There is little to say that hasn’t already been expressed. Our hearts are, indeed, shattered, our minds stunned, our sensibilities wrenched by the latest event in the obscenely long litany of massacres that have occurred in our country in recent years.
While the tragedy of Newtown was no more horrendous than Columbine or Oregon or any of the other shootings that have taken lives in unspeakable ways, this particular moment appears to have hit a chord long overdue in this country, perhaps because it involved the loss of so many innocent children. And maybe, it was also amplified further because that unthinkable, horrific fact is coupled with the time of year. Christmas. A time of celebration, blessing, joy and remembrance of loved ones and family. A time of truces and peace talks and good will towards men.
It is also, sadly, a time when those among us who struggle every day against the forces of evil and addiction and illness find the pressure of the season too much to bear and relationships crack, hearts break, and minds shatter.
And in the midst of all the questioning and grief and unbearable sadness, voices cry out for explanation, for sanity, and for action.
At a moment like this, President Obama, a father as well as a leader, was deeply aggrieved to carry out this role again, for the fourth time, since taking office, and said it simply and best. “These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change.”
And he is not alone. There have been many other voices, ever since the assault weapon ban passed by President Clinton expired, calling for a new ban, a tougher stance, a stronger defense against the NRA and advocates and lobbyists dedicated to the right to bear arms, no matter what the cost of human life may be.
We all know that the NRA is the most powerful lobby group in Washington. And has been for years.
It’s understandable that the earlier gun culture in this country was intrinsically tied into the heroes and villains of the Wild West. We had Hollywood heroes like John Wayne, along with God himself, Charlton Heston, both of whom helped put an irresistible image on a gun-totting persona, and in Heston’s case, became an avid spokesperson for the NRA and its president in 1998.
But really, folks, we’re no longer rebels fighting for our independence, or cowboys or explorers taming the frontier and hunting animals for our daily sustenance. We need to take a moment and examine the where, when and why the Second Amendment was needed, intended and written in the first place.
The year is not 1776. We are no longer revolutionaries at war with England fighting for our independence. In order to objectively consider the Second Amendment in today’s context and demands, as well as our founding father’s intentions, that fact must first be acknowledged as truth.
And bringing the issue forward through a convoluted history into 2012, the ACLU and others have argued alongside and often contrary to the shifting decisions of a more right-leaning Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment as to whether or not the individual’s right to bear arms applies ONLY to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia. Many have argued that except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is NOT constitutionally protected, thereby offering no constitutional impediment to the regulation of firearms.
I confess I’ve never understood the mentality of anyone who finds pleasure and sport in the killing of an innocent animal of any species. There is something so selfish, so arrogant and disrespectful, much less wasteful and cruel, in bringing down game just for a kick. Really? Where do you draw the line between sport and sadism, bestiality, and torture?
And when did we appoint ourselves God? When did we anoint ourselves with the omniscient power to decide to destroy this creature and allow that one to live?
Clearly, things are out of hand. And yes, things must change. Dramatically. To allow a lobby group to control this country and its culture, and continue to permit anyone who meets the current requirements to arm themselves as they now can do, has led us to this moment of utter craziness. A moment in which the origins of the right to bear arms has been stripped of its inherent integrity, and in its place, power and greed have interceded, none of it with a purpose for the good of this country or our culture. And certainly not for the good of our children.
I didn’t elect the NRA to run my country. I don’t think you did, either. And if you did, maybe you’re living in the wrong place, because the last time I looked, Mr. Obama was in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the support of a substantial majority of American citizens who voted for him.
The fact that the issue of gun control is such a hot button cuts to the heart of the matter and if we don’t change it, fix it, now, one of us may be the next person staring down the barrel of a semiautomatic assault rifle.
We get the nation we deserve. The endings we earned. When did we veer off so far, forget so much, and overlook humanity in lieu of profit, fear and power?
And what are we going to do to find our way back before it’s too late and it’s one of our own we’re burying next?
You can submit your questions or book private phone sessions with Olive at theinnerbottomline.com, explore her new blog at whatskeepingyouawakeatnight.com, or call into her blogtalkradio.com show, “The Inner Bottom Line,” at 661-449-1425 with your questions. All letters and calls can be anonymous and confidential.
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