I feel compelled to speak one last time about guns. I hope it's the last time. I have received so many messages in the last three days on both sides of the debate. Some have been quite reasonable, others not so much.
I'm sure it will be a surprise for many that I actually have learned something from all that has been said. Most profoundly, what I have learned is that both sides are not that different from each other. I think, at heart, for all of us, there is a basic distrust and fear of humanity. Out of control people are capable of horrific acts of violence.
The gun owners have expressed a need, a right, to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential danger. I understand this and sympathize. Danger in this world is a very real thing. Gun owners do not feel safe without a gun to protect them if they are attacked. They don't trust the great unknown masses. I get it.
I, on the other hand, do not feel safe with guns in the hands of...well... anyone. I don't trust the great unknown masses, either. Someone sent me a message and asked, "Do you think all gun owners are dangerous lunatics?". I answered, "Not lunatics, but dangerous." I regret saying this as it was too glib, too brief, to actually express my feelings on the matter. Here's what I wish I'd said, what I should have said. I think guns can be very beautiful objects. If I look at a gun on a table, say, I am able to see the craftsmanship and artistry that has gone into it's making. But, once it is held in a human hand, any human hand, it becomes something else to me. It becomes, by the very nature of humans, potentially dangerous. People say, "Guns don't kill, people kill". I agree. But the gun on the table isn't going to kill or injure anyone. When you put it in a hand, it becomes a possibility. Yes, of course, there are people who are well trained to handle a gun, safely. And will handle them safely and responsibly. But, I fear the human potential to "lose it". Some say "there are just evil people in the world." Probably. But, how many are shot by "good guys" in a moment of anger or jealousy? Many, I believe. Yes, there are other objects that are used as weapons, but it only takes the jerk of a finger, an instant, a momentary lapse in emotional control, for a gun to wreak havoc. I have received many messages over the past three days from people who would categorize themselves as, "the good guys". Yet, because of their threats and ugly words, I feel it's reasonable to wonder what behavior they are capable of in a tense situation. I must add, that many of the messages I got from gun owners were very kind and reassuring.
I would never, and have never suggested that guns be taken from their owners by force. That is a no-win situation. People have the right, by law, to own guns. To try to wrest them away from their owners would result in a bloodbath. That is clearly not the answer. People have the right, by virtue of the 2nd amendment to bear arms. And, I, by virtue of the 1st amendment, have the right to say I would rather guns didn't exist.
Two other things I would like to address. 1. The roles I have played as an actor have no bearing on my personal beliefs. An actor's job is to hold a mirror to humankind. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It is childish to imagine that all actors are what they play, or that they empathize with the motivations of their characters.
2. I do not now, and have never, employed personal armed guards.
So what is the answer? I haven't a clue. But, hopefully someone smarter than me will, one day, figure it out. Should we take peoples guns from them? Of course not. Should we stop trying to find a way to encourage people not want to use guns. Of course not.