I’m talking about it

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We interrupt the December theme of ornaments and recipes for this dark shot of reality.

It’s political, but it shouldn’t be, so I have to get my thoughts out here.

Friday’s tragedy in Newtown Connecticut was devastating. The nation has reacted in sadness and with empathy for the families who have suffered and unimaginable amount of pain. So it has been on everyone’s mind in some form.

Yesterday while driving past an elementary school on the way to our Sunday morning trail run, just the sight of the school gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I have no connection to that school, know no one there, but just seeing a place that is supposed to be filled with innocence and learning and knowing how one was shattered just a few days before shook me deeply.

This morning I received a message from the high school principal where 16 attends school. He was re-assuring the parents about all the precautionary steps they take to keep our kids safe.

It was a stark reminder that our children have never known a time when they didn’t have to go through lock down drills to guard against school shootings.

I never endured those. I had fire drills and earthquake drills, but I was blessed to go to school AFTER the nuclear drill scares and BEFORE the school shootings started.

For whatever reason the drills I did go through didn’t particularly frighten me. Mostly because there was a sense that the cause was “natural” (I put that in quotes since obviously fires can be started by humans but I think you get the gist of it, right?). What we were training for were things not under human control. It wasn’t that HUMANS were trying to harm us, it was the weather or nature or basically non-human related events.

In this child’s mind anyway. Those drills didn’t teach me to fear random humans. But those lock down drills sure do.

It’s domestic terrorism. Plain and simple. But there is no cause they are fighting for. No specific group we can target to guard against. Nope, it’s just random acts of terror simply because a violently inclined disturbed mind has easy access to weapons that can kill more and more people more accurately and faster than ever. It can be a mall, a church, a school, a workplace, a community gathering, a movie theater, a beauty salon, etc etc etc. Any place where people gather as they go about their regular day.

It’s infuriating and as the President said last night at the memorial service in Newtown – it has GOT to stop.

So, let’s talk about what everyone says we shouldn’t talk about yet, but that which if we do not talk about NOW, will never get talked about because there will be yet another shooting resetting the “you can’t talk about this yet!” clock.

(did ya get that? yeah, I didn’t either but that’s kind of the point)

Here’s my personal take on guns: They should not be easier to obtain than a driver’s license and a car.

I am not the first one to say this and I know there have already been people writing about how the desire to own a military style weapon is just like the desire to own a Ferrari. It’s just a high end gun/car! Why should that be banned?

Well, because cars are not guns, that’s why (apples..oranges…ya know)

Cars are not built TO KILL. Yes, when not operated properly, they DO kill…but…that is not their primary purpose. The car I drive has been on the road for over 10 years and 140,000 miles and hasn’t harmed a soul. Ok, perhaps a bug or two and that one lizard (ick) but you get the drift. Yes, I know many gun owners will say that the guns in their locked cabinets have not harmed anyone either. I know that. But WHY were they even built? What is their main purpose? To cause harm.

So why is it easier to get a gun than a car?

I have just helped my 16 year old through the process of obtaining his driver’s license. First an online training course that took many hours and a test before he could get behind the wheel. Then 6 hours of professional training and several dozens of hours practicing in between. Then another test. Now he has his license, but he is still not driving. Why? No car yet. He needs insurance which is expensive as any parent knows. And there is the matter of buying a car and having the money to put gas in it, etc etc.

Now, I fully support the right to bear arms. But a RIGHT does not translate to NO REGULATION. There are still some conditions that I believe should be met in order for my neighbors and I to possess weapons designed solely to cause harm. Conditions and training and yes, LIMITS to the types of weapons and ammunition you can own.

After all, there are vehicles that are not street legal. There are vehicles that are only driven by law enforcement or the military.

Look, I know many responsible gun owner’s. They love their guns. One person is a collector. It’s her primary issue that she be able to keep what she owns. But guess what? They don’t have military grade weapons and ammunition clips or enough ammunition to BE their own army. Guns are locked over THERE and bullets over HERE. Responsible. Exercising their right to bear arms as it should be.

I fully support being able to keep things that way.

But I do NOT support keeping things as they are now with little to no consistent regulation on who can purchase a gun, where and what kind. The same applies to ammunition.

We cannot watch yet another senseless tragedy go by without an honest conversation about what we can do to prevent these. And then we must translate the conversations to action.

I think, I HOPE, that the world just sent a message to the President and Congress about what this next term of theirs should be focusing on. And I hope they stay focused, and stop letting lobbyists rule their votes. They represent the people, the children, of this country. And it is time they show it.

5 thoughts on “I’m talking about it

  1. Gun control or regulation is important (I think they ought to raise the cost of bullets to about $50,000 per bullet), but our country has some major issues when it comes to mental illness as well. A recent study shows that only half of the youth in this country who need help with a serious mental illness actually get it.

    • Yeah, the mental illness angle deserves it’s own discussion for sure. A close friend is dealing with it with her son who has exhibit violent tendencies against the family. Without extensive family support and financial ability, you cannot just put your child into a treatment facility. The state has to order it. And they wont do it UNTIL the child has hurt someone – IE: until they are jailed. Requiring criminal record and charges before medical attention is so incredibly wrong.

  2. Just read this article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

    I read a book a few years ago, “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” that’s fiction, but a story that stayed with me, especially as I’ve come to know one or two people dealing with violent sons. I very much agree with you about requiring criminal charges, etc. Our system is set up to do nothing until something Very Serious happens. :(

  3. Anonymous

    You’re hit upon it. Gun owners should have to pay insurance, whatever amount the insurance companies deem worth paying appropriate restitution to anyone hurt by the gun. Actually, I like the better solution of making guns illegal for private citizens. I also like the idea of bullets being $50,000 a piece.

  4. Lisa

    What I don’t understand is how people can realistically believe they will be able to stop an armed intruder using their gun. Unless they spend every waking moment holding a locked and loaded weapon, how would that be possible? It seems like a naive, blustery fantasy to me.

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