Gun Violence: Love Is Stronger Than Death

by Gregory B. Gonzalez

I loathe guns, not that I’ve made a huge secret of that fact. I have written tons of articles here on MMA on my feelings about the subject. In the end though, I stopped being an advocate for gun control because it seemed like a pointless endeavor.

Everyone involved is always pointing the finger at some other cause, like mental illness or violent entertainment, and not where it belongs- at the gun laws, the gun lobby, and the NRA. Conservatives in this country care more about their damned 2nd amendment rights than they do about human life. It disgusts me to the point where I stopped caring about it completely.

Ever since Columbine, mass shootings and random killings have become so commonplace that most people have come to accept them as a fact of life. The local news barely even bothers to cover them anymore unless they’re sensationalistic.

I guess it’s easy to become numb to such cruelty when it doesn’t affect you personally. But when it does, it changes you and the people you love in ways that can only be imagined.

Last week, my friend Sandra and her family lost her beloved nephew, Christian Guevara, to gun violence.

I don’t have all the details, but apparently, Christian and his friends were coming home from a party in Burbank around 2:30 in the morning when they were accosted by another group of kids, one of whom shot Christian twice at point blank range. He died in surgery. His assailant was a nineteen-year old white kid. I just found out that he’s been located and arrested.

It’s at this point that I would probably go off on a tangent of rage about guns, teenage stupidity, and lousy parenting, but out of respect for Christian’s family, I won’t. They deserve better.

I found out about the shooting maybe a day or so later, when Sandra’s daughter, Brittany, hit me up on Instagram to follow a page she created to memorialize her cousin, whom she grew up with.

I didn’t have a clue what was going on at first, so I contacted Sandra, which is when I learned the whole story. To be honest, I didn’t know Christian or his immediate family very well. I had met them maybe a handful of times, though I know the whole Guevara family and are very fond of them.

Christian’s father, Joaquin, and his wife, Karla, are nice people and the Guevara clan (it’s a big family,) have always been open and welcoming to me. I feel horrible for their loss. If I were able to convey my condolences and help them out personally, I would.

Even though I grieve for them, I worry more about Sandra’s kids, Bryan and Brittany, who are like family to me.

Brittany is taking the loss especially hard, mostly due to the fact that her and Christian were roughly the same age and raised together. In the days since the shooting, she’s poured all her energy into creating a memorial to her cousin where the incident happened and fundraising for his funeral. I admire the kid for that. The only thing I worry about is her anger over the situation overwhelming her. But I think she’ll be okay. At least she’s channelling her grief in a positive way.

Her brother, Bryan, on the other hand, well… I don’t know where his head is totally at. When I spoke to him, we got into a deep discussion about life and how and why things like this happen, and from there he confessed that he had been thinking of buying a gun for self-defense and carrying it on him.

My first impulse was to scream a resounding “NO!”, but I throttled it back and said, “Look, kid, you’re getting too old for me to tell you what to do. It’s your decision. Just so you know, statistics show that you’re more likely to get shot if you carry a gun. I’m 48 years old and I’ve done a lot a lot of stupid things, and I’ve never once needed a gun. The trick to survival is not putting yourself in a situation where you need one.” I don’t know if I got through to Bryan, but I at least hope I made him think twice about it.

Don’t take what I just said as some kind of implication that I think Christian put himself at risk; the plain fact is, sometimes bad things happen to good people through no fault of their own. I only pray that the courts put the little bastard who did this away for life.

I wish I could say I understand what Christian’s parents are going through, but I can only imagine. No parent should have to outlive their child. As for the rest of the Guevara family, I can only express my profound sorrow at their loss.

If there’s any kind of a silver lining from this tragedy, it’s that I know the Guevara family will grow closer together in strength and love. It might not seem like much to some people, but I think it means everything to them.

As it should to everyone. Rest in peace, Christian.

Please, if you can, donate to the Guevara family for Christian’s funeral at his GoFundMe page:

Thank you!

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Posted by on March 10, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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11 Responses to Gun Violence: Love Is Stronger Than Death

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I have guns, but they were only used at work. I don’t take them out and play with them, other than an occasional cleaning, and I don’t go to the range anymore because I don’t need to. I hate guns, and I hate the 2d Amendment and think it should be repealed, and replaced by common sense gun legislation, but I doubt that will ever happen, at least not in my lifetime. My heart goes out to the family of the young man who was senselessly killed by a gun.

    • Glenn R. Geist Reply

      March 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

      It’s an anachronism, but a majority of Americans have come to see it as a guarantee of freedom without which we would be an oppressed people like the Canadians.

      • Bill Formby Reply

        March 10, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        I did not realize the Canadians were an oppressed people.

        • Glenn Geist Reply

          March 11, 2019 at 9:09 am

          Well they must be, without the second amendment. According to the bumper sticker all our rights are dependent on that one. God, Guns and Guts, after all.

  2. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 10:47 am

    About 15 years ago, I got a concealed weapon permit. I did it because I could, having come from a State with harsh gun laws yet lots of gun crime.

    There’s only been one time in my life when I had legitimate concerns about self-protection, but that was a long time ago. So now that I could, I began carrying a small Colt .380 pistol. Yes, it felt good. I felt stronger and stood taller. I felt more confident and perhaps I began to smile at the smug idiocy that surrounds us all. Like any addiction, the early stages are insidious. There was one day that on my way to the bank, I said to myself: “damn, I forgot the gun!” It was a holy shit moment.

