Getting serious

When I was in high school, the parking lot was full of pickup trucks driven by students. Many of them had gun racks, and often there were guns in those racks. It was the South. The students were hunters, and depending on the time of year and the athletic event schedule, hunting could happen early mornings or maybe on a Friday night.

Nobody ever took a shotgun or a deer rifle and turned it on their classmates on either of the high school campuses (very open, no security guards, no metal detectors) where I went to school. Such different times. I only ever heard of one student who was caught with a handgun in her bag, and we understood and were probably mostly compassionate about the reason she carried it. It sure wasn’t to use on her fellow students.

I’ve long-understood the perspective of hunters and gun enthusiasts who like to target shoot. I even understand a person’s desire to keep a gun for self-defense (like the girl in my first high school). But from the time I was a sophomore in college and researched and wrote my first paper on gun control (and did this with lots of discussions and consensus with my gun-owning, hunting boyfriend and friends), my belief has not wavered that there is something fundamentally wrong with our need to stockpile weapons that are meant for the sole purpose of killing humans. The second amendment allows: 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.

We have a well-regulated militia. It’s called the National Guard. Even they make fatal mistakes (Kent State, 1970). Still, as mentioned in the amendment, I don’t call for the “people” to give up their hunting guns, their self-protection, or even their hobby. But there is nothing in that amendment that says there should be no limits to what you own or its deadliness, or its ability to wreak mass carnage in a short amount of time. There is nothing that says you shouldn’t be a certain age, or be expected to be educated in gun safety, or be licensed, or be a registered gun owner. Your vehicle is documented. Your right to drive your vehicle is documented. Your voting right is documented. Your educational achievements are documented. You can’t drive or vote or get certain jobs without that documentation. And there you are, driving, voting, and working.

Stop crying like little babies when you’re expected to follow some regulations to possess guns. Babies shouldn’t have guns. Act like an adult.

And “leaders,” stop being held hostage by a group that has lots of money but not nearly the power you ascribe to it. You work FOR US. Year after year, in poll after poll, a significant number of your constituents have expressed their belief that we need to do something about the gun problem in our nation.

I never thought I’d live in a country that other countries have on their travel advisory because of our gun violence. That I’d read how people all over the world feel sorry for Americans because of the society we live in. We are SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS. Our children and students and fellow citizens deserve that we adults behave as our best selves.


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