Last Night’s Grey’s Anatomy Will Change The Way You Think About Gun Ownership

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Last night, Grey's Anatomy tackled not gun violence, but gun ownership. The show has featured shootings before — mass shootings, college campus shootings, coworkers watching each other get shot on both small and massive scales. But this week's story focused on an 8-year-old who shot his friend not out of malice, but because he found a gun in the kid's parents' room. The judgy Grey's stare was firmly on the mom who didn't hide her gun well enough. The Grey's docs are, understandably, against gun ownership. As a viewer, you're supposed to be just as horrified as they are when one of their own (though, notably, a doctor who wasn't around for the hospital shooting) admits that she owns a gun.
And you should be horrified that she's been keeping it under the bed she shares with Alex without telling him. You should not have a weapon in a shared space without informing everyone who lives there. That's totally unacceptable. But when she explains to Alex why she bought the gun in the first place, it's obvious the show wants to make clear that the issue isn't black and white.

Jo, who lived in her car as a teenager, bought the gun back then for protection. She felt unsafe, and this was a way for her to regain a sense of security. According to Safe Horizons, a national nonprofit for victims of violence, "39% of homeless young women say they were assaulted with a weapon while living on the streets." While those who oppose gun ownership tend to think having a firearm in a non-war-torn country is totally unnecessary, there are still plenty of situations people may find themselves in when a gun could assuage a fear of genuine danger.
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If there's a takeaway from the episode, it's not to reverse your opinion on gun ownership (Alex doesn't seem any more pro-ownership than he was at the beginning of the episode). It's to try to be less judgmental, and less dismissive, of gun owners before you know the whole story.