    I dislike carrying “cocked and locked” or in Condition One. It pretty much makes the self-defense scenario pretty limited. I’m not a quick draw artist and nobody is with a gun in his pocket and it’s worse if you have to work the slide. It’s basically useless. Carrying makes you think about danger, even living in a very safe place as I do. Those thoughts come up to justify carrying. It’s a vicious circle.

    Danger doesn’t usually arrive by appointment and with the way laws are written there’s a substantial chance, even in a redneck state, of you being prosecuted if you draw it or make it visible or even mention that you’re carrying. And then there’s my temper, which I won’t go into.

    So eventually I drifted into the “what the hell are you thinking” mode and It’s hard to imagine a scenario wherein I would carry a concealed weapon, although, back in the day of canoe trips and wilderness camping I always had a rifle with me – usually a vintage and single shot one. It’s an important survival tool. Those days are over too. So unless civilization breaks down, as I’ve been predicting, or perhaps if another catastrophic storm causes local chaos with looting and pillaging, The cowboy movie is over for me.

    I don’t hate guns. I’m not afraid of them. I like to shoot targets – a lot – and used to be very good at it, but I’m giving up my guns. OK, maybe I’ll keep the little Ruger .22, but it’s not a self defense (or offense) gun. Even my collection of muzzle loaders, from the days of the Revolutionary war up to the Civil war is now laid out on a guest room bed waiting to be taken to the auction house. I was thinking just a few minutes ago about how that picture would play out in the News. Words like arsenal or weapons cash are inevitable along with quotes from friends and neighbors about how I keep to myself.

    America’s mood is changing. Gun ownership isn’t seen as the hobby of “sportsmen.” Kids don’t wear Davy Crockett hats any more. We are becoming urban, we don’t have fantasies of self-sufficiency, and fewer and fewer actually know anything about guns, their history and their part in making the wilderness livable. Fear and anger, whether I think it reasonable or not, is prevailing and as we become safer and more prosperous, we are less tolerant of danger. Our propensity to accuse and condemn and stereotype is indeed cocked and with a round in the chamber. One just can’t admit to being a collector today without being stereotyped and why collect something you have to keep out of sight and locked up? Spring cleaning is under way at my house. Still it somehow feels like Autumn in America.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      March 10, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      I should have clarified my statement. I only hate guns when they’re in the hands of idiots, and those who plan on doing harm to others. I never carry anymore. Crime is down and the odds of becoming a victim of violent crime are about the same as being attacked by a rutting buck, slim, but not impossible. That, of course, depends on where you go and when. There are some places in America that are more dangerous than others. There are also some places in the forests that are better avoided, rutting bucks and all.

  3. Glenn Geist Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    But guns can be seductive, for many reasons. Some aren’t good reasons. Some have nothing to do with shooting.

    As you say, there are safe places and dangerous places and maybe we need to find out why and to do something about that.

  4. Bill Formby Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    As I was reading Glenn’s initial post I was thinking about my former love of nature and conservation. There was a time in when I was very young that one of my uncle ran a fishing camp just off the Tombigbee River in South Alabama. About this time every year he would pay me to cruise the banks of the camp to kill the multitude of snakes that tended to congregate along the banks. He claimed they were bad for his business, which was probably true because the swampy area was filled with with snakes. On a good Saturday I would go through 2 boxes of .22 rifle ammo. After the first week or so they would at least stay away from the banks of the river and not bother the fishermen as much. But, my step father has told a story a number of times having fish on a stringer line and having to fight the snakes off them because there was no live well on the boat. At times it is much like catching fish in the gulf and trying to get them in the boat before a shark takes them off the line, except in this little place it was snakes and gators instead of sharks. But, these days, according to my step brother, every one shows up carrying a gun of some kind and it sounds more like a shooting range than a fishing lake. He said he was now afraid to go fishing for fear of being shot. Guns are definitely changing the world we are living in today.

    • Glenn Geist Reply

      March 11, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Who knows what the consequences of killing all those snakes really is. Where I live, or at least in the Florida Outback, “if it moves shoot it” seems popular, but of course we have so many invasive species that are out of control. The human drive to control and dominate and bend every square inch to our will is going to ruin everything, everywhere. You are right about the huge number of guns changing everything, I think. Too many people as well. Of course I still love nature and conservation, but that’s the root of my despair. Nature isn’t nature unless we leave it alone.

  5. Cathy Reply

    March 11, 2019 at 2:41 am

    My heart goes out to anyone that has lost someone due to guns. I think sometime people do not know the whole story and are caught up in the heat of the moment. You can raise kids to be good but all it takes is one moment that can change your life. Kids should not have guns around them even for protection. Carry a taser, pepper spray ect.

  6. Glenn Geist Reply

    March 11, 2019 at 9:17 am

    One of the many things we can do to chip away at the problem and I say that because no one solution is going to suffice, is to restrict ownership to those 21 and over. I think there are many flaws in our national character and many have to do with weapons. For one thing we admire “rogues” Renegades, rebels and Mavericks. Buying guns makes you one of those macho icons and a member of a subculture that’s all about anger – and angry about everything. We admire crooks, gangsters and even elect them to high office.

    I don’t know how to deal with that.

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