Taya Kyle's husband Chris, the subject of "American Sniper," was killed by a drug user, she says
Taya Kyle: Restricting our freedoms to protect against the very few who want to do evil would be a mistake
Editor’s Note: Taya Kyle is the author of “American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal.” Her late husband, Chris Kyle, was the subject of the movie, “American Sniper.” Taya Kyle was an invited guest for the CNN Town Hall “Guns in America.” Follow her on Twitter: @TayaKyle. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
Many of us taking part in the CNN town hall on guns have been touched by someone who chose to do evil.
I am sharing my thoughts with you because I feel I can relate to people on both sides of the issue of gun control. I have been afraid of guns, I have sworn I would never use a gun on another person and so did not need one, and I have wanted to deny the existence of evil.
I have also become a gun owner, am prepared to defend myself with a firearm, and understand the fear of my freedoms being taken away.
I have been touched by extreme violence and I have been robbed of the life I always wanted by someone who chose to do evil. Because I have felt, and lived, all of these things, I have spent much time thinking about evil, freedom and not only the world we live in, but the country too.
There are many facts and statistics people will use to argue both sides of the gun control issue. We can use other countries as examples and we can use crime rates of cities, states and countries. And no matter how thoroughly researched the statistics are, people have an emotional reaction to this issue that almost always overrides the statistics presented, other than this one: The violent crime rate in the United States has gone down substantially in the last 20 years.
Our fears, though, have gone up, because of the high-profile incidents of mass killings of people caught unaware. Killers have taken lives in churches, schools, hospitals, government buildings, the site of a marathon, the Twin Towers and even a part of a military base where soldiers were known to be unarmed.
These killings highlight the fact that any of us, and any of our loved ones, are vulnerable when caught with our guard down against another person who desires to do harm.
Does it matter what weapon they used? If it was a rifle, a pipe bomb, a truck of fertilizer, a pressure cooker or a plane – the end result is the same. Yet millions of other people have the freedom to have those very same things and will never use them to kill.
These horrific mass killings were committed by a very small number of people who wish to harm and kill others. When they do it, we flock to the scene and ask “Why?” Who are these people who choose to do harm? What is their story? What went wrong? What are they trying to tell us?
Ultimately, in our horror, we give them a voice they would never have had otherwise. Is our insatiable need to know and find out how their lives might have gone wrong part of the result they are looking for? Is that part of the reason there is an incentive to do such harm to innocent people? We know it isn’t the availability of the weapon, because they used different methods, different weapons.
We can’t legislate human nature. If we add up the number of these mass killers over the last decade, how many people are we talking about? Fewer than 40 over the last decade? Do we want to make laws for millions based on the choices of fewer than 40 evildoers?
Can we fix these people? Can we legislate out of them the desire to kill? Those in the business of fighting crime and analyzing mental illness can look into the lives of each of these killers and tell you the red flags that popped up before the massacre.
Why don’t we deal with that instead of banning the tools very few use? By the very nature of these crimes, we know that evildoers don’t care about the laws. After all, murder is against the law, and they are choosing to ignore the law from the moment they plan to harm people.