Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving on

The news during the past week has been more than grim; it's sad, it's depressing, it's overwhelming.  After the shooting of 26 children and teachers in Newtown conversations have moved toward the use and ownership of guns and the care of persons using or abusing them.  Gun control conjures up ideas of giving up some of one's freedom and even rights, yet it remains a primary avenue in conversations for the reduction of mass killings.  In one news broadcast someone said that this event and the pursuant conversations will change people's thinking.  While that may imply that those who were against gun control will now favor some control, I find in my case that I will move from passive role to an active role in promoting gun control.

Probably my passive attitude was grounded in the idea that many family members and friends favor the free use of guns and claim a right and need for guns.  I've heard say that some sleep with a loaded pistol by their bed.  I wish to not insult their opinions which I'm sure are as valuable as mine.  I also know that expressing one's opinion too publicly may color the tone of any other conversation and even hinder possible resolutions.  But there comes a time when the importance of other conversations falls below the need to resolve the immediate problem regarding guns.

Bits and pieces that I find interesting include the statement that personal ownership of guns will prevent crime because the good people can defend themselves.  There were no "good" guns in Newtown to stop the "bad" gun so that situation doesn't confirm to refute this theory.  In Portland several days earlier during a shooting in a mall, a legal gun in the hands of a trained individual was aimed at the shooter but the trigger was never pulled for fear of hitting a bystander.  Hurray for the wisdom of the legal gun owner but not merits for the idea that "good" guns will stop "bad" guns from killing.

It's also interesting that there are limitations with regard to the types of guns that can be used for hunting and the number of rounds in a clip when hunting, but there are no limitations on the types of guns that have little use but target practice and killing people.  Limiting the ownership of automatic guns with clips with a large number of rounds isn't the end of the world.

It is argued that the constitution of the United States gives us the right to bear arms.  Indeed it does.  It was written at a time when the country was just coming into being and individuals and states were concerned about a central government forcefully taking rights from people and states.  That's the same constitution that didn't consider women or non-white persons eligible to vote.  We've learned and matured a lot over the centuries.  Visualizing the federal of the USA to overpower its citizens is just not in the cards these days.

So the conversation will continue, and I will be back.