If there's one thing that the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has done it's open up a discussion about guns in America. And when the LAPD ran a gun buyback this week, something interesting happened. People showed up in droves to get money for their firearms. But it's their stories that stood out. For at least some of the folks turning in their guns to the cops in Los Angeles, there was a fear of being the next Nancy Lanza.
Lanza is, of course, the mother of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. She is a woman who has been demonized by many in the weeks since her son's rampage because the guns used to kill innocent school staff, to murder innocent children, where hers. Nancy Lanza bought those guns -- albeit for self defense -- and her son used them to kill.
Nancy Lanza was a victim in the Newtown tragedy, but it can't be ignored that her guns were used to kill innocent people.
As one mom turning over her gun to the LAPD said:
That young guy shot up all the kids and they blamed the mama because the mama had the weapons in the house.
The details of the Newtown tragedy have forced us to ask ourselves an important question, a question underscored by many during a buyback so large that the LAPD actually ran out of the gift cards it planned to give out in exchange for weapons.
What if that's my gun? What if it's my gun used by someone else? Does my need for a gun outweigh that risk that I could arm a criminal?
Because buying a gun legally, taking care of it, doing the right thing ... none of it guarantees that the gun won't fall into the wrong hands.
We use so many what ifs to justify gun ownership: what if someone breaks in and I have to defend myself? What if someone goes crazy? What if? What if? What if?
So let's flip it. What if it goes the other way? Isn't that just as horrifying?
The intruders so many have recently cited in their reasoning for purchasing a gun can just as easily use a gun against you (in fact studies show that victims of crime are much more likely to be shot than the other way around) or steal your guns. Or, as in Nancy Lanza's case, it could be someone you know, someone you trusted ... who causes a national tragedy.
Is it really worth it? Do you worry about what could happen with your guns?
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside