Notice the curled and brown edges of my column this week? That’s because it’s a week or so old and newspapers and newspapermen age quickly. Just a short time ago, I had dark brown hair, a bounce in my step and wasn’t staring 60 square in the face.
Just as I age, so does the news. I fear by the time you are reading this that the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, which words can hardly define, may have fallen victim to the 21-minute news cycle. Any thought of the children and their teachers may have melted away like a popsicle dropped to the sidewalk on a July afternoon.
Hurricane Sandy was supplanted by Sandy Hook.
But even if the pundits and politicians have forgotten, the issue still remains – violence. Violence perpetrated by cowards or the mentally ill who wouldn’t even face off with an old man like me, but need to take out their sick compulsions on those much weaker and, of course, unarmed.
This one, like that of so many other senseless acts of violence, 28 mass killings since 2000, is especially egregious because it targeted children. But people will only be frightened for their own children until the memory begins to fade; schools will kick up security until it becomes too expensive and gun lobbyists will go all in on convincing lawmakers that assault weapons, automatic weapons or large clip magazines are OK because of the Second Amendment.
The “right of the people to keep and to bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I join Supreme Court Justice Stephen Beyer when he said historians would side with him… because they have concluded that Founding Father James Madison was more worried that the Constitution may not be ratified than he was about granting individuals the right to bear arms.
When the Framers of the Constitution put pen to paper, how could they possibly have imagined automatic weapons when the arms they wrote of where muzzle loaders. Could they have predicted that your neighbor may have just purchased an AR-15 assault rifle (the gun used at Sandy Hook and the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado) to protect their home? Assault is defined as imminent harmful or offensive contact. By strict definition, assault and protect are contradictory, and fire arms enthusiasts consider assault weapons as a description used by many people in many ways.
But an assault weapon is not meant to be something your wife carries in her purse or used to hunt squirrels. It has a magazine that carries as much as 32 rounds of ammunition. I think you realize that a Bushmaster, AR-15, AK-57 or similar guns are made to hurt people.
Need a gun to protect your home? A pistol with a half-dozen cartridges will work. Do you think your home will be attacked by a Taliban militia? When is the last time you heard of someone using their machine gun to fight off someone robbing or attacking their home? Oh, it’s the President turned dictator whose goons will knock down your door and take you guns, right.
Hunting? Great pastime and the fruits of the hunt can taste good and help feed a family or many families as in the case of “Hunters for the Hungry.”
According to breitbart.com “Colorado thought the previous record of 4,028 background checks [to buy guns] set on Black Friday [last] year would stand for a while, but it was broken by the 4,200 requests on Saturday [the day after Sandy Hook].”
Let’s be realistic, the violence is increasing. Who would have thought that the once quiet suburb of Chesterfield would ever experience the violence it has over the last couple of years. Is it movies, video games or TV or could it be stress, lack of nurturing or the lack of treatment of a mentally ill person? Of the mass shootings since 2000, a majority were mentally ill, and displayed signs of it before setting out to kill.
My fingers search the keyboard to find any logic in these horrible events, the weapons used or those who protect the use of them. “The right to keep and bear AR-15s, Bushmasters or any other mass killing devices.” Is that what Amendment II says?
Oddly, Governor Bob McDonnell, along with the NRA, was endorsing the idea that school officials and teachers carry guns into schools to protect students. If the guns were kept safely away from children, what good would they be to fend off a crazy that was attacking students and teachers in a school. OK, take the lock off, oh, too late. People get some nutty ideas when unspeakable things happen. I don’t have a solution but I will say that more guns is not it, especially guns meant to kill people, and a lot of them.
Some say that Al Qaeda, China or some other hostile country is coming to get us. I think we should be more afraid of ourselves.