In Kansas City, nothing gets our attention like a huge brawl at the Plaza or the zoo. But now some officials are trying to shift the attention away from the actual problem of mobs and attack our constitutional right to gun ownership.
Neither of these events was primarily about guns or gun owners. Out of perhaps “hundreds of teens” reported involved in fights, how many guns were involved? Firearms did not motivate or enable these events.
Mobs use strength in numbers as their primary weapon, along with fists and any handy objects. They also carry guns occasionally, but they don’t need them to create mayhem. Mobs will be ready to strike again, as they have in other cities, and anti-gun politics will not change that.
Instead, this was an action by groups of people who are going out looking for trouble, rather than going out to have fun. It was ugly community behavior. That’s the unpleasant reality that some are trying to avoid by focusing on another issue. But we can only fix our problems if we face them.
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People who look for fights and run wild are irresponsible. They don’t care if they hurt other people or damage property. They don’t care if they cause problems that are big enough to get a whole city talking.
But these young people have learned some of their irresponsibility and disregard for others from our society: From their families and communities, from education and media, from politics and street culture.
Unfortunately, these days people are rarely encouraged to take individual responsibility for their own lives and actions.
In fact, some politicians and others in influential positions are giving people the idea that they are not accountable, that someone else is responsible for any mess they make.
As Americans, we are all responsible for our own lives and behavior. We don’t pass the buck. We respect each other. We believe that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
As equals, we need to hold one another to the same standards of conduct. It’s OK to offer a free pass to the zoo, but no group should get a free pass on causing mayhem. We don’t need to make excuses or invent distractions to cover up for these young people and their parents and mentors.
And as Americans, we also know that our constitution recognizes the right to bear arms. This is the individual’s ultimate defense against crime and tyranny today, just as it was when our nation began.
Mobs and violent groups across the nation often attack the weak and vulnerable, including women, the disabled, and the elderly. These are the very people who would do well to carry handguns for their legal right to self defense, and the very people likely to be affected by anti-gun politics.
People who don’t follow law and order don’t follow gun regulations either. This is a direct attack on the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families, and it’s a distraction from real solutions to make our communities safe.
I encourage you to oppose any effort to take away your God-given rights, and don’t be distracted from the true issues creating discord in our cities, which we must address if we wish to solve.
Curry Kenworthy of Independence is a local software developer and a member of the National Rifle Association.