BY RACHEL CHEESEMAN, FOUNDER OF STREET SMART SELF DEFENSE
In celebration of the new year, I am engaging in my first “new year’s rant” blog! One argument that society can’t escape from is that “guns kill people”. Ok, well the pen in my purse can kill people too. What about cars? Yeah, cars kill people. Let’s see……. oh, bacon! Yes, the fat in bacon kills people by clogging their arteries. Hmmm, what else….…knives…...knives kill people! Water kills people because it makes them drown. You getting the idea here? My point is, under the wrong circumstances everything from typical weapons, to regular household items, to common health problems; all of these “kill people”.
So, a person who uses a pen point to brutally injure someone, do we stop selling pens? Do we never eat bacon again? Do we stop cooking and take the knives from everyone’s kitchen? Good luck eating that juicy steak by the way. Is it the car’s fault because someone got hit by a drunk driver? Is it the water’s fault because a child drowned in a backyard pond? Is it the beer’s fault because someone had too much and decided to drive? No. It is the driver’s fault for getting behind the wheel. Is it the neighbor’s fault because a child died in their pond? No. It comes down to the security of the child’s household to prevent wandering. If a bad guy grabs a knife and stabs someone, do we blame their death on the knife or the attacker? In all these cases we don’t blame the pen, the bacon, the knife, the car or the water. We always blame the person held responsible for bad judgement or cruel actions.
London has very strict gun laws, but now they are having trouble with stabbings. The Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, blew up a federal building with a box truck and fertilizer. Adolf Hitler killed millions of Jews with gas chambers. Did we blame the box truck and fertilizer? No, we blamed the bomber. Did we blame gas chambers? Of course not! We blamed Hitler himself!
So why is it EVERY time there’s a mass shooting publicized, all we hear about is the gun? It’s the gun’s fault, but not the pen, not the bacon, not the knife, not the car, not the water, fertilizer or gas chamber. Why is it always the gun held responsible? It seems very backwards to me. Because the gun requires an operator with the willingness and intent to do harm. The trigger doesn’t pull itself. So, to say “take everyone’s guns away” isn’t a valid solution. Anyone who intends to cause harm will always find a way to carry out the act.
Our society needs to practice a common sense, responsible mindset for gun ownership. We also need to do our best to intervene where mental health could be an issue. We need to regulate our young teens on their social media usage and exposure to mature, violent content. There needs to be more love in homes to spread into our neighborhoods. We don’t have to change the world as a whole. If we start in the home, that will carry-through into our schools and neighborhoods. Gradually we can all change the world we live in together! May this new year find you and your families with much love, joy and peace!
Rachel Cheeseman is a 2nd degree black belt and has studied the martial arts for the past 28 years. She founded Street Smart Self Defense Academy in Erie, PA 17 years ago to empower women, due to the rape of her sister in her off-campus college apartment. She is a certified instructor for the national full-contact self-defense program called “Model Mugging” and a certified instructor for the MUNIO Self Defense Workshops. Rachel is also a member of and former seminar instructor for the American Women’s Self Defense Association, and she has been inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Honors and the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.