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It’s Time To Have The Talk About Guns

by Timothy Englert

The escalation of America’s citizen arms race must stop. I want my children to get to school safely, without anyone in my neighborhood, including myself, feeling the need to holster a “Peacemaker”. And I want kids to learn to hunt game using hunting rifles, and to understand what that important cycle of life means on its many practical and environmental levels. But I also want legislation banning assault rifles. And I believe that carrying concealed handguns makes us a society on edge, when what we really need to do is to find ways to back off the precipice.

Did the Constitution intend to draw a distinction between types of arms that our citizenry can bear? A two shot per minute musket rifle was the extent of firepower available to us back when the Constitution was written. Its authors had no concept of the devastation that a single individual could wield today. I simply cannot believe that they intended us to have today’s bewildering options in “personal protection” other than for military use. Did they allow us non-military folk to make and use cannons, the biggest guns of their time? The only distinction between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic rifle today is the need to keep pulling the trigger. They are both more powerful than the cannons of the 18th Century. Why, then, is one of these rifles legal and the other not? And for that matter, why can I not easily and legally purchase a grenade launcher, or tank, or SCUD missile as a deterrent for any criminal that may wish to violate my home or my children’s school?

When we soon perfect the formerly science fiction “ray-gun,” capable of cutting down an entire room from the palm of your hand, how will we distinguish whether it should be legal for personal protection? How far fetched is such a weapon? Certainly no more far fetched than a Gatling gun was to our Founding Fathers. They are all killing machines, made for efficiency and effect, and their development will, for now, continue to outpace the development of our understanding of why people walk into a school, or theater, or shopping mall, and mow down their fellow man.

First person shooter games should be the first place we start to look closer than before. When Doom came out in ‘€˜93, a whole generation was being born that would experience first person simulated death in a way that never existed before. Adam Lanza was one of these “Doom Babies.” And as Moore’s Law continues to immerse us further and further into virtual reality, what kind of dissociation will happen worldwide as our sons (thank God for girls) experience deeper and deeper immersion into electronic games of death? Are we not creating a carnal experience lacking only one thing ‘€“ real blood? Are these killings not a logical extension of a need to ‘€œfeel’€ in a novel way? Are they not Hunger Games?

Anyone who feels the need to have an assault rifle in their home, and to protect the right of others to do so, has lost touch with the concept of real peace. This is what our dialog and actions need to address. Unfortunately, I see another deep entrenchment about to happen when Diane Feinstein introduces her forthcoming gun control bill, with nothing but partisanship, and rancor, and intransigence, and more killing sprees by young, rudderless men hopelessly lost at sea and divining their only course as going out in a blaze. And I also see a continuing Civil Cold War escalating. When I can buy a hand held cannon (call it what you want) out of a guy’s pickup truck in the parking lot of a gun show and have little worry of legal repercussion, then we have a problem.

Do we want our priests, and ministers, and imams, and rabbis leading our consciences and faith from atop a pill box, or from the turret of a tank? It merely makes us all more capable of the unthinkable. The soul searching we need to undertake is way deeper than the fight over firepower. It is about how we can reposition ourselves as a people trying to look ahead, without feeling the need to constantly be looking over our shoulders. A house with no assault rifles is a crucible for peace. It is a home where sons don’t kill their mothers by shooting them multiple times in the head.

Photo Credit: NewtownMemorialFund.org, a Newtown, CT Website to raise funds to “…create a memorial to honor the memory of those who did perish, and for all those affected by this tragedy.”

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Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.



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