America is violent. And that violence is a reflection of the whole — not just those perpetrating the violence but the ones who go on with their routines as if violence weren’t erupting all around us. It is reflected in the violence we commit against the mother earth. It’s war tagged “shock and awe.” It’s violent video entertainment. And it’s people insulating themselves rather than opening their hearts. For a shift to take place, we need conscious awareness, community engagement, re-education, and a cultural move away from me to we. That is generational. The Colorado shooter bought 6,000 rounds of ammo over the Internet. Laws can change that now. Guns are only a delivery system for the violence, but getting them sensibly controlled is a first step to protecting against mass slaughter of innocents. How many times do we want to grieve before we say enough?
Change will happen
I am an optimist. So, when I imagine myself looking back to this day 15 years in the future, I see myself mystified that it took so many mass shootings and unfortunate gun-related deaths to bring us to the brink of change. In 15 years, when guns are regulated in our country as they are currently for the citizens of most of our closest allies, I will be grateful to live in a safer, closer and more trusting community. Sportsmen will still enjoy hunting with rifles, handguns will still be fired at the range, but all of us will experience a freedom we never knew in the United States: The freedom from fear of being killed by a twisted mind or enraged coward.
We are complicit
First you want to cry. Next you want to know what manner of man could bring himself to gun down 20 young boys and girls and six adults in their elementary school? Then you want to comfort the families and to find comfort for yourself even although you know that comfort can’t be stretched to cover the loss.
Next you want to punish those who, in one way or another, enabled the gunman. Then, if you’re candid, you own up to your own role as enabler, your votes for officials, from the president on down, who, whatever lip service they pay to the need for meaningful gun control, see the political risks of advocating reform as too great, and settle for talk. For me, then, the buck stops here. I have done far too little, and now find myself complicit in the recent massacre.
David R. Anderson
One big OK Corral
Guns are a billion-dollar industry. Kids are a dime-a-dozen. Is that how it goes? Between the greed-meisters with paid lobbyists and congressmen to protect their interests and the paranoids who are determined to arm every man, woman and child with a gun? So here we are again, a supposedly civilized country internationally disgraced because we seem to lack the intelligence, the compassion and the common sense to deal with gun violence. The real threats to the country are being dealt with very well by the federal agencies assigned to the job. Who needs these “militias” answerable to no one? Who, therefore, are we arming ourselves against? The answer: Each other. Does that make you feel safe? Ask yourself if you really want to live in a country that is in danger of becoming just one big O.K. Corral.
Stop the bullying
Just like everyone, I’m heartbroken about all the deaths in Connecticut. They’re just senseless and irrational. I’ve been talking about the shootings with my family, friends and coworkers for days now; we can’t make any sense of it, but come to some conclusions.
Until we stop making mentally ill people, these tragedies will always happen. This crime was not about guns, it was a madman determined for destruction. Just as Osama bin Laden used planes, Timothy McVeigh fertilizer and Ted Kaczynski mail bombs, madmen will always find a way.
Gun laws are for the law-abiding citizens, and they work. Banning weapons won’t eliminate the hundreds of thousands of weapons already in existence. A ban would just make them more desirable for criminals and create an underground trade, much like prohibition did with alcohol. It is better to control than prohibit.
We need to stop bullying and creating the anger and rage that provokes people to harm others and act out in such violent ways.