But then I read some interesting commentary. Says a commentor on XOJane in response to the “stricter laws will mean only bad guys will have guns,” argument,

 “A lot of illegally acquired firearms are actually stolen from ‘law-abiding citizens’ and sold on the black market, so if significantly less people have guns, there will be significantly less guns for sale on the black market and significantly less criminals will have access to them.”

Also, on the likelihood of a responsible gun-owner saving the day:

“Police officers and soldiers go through extensive live-fire and reflex training, have access to powerful and well-maintained weapons, and still end up on the losing end of gun battles on a pretty regular basis. A gun in and of itself is no more a guarantor of safety than a good deadbolt if you ask me.”

I get it now that pro-gun citizens want to own guns in case they need to go all Robin Hood/V for Vendetta/Die Hard on the bad guys. It’s a popular narrative for a reason: everybody fantasizes about being a hero. But this isn’t a movie, this is real life, and the stats just don’t support these fantasies. The stats say, more often than not, that the bad guy wins.

Things like this make me think our culture of violence really may be more to blame than we realize. I grew up without violent video games, without watching a violent movie until I was well into my teens and obviously without having access to weapons used for “sport.” But even I was seduced two years ago by the idea of being a badass chick with a gun. I have no doubt this mentality was sold to me by various movies and the proud attitudes of gun owners in my community.

I don’t have suggestions for policy changes. I’m certainly not a scholar on gun control. Frankly, I didn’t care much about it until this sickening tragedy. I just mean to say it’s time to look at a hero as someone who doesn’t just kill bad guys, but does good things for people who deserve it. It’s time to think of a badass as someone other than a person carrying a firearm. It’s time we work on redefining heroism for our children, and for ourselves. Personally, I’m going to start by getting rid of our airsoft guns.

(photo: Wasan Srisawat / Shutterstock)