Today I’m mad as Hell and the urge arises for me to exercise my editorial prerogative and say what’s on my mind as opposed to providing you with a plethora of stunning animal portraits. But, it’s time I expressed what I’ve felt for a long time: It’s time for our society to kiss our Rambo image goodbye and join the civilized world. In short, we need to begin by ridding our society of semi-automatic and automatic weaponry! Oops…I just pissed a bunch of you off, but while you’ll scream that the 2nd Amendment gives you the right to own a gun more advanced than a single-shot muzzle-loading rifle, I believe the 1st Amendment gives me the right to say you’re dead wrong.
I’m certain many of you will label me as a hypocrite as, I too, have several guns and have always supported ownership of sporting arms and the right of Americans to hunt (when such activity does not endanger the continued existence of any species of wildlife). For many years I hunted and probably would again if my shoulders would support the weight and recoil of a rifle or shotgun. As a law enforcement officer in my early career I carried a handgun. I still have it and another I acquired later. I believe hunting is truly an American value; part of our heritage and a tradition that can and should be maintained. I just don’t believe killing innocent people is…never have.
In 1970 I quit my membership in the NRA when it became evident that their objective had changed from promoting hunting and rifles that were accurate enough for clean one-shot kills to increasing fire power and automatic weaponry to support a radicle militant element in our society. As they years have passed they have evolved into a cult, complete with their own mythical threats, radical doctrine and inane excuses…and a threatening lobby.
In writing the Constitution, our founding fathers (that you may not realize many of whom supported slavery, many rights for the wealthy, and felt women had no right to vote) added the 2nd Amendment as they understood not only did the Minutemen contribute to our independence, but that much of the rural population depended on guns to provide much of their food. What they knew about guns was that you got one carefully-placed shot, after which it took the best at least 20 seconds (and usually much more if it was rainy or windy) to reload and shoot again. AK-47s with banana clips were not in their wildest dreams. They also didn’t envision a government with a military comprised of jet aircraft, tanks, nuclear missiles, and serin gas. The silliness that a group of untrained, undisciplined and unorganized guerrillas with handguns and rifles would successfully prevent the government from “taking over” is ludicrous.
All the excuses for more fire power in the hands of individuals are (excuse me) pure crap! The concept that the more fire power you have, the safer you will be is insanity. Please tell me how many people you know, or have even heard of (excepting law enforcement and the military), who have been involved in a private gunfight where dozens of shots were necessary to protect their lives or the lives of others. The only multiple-shot shootings I know of were in Columbine, Aurora and now, Newtown and didn’t involve self-protection, they involved killing unarmed children. Most gun fatalities involve a single shot being fired…in the US an average of 75,000 a year (Hey…isn’t that about 25X more than died in 9/11?).
Here is my automatic handgun. I will willingly and gladly donate it to the foundry that can melt it down with all the other semi-automatic and automatic weapons if our society will prevent the sale, trade and ownership of such weapons. Sure, there will always be some in the hands of the criminal element just as Al Capone had tommy guns. But, Al Capone didn’t kill a bunch of school children…he primarily killed other criminals.
I’m sure that some of you will say, “Mr. Carrier, you protest too much!” Be that as it may, I’ve grown weary of living in a society that worships the Americanism of Wyatt Earp and Dirty Harry over that of Martin Luther King and Dr. Seuss; I’m tired of seeing a bumper sticker “God, Guts and Guns Made America Great” on a huge 4WD that’s been 6 feet off my bumper as I’m driving 60mph in a 55mph zone and now passing me at 80, the driver flipping me the bird as he goes by (I dislike aggressive people, anyway, anywhere); I’m tired of Grand Theft Auto and Dead Island being our children’s choice in video games where the objective is to kill as many humans as possible; I’m tired of Hank Williams Jr. and Ted Nugent thinking they’re the icons of “real” America; and I’m just tired of violence as our country’s claim to fame.
Yes, I’m sure some of you will be offended at my attitude, even call e a Commie or a Nazi. But, as Dante Aligieri wrote over 700 years ago, “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.” Have a nice day…there’s a bunch of people in Newtown, Connecticut that won’t, probably for the rest of their lives.