If I’d only had a gun

It was a little after midnight.

I’d been sleeping soundly when I was roused by a noise at our front door.  Not yet fully coherent, I left my warm bed without looking for my glasses, stumbled into a semi-lit hallway and caught a fuzzy glimpse of three men.

“What do you want?” I half yelled at the men.  “What are you doing here?” I said while growing more frightened.

After what seemed like an eternity, one of them said “Dad, it’s me, David.”

Our son had made a surprise visit with two his buddies.  They had driven most of the night from their UC Berkeley digs and decided that our house would be a good place to sack out.  Wouldn’t Mom and Dad be surprised.

I could have killed my son.  If I’d had a gun.

That was thirty years ago and I’m still frightened by the experience.  Thirty years later and I still don’t have a gun.  Thirty years later and most of the country has at least one gun.  By some estimates, 350.000,000 guns.  Waiting to kill their sons.  Or for someone else to do it.

The only thing that’s changed in all those years is that killing has been made more efficient.  Requiring less thought.  Requiring less time.  It’s part of the mainstream.  Soon to be as commonplace as the horrific daily carnage in Baghdad or Kabul.  Ho hum.  Let’s see what Lindsay Lohan is up to.

I thought that Sandy Hook was a watershed moment.  Twenty little kids gunned down in their first grade schoolroom.  Gunned down with the current stylish weapon of choice.  Slaughtered by the weapon promoted by gun manufacturers for its appearance, attractiveness and, most of all, its profit potential.  Protected by the NRA from any limitation that might otherwise lead down the slippery path of gun control.

I had watched the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre stare vacantly at those attending his news conference.  Semi-glazed, he seemed to be a recent escapee from the asylum featured in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Reliance on more guns in schools was Wayne’s answer to protecting tots.  Only an armed guard policing every institution of learning could be relied upon to avert another Sandy Hook.

I said “What a nut.  He’s toast.  The NRA is headed down the Tea Party path.  Happy days are here again.”

Flash forward less than a month.  An eternity for short-term memory-challenged Americans.  According to the Washington Post and ABC News, more than half the people in the country think armed guards in kindergarten is a good idea…including half of the Democrats polled.  So much for thinking Wayne is out of touch.

Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats’ major domo, and a recipient of NRA largess along with a B rating,  wonders why he should push gun control.  According to Reuters, Harry is more concerned about Democrats, including himself, getting re-elected than in bringing legislation to the Senate floor that is sure to be rejected by House Republicans.

An American University poll of students throughout the country reports that about half intend to purchase a gun when they graduate.  So much for ” And a child shall lead them.”

And while we are all focused on AK47 assault rifles and inexhaustible ammo clips, we should remember that you are 17 times more likely to be killed by a handgun than a rifle. And who’s even talking about that ubiquitous weapon?

Yes, I listened to the Obama press conference where he announce the actions he was prepared to take to curb the insanity. At times I felt like he was an actor, playing his role until the curtain came down. Then it would be back to business as usual.

A trip to the Brady Gun Control website will reward you with a peek at a graphic in the upper right corner of the home page.  It announces, in real time, the number of today’s gun deaths in the U.S.   At noon on January 18, the daily total stood at 176.  That’s nearly double the number of gun deaths in the U.K. for an entire year.  More people die in English soccer riots.

So head on over to the Brady site.  Look at the graphic.  And be grateful that your son is not part of that statistic.


6 Responses to “If I’d only had a gun”

  1. 1 Nancy January 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for not lending another data point to the statistics that put the instances of killing family and friends with a gun way above hitting the bad guys, Dad.

    The NRA, that great bastion of freedom and privacy rights, is opposed to a national registry of gun owners. However, they are recommending a national registry of anyone who has received mental health services. I guess since they’re sure they’re not crazy, they aren’t bothered by that notion.


  2. 2 PA George January 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Happy New Year Fred, we both must be getting old, I agree with everything you said, and really agree with Nancy. I only had a Gun in the House once in 53 years, when Dad gave me his Rifle, can’t remember why or what year, but the better half, would have none of that. Getting back to your Blog, How did we raise kids all those years, and not have a Gun in the House.I actually know the answer to that, but that’s, for the Nuts in Washington to figure out.


  3. 3 Maureen C January 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I get so sad when I read statistics such as the ones you’ve cited about how
    many college kids want to buy guns, etc. It always feels like a actual weight on my heart. I don’t want to feel helpless and hopeless about the U.S. ever getting sensible gun control laws passed, but I often do.


  4. 4 Twigga January 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    What ever happened to the pride of individuality? Why do so many people act blindly like copy cats? Have people really forgotten how to think for themselves? How often do these same people confuse a story on the screen with reality or vice-versa? I was impressed to hear about the tally system being set up and can only hope that it’s information that keeps on popping up everywhere, relentlessly, forcing people to see the facts versus the fiction they are living. How can this be a country that God supposedly favors so much (since there is so little separation of church and state) and yet people believe the only way to be safe is to take the law into their own hands…with a gun????


  5. 5 Mark mark January 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I thought your Chutzpah blog was going to be about guns since the NRA implied video games violence should be blamed while putting out their own shoot-em-up video game. Tally should be at all the state capitol’s rally being held by gun my rights peeples. Thanks.


  6. 6 qualityhealthcareplease April 14, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    The whole gun thing did not make sense to me until I realized that love of guns is actually a religion.


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