December 11, 2014, Prescott- When I was eleven, the Scoutmaster of my Boy Scout troop, with my Dad’s blessing, took me to a firearms safety class, at the Essex County Chapter of the National Rifle Association. There, I learned how to properly load, aim and fire a deer rifle, and how to clean it. This lesson would be repeated, seven years later, in Army Basic Training- only with an M-16.
I was brought up to respect weapons,of all kinds. In turn, I imparted this respect to my son, when it came time for him to purchase a handgun. He practiced and mastered firearms care and safety at a shooting range in the Phoenix area. He has since acquired further such training, with the Navy.
My late wife, also, was an expert rifleman. Her father was a lifelong member of the NRA. So, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is very dear to my family’s hearts. None of us would want to see it breached, or compromised.
There is something else none of us like seeing compromised: The life of a child. Whether through orphanhood, maiming or flat-out murder, the effect of unregulated weapon use by unstable people, by the criminally insane, by the vengeful affects the life of a child. It is a stain on the Second Amendment.
I do not believe that the Sandy Hook shootings were orchestrated by a shadowy branch of the Federal government, or by the FBI. Saying such things is a dodge, as if the lives of 26 innocent people never mattered, much. Therein lies the insanity, the illness behind self-serving callousness, with which, by the way, the surviving families of those 26, including the children, were confronted, almost from the moment of their loved ones’ slayings. Here’s why I don’t believe it: Acts of terror involving firearms almost always are perpetrated by loners, by those who detest authority. Adam Lanza fit that description to a tee. So, too, did Daniel Nadler, who killed a classmate, in cold blood, in Indianola, Iowa, in June, 2010. The same is true of so many others, similarly charged and so often convicted, of ending the lives of innocents who crossed their paths.
We can do better, but first, we must want to. We must want to have firearms available only to those of sound mind. We must want to keep the weapons we may need for self-defense, out of the reach of the immature and the unstable. We must want to have a social contract which guarantees that firearms are being afforded the respect and careful use due them, in each and every household in which they are present.
It’s hard work, but this is America. Time to roll up our sleeves.