I meant to write about sexual slavery today because my heart breaks for children whose lives are wrecked by powerful forces beyond their control.
But then some alienated, heretofore non-criminal, armed with two semi-automatic handguns, strides into a classroom and kills 20 other children, whose lives are now wrecked by powerful forces beyond their control.
America, I know we are afraid of being defenseless against the criminal element. I know the right to defend ourselves and raise a militia are a part of our heritage. I know we are afraid of Constitutional amendments and a slippery slope to an outright weapons ban. But I also know there is a devastating difference between a hunting rifle and an assault rifle, a pistol and a semi-automatic handgun.
Yes, children lying dead in a Kindergarten classroom is absolutely the fault of yet another disaffected, hoodie-clad loner who’s name and psych profile will be discussed ad nauseum, but a singular focus on him skirts the issue. Listening as a panel of tv “experts” express their condolences prior to eviscerating each other for their opinions on gun control, skirts it as well.
A gaping hole exists in our law, regarding the ease with which anyone can kill dozens of people, in a public place, in a matter of seconds.
I wish the framers of the US Constitution had defined “arms” in the second amendment, but they didn’t. Does that mean I can purchase nuclear arms and bear them? Is that my right as an American? That’s ridiculous of course because retail, purse-sized WMD don’t exist, just like assault weapons didn’t exist in 1789.
The intent of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights was to create a more perfect union. We need to get busy doing that, but as my former colleague Wallace Baine put it in a very smart blogpost called React, Reflect, Repeat:
“…we live in a culture where violent rampages against strangers, though never condoned, are now simply not beyond the pale of American daily life. We call such acts unacceptable, and then by our continuing inability to address how to stop them, we quietly accept them.”
It has to begin within our own spheres – our neighbors, our friends, and yes people on Facebook. How can we address the problem of escalating violence in our culture, and its expression through easy access to semi-automatic weapons, if we can’t even discuss it over the backyard fence? There is a fundamental lack of respect for other human beings percolating in a million tiny ways through our culture; when it expresses itself in a grand scale in our kindergarten classrooms, we act like we don’t know why.
At least 50 of my Facebook friends oppose gun legislation in any form, and may wish to call me an idiot, but the truth is, most of them really are my friends and things in Connecticut are just as grim for them as me. Is it even possible to discuss a meaningful response to this nightmare with respect and courtesy? I am asking for your thoughts.
Should assault weapons continue to be legal and accessible in the US? If so, how do we stop honor-roll students from unloading them on rooms full of children?
**Be creative and thoughtful. If you missed the memo about courtesy and insist on spewing vitriol, don’t waste your time because I moderate. Disagree with me loudly if you wish, just don’t be a jerk.
5 thoughts on “Assault Weapons – What Do You Think?”
I don’t think a ban on assault weapons would do the trick. Instead, I would be more comfortable with the following changes: 1) No one can buy a gun or ammo online, it has to be in person. 2) People should have to pass a safety test and be vetted psychologically before getting a license to buy/carry/use a gun. They should have to renew their license every few years. 3) There should be strict rules concerning how to store guns and ammo in the house, with strict penalties.
I kind of don’t think so either because a. there are already so many out there and b. as my husband pointed out you can do similar damage with a shotgun or certain rifles. c. There is some larger cultural issue here at work. I mean you Candadians have all sorts of weapons too and yet this never ever happens to you. What’s up with that?
Oh Erin….good hit on the canada link. Do you know that in Canada they have a much more advanced system for understanding and managing the mental health issues relating to FASD and other brain-damage related mental health problems? They are light years ahead of us in their social understanding of this sort of issue and unfortunatly there are very strong links between FASD and school shootings, (Look up Fatal Link – a book that outlines the connection.) The hardest thing is that many (as in most) people with have prebirth damage due to alcohol and drug exposure (any alcohol can cause it …..as in ANY) are never correctly diagnosed – they are labeled Aspergers, ODD, PDD, OCD, DD, ADHD etc…but none ever really gets to the root of what started them on this path. It’s heart breaking to recognize the potential in my own family and see how the constant failure to measure up combines with the ‘hidden’ nature of mental health issues and the despair that comes from being utterly misunderstood. Canada has problems – no question about it – but they are also looking at the root issues and trying to find ways to not push their citizens to the point of despair.
Wow! I didn’t know that. Thank God your children are with you, but what of all the others? If there were more yous in this world, it would be less broken.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Erin’s last comment. “If there were more yous in this world, it would be less broken.” Amen.
Love you, Dorothy!