Friday, January 11, 2013

We mustn't let the 'Annie get your gun mentality' prevail

Guns, guns, guns
Guns, guns, guns (Photo credit: paljoakim)

Freedom of choice is on the decline in this country spurred by the Annie get your gun mentality. I no longer feel free to live without fear of an encounter with a crazed gunman. They are everywhere!

I have never been among the gun crowd; I have always hated guns and anything that has to do with them. The thought of shooting an animal turns my stomach. I never bought toy guns for my son. I shun all the shoot'em up movies. I abhor violence of all kinds. The older I get, the more I've embraced my life-long pacifistic tendencies. Until now, I have been free to live my life gun-free, but as I begin the autumn of my life, circumstances are forcing me to change my thinking. I say forced because it isn't something I want to do. My freedom to live peacefully without fear has been compromised.

Hate, fueled by ignorance is all around us. It was so evident in Barack Obama's 2012 election to a second term as President of the United States. I do not understand the kind of hatred that is fueled by racism, so much more prevalent than I ever knew. Folks were more inclined to elect a man who used people to get whatever he wanted. He was a proven liar who would say whatever he had to say to advance himself. Many knew it, yet he was a white guy, so he was a better choice in their minds. When Obama was re-elected, thankfully by the more open-minded, thinking people who recognized his attributes and potential to solve some of the deeply ingrained problems caused by the previous presidential administration, I felt relief.

But it was short-lived. A new horror awakened and shocked the nation. The murder of 26 people in Newtown, CT was the worst. Twenty tots along with six teachers and administrators in a public school were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The country seemed to awaken to a reality it didn't seem to want to face before, even in the light of so many needless deaths. No one could turn their eye from the unimaginable horror that filled the classroom on Dec. 14, 2012, the day the country regained a focus on the need to do something about guns.

The majority of the country gets it. There is a need to keep killing machines out of the hands of people who would do harm to innocents. A discussion has begun in earnest about this situation. And so the battle lines have been drawn. The leader of the opposition movement to a sensible solution is once again led by the National Rifle Association and the same voices that spewed hate during the election of our President. The NRA solution is more guns. They want guns everywhere as they make the claim that a well-armed teacher could have prevented lives. More sensible voices say just the opposite. The NRA with its televangelist campaign style rhetoric is fueling more hatred in the name of making more money by selling more guns. Even while the President moves toward a more saner climate, the NRA is fueling the hatred.

From my observation, it appears there are two scenarios.

The first is total paranoia that the government is going to confiscate all guns in some sort of Twilight Zone move to ignore the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The argument is fatally flawed, but is defended to the hilt. There is talk of banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, firearms and ammo that is designed for no other purpose than to kill people with rapid-fire ease. Why are these weapons defended by regular people? Who in their right mind believes average citizens should possess these military-type weapons.

The other scenario is fueled by the heads of the household who maintain a genuine fear of an intruder; someone who wants to rob, rape, or murder them in their own home. They want to keep guns on hand for their own protection. They refuse to think their child might one day find that firearm and use it accidentally or on purpose. They refuse to think about that firearm being stolen and used on them, as was done in the case of the Sandy Hook shooter who used his mother's assault rifle to murder her in her bed. The 'it couldn't happen to me' argument is nothing but a fantasy.

Part of the protection argument that may be the most shocking is not the one made by the head of the household; it is made by his wife. Apparently women continue to fear the men in their lives, so they defend their need to have a gun in the house.

Every day the local news is filled with domestic violence, murder, and mayhem that occurs in a not-so-happy home. So many families have become victims of gun violence.

Women have made so many advances in our society, but so many are being left behind, for whatever reason. I suppose when a U.S. Congressman proposes legislation that is degrading to women or others make foolish statements about women's health, it is a real danger sign.

When people vote against intelligence, capability, and integrity in favor of empty rhetoric and and impossible promises and lies, what can we expect? When hope turns to desperation, what can we expect?

I believe the majority of this country is advancing intellectually and socially, but a growing number of folks relate more to Honey Boo Boo than the men and women of science that have advanced our lives and changed our world for the better. I'm very frightened for the next generation. I shudder to think of what kind of America my grandchildren will occupy. The choices that are being made today are so vital. Their future depends on it.

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