Truth be told, by most standards, much of my childhood wasn’t great.
It was affluent. But not great.
Be that as it may, at 10, I went to summer camp, where I had the opportunity to fire a .22 rifle, going on to pass the required practical and written tests to secure a license.
My parents wouldn’t file the paperwork, but no matter… It was the first time I felt I had accomplished something of tangible value. And, in retrospect, my initial feelings were entirely accurate.
I’m a very good shot, as are my 3 children, aged 13 to 28… Still, in our house, we do not own firearms.
Personally, beyond the paperwork, the fact is, by holding a gun in my hands, and feeling the recoil after the hammer struck, I received a very early lesson in cause and effect. From the lectures and the tangible experience, I knew that this piece of technology could kill someone.
Intrinsically, reinforced by the instructor, I knew that ill-advisedly pulling the trigger could result in something that could never be taken back. No “reset” or “off” switch to be had.
Now, with the unspeakably tragic events of Newtown indelibly etched in our national history, all sorts of reactions are coming to the fore.
Some, apparently, would desire that the whole landscape of American life be devoid of guns.
Whether that’s desirable or not merits another discussion. What I think we can all agree on is, it’s not possible.
What is possible, maybe, is a national discourse that recognizes the reality of firearms and seeks to reason together with the goal of best ensuring enjoyment and safety for all.
Outing gun owners by publishing their names is a sad disgrace. It may actually make non-owners more vulnerable… Thank heaven our national violent crime rates have continued a downward trend! (Yeah, the FBI is quite clear on this…)
Here’s a better, less insensitive, non-antagonistic idea… For those interested and responsible, how about we offer free, professional and controlled instruction on the use and potential abuse of firearms. It beats Wii and other firearms based videogames by 20 miles, and presents impressionable youth with palpable reality that might be as likely to save lives as casually destroy them.
Even my 13 year old crack-shot knows how dangerous guns can be. She’s not afraid of them. Through what she has intimately experienced, she knows to respect them.
Will such an approach eliminate Columbine style events? No.
Yet, it may expose whole populations of young ones to a technological reality they themselves will better understand, respect, and, perhaps, control.
Personally, I think the highest restrictions and safeguards ought to be placed relative to allowing the general population direct access to things like assault weapons. To me, that’s obvious, and I see no reason why this must contravene the Second Amendment. This approach may well enhance it.
Yet, before anyone presumes to say how we should stop another Newtown, I’d prefer they elucidate a conversant awareness of the manifestly complex ingredients that went into the recipe in the first place.
This is not a single solution problem.
Newtown is Holy Ground that ought not be tread upon by those wearing the “rubber souled” slippers of political gain.
Simplistic solutions based in easy blame are not worthy, and will not do.
They are an insult and add significant injury to the memory of those who were lost, and they endanger the well-being of those who remain.