FOR YEARS As children we were entertained, enthralled, and educated by The Muppets. There was Miss Piggy, Kermit The Frog, Cookie Monster, etc. Each had their own distinctive personality with their own distinctive voice and tonal inflections. Yet when the lights went dim at the end of the show the Muppets fell silent. Without the puppeteers to breathe life into them (Jim Henson’s genius in creating this lovable bunch) all you had was a bunch of cute puppets who sat on shelves.
Who can forget the brilliant Wayland Flowers and his sassy puppet Madame. We sat there amused and stunned when Mr. Flowers would drink water while Madame continued to speak whatever was on her (his) mind at the time. At the end of the show when the strings were put down Madame returned to being a lifeless figure.
Road rage related violence is very common place. One driver gets irritated by another drive for one reason or another resulting all too often in serious injury or worse. Pedestrians are hit by cars or narrowly missed countless times all over the country by speeding cars or overly aggressive drivers. The car is not the root cause nor will tougher vehicle traffic laws (other than DWI) dramatically reduce this problem.
Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a gun owner whose gun sits on his front porch. Each day the mailman delivers mail to the Romney residence without a single incident of being grazed by a bullet or seeing the smoky chambers from a gun that has just been fired. Point in fact the gun is of no threat to anybody when it is left to be.
Numerous schools have experienced the horror of innocent teachers and children being shot down in cold blood by crazed gunmen who may or may not have passed a background checked or possibly obtained their weaponry through so-called black markets. The same holds true for shootings at Movie Theaters where movie goers were gunned down for no reason other than the gunman’s obsessive need to kill others.
In each and every case the gun was the culprit as opposed to just being the mechanism used. The solution according to our President is to disarm responsible gun owners while at the same time make it exceptionally difficult to purchase a gun. More rigid background checks cannot hurt but by and large that is just an exercise in bureaucratic red tape that will produce no tangible reduction in gun related deaths.
The problem is that there are too many guns in the hands of those who should not have them. You can argue there are those whose job requires the carrying of a gun who were deemed perfectly mentally stable only to inexplicably snap or panic causing them to fire at will are a risk of irrational shootings as well. Do we then disarm our police, soldiers, armed security along with all others whose job cannot be performed safely without carrying a gun?
Our forefathers by virtue of the Second Amendment granted us the right to bear arms knowing full well there will be abuse of this right. Owning a gun does not grant the right to use the weapon in whatever manner the owner decides to use it. The right of free speech does not give you permission to use words to incite violence nor threaten violence. Hate speech is also not covered under the first amendment. Perhaps using the same irrational thought process as the gun control proponents we should limit free speech.
I do not own gun or have any desire to own one. As a personal rule of thumb I am not a fan of guns as they are vile instruments of death especially in the hands of criminals who despite all of this legislative fanfare will still own guns. The idea of towns where just about everybody carries a gun is not someplace I would be overly comfortable living. However, I have no issue with responsible (who decides who is worthy of owning a gun is subject to debate as well) citizens owning a gun. Once again it is a right that is granted by the United States Constitution that one man cannot take away with the stroke of a pen.
The one gun related qualm I do have is with the “sport” of hunting. Shooting an animal for the sake of using it as a trophy is a barbaric act. Using guns for the purpose of controlling certain animal populations is equally barbaric. When animals over populate it is due to in many cases to not humanely controlling their reproductive capability. Why should these animals be allowed to fall prey to over-zealous “ animal control specialists (aka legalized murderers) for the sin of being alive? Placing blame where it does not belong is the same mentality as gun control. Animals killed for human consumption is sad but does serve a very legitimate purpose which hunting does not do.
So where do we go from here? What is the solution to the rising tide of gun violence? The only solution I can think of is let a consortium of professionals create a system where guns continue to be legal yet somehow have more concerted effort to get guns (good luck with this) away from the pipelines that pump these illegal firearms onto the streets. The best solution to this problem is……! You get the picture.