Northwest NEWS

April 30, 2001


If you really want to make a difference, show and teach respect

When I was young and up until the last 10 to 15 years, you were allowed to bring guns to school. I know this will come as a big surprise to many people, but gun classes were held on school property either with ROTC or after school.
   Kids brought their guns with them to go hunting after school. Prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968, anyone was able to order guns through the mail and they were easily sold through Pennys, Sears, or Wards catalogs.
   Access to guns has become harder, not easier. Anyone who tells you differently does not know the facts. Just take the time to check.
   It is harder to obtain a gun now than it has ever been. More people today lock their guns up than they did 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. Not that many years ago, it was very common to find ready-to-use guns displayed on the wall or in glass-front cases in many homes.
   If you truly knew how many of your neighbors owned guns, you would probably be surprised. Less than 1 percent of the over 260 million guns in the United States are ever used in a crime. Other products with this low accident rate attached to them are rarely ever noticed.
   A few years ago a deranged man intentionally drove through a chain link fence at a school in California to kill children and several children died.
   This school violence received virtually no press coverage. A 16- year-old man was putting on tire chains at Snoqualmie Pass and was hit and killed.
   I could not find one article in the newspaper regarding this. When I asked the editor of an Eastside paper why, he said because it happens all the time.
   We seem numb to deaths involving cars and pay not much attention to them. I thought people wanted to save "just one life." Is it okay if they are killed by a car, or is it the driver's fault and not the car's?
   One of the reasons Canada outlawed hand gun ownership in the home was the number of suicides with guns. When they were outlawed, the number of suicides with guns dropped but the suicide rate has stayed the same.
   Murders with guns have dropped in Canada, but they were replaced with murders by stabbing and beating with a blunt instrument. When people are disturbed they are disturbed and will find a means to an end.
   What is the main difference between now and then? Why were so few young and old people with guns killed then? Do you think it has anything to do with respect? Young people were taught to respect other people and their property.
   They carried this respect into adulthood. If you touched a gun without permission, there were consequences. If you showed disrespect to other people and their property, there were consequences.
   Listen to how parents talk around their kids. The parents don't show respect to others and this is taught to their kids. When you go to a store, to a restaurant or just about anywhere, kids are allowed to run wild. They play with the toys in the stores and grow up to play with the cosmetics, electronics, etc., with no care as to whether or not these things are ruined.
   After watching a mom shop at a local store and allow her 5 year olds to run through the store and tear up the toy department, I heard a clerk say, "I don't mind the little ones, it's the teenagers I don't like"
   I asked the clerk where she thought the teenagers come from. I could go on, but you have the idea.
   Respect doesn't care if you are religious or not, young or old, skinny or fat, black or white. It has no boundaries.
   Respect for other people and their property was taught in the home and in the school and was reinforced in stores and all aspects of life.
   When kids or adults don't respect other people and their property, then they feel they have the right to do as they please.
   This can, and too often frequently does, lead to violence. We witnessed an example of this with the Mardi Gras riots. Lack of respect for others and their property was highly visible resulting in one beating death.
   When we get back to teaching respect, I am positive you will see changes. If you are nave enough to really believe that taking guns away from honest citizens will stop any type of crime, then I have a bridge you might be interested in.
   If you really want to make a difference, show respect, teach respect, demand that respect be shown and demand that respect be reinforced. I am sure you will be surprised at the changes in our world.
   Kathy Gordon, Woodinville