Pretending is one of the first games children learn to play. We continue to pretend all through our lives. Part of the fun of reading many books is to pretend that I am the main character. The fun of watching sports and movies can be pretending to be one of the athletes or the actor. This can also involve pain when your team is performing badly. I know Cubs fans who just might qualify as masochists. I am a Purdue football fan, and that has not been much fun for a few years. 
            Such pretending is usually harmless and can even be healthy when it exercises the mind and does not lead to negative actions or consequences. Pretending can get carried away for a person at times and some people can lose the ability to recognize reality much of the time. In the latter case, that may very well be a mental illness. 
            Sometimes, we can decide to ignore reality and fall into pretending without realizing that we are doing it. This happens when we form an opinion or prejudice and decide to take sides on an issue no matter what facts or stories are presented. We see this take many forms. 
            One example is when someone from a religious group decides that most people from another religious group are evil or subhuman for some reason. The reason may be because the people in group A does not worship in the same way as the people in group B worships. Perhaps one group worships only on Saturday and the other worships only on Sunday. A group may believe their holy scriptures tell them to exclude others or they may even believe they are to make war against others. Christians can do this when they have not learned to use the teachings of Jesus in a complete manner. 
            Another example of adults pretending is in our current events. We have a growing list of multiple murder cases with guns. Every time a new incident occurs, before much else is said, people who have a great affinity for guns begin posting on Facebook and appearing on television claiming the government wants to take away their guns or that “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” From the other side of the argument, there are some who do demand that guns be taken away although they get little attention. 
            On both sides of the gun issue, there are those who are pretending. When gun enthusiasts proclaim, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” they are pretending. The gun enthusiasts pretend those calling for improved regulations and use of those regulations do not understand that it is a people problem. They know very well that everybody understands. The regulations that are proposed are directed at the people problem so that guns are less likely to end up in the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. (Is that redundant?) The regulations are all to address some form of human evil or frailty. Greed, dishonesty, mental illness, and probably other problems. 
The claim that the government wants to take away guns has no basis for belief. For those who do demand that all guns be taken away, they are assuming that would solve the problem and they are assuming that we could actually take away everybody’s guns. That is false.
            There is no source for anybody to claim that Jesus tells us to arm ourselves and take the lives of others. If anything, Jesus tells us to avoid such actions. It is time people from both sides of the issue come together for more practical and sensible handling of the situation. 
            There is no honest reason that we do not allow the FBI or the ATF to collect and analyze data on deaths caused by guns in the United States. We analyze deaths from every other cause of death. If the tobacco industry had as much influence as the weapons industry, children would be taught to use tobacco in elementary school. I am thankful that those Virginia planters who helped write the Constitution and the Bill of Rights did not think to add an amendment about tobacco. 
            It will hurt nobody to have a fully functioning system for background checks on all legal gun sales. It may take awhile to build a system, but it should be easier than it was to build the massive systems that are used to manage terrorism. 
            It will hurt nobody to require that gun dealers maintain proper inventory records of weapons and supplies. 
            Law enforcement is blocked from collecting much helpful information on the sale of guns so that it is more difficult to track illegal gun trafficking. Work to assist law enforcement as necessary. 
            The weapons industry is the real force behind blocking sensible regulations. All the while conditions grow worse. 
None of the tools sought by our law enforcement lead to taking away the rights or the weapons of anybody who should legally own the weapons under current rules. These tools just make it easier for police to do their jobs. 
I have heard the argument that if the government has records, they will take away the weapons. If the government decided to take away the weapons, and the military is sent out to take your weapons, they won’t need a list. And, most people will not stand very long with any kind of weapon against a company of marines sent to “take their weapons”. 
I trust our marines and our military as a whole. If things develop such that we cannot trust them, we are screwed no matter what our laws say. 
So, let’s stop pretending there is not a problem or pretending that there is not a solution. Let’s get beyond the emotional statements that somebody wants to take our guns or that the only solution is to take away all of the guns. 
Give law enforcement the ability to handle those who should not have guns so the rest of us will be safer. For the mentally ill who are blamed for so much of this, let us also work on that part of the problem, too. It will be healing for the United States to admit there is a problem and for all of us to join together in addressing the problem. 
We can give more of our children the opportunity for healthy, happy pretending.

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