Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Take on Guns

Our lives and how we think and perceive things are formed when we are young.  My parents, grandparents, surroundings, the city I grew up in, the affluence (or not) of my family, the work my parents engaged in, the activities I participated in, the friends I was close to, the interaction between my friends and me, acquaintances, teachers, camp counselors, the grocers, butcher, the bakery people all contributed to how I turned out.

When I was in the sixth grade, my feelings about guns were forever etched in my mind. I lived in a small city right outside of Boston.  Early one morning, I walked to school and saw everyone, and I mean everyone, standing outside the school, some crying, some just shaking, many just silent.  I, too, had heard about what happened.  There had been a terrible "accident" and the older brother of one of our friends was shot and killed.

A neighbor had been discharged from the army and managed to bring home his gun. He was showing it off, or so the story goes, and it went off.  It caught our friend right between the eyes.  Accident?  None of us thought it was an accident.  But, hell, we were young and what did we know.  We were all shielded from the details.  But it was a small city and most of the city mourned.

A few months later, if I remember correctly, the family moved into the house next door, mother and the two remaining children.  I remember "walking on eggs", not ever bringing up the subject.  But it was something I thought about, a lot, for a very long time after that.  I never knew what happened to the shooter, whether it really was an accident, whether he was charged with anything.  I just never knew.  But from that time on, I knew that I hated guns.  And over the years that has never changed.

And so, the current screaming over "gun control" places me firmly in the "We have to do something about these crazy weapons in the hands of crazy people" camp.  I understand those who want to use guns to hunt (I hate hunting), to protect themselves (they are too paranoid).  But no one needs a multiple round firearm, no one needs high capacity magazines, and no one needs to be able to fire continuous rounds without stopping......because that person means to do a lot of killing.... of people.

There have been too many killings, accidental or deliberate, to not DO SOMETHING about these weapons.  And those who scream about their rights via the Second Amendment just don't get it.  They can't get past the horrendous rhetoric of the NRA, an organization which really could do some good but it chooses to galvanize and electrify their minions into believing a total lie: that the government wants to ban all guns. Just how brainwashed are all these people?  They are sheep following the wolf (NRA.)  Will they finally think twice about their intractable position when one of their children, grandchildren or any member of their family gets in the way of a hail of bullets?  When it becomes personal and hits really close to home, will that be enough to soften their hearts and begin to understand how the rest of us feel.

The conversation must take place and a decent compromise reached about the availability of weapons of what must now be known in this country as weapons of mass destruction.  Isn't that what happened in Aurora, at Columbine/Littleton, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Connecticut?  Mass destruction?  For the sake of humanity, let's talk and do some good.  Here is a timeline of mass shootings since 1999:  http://bit.ly/UjlW7e
This just has to stop!