July 29, 2012

Murder Madness

The news has been filled with horrific accounts of violence. The crazies and the frustrated and the loners have been racking up the body count, sometimes in their heads, sometimes on the street. The common thread in each case was the use or stockpiling of firearms. Everything from handguns to shotguns to assault weapons. Not to mention the bullets and the black body armor that now seems de rigeur for this sort of affair.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the people who think that killing other people is the way to go. I'm sick of groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) who use their money and power to maintain the ready availability of any kind of weapon imaginable in any quantity unimaginable. I'm sick of gutless politicians who cater to the NRA. There is a cancer in the good 'ol U.S. of A., and it's name is the Second Amendment, which has been used and abused by groups to defend a mythical right to participate in an equally mythical well-ordered militia. The Supreme Court has a lot to be ashamed about, and its most recent ruling on gun control will easily make the top three.

Let me tell you something. Unlike most of you (I hope), I have actually lived with an M-16 locked and loaded, by my side or in my hand, 24/7. So did everyone else wherever I was in Vietnam. And you know what? Not once were any of those weapons fired in anger at each other. And it wasn't because we were all armed. It was because in the middle of a war, under horrific circumstances, we retained enough of our moral sanity to know that you just didn't go around shooting people for no good reason.

Know this. Assault weapons have only one purpose, the killing of other people. Now you can do that in lots of different ways, but if you are talking assault weapons and someone finally does snap, it means just one thing: More dead, more quick.

So if you absolutely feel that the only way you can be safe is to have a weapon, by all means go out and get a handgun or a shotgun or a rifle. (Personally, I'd go with the shotgun.) I'm almost 70 years old and have never once felt the need to shoot someone for any reason whatsoever, but if you worry about it and you think that having a firearm in the house will make you safer, go for it. No problemo.

But for goodness sakes, can't we agree that assault weapons have no place in anyone's home? Can't we agree that allowing an individual to buy enough of these types of weapons to outfit a platoon is just plain crazy? I don't think that is too much to ask for. What you really need to ask yourselves is how many deaths are worth preserving a couple of sentences written by men living in very different times, men who undoubtedly would be stupefied at the idiocy of allowing access to any and all kind of weapon absent proper military structure to go along with it.

I'll end with this slight adjustment to Bob Dylan's lyric in Blowin' in the Wind:

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