Truly. I am sincerely trying to restrain my reaction to the shootings in Tucson. I surely do not mean to fuel the fires of inflammatory public discourse. However, it is one thing to act responsibly but entirely another thing to sit back and let the lunatics twist the story so that their tirades are defensible.
When critics of current legislation cite issues, such as the right to bear arms without any specific controls on the type of guns, and are then lambasted for “inciting” the debate even further, thereby creating more inflammation, I say “Hogwash.” How convenient for the Limbaughs, Becks and Palins of this world to deflect the dialogue away from their own destructive ideas on to the horrified witnesses to these crimes. To accuse the critics of using the same sort of incendiary speech as the initial instigators is a total cop-out. Tres cowardly for our gun-toting, rifle-loving, highly paid media and vote-seeking public leaders. Do not fall for this deliberate attempt to justify cowardly and destructive reactions. When horrendous behavior and acts are perpetrated on (innocent) people, an outcry is demanded. Always remember what Edmund Burke wrote: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing.”
Tell me , America: at what point do we, while embracing our Constitutional right to bear arms, view that amendment within the social milieu of modern times? When we have a nation of over 300 million people, most of whom are grounded in sanity but some who are not, what will be the tipping point of reining in some of those outrageous stipulations of existing gun laws?
Forget about repealing the second amendment; that will never fly in the good old U. S. of A. So how about banning automatic, semi-automatic and concealed weapons? America, with all of its gung-ho behavior typified by their love of guns, is in actuality, a nation of cowards. Many people on the edge of sanity, like Jared Loughner, mistakenly interpret the “call to arms” against social and political policy as their mantra, a literal request against which they are required to rise up and retaliate. Senator Susan Collins, last year, supported this type of argument. When faced with the option of denying people on the no-fly list the right to own and carry guns, she adamantly shot that idea down. EVERYONE has the right to carry heat. It never occurred to her that perhaps the often-inaccurate no- fly list should be corrected rather than automatically extending gun rights to every person on that list.
As for hunters, I will give the majority of them the benefit of the doubt. I will assume most of them are humane in their practices and shoot-to-kill for food supply purposes. Sarah Palin is not among that group. Of yeah, in words she will tout the idea of replenishing her freezer to feed her family. She will propagate the vision of herself as an experienced hunter and shooter. In reality, Palin’s recent actions turned those philosophies on their heads; it took her seven shots to bring down a scraggly moose, neither humane nor exemplary of marksmanship nor very filling for her homestead freezer.
So go ahead and call me irresponsible in my criticism of recent events. I answer to a higher standard —- that of serving the needs and protecting our children. For little Christina Taylor Green, who lost her life in Tucson, we all need to stand up,voice our horror at current gun laws and not be cowed by those who believe in public provocation of vigilantism, violence and indiscriminate gun ownership as the answer. If the kid of a die-hard gun advocate had been killed instead of Christina, the debate would have gone in an entirely opposite direction. Trust me. Rhetoric and ideology can get very personal very quickly. Americans are great at doling out sympathy at such a horrendous event as Tucson, but also are apt to dispense with that compassion as soon as possible. Call it “getting on with life”. Call it a desensitization to the too many assassinations and mass murders of the last five decades. Call it whatever you like. The fact remains that until a tragedy happens close to home, effecting one’s own psychological and emotional stasis, it does not really produce a personal response or a determined call to action.
It is time to rock the boat of public policy to ensure the safety of us ALL. It is no longer acceptable to cater to the rights of gun aficionados, hunters and proponents of specific individual rights that endanger the well-being of the society-at-large. Innocent bystanders and children will continue to be the victims of such selfish legislation. The irony of our democratic republic is astounding, i.e. that individual rights should have precedence over the greater good, thereby jeopardizing our nation as a whole.
I know that I cannot stand by and bear witness to this insanity any longer. Let America keep its guns, but let America taper their appetite for arms so that we minimize the destruction and death. Of course, this is assuming that America values its children more than their right to shoot. Silly, irresponsible me.
Tags: Edmund Burke, gun-toting American cowards, hunter's rights versus responsibilities, inflammatory right-wingers, no-fly list, Sarah Palin's lack of gun skills, Susan Collins support of gun rights for the no-fly list, Tucson shootings