Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Smart People and Guns

I have written about guns a lot.  In the four of five years that I have been recording my thoughts on this blog -  at least 9 times.  And really, it could be a lot more.  I read in the paper this morning that two volunteer firefighters were killed and two critically wounded as they rushed to a pre-dawn fire in upstate NY by some nut with a gun.  Don't know the specifics yet.  But it is always people who kill - not guns, right?  Let me just say, if the guy didn't have a gun, those men would not be dead.  You can't do that with a sword or even a bow.

As I was reading through my current blog scroll, I dove into the views of some of the smartest people around (Because I agree with them?  Maybe).  Here are some bits of their thoughts.  Check out their writings.  Add them to your blog scroll.

Maureen Dowd -

WE’RE a little overwrought now.
The N.R.A. understands that. It’s as patient with us as a husband with a tremulous pregnant wife prone to crying jags.
This is just a passing meltdown. We’ll get ourselves back under control soon and things will return to normal.
For decades, when the public has grown more sympathetic to gun control after an attempted assassination or a spike in gun murders or a harrowing school shooting, Wayne LaPierre and his fellow N.R.A. officials have hunkered down to wait for the “emotional period” or “hysteria,” as they call it, to pass.
They rule in the back rooms on Capitol Hill and rein in panicked senators and congressmen who fret that they should support some measly legislation to pretend they are not pawns of the gun lobby.
They defend anyone owning anything with a trigger, reiterating that military-style semiautomatics are just uglier hunting guns.
While there were more heartbreaking funerals in Newtown, Conn., with long hearses carrying small bodies, LaPierre stepped to the microphone in Washington on Friday to present the latest variation of his Orwellian creed: Guns don’t kill people. Media kill people.
“Rather than face their own moral failings,” he said in high dudgeon, “the media demonize gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action, and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.”
So it’s our fault.
LaPierre, who literally trembles when the omnipotent gun lobby is under siege, went ballistic painting a threatening picture of the dystopia that awaits if we don’t protect our schools from guns by putting guns in schools.
“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters,” he said. “People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day, and does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?”
How many more copycat killers, he asked ominously, are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame?
On the day that 6-year-old Olivia Engel, who was going to play an angel in her church’s Nativity play, was buried, LaPierre heinously cloaked his refusal to consider any remedies to gun violence — not even better background checks — as tender concern for the 20 “little kids” shot in cold blood...
I am so proud of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabella’s for stopping sale of the Bushmaster assault rifle. It’s kinda like Webster eliminating exclamation points. We don't need them either.
Well, I just learned something from Wikipedia I didn’t know before, but should have known — given all that time I spent studying that period in college.
I’ve always found the punctuation (and capitalization, but hey, it was the 18th century) of the Second Amendment problematic to the point that it was little better than gibberish. That’s because I was looking at the version that Congress passed:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
That comma after “Militia” just destroyed any clear meaning that may have been intended.
But now I’ve seen the version that was ratified by the states and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson in his capacity as secretary of state:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Much better. It actually seems to have been composed by someone whose first language is English. And it certainly makes the role of the militia in the rationale of amendment much clearer.

At one point Jesus even weeps over the violent world he lived in, lamenting that “they did not know the things that would lead to peace.” The fact that Jesus carried a cross rather than a sword has something relevant and redemptive to offer our violent-possessed world. After all, the Bible has a lot to say about loving enemies, and “Thou shalt not kill,” but doesn’t even mention the right to bear arms.
So let’s imagine.  What would Jesus say to our nation, where these are things are true:
  • 10,000 people die from gun-related homicides each year, that’s one Sandy Hook massacre a day, every day
  • There are nearly 90 guns for every 100 people
  • There are over 51,000 licensed gunshops (and 30,000 supermarkets)
  • Guns that can shoot 100 rounds a minute, and are only designed to kill, are still legal
  • Other than auto accidents, gun violence is the leading cause of death of young people (under 20)
  • 20,000 dollars a second is spent on war
There is a reason we talk about “Peace on Earth” so much around Christmas.  There is a reason why we talk about Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”.  He consistently taught that we can disarm violence without mirroring it, and that we can rid the world of evil without becoming the evil we abhor.  So let us recommit ourselves to Peace this Christmas season and New Year — in honor of Jesus, and in honor of the holy innocents.
Then one hears Sen. Joe Lieberman suggest that video games may have played a role in the shooting. And Mike Huckabee says maybe it happened because the government no longer mandates prayer in schools. And Bob McDonnell, Virginia’s Republican governor, suggests the teachers should have been armed (as if the problem is that there were too few guns in that school). And hope chokes.
We have paid and continue to pay an obscene price for this lesson some of us obstinately refuse to learn. We paid it in Tucson and we paid it on the campus of Virginia Tech. We paid it at Columbine High and at a midnight showing of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colo. We’ve paid it in Compton, Calif., and Chicago, Ill., Washington, DC., and Norcross, Ga., We’ve paid it in Gilbert, Ariz., Bechtelsville, Penn., Prince George’s County, Md., Bay City, Tex., Copley, Ohio, Lauderdale Lakes and North Miami, Fla.
Now we pay it in Newtown, Conn., in the blood of teachers and young children. We have paid more than enough.
And our choice could be not be more clear. We can continue with acts of moral masturbation. We can harrumph and pontificate about how the problem is video games or the problem is a lack of prayer or the problem is too few guns.
Or we can finally agree that the problem is obvious: too many people who should not have guns, do.
Unless we achieve the simple courage to reach that consensus, nothing else we do will change anything. Let us weep, let us mourn. Let us whisper sorrow and shed tears. Meanwhile, frightened children return to school in Newtown.
And bullets keep raining down.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/23/3152929/confronting-americas-unholy-gun.html#storylink=cpy


Suzanne Odell said...

We follow a lot of the same thinkers.

This is a very interesting take....he is controversial of course but it is surprising where he places a lot of the blame of the gun culture in our country....worth a read.


Merry Christmas Tim!

Nic said...

I would really like to know if anybody is thinking about the mental health side of things. Because that is rarely mentioned and I cannot work out why. I hear 'monster' and I hear 'evil', but I do not hear 'ill'.

Suzanne Odell said...

Tim - I want to share a blog with you that I am following. It is by a local mediation attorney and posts on mostly on social justice that I think you would really enjoy. This link is to her blog on guns in society, but check out her post also on Boxing Day...that really hit me hard.