If you own a backhoe



It is just another sad day in America. In Congress and in the administration, Republican folks are praying once again for the victims of gun violence as their excuse for doing nothing about it.

If you own a backhoe you will dig holes and ditches with it. If you own a Sloyd knife, the deep-seated inclination is to see how well it will carve wood. The mind directs the tool, but the tool also directs the mind. If you are inept in the use of the backhoe, you’ll make a mess of your garden. If you have no piece of wood handy, you might whittle the edge of your dining room table to see how well the knife works.

The tools we possess shape who we are, and if you have a closet full of guns, it’s best they be kept locked up, that you may avoid having killed someone you did not intend. If your mind is weak and perceptions distorted, that closet full of guns may call to you, demanding your attention, and you may get to join the huge numbers of folks in America who have become participants in gun violence.

Apply common sense. Hunting is one thing, but guns do not make us safe. They do not make men manly. They have nothing to do with courage or patriotism. Obsession with guns is a curse. They are devices that cowards hide behind. They are tools that are best avoided as most have only one purpose, to kill others.

There is a relationship between having and owning and knowing how to use woodworking tools to create useful beauty, and getting a grip on mental health. That’s why many woodworkers describe time in their basement or garage woodshops as “sawdust therapy.”

When we use tools to create useful beauty, we are made whole. Guns, in contrast, may convey to their owners a sense of power and control, but they do not make us whole.

Can we have a discussion in which we can acknowledge that guns will not be the instruments that make a safe, meaningful, creative society in which we each find joy?

Doug Stowe