Friday, September 20, 2013

Guns and Starbucks

"We are beginning to resemble extinct dinosaurs who suffered from too much armor and too little brain."
  --William Sloane Coffin,  Credo

“Guns don’t kill people...people do.” I know. I know. But what happens when crazy people take guns—and we could footnote this in Washington and last night in Chicago—and just about every other week. Starbucks’ President only yesterday had a full page ad in the NY Times...asking the folk that come there to leave their guns at home. He said he didn’t want to get into any kind of political spit-fight with anybody but a lot of those guns are scaring people in Starbucks. And a few guns have gone off inadvertently and I bet a whole lot of people closed up their computers and went home. I applaud him for sticking his neck out.

Looks like guns are here to stay. And—I have no complaint with people owning guns and people living in isolated areas protecting themselves. I have no truck with hunters who love their guns and hunting. I do have trouble with AK-47’s and such. I do have trouble with a society that demand that we have a driver’s license—and now it seems a photo ID to vote—but no restrictions on our guns. And I am deeply troubled with all these laws passed saying we can take guns into churches (anybody ever been to a heated Baptist business meeting?). Now we are told some states are allowing teachers and administrators to take guns into public school classrooms. I even heard of a church recently that was taking their Junior High School kids out to the shooting range and teaching them how to shoot. There is something out of sync with this whole picture. Are we this frightened that we must pack our weapons when we go to the mall or the grocery store?

I’ve held the hand of one man who tried to commit suicide with his gun—half-missed and had only half his head and lived. I think of a little boy who got hold of his Daddy’s gun and it misfired and he is mentally crippled for the rest of his life. I don’t see much hope in changing this picture. I do not think that football games allow guns any more than they allow alcohol. Both would be deadly if someone behind you was yelling for the other side in not-so-civil language. We keep hearing talk about a well-trained militia. Huh? In the place I live there are cops to call and 911 operates pretty well. And out there on the highways are State troopers with guns—trying to do a much better job than any of us could do. I just hope one of these days we really address this problem in some kind of civil discourse.

(Want to read an impassioned article on the power of gun control in this country, read John Morse's fine piece in  Newsweek. John Morse was elected to the Colorado state Senate in November 2012. He swore to take action on the devastation guns had caused in Colorado and across the nation. He was just recalled by the people of his state because of his courageous stand on leading the fight to pass  laws in Colorado that deal with gun violence. In the article he says even though he has lost his job he has no regrets for the stand he has taken. Worth reading.)

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