It goes back to my childhood when I never had a toy gun. For one thing, I was a girl, and guns were considered improper toys for girls. For another, my parents never owned guns – largely because their parents had grown up in the shadow of Hitler, a time when soldiers came to the door with loaded guns and took innocent people away. My husband’s grandparents knew the same terror.
So we raised three sons without guns. Granted, they made guns out of Legos, and G.I. Joe came with miniature plastic ones. Still, they learned that a gun was a tool of war and had no place in a home.
Here’s where cultural influence creeps in. Our sons also grew up in a region where guns had a practical purpose. Hunters had rifles. People wanting security against home intruders, or women wanting protection if they had to be alone in a dark parking garage had handguns.
That said, I never considered buying a gun. Guns are weapons. So are knives, and I have enough of them here to cut steak or chop vegetables or use, if necessary, on an intruder to my home. Okay. So I’d have to physically “get” to said knives in order to protect myself. But wouldn’t I have to “get” to a gun as well? Would I really go through life with a gun tucked in my boot?
Mass Shootings With Guns
And now we have mass shootings in which innocent people are shot dead by assault weapons that have no other purpose than to kill. Columbine in 1998, Sandy Hook in 2012, and now Parkland, to name only three such horrific events? Yes, we need more money to treat mental illness. Yes, warnings of this last tragedy were ignored. But the fact that a mentally-ill 19-year-old was able to easily and legally purchase ten guns chills me to the bone.
Is this what Americans had in mind when they ratified the 2nd Amendment in 1791?
I would never suggest that we abolish the 2nd Amendment. No one is suggesting that, least of all the many Democrats who own guns. The only ones rabble-rousing on that score are right-wing pundits and the NRA.
As the grandchild of immigrants who fled to America in search of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I grew up thinking America was that place. But when the most basic right granted us in the Declaration of Independence – the right to life – is superseded by an unregulated right to own killing machines, something is seriously wrong.
My Hope For Our Future
My hope? Do you know how many 17-year-olds in the US turn 18 every year? Nearly 4 million. If even half of those register to vote each year, in time we’ll have a powerful bloc of voters who grew up knowing gun violence and want it stopped.
Until then, I mourn what America could and should be.