Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
The National Rifle Association started saying that ages ago now, and they were right. Guns are nothing more than the tool used by someone to take a human life. It’s just one of the many tools available, too. It doesn’t kill of its own volition. It needs a human to load it, work the action, and pull the trigger.
Of course, the Sacramento Bee has a column written by a convicted murderer who would seem to argue differently.
Growing up, I enjoyed playing with toy guns. From old-school cap pistols to plastic G.I. Joe machine guns to BB rifles. I had them all. When Star Wars came out in 1977, I sat wonderstruck between my parents in a packed San Francisco theater. Later, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted a black plastic replica of Han Solo’s blaster at Toys ‘R’ Us. I had to have one. It was light and insubstantial at first, but, loaded with batteries to power its cheesy sound effects, it became a formidable play weapon.
The Glock was already ingrained in my psyche as the go-to handgun of my favorite rappers. I wanted to actualize my inner Tupac. And still to this day, I can’t help but associate the eloquent bravado of rap lyrics with the glorious imagery of gunplay.
Like many, the fresh independence of college life inspired a deep affection for marijuana. It was still illegal at the time, and buying large quantities meant dealing with shady characters. I carried that Glock into some sticky situations, thinking I’d rather be safe than sorry. When a hot dispute erupted at one of these illicit exchanges, I got my chance to be an action hero. Sadly, I became a villain instead.
I’ve sat in a prison cell for the last 15 years for the crime I committed. My only glimpse of outside life comes from television news. All too often there is a report about a mass shooting. Even as a “hardened criminal” – a convicted murderer – it still shocks me, and I’m reminded that I was once a guilty member of America’s handgun fraternity.
Note that the author, Joe Garcia, wants to blame the gun culture and Hollywood for his own reckless actions. He was involved in the drug trade and when a drug deal went bad, he committed murder. He was involved in a distinct criminal activity–note that buying large quantities of illicit substances is interpreted by the police as intent to distribute–and killed someone during this time.
Yet he blames Hollywood. He blames the gun culture.
What he doesn’t seem to blame, however, is himself. He committed murder. He chose to engage in the drug trade. He is the one who opted to take a gun to a drug deal, then use it to kill someone.
I hate to break it to Mr. Garcia, but the only time an action hero uses a gun during a drug deal, they’re an undercover cop. Private citizens with dreams of being the hero aren’t the gun buying large quantities of pot from shady characters for their own purposes. That’s just not how it works.
Garcia was a criminal who acted in a criminal manner and killed a fellow criminal during a criminal act.
Now, he wants to use his experience to justify changing not just gun laws but also the American culture. If he wants to prevent people from going down the path he did, maybe he should focus his efforts on preventing young, impressionable college students from getting involved in the drug trade.
That is what led to Garcia’s downfall. Not guns and not the depiction of guns in Hollywood.