Saturday, December 15, 2012

I am posting this because a classmate of mine from high school sent me a lengthy tome on justifying the continued "right to bear arms" using statistics from Great Britain to justify his point of view. He sent this in response to the tragic loss of life in Newtown, Connecticut. Although I understand the original purpose of this "right" as it was put into place by our founding Fathers, it seems to me it needs some revision at this point in time. We have gone from muskets to assault rifles, and the carnage in our country is devastating to those who have experienced the damage done to human life by these weapons

Here is what I wrote in response:

Last October at a beauty salon directly across the street from my church in Seal Beach, a man who was filled with rage took several assault rifles, donned a vest, and walked in and shot and killed his ex-wife and seven other people, including one man who was in the parking lot in his car. Survivors were brought across the street to gather in our sanctuary until loved ones could come to comfort them and take them safely home. Our community was shattered by this horrific act. Not only were there many grieving families and friends, but there was a young boy who had lost both his parents because his father had taken the life of his mother.
I went into the salon after the tragedy and saw the size of the bullet holes that were all over the salon. I could feel the fear and horror of the place, and knew some of the people who were affected by this loss. 

To me, here are two issues - one, why would anyone need to own  assault weapons that can wreak such havoc? Two, what can we do to find ways to deal with the mental health issues that plague us in our society today? When I hear the arguments against gun control, I wish everyone could see what I saw that day.

Our community came together, we held prayer vigils, there were many funerals, and today the salon has been remodeled and reopened as if to say - "this will not defeat us." But the shootings continue - Wisconsin, Aurora, Portland, and now Newtown - and that is just in the last year.
When our founding fathers wrote the right to bear arms into our guiding documents, they did not know how much this "right" would be abused. I don't know how we can "control" the guns that are already out there, but we must find a way to prevent more of this violence in our nation. Since I am married to a retired law enforcement officer, I am aware of how dangerous it is out there for our own police, and I also know many cops who do support gun control.
In Israel, where violence is an every day possibility, the process to own a gun is lengthy and very successful - it includes background checks, psychological exams, a valid reason to need to carry a weapon, and a waiting period before the gun is delivered. Terry should look at those statistics - no "socialism" there - just good, common sense. Does it rule out gun violence altogether? I don't know - but it certainly reduces it.
I know this issue is a "sacred cow" to many - but when 20 beautiful five -year-olds will not be home for Hanukah or Christmas or family meals, when a mother looks into a laundry basket to see the clothes her child will never wear again, and will never feel the warmth of one more hug, how can we continue to justify this "right" over the preciousness of human life?
I must also say how grateful I am that in spite of people who perpetrate such horror - terrorist acts, if you will, there are thousands more who reach out in compassion and in sympathy for those who have been so tragically affected. Please, let's at least look at a more sane way to deal with this issue than politicizing it - let's humanize it.
Blessings to all,