The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘guns’

ON BUYING INSURANCE

If you’ve followed this blog for any period of time, you’ve heard constant references that I make to the dogs with whom I’ve shared my life.  There was a dog in our home when I was born and I hope there will be one by my side when I pass from this earth.

Dogs have brought me so much joy with their simple ways and honest behavior.  They have in many ways been my guide – as important as any spiritual advisor.  It was not through their words but their acts that I learned.  So if you’ve concluded from this summary that I have a passion for dogs, you are certainly correct.

And that brings me to what I have learned from my companion dog Gracie.

Gracie doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.  She is one of the gentlest creatures who has ever walked this planet.  She interjects herself between other dogs at the dog park if she feels the playfulness is getting a little too contentious – acting as hall monitor.  I have often worried that, if there were a dog who was truly vicious while she was busy interceding and who attacked her, she would have no idea how to respond to this assault.

I’ve met a few dogs in my life who were, indeed, vicious.  Their number is far less than the people whom I could categorize thusly.  Those dogs, like many of those people, were unfortunate victims of their upbringing.  And as we look at our world today, it seems to me that our general abandonment of principle and love (other than the self-centered kind), has loosed far more vicious people on the world than it once knew.

We are now about to embark on a discussion on “gun control”.  The media, already bought and paid for, will show us scenes of horrible tragedies, mass shootings and stories about the helpless victims and the toll their deaths took on their families.  We should all bow our heads in prayer and reflection over what caused these tragedies and mourn those who died in them.  That is the very least we should do – and it is probably all that most of us will do.

Soon the rhetoric will begin on Capitol Hill and from the White House.  It will sound good if you fail to listen closely to the underlying emptiness of the conversation.

It will talk about the number of violent deaths caused by weaponry – and will totally ignore the walking deaths caused by welfare.

It will address itself to the undeniable tragedies of Newtown, CT and Aurora, Co and will lay the blame squarely at the feet of guns, while ignoring the fact that there are mentally ill people in this country for whom we provide limited assistance or help.

It will necessarily re-write history and ignore the reasons that the Founding Fathers incorporated the Second Amendment of the Constitution to uphold the First – Freedom of Speech.

It will ignore the facts about areas which have allowed gun ownership and have among the lowest crime rates and that areas which have restrictive gun control laws have consistently had more murders committed due to the use of illegal guns.

In essence, it will be a lie – as much that emanates from Washington has proven to be.

So today I made a decision.  I will admit that it was one at which I arrived after a lot of kicking and screaming.  I made a decision to purchase a weapon – not because I have any intent to go out and shoot up the town or rob a bank but as a matter of defense – for Gracie’s sake and well-being.

I am not thinking of it as a “gun” but rather, an “insurance policy”.  And while, as with all insurance policies, I hope never to have to call on the benefits for which I have paid premiums, I will be armed – and Gracie will be safe.

That is what responsible parenting is all about.  Isn’t it?

MORE THAN 500,000 DEAD – AND COUNTING

If a drug were approved by the FDA which in a twelve year period was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans, what do you think public reaction to this news would be?  If you said, “anger” you must be taking something to help you cope with life.  There would be lynch mobs in Washington out to hang those who were responsible for unleashing this drug on the market.

I am happy to report that, to my knowledge, no such drug exists or is sitting on our pharmacists’ shelves for dispensation to an unwary public.  But there is something out there which is responsible for 517,140 deaths in the period between 1999 – 2011 (the last year for which I could find information).  That something is called a car.  This data comes from Wikipedia and I have posted the link to it below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

I offer this information to put the terrible tragedy in Newtown in perspective.  In no way am I trying to minimize the tragic loss of life of the children and adults who perished in this unthinkable crime.

Nor am I in any way advocating a “pro-gun” position.  I have said far too frequently recently that I have never owned nor even handled a handgun, assault rifle or rocket launcher.  I am not an advocate for the NRA but I am an advocate for humanity.  And as the media frenzy feeds the needs of a blood-thirsty public seeking answers to the causes of this senseless and devastating event, I hope to provide my take on that for you, my readers.

Listed below are the worst tragic instances of loss of life that occurred between 1999-2012 in the United States that were attributable to the use of guns:

December 14, 2012 – USA – A heavily armed gunman killed at least 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and a body was found elsewhere in the town. The gunman was also dead.

August 5, 2012 – USA – A gunman opened fire during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He killed six people before he was shot dead by police.

July 20, 2012 – USA – A masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 when he opened fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

November 5, 2009 – USA – A gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, a U.S. Army base in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 31. An Army major is charged in connection with the rampage.

April 16, 2007 – USA – A gunman killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia.

October 2002 – USA – Two men killed 10 people in sniper-style shooting deaths that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area.

July 1999 – USA – A gunman killed nine people at two brokerages in Atlanta, after apparently killing his wife and two children. He committed suicide five hours later.

April 1999 – USA – Two heavily-armed teenagers went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.

This information comes via Yahoo/factbox – and I am providing the link which also details mass shootings worldwide.

http://news.yahoo.com/factbox-worst-shooting-incidents-globally-past-two-decades-212050118.html

If you add up the number of dead from these eight horrible mass gun-inflicted murders, you will find there were just a little over 100 who perished in all of them combined.  Compare that with the more than the half million who died in vehicular accidents in slightly less than the same time period.

I know there are those who advocate that all guns be surrendered and destroyed.  I understand, and on some level agree with their position.  But has anyone out there advocated that we abandon our automobiles because they are killing instruments?  Would not a logical person advocate that, considering the fact that automobiles were responsible for more than 5,000 times the number of deaths compared to guns used in mass murders in the same time period?

Neither guns nor automobiles kill people.  There are irresponsible people who pull triggers and step on the accelerator who do.  And in the absence of their accepting accountability voluntarily for their actions, we as a society need to weed them out and disenfranchise them from either gun ownership or automobile driving.

Once again, it all comes down to taking responsibility for one’s actions.  We cannot and should not let government be the mediator for what we inherently know is right but choose to ignore because we are specially privileged or simply don’t think we will get caught doing something we know is wrong.

The next time you break a traffic law, ask yourself why you feel so empowered to violate the common good.  What makes you so special?  Oh, you were on your way to a service commemorating the lives of those lost in Newtown.  Well, I guess that makes it officially okay.  And while you may not have taken a life in your haste to do the “honorable thing” today, there may come a time when that is not the case.

And then we will read a little squib in the paper, such as many that we have seen, where you will receive your five minutes of ignominy about how you killed an elderly woman who was disoriented in trying to cross the road, mowed down by your speeding SUV.  Because we do not react nearly so ferociously to one old lady’s death as we do to the deaths of twenty children, you will fade quickly from the public’s memory as you serve out your jail time. 

You might have deserved a brighter star on the “Wall of Shame” if you had just gunned down the old woman.  That would be something that we would remember for an extra  nanosecond.

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