In light of the recent shooting event, we all must pause for a moment to take in and process the horror that came to a small American town last Friday. That horror is overwhelming and unthinkable for your average parent. The old saying that there is nothing worse than having to bury your own children rings true for a reason. For most, this will never happen, we will live out our lives and pass on, allowing our children to bury us. Why is it that way? The simple answer is that because of our advances in various technologies, we live longer and childhood/young adulthood deaths are not as common in America as they were just 150 years ago. We have gotten used to the habit of not out living our children and being sparred the responsibility of dealing with their deaths since we pass on before them.
Having been married a couple of times before, I have had the honor of helping my first wife and her ex-husband raise two wonderful children in my first marriage, both which have gone on to be successful wonderful parents. My second marriage blessed me first, with an adopted son for which I am the only father he has every know and I consider him my first born child. In my son, I see all that is good and wonderful and the greatness that he has to offer. My daughter came along after a few years of marriage and when she was born I held her in my arms and said, "This is all I will ever need." Not meaning to, but I am quite sure I permanently offended my second wife by saying that. That marriage not working out, I really got lucky afterward and truly found the love of my life, she had already had two little boys and was divorced. Everyday we share, from here on out seems to be nothing short of an adventure in paradise.
All this being said, as a parent of six kids over the years, I would not hesitate to trade my life for anyone of them should the need ever arise. I do not wish to be in the position of the parents who left the fire house and went home without their children. Having to drive home, park the car, walk into the house, all the time knowing one of my babies was lying on a cold floor or in a bag or on a table being examined by some stranger. This feeling skyrockets beyond anything I can even imagine. It overtakes every corner of my soul, my very being and is in every one of my thoughts. I cannot speak for the rest of the world but as an American, I can pretty much say with confidence that we are not willing to give up this habit of dying before our children.
As humans we have fought for over hundreds of thousands of years to get to the very point where we stand today and I will be shocked if some flailing political party or gun lobby thinks for even a moment we are going back to the those days of old, those times of horror when your child was snatched up by a hungry animal whose only thought was to satisfy it's current need. Sorry to differ from the religious readers and leaders out there but I don't see these shooters as evil. They are simply humans that cannot or will not control their urges or needs and instead of it being the claw of a tiger or the jaw of a bear snatching the life out of my child, it is the most dangerous animal of all. A human being, with unchecked urges and feelings, holding a gun.
If you are confused with our current state of affairs don't feel bad, it is very confusing. You have to use the moment to remind yourself action is needed and is needed with extreme passion, yet not let the passion cloud your judgment. This is no easy task and it never will be. I must mention there are plenty of good people out there that own guns because of the same "feeling" I mentioned before and they feel they are protecting their kids. Unfortunately they do not realize and have lost track of the times, because their very actions and habits are doing nothing but continuing to add to the issue and fan the flames of denial and insanity.
It may come as a shock to some of you but mass killings using guns to kill our children, women and men is nothing new in this country. It is part of the reason we had a civil war. Millions of slaves, black Americans were shot and throw in mass graves on a regular basis. All because a group of people refused to grow up. They refused to come to the basic understanding that it was not okay to enslave other human beings and throw them out as trash when their perceived usefulness was done. It is almost comical how post civil war thinking included not allowing black Americans to vote or have a gun. Simply put, the losers did not want the slaves to retaliate.
This was by far the most pivotal moment in our history as a country. At that very moment, not only was the right to enslave and kill your slave being taken away but because of war the Gatling gun was developed, the first real weapon of mass destruction using bullets and the killer of children, women and men. As we progressed as a country most of us began to enjoy living longer and finally out living our children on a somewhat regular basis. We continued to kill black Americans, Native Indian Americans and any other ethnic group we deemed unfit. We had lots of weapons left over from the Civil War, then World War I and World War II. The gun manufacturers got a taste of the billions to be made and became what we made them. Greedy, heartless small business men! Because of war and our taste for killing those we deemed as unfit, we needed the latest and greatest gun every year. As long as the money flowed and the greed persisted the guns got better and more plentiful.
So where is the confusion? It lies at a crossroads. A crossroad where old habits die hard and new, what feels like, instinctive feelings meet. On one hand we are used to killing others and coming up with reasons to justify it. On the other hand we have this feeling that no one should ever have to bury their children. Our beloved weapons lie at the center.
Some feel it is our god given right via the Constitution, namely the 2nd Amendment to have guns, guns, guns and more guns to our hearts content. This along with the lie that guns don't kill people are really all that the pro-gun movement has left to hang on to. Neither are true and neither ever were. Don't be fooled for a moment about the 2nd Amendment. When it was written, the world largest, most dangerous and well-armed Army, namely the British military was our owner and killed us at will and on a whim. We were the one's that were unfit. We were in a manner of speaking their slaves. Funny how we turned out just like Dad! But did we really? Dad, (Brit's and the rest of the world) found peace, outlawed guns and have practically a zero death rate from guns not to mention good health care and a boat load of other things. This is not to say other countries don't still have issues but they have been to the same crossroad we are at now and clearly chose to move on without guns.
I would much rather be arguing about which economic policy we should be focusing on rather than burying 20 innocent children. Guns do kill people. They always have and they always will. Our past is clear and full of horror. The time to change, once and for all is now. I know old habits are hard to put down but this one is a monster of epic proportions, with deaths in the millions of our own people.
Time to do the right thing!
But hey! What do I know, I'm just a plumber!