Monday, December 17, 2012

A Plea for Our Children

What do I know about guns? As a St. Louis born city girl, former hippie, University employee, and New England transplant by way of Texas and Hong Kong, not a whole lot. So part of me feels like I don’t really have a right to weigh in on this long overdue national conversation. I don’t hunt. I don’t target practice. I don’t collect. I don’t understand in the slightest the love and fascination that some people have with firearms. And I don’t understand the concern that some people have with that right being taken away.

I’m not a public figure. I don’t have any power per se. And I’m pretty lazy politically. I volunteered a little this election, but in general you won’t find me writing letters to my congressman, or to the editor of the local paper.

But like the rest of us, today I am heartbroken. Like anyone else in this country that is a parent, or a son, or a daughter, we cannot imagine the pain those poor parents are going through. We don’t want to think about the terror those poor babies and their teachers felt in their last moments of existence, and yet we do. We can’t help but think, what if that was MY little girl, My son, MY mother….what would I do, how would I go on?

This weekend, and this week, the politicians are making speeches. Public figures on both sides of this issue are making pronouncements. And many, many Americans are saying, ENOUGH. Enough dead children, enough dead leaders, enough John Lennons. ENOUGH.

I absolutely do not know the answer, but I feel confident that our current course of action is not working. I desperately want us as a nation to try something different, a national experiment in gun control. Pick the deadliest kinds of weapons, the most horrific types of bullets, magazines, whatever those things are called. You can still hunt, you can still target practice, you can still collect. But the weapons that can fire hundreds of rounds of ammunition into a first grade classroom would be gone. If you currently own a gun like that the government will buy them back, no questions asked.

I can already hear those of you that say that if we do this criminals will be the only ones with these types of weapons. But criminals aren’t the ones shooting up classrooms and assassinating public figures. The people that do those sorts of acts usually are fellow students, or have no prior criminal record. They are mentally unbalanced and have no business being able to acquire weapons of any sort.

Will it work? Will it reduce the number and intensity of the shooting incidents we have had to endure over the past 10, 20, 30 years? I honestly don’t know, but I’m willing to let us try. Lets try limiting gun ownership for a while, say 5 years. If it doesn’t work, if crime increases, or school shootings get worse, we can look at it as a failed experiment and try something else. But this just can’t go on, can it? Are we really so weak and spineless as a nation that we would rather bend to the whims of the NRA rather than attempt to prevent another school from being attacked, another town from being traumatized, another child from being murdered? Are we really that pathetic?

I think not. I hope not. I pray not.


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