By Barney Blakeney
I guess some folks just don’t get it. Our nation pretended to mourn the senseless Dec. 14 massacre of those innocent people in Newton, Conn. But as soon as the politically correct sympathies were mouthed we went right back to business as usual.
I had hoped that those children’s deaths would have shocked us into a different reality - one that made us question where we’re headed and how do we change courses. Instead all I’ve heard is rhetoric about how to maintain the same course with a few adjustments.
I had hoped that some folks at the top would begin a discussion about how we can start promoting the ideals that move people away from killing each other. I thought that discussion might have been led by religious leaders.
But as in most cases our religious leaders are silent. They certainly aren’t making a lot of noise. I heard more from the religious community recently after the dispute over tax exemptions for churches surfaced.
I have seen some individuals who opened the doors to discussion about the diet of violence we feed our people, but those individuals haven’t included anyone who could influence the flood of violence that inundates our every waking hour.
I guess it’s about the money. There’s big money in guns and violence.
Since the Newtown shootings the media focus on guns has made me aware just how much our society is enthralled with guns. As new talks about banning assault-type weapons began to circulate, I was amazed at how people began to flock to gun stores to buy the weapons before a ban can take effect.
One news photo showed a local gun store with so many people in the aisles you’d think they were Christmas shopping. I was stunned by the amount of guns I saw in the photo.
My father was a country boy, but he didn’t do a lot of hunting. In fact, I’ve never known my father to go hunting. So I wasn’t raised around a lot of guns. My uncles lived on farms and they all had guns. Evenso, there still weren’t a lot of guns around as I grew up.
As a city boy I was introduced to guns as a teenager. I must have been 14 or so when I made my first, and only, zip gun. In those days I did a lot of stuff to be with the boys. I must have been about 16 when I got my first Saturday Night Special.
For me, it’s always been about self protection. I’ve never needed the biggest fastest shootin’ gun - just something big enough to back ‘em up off me til I can get away. I’ve had guns that never have been fired.
At this stage in my life I see guns as a liability. But I don’t want to be the only one out there without one.
I’m troubled by the recent news story of two first cousins who resorted to gunfire during a dispute resulting in the killing of one of the cousins.
What I found so troubling about that incident is that both those young men were packing heat. Our communities have gone back to the times of the wild wild west when everyone carried a gun. Am I the only person who is troubled by that thought?
I guess there has to be some system to getting all these guns out of people’s hands. Laws that restrict who legally can own weapons and the type of weapons that can be owned probably is a good place to start. The operative word here folks is ‘legally’. The criminals ain’t gonna give a damn about gun laws.
So where does that leave us?
I think the whole thing about promoting values and ideals which offer alternatives to violent solutions to problems has to start simultaneously with the big boys who lead our society and those at the local levels who lead our communities.
Whether it’s nuclear treaties on a global scale or gun buy backs in North Charleston, the threat we’re facing could destroy us all. There are just too many weapons out there. Until we get to the nitty gritty about why we need them in the first place, there always will be some nut with his finger on the trigger.