedies, the world stands still and everyone mourns the loss. Including me. I can’t stand the thought of innocent people dying. I just can’t. I break down in tears. People always blame two things in those instances, though. The person and the weapon. But which of those made the conscious decision to murder? 

What it really boils down to is responsibility. So many people use weapons, such as guns, responsibly. Why should the many responsible ones be punished for the extreme irresponsibility of the few?

Miriam A. Thurber is a sophomore at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at