By MARTHA TOWNS
We are all faced now with a hard truth: we are not safe in this world.
On Sunday we sang the Navy hymn in honor of all those who were killed and injured at the Washington Navy Yard. We prayed for them and for all the people killed in Kenya and I added the young people killed in Chicago where they were watching basketball in a park. By the time you read this more people will have died senselessly because of random acts of terror. It will happen again.
There are two pieces at work here; the ability of almost anyone to purchase a gun and the lack of care we now offer to those who are mentally unstable. It is true that not everyone who kills with a gun is mentally ill but enough of them are that we need to start treating mental illness as well as we treat those of the body. And we need to have a law that says no civilian can buy an AK47 or anything else that shoots a lot of bullets really fast. We had that law once; Congress cancelled it.
We are in danger of becoming a society where everyone just might possibly be convinced that they should own a firearm. This is the wrong direction in which to move. We need to become a society where people are not afraid to leave their homes. Sometimes I fear that is already happening. Some people are afraid to go to downtown Cleveland. Soon people will be afraid to go to a Browns or an Indians game or to any place where large crowds congregate.
I don’t suppose that many gun manufacturers lose any sleep over the fact that what they make can kill people. Maybe they think what they sell will only be used to kill animals which is another moral question. I don’t know if there is a company in this country that makes assault rifles, but it doesn’t matter because if they don’t, someone is surely importing them.
It really is time for the government to stop kowtowing to the NRA. I don’t care if the senators or congressmen who vote for a strong gun bill lose their jobs or not. They can get another job but the people who are killed because no one will stand up for the rights of the body politic to live without fear cannot get another life.
You will remember many of the incidents that have happened over the years. People have been very concerned about gun laws since James Brady was shot and invalided all those years ago or John Lennon was shot and killed in front of his own apartment building. They were shot with pistols but the result was the same; injury and death that might not have happened if it had not been so easy to get a gun. Even hearing the story of Gabrielle Giffords, as we all have, doesn’t change anything. If someone wants to get a gun and use it there is not much to stop them.
Okay, let’s do a better job with background checks before we have more trouble. Great idea except that I read there are not enough people to handle all the work involved. Maybe they could hire and train some of our many unemployed citizens to do the checking.
Don’t talk to me about a citizen’s right to bear arms. That piece of the Constitution was written in a time when small towns needed to have militias in order to protect themselves from harm. Now we are have a government that is supposed to be protecting us. We elected these people; why aren’t we demanding more from them? Why do we sit idly buy while a totally dis-functional government takes food out of the mouths of the poor and tries to make sure a much-needed healthcare program is delayed — again? Why do we persist in trying to ignore mental illness? We have very few places for people to go who are mentally disabled. We got rid of all the mental hospitals and put the patients out on the street.
A lot of people think if there were more armed citizens, more security guards everywhere that all of these events could be, if not prevented, at least made less
damaging. I don’t know about you but I don’t want a uniformed man, or woman, on every corner. What kind of a world would that be?
Frankly, if people want to do harm, they will find a way to do it. They are not worrying about what could happen to them, they just want to create mayhem. Putting more guns in the hands of even more people will not stop evil.
Maybe we can’t stop it but we can make it hard, if not impossible, to keep any kind of firearms out of the wrong hands. Even if you keep a gun at home, how are you going to have it at hand if someone breaks in? The only way I can think of is to wear a gun belt like some cowboy.
That’s not the kind of world in which I want to live; how about you?