Monday, January 21, 2013

Our World Tuesday: 'Lots of People Carrying Firearms can be a tad Dangerous'



“As thousands of pro-gun activists held rallies across the United States on Saturday, accidental shootings at three different guns shows illustrated the obvious: Being around lots of people carrying firearms can be a tad dangerous.”  --Daniel Politi, The Slatest 


At the Hollow Park Sunday with Clyde, Adella and I spent a few minutes at the wreaths hanging from the fence surrounding the swimming hole.  The wreaths commemorate the lives of the 26 women and children slaughtered Dec. 14 by an angry, young, white, suburban man wielding his mother's legally-held firearms.


This week was different from last week, though.  This time around, the sun was out.  The air was warm.  It felt like spring—so unlike last week, when the air seemed to weep for the avoidable loss of so many young and beautiful lives at the hands of one angry young man who lived in a shell until he came out of it and, with his mother's help, presumed the authority and power of God.


The air Sunday was so warm and sweet that we believed for a minute or two that time moves on.  While we stood at the wreaths and Della fixed the toppled teddy bear, I thought, no; we're not moving on yet.  We can’t. 


I stood in the sunshine and thought to the day before, when my family and I sat in a restaurant in Madison, Connecticut, and some inebriated older ladies parsed the Newtown massacre.  The loudest of the group of five was the wife of a retired cop who pronounced to her friends and anybody within five miles of the place that the NRA had been grossly misrepresented in the media lately.  We have a right to our guns, after all.   So she said.


Her food and more wine arrived before we had to hear much more, but I heard enough to realize she could have been any one of the scores of commenters on news sites and blogs whenever anything even remotely connected to Newtown or gun control comes into a conversation. Like them, this woman committed the same error of logic.  “Adam Lanza at an elementary school + guns = massacre of babies and educators” is a basic statement of fact.  You can't take the guns out of the sentence and end up in the same place.  Guns are a key part of the problem.  Adam Lanza was armed with guns that belonged to his gun-collecting mother.  


Yet, one gun advocate after another has presented the gun as an unfortunate victim of circumstance in the conversation that has grown out of the Newtown massacre.  It's striking to me how little interested these folks are in the families of the victims; they care only about their guns.  Read the comments.  See what I mean.

But then, I am One of Those Liberals and an English Teacher at that.  To the gun-slinging right, I know nothing.  But I am who I am:  a government employee. You can't hurt my feelings.  I just do what I do.


I teach English. 


If this whole Newtown debacle had been a work of fiction, my students and I would work our way through it like this:


First off, we'd check out the gun(s).


What does a gun signify? I might ask.


Freedom. The Second Amendment, my students might reply.


Freedom how?  I would ask.


The right to defend yourself.

From....?  Remember, the Bill of Rights was the new big thing in 1791.  Right after the Revolution, when our government was a grand new experiment and the danger of absolute power was a serious danger, the idea of defending yourself from a despot was a real need.  The second amendment has to do with militias and democracy.  So that argument isn't really relevant in our age of almighty lawyers and due process.  Things work pretty well around here if you show up and give it a try and vote once in a while.


Your point?


The second amendment is an anachronism. When you make an argument, context is important.


So?


So, what does a gun represent?  How is it a symbol since the British aren't looking to assume authority over our real estate and there aren’t too many wild bears endangering us?


It is a symbol of power.


Power over what?  What does a gun do?


Guns kill.


So the power....


Of life and death.


No.  Life is a given.  


Then the power of death.


Who else has that power?


God.


Does the second amendment vest the citizen with the power of God?


No.


So that's no argument for carrying a gun.  Who wants the power of God?


Someone who feels powerless.


How many of those people who feel powerless have employed firearms to protect the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution?


Come again?


How many victims of the perpetrators of gun violence are a threat to the US Constitution?


None.


Did Adam Lanza represent you when he slaughtered children and their teachers and others?  Was he upholding our Constitutional rights?No.


Bottom line:  Alot of people who feel powerless want their guns to fulfill their willd west-Marlboro Man idea of themselves.   We know this from the last half-dozen gun massacres in our country.


So what do we do?                                                                                                                                                                         


Update the Constitution.  At the moment it serves the interests of the gun industry, not the people.  We need to fix that. 


What else?


Get rid of guns.


Yeah, right.


I’m not finished.  I mean by holding the owners responsible for the crimes committed with their guns.  If your gun takes a life—even without your knowledge—you are as responsible as the person who pulled the trigger. 


What would that do?


Maybe get the self-centered gun owners to see that their guns are as much a risk to their lives as to others’.  Just a thought.


It's about responsibility?




17 comments:

Birdie said...

Where do I begin? When I read over and over and over again about all the massacres that go on I feel sick. I should not have to worry about my kids going to school, the mall or the movie theatre. You are right. All they care about is there damn guns and their damn rights to have them. You never hear them giving a second thought to all the death. Something has to change and it has to change soon.

Sylvia K said...

Well, you know where I stand and it is with you and something does indeed have to change soon.

Cloudia said...

it's difficult to move the boulder, but we have the intention and the numbers to do it....



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Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Well I am not a liberal and I grew up with guns and although I don't own a gun now I am comfortable and not afraid of the people I know who do own guns.
Our President's proposals to close the loophole on background checks and to ban large capacity magazines and assault rifles is not asking too much and is very commonsensical to me.

Carver said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Good post.

The Purple Assassin. said...

The problem is, no one wants to compromise.

NatureFootstep said...

nice shot!

EastCoastLife said...

My condolences to the families of the victims.

I stand with you. No guns.

I live in a country where carrying a knife on the streets will get me arrested. Guns are prohibited in my country.

Lin Floyd said...

well written-it certainly is about power...

Myrna R. said...

I'm with you Sandy. I've actually gone to the NRA web page, read the opinions of gun lovers, etc. just to try to understand their rationale. Can't. I like your point about people who feel powerless wanting a false sense of power. It makes sense. How will this ever be resolved?

A Lady's Life said...

I personally hate guns but I am not against people owning them except of course for assault weapons. I am more concerned about drugs being pushed on people, especially on kids which have irreversible side effects.
We think drugs are fun and thats all we listen to on TV. They are not even ashamed to tell you you can die from them or become seriously ill.
This young man who killed.... might have been exposed to some of these drugs. How many other kids are exposed? So here we are talking about such things as bullying, gun control, car rage, people rage, etc.. passing all kinds of laws, when what we should be doing is stopping drug commercials
and the pushing of drugs on people.
Drugs not only kill but also create insane people. These people don;t need guns to kill. They can do it in many other ways without guns.

Michael Manning said...

Sandy: I so appreciated reading this heartfelt post, and I grieve at how much has changed since my childhood. I hope many people stop by here and ponder your words.

Robert Geiss said...

What lesson ! Impressed !

Please have a good Wednesday.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh Sandy dear. You know you are preaching to the choir in my case --but you do it so well! I just wish your words could reach more of the people who aren't already here with us.

Jim said...

Love this, Sandy!!! I am with you on this.

We had a school shooting yesterday at a community college. Just an argument but guns came into play. Four people to the hospital.

Our (good???) govenor (Perry) and the legislature are going to fix this problem by legalizing guns on school campuses. Any gun, even in a car, is now illegal.

But we (wee???) want to join the nation and arm more citizens and have the teacher on duty with guns.
..

ladyfi said...

I totally agree with you. Get rid of guns.

Indrani Ghose said...

Truly, guns are of no help!
Hope some serious decisions are taken on this.