December 14, 2012. A date that should live in infamy, just as December 7, 1941 (Attack on Pearl Harbor) or September 11, 2001 (9/11 terrorist attacks), but who among those of you reading this remember what happened on December 14, 2012? The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children aged between 6 and 7 years old, as well as six adult staff members.
A few days ago after a post in which I disparaged America’s gun culture, a young friend who lives in Ghana sent me this Twitter comment: “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.” I read his comment over and over again, each time thinking “Wow. I think he may have a point here.” A young man in his 20s has more sense than most Americans I know, regardless of age. I have long railed against our open gun culture where almost anybody can buy any gun any time, mostly without restriction. Background check? It’s a joke, as I believe it is merely a formality and only checked if there is an ‘incident’ involving that individual and that gun. You can carry a gun into a store, a school, a library, a church or a nightclub. You can hide it under your clothing or you can carry it right in plain sight. You can buy a pistol, a rifle, or a semi-automatic that can shoot hundreds of bullets in under a minute. The AR-15, which was used in the recent slaughter in an Orlando nightclub is capable of shooting 800 rounds per minute. Think about that … if well aimed, a person could kill 800 people in less time than it takes to wash your hands! This week, the family of Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the AR-15 rifle issued the following statement: “Our father designed the AR-15 and subsequent M16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47. It was never meant to be used by civilians.”
I think perhaps my young Ghanaian friend is right … Americans care more about their guns than their children. Once I processed this, I became even sadder than I was before about the state of our nation. Especially when I see that sales of the AR-15 have jumped significantly and gun shop owners claim that they are selling more of them than ever in the wake of the Orlando massacre.. What, people? Does everybody now think it is a good idea to buy one of these obviously successful murder weapons just in case they get offended by a group in church, people munching their popcorn too loud in a movie theater, or … perhaps a group of small children who simply look to be having too much fun?
No other country in the world has such an unrestricted gun culture as the U.S. My friends around the globe in Europe, Australia and other places are speechless at how lightly we take guns in this nation. In the past, I have said that I understand the 2nd Amendment is here to stay, but I advocated for stricter gun regulation. People laughed and said I was anti-gun-rights. Well, if you thought that was bad, I have now changed my stance and propose that the only guns that should be allowed in the hands of civilians should be Super Soaker water guns. This is not because I hate guns, though I do. Actually guns are pretty useful in the right hands, read: law enforcement, military, etc. But my position is based on the very obvious fact that Americans have no common sense. They take more pride in the fact that they can walk into a gun shop, a gun show, or even a Wal-Mart, purchase a gun, walk out with it and go start killing people, than they take in the things that really are good about America: Beautiful mountains, lakes, beaches, freedom of speech, etc.
When 20 children died at Sandy Hook Elementary School, rather than look at ourselves and think that maybe, just possibly our free gun culture has gotten out of hand, what did people do? They prayed, they jumped right on in and defended their right to own guns, and they developed conspiracy theories in an attempt to place the blame almost anywhere but where it belonged: on the shooter and the culture that allowed him access to a gun. I will not waste my precious words on detailing the conspiracy theories; suffice it to say one claimed the U.S. Government was responsible while another claimed the Israeli Government was responsible. What intelligent people we have, yes? No.
I would argue for a ban on all guns in the hands of civilians. I have heard of people who own an entire room full of guns and are planning to amass even more for when the ‘government take-over’ happens. Wake up, people! We have met the enemy and he is us. Sure, there are honest, decent people who own a gun. But in my mind, there is absolutely NO reason for an honest, decent person to own an arsenal or to own weapons that can shoot hundreds of innocent people in under a minute.
Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative who served as Chief Justice from 1969-1986 had this to say about the 2nd amendment: “The gun lobby’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American people by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen. The real purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure that state armies – the militia – would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the 2nd Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.” Again, Chief Justice Burger was a conservative.
The myths propagated by those who are determined that guns are a ‘right’ rather than a responsibility are many:
- Guns don’t kill people, people kill people
- More guns lead to a safer nation
- The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun
The list goes on and on, but these three seem to be the most prevalent sayings by the gun lobby, read NRA, and they are all so full of bullshit that they don’t even deserve intellectual analysis. You’re smart, think about it, look at the holes and what is left unsaid rather than what is said.
I end where I began. Is my friend right? Did we, at some point, decide that our right to own guns supersedes the rights of our children to live and grow up? Do we care more about a piece of steel than our flesh-and-blood children? Are we willing to accept mass murders simply because we are too cowardly to face the world without a gun in our hands, our homes, our vehicles? If that is the case, then I am ashamed to be a part of this culture. I refuse to be a part of this culture. Here is an idea for you gun lovers: why not join the U.S. Army and they will let you play guns all you want? And you will have real people shooting real bullets at you to test your mettle. Get the guns out of the hands of civilians. Period. There can no longer be a middle-ground, with talk of ‘background checks’ and other milquetoast measures that will, at best, barely make a dent in gun crime in this nation. Just get rid of the things!