My brother’s family attended a children’s mass at their church this past Christmas Eve. Toward the end of the service, unexpectedly, a man walked from the back of the church up the center aisle toward the altar. He was wearing a red suit and sporting a long, white beard. A gasp went up from the crowded church, not so much the sound of joy or surprise, but rather of consternation, especially from the adults.
Was this person part of the program? Or was he an intruder come to do harm? For a few uncomfortable, worrisome seconds, no one knew.
Such is the world we now live in. There is no more feeling safe – not at our jobs, at a shopping mall, a college campus, a nursing home, a movie theater, a first grade classroom or a house of worship, where even the arrival of a benevolent Santa Claus gives pause. Pro-gun advocates cite many reasons for the carnage in Connecticut: violent video games, mental health issues, lack of or absence of parental guidance. Each certainly plays a part.
But let’s face it. Guns make killing easy – insanely easy. Pull the trigger once and mow down a room full of first graders. Easy.
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There is no reason whatsoever for semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines to be in the hands of civilians. None. These are incredibly lethal weapons of war. They should be available only to the military. Period. No exceptions.
But, the argument goes, there are already over 300 million guns out there. Well, I say you have to start somewhere. So let’s start by taking these weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of the general public and giving mentally ill, angry or just-plain evil persons the means to commit mass murder.
Because of the obscene influence the NRA exerts over our “leaders,” there has been virtually no dialogue at all regarding gun control – not after Columbine, not after Lancaster, not after Virginia Tech, not after Fort Hood, not after Tucson, not after Aurora, not after the other 55 mass shootings that have taken place since 1982. It took the bullet-riddled bodies of 20 dead children to at least start us talking again. At the very least the Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004 should be reinstated. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
The sad fact remains that as long as we dwell on planet Earth we will always find ways of harming one another. Let’s just please make it a little harder to do so.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.