The Way It’s Always Been….

May 24, 2022- Fifteen people, who probably started their day with thoughts of a looming summer, ended it outside their bodies-gone to a higher realm. Fourteen of them had barely scratched the surface of this life. The fifteenth had so much more to offer, in the way of helping young people build their lives.

For that matter, an angry young man-raging for God knows what reason, chose to take that anger out on the helpless, the innocent. He might have chosen to state his anger in a productive way, taking the long road of peaceful protest and resistance to authority figures whose agenda seems to be the chipping away of legitimate rights for people of colour and others-but he chose to sow chaos and pain.

The reactions, far and wide, to the Uvalde massacre have been largely typical: Those who fear the loss of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are taking the lead, already, in politicizing the tragedy. Blaming their political opponents, calling for locking up the mentally ill and placing armed guards in the schools are reactions that have been offered so many times that they have become cliche’, almost cartoonish.

So, what do those who want to see the carnage stopped, be we liberal or conservative, suggest? I can only speak for myself, from a place outside partisanship.

I am not in favour of repealing the Second Amendment. I am in favour of making sure that one and all understand the U.S. Constitution, in its entirety. That takes Civics Education. I am in favour of firearms safety-handling, firing and cleaning, being a prerequisite for anyone seeking to own and operate a weapon. I had that opportunity as a child, and as a young adult-and took advantage of it. So did my late wife and so did our son. True firearms training entails having respect for the firearm.

I am not in favour of locking up anyone whose behaviour is erratic. I am in favour of locking up firearms-and other deadly weapons that may be carried into public spaces-and I am in favour of this being done-first by the legitimate owners of said weapons, or if they refuse or fail to do so, by lawfully constituted agencies of public order. I am in favour of a National Registry of firearms owners, with identification cards. This last is not 100% foolproof-no system of identification ever is- but it will greatly lessen the likelihood that a crazed individual-whether on the political right or left, or of no clear ideology at all, will be able to wreak havoc.

I come to this conversation, honestly, having actually taken action that helped prevent a school shooting-twice. The first involved locating, seizing and turning over to the police, a long rifle and a pistol that were intended to be used in a targeted attack on an elementary school. The plotters were identified, arrested and received proper retribution. The second involved notifying the police of an active threat against one of the staff members, at another school where I was an administrator. The police then took possession of two weapons, which the owner admitted he was going to use on the staff member and his family.

We have no choice but to pay attention-to our surroundings, to our family, friends and co-workers and to the pain that is being inflicted. We can learn Civics, firearms safety and acceptance of responsibility.

This is the way it has actually always been. The rest is mythology.

10 thoughts on “The Way It’s Always Been….

  1. I fully believe that there are many things that can be done to counter the increasing use of guns in mass shootings. First, as you imply, is proper education as to the purpose of the weapon, and the ethics of using it. Too, I think that Civics education is or paramount importance — the Constitution does not authorize wholesale use of guns just because one doesn’t like the color of another’s skin, or the country of origin of another. I don’t think mental illness is necessarily to blame so much as is a misguided sense of individual importance — “my gun makes me bigger , /stronger / more important than you.”” This will take a strong effort — perhaps stronger than most are willing to exert — to accomplish, but it would go a long way towards solution of the problem. I also think that 18 is too young to be considered adult — it is known that parts of the brain are not yet fully formed at that age, diminishing the effectiveness of decision-making (E-bikes, guns, driving, alcohol, etc can all be grouped into this question.) And I truly wish that we could stop memorializing these shooting incidents with everlasting news reporting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have hit the nail of journalism on its pointed head. The looping of tragedy is supposedly to “give an important event its due”-but the WAY this is done just reinforces the concept that the public are mindless dolts, with all-too-short attention spans. Yes, people move on-to a degree, as life is just not static. That doesn’t mean, at least with me and mine, that the events of the past-whether horrific or joyful, have lost relevance. I’d love to see an end to journalistic looping.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree about the effect of journalism, but that is not the solution without the rest of the factors (and it was a minor point of my previous reply). — Personal ownership and use of guns could be limited to those required for hunting (for food), and for target shooting, eliminating their use for the purpose of killing people — I listened to a Congresswoman this evening who indicated that when she entered Federal law enforcement in 2010, her guns were marked “For Federal Use Only.” Reinstatement of such prior limits would go a long way to reduce the tragedies we are now seeing. Automatic weapons are made for military purposes — for wars — rather than for any purpose of respectful citizens — they are not necessary for sport, for hunting or subsistence, or for any other purposes than to kill people — we are supposed to be above killing as a means of solving interpersonal conflict.

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