On Guns and “Stand Your Ground”

My stance on #‎StandYourGround‬, in reply to an insulting comment under 13WMAZ.com’s story:

I have lived most of my life without needing or using a gun. I have lived with the expectation that 1) the police are supposed to give the proper reaction to a criminal act and 2) disrupting the conditions which lead to violent cultures lessens the need for both police and handguns.

And for the record, I lived as a civilian in Warner Robins‬ with my mother from 1992 to 2013. Even when we lived in a troubled low-income neighborhood for part of that time (Oldtown), we never had a gun in the house. I didn’t end up getting trapped in what so many other families found themselves, so I never needed a gun for self-defense.

What separates me from those who ended up going to jail for gun-related or drug-related crimes, the type that is supposed to be addressed by this expansion of gun laws? They didn’t have a support network to draw upon during their turbulent years, they were easily drawn into violent cultures, they weren’t engaged in their youth, they were in poverty-driven homes. This is a perfect breeding ground for petty violence in defense of self, of “honor”, of one’s gang, or of one’s trade in drugs.

I saw the cycle with my own eyes while a teenager, and I’m sick of the cycle. Why aren’t we addressing the instability and poverty in our neighborhoods? SYG only reacts with fire when we should be healing our neighborhoods, our schools. SYG, in the longer run, makes no sense, and only adds more guns to the violence and instability.

So I see no part of my comment as being “stupid”. I’m 27, I lived without needing to defend myself with a gun in the house or pocket, and I managed to make it out OK in the heart of Georgia. Your anger at me is unjustified.

I say “Yes” to “Fix Our Neighborhoods”. I say “Yes” to “#‎RaiseTheWage‬“. I say “Yes” to “Two-Year National Service“. I say “Yes” to “Affordable Healthcare“. I say “Yes” to “Decriminalization of Marijuana“. I say “Yes” to “#‎BanTheBox‬“. I say “Yes” to “Banning Discrimination in Employment, Rental Housing, Public Accommodations and other aspects”. I say “Yes” to “More Youth Centers”. I say “Yes” to measures that break the cycle of violence and poverty.

I say “No” to “Stand Your Ground” and the further weaponization of our neighborhoods.

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