Twenty-seven dead. Twenty of them little kids, who as President Obama said, won’t see their graduations, won’t get a job, won’t get married. Murdered in childhood.

Unthinkable, of course. But the unthinkable all too often becomes the real. As it did in Connecticut recently.

And after our horror subsides, after the tears dry, we throw up our hands and say, “What can we do, what can we do?”

Some, of course, will say, “More police in public places.” Others might say, “More guns.” Still others will say, “More gun control.”

But really, what can we do? The genie is out of the bottle. We are weaponized America. And we have legislators cooking up new ways to become even more weaponized, under the belief that more guns in circulation will make us safer from guns.

As is, there is an estimated 270,000,000 guns privately owned in the U.S., more than one for every adult in the country. This, of course, makes us No. 1 in the world for gun ownership. And that translates into about 10,000 gun murders a year, according to FBI statistics.

And now, we’ve added 27 more.

Let’s be realistic. Thanks to our freedoms, the NRA (National Rifle Association) and its politicians terrified of the NRA’s financial clout, and thanks to the absolutists who defend the ownership of any gun, we can’t suddenly wave our hands and make guns disappear.

Nor do we want to. We believe in gun ownership, for protection and for hunting and for practice. As much as some might like, we shouldn’t go to some draconian method of outlawing guns. It’s wrong and impossible anyhow.

And we can’t — no matter how much we wish — stop the madman intent on murder. That madman always has the element of surprise on his side. Only in retrospect do we usually see the trail of signs indicating his intent. And defenders of guns are right about our culture: We celebrate violence. One only has to look at the video games our boys play incessantly, leaving them obsessed with that world, a world where violence is fine, the way to solve problems. No wonder that we see troubled young men lashing out like they do.

But here’s what I don’t understand: While we can’t solve the gun-related murders, can’t we make it more difficult?

And though I understand that the latest murder spree was done by a killer using handguns, I don’t understand why we allow assault rifles to be a part of weaponized America. I don’t believe they’re necessary. I don’t believe they make people safer. But I do believe they make murder easier.

And why do we allow cop-killer bullets to be sold in our country? There’s a reason for that label, after all. They are only for killing.

And why do we allow the huge magazines to be legal? Why do we need unlimited magazine sizes?

And why do we here in Arizona allow unlimited numbers of gun purchases, knowing full well that our state is the drug cartels’ supermarket for guns? Why do we here in Arizona allow private gun sellers at gun shows to avoid doing background checks on buyers?

Each time we have a tragedy like that in Connecticut, we hear from the absolutists that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”

And that, of course, is true.

But weaponized America makes the slaughter so much easier.

It sickens me.

• Mike McClellan is an East Valley resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

(3) comments

Chet
Chet

If you can't kill a deer in three shots or less, you are not a hunter. No one needs high capacity weapons.

No one. The blue helmets of the UN are not coming in spite of the con men on AM radio who want to sell you survival gear and books, they just use fear to scare you out of your money.

Canada is not arming against us. The violence on the border with Mexico is caused by our failed war on drugs. We learned nothing from prohibition.

There was an armed guard at Columbine. He was joined by a sheriff, and they couldn't stop the carnage inside, they were out gunned.

Thinking a retired cop halfway across campus can stop a military style attack on children ignores reality and flies in the face of reason.

The guy in Newtown used a weapon that no one outside the military needs to shoot through the security glass and enter the building.

An armed guard at a school against that kind of weapon is either the first fatality or the last.

Arming every teacher is a recipe for more deaths. Kids will find a way to get into things, and teachers are not there to act as body guards.

Instead of more guns, as the lobbyists at the NRA say, how about I send my kids to school and the DON'T witness a shootout? How about I go to the movies and just watch a movie? How about I go to the mall and just do some shopping?

The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is NOT a good guy with a gun, it's a bad guy with NO gun.

This problem is NOT too big so solve. Other countries don't have this problem, and they watch the same movies and play the same video games we do. I agree our entertainment is too violent, I disagree it is the only problem.

People say anyone with a Porsche or Corvette is compensating for something, and ads for the Bushmaster that was used in Newtown had slogans like "Get your man card back".

If you need a military style weapon to feel like a man, you have deeper issues, and we do not think "oh, he's got a big gun, he's a real man", we think "oh, that guy spent $800.00 to compensate for something".

And before anyone starts quoting, or more likely, mis-quoting the founding fathers, know that I'll support your right to own a musket. Poor in some powder, pack it down, drop in the ball, take your time. But you wont' get a second shot.

Some gun folks were pointing to an incident in China, where the citizens are not armed, at a school on the same day as Newtown. Over twenty children were attacked by a man with a knife.

As horrifying as that is, there were no fatalities. None.

Keep a shotgun to protect your home or for hunting, keep an appropriate hunting rille and use it for hunting.

But if you think your "right" to own a military weapon outweighs the right of those children to live a decent life, or for the rest of us to enjoy a movie in peace, you need to look deep into yourself and find out what is missing from your life.

And if you think you need a military weapon because the government may get tyrannical, you need to read the Constitution. We overthrow our government all the time. You don't need a gun to do it, you just need to convince enough people to vote with you.

An armed people are not a polite people, an armed people are a third world country.

We're going to hear plenty from "responsible" gun owners, like Lori Klein, who likes to point her little pink gun at people, I'm sure.

I think a responsible gun owner wouldn't need a military grade weapon, and I have yet to hear an argument for military weapons that made any sense.

And please don't say "well, cars kill people all the time, do you want to outlaw cars?", because we regulate cars. I can't drive a NASCAR stock car on the street, and my car, unlike your military weapon, is designed to get me to work and then home, not to kill people.

Which is all that high capacity military grade weapon of your was designed to do.

People don't kill people. People with GUNS kill people. People with high capacity military grade weapons kill lots of people fast.

afnanalog
afnanalog

How about going to a movie and NOT seeing an insanely non-realistic shoot-out, where the "good-guys" never get hurt... only the bad guys?

How about banning violent video games, in public or private?

Our crazy Hollywoodized society makes violence "fun". We have to put a stop to that!

The Constitution put the 2nd Amendment in place to allow us to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government.

Just check out our present government and you'll see why we need the 2nd Amendment.

In the civil war that will follow our coming depression, we will need guns to protect ourselves from thieves (aka non-productive leftists :-)

Chet
Chet

Afnanalog, I won't argue with you about there being too much violence in society, but you need to turn off the AM radio con men and learn to fact check those Tea Party email "newsletters".

I'll bet you my next paycheck your not going to see a civil war in your lifetime.

And you don't need an assault weapon to defeat the government, go back and read your Constitution, you just need to convince enough people to vote with you.

There is no law or FCC regulation stating that you must tell the truth on TV, radio, or the internet. Stop letting the Glenn Beck's and other con men scare you. They're just after your money.

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