Carnes: Sadly, some things just never change
“We must press urgently for legislation … to help prevent the wrong person from obtaining firearms.”
Strong words, and we would do well to heed them.
Depressed and bullied at school, a lonely teen legally purchases a gun and kills innocent people. Pro and anti-gun fanatics hold a field day of blame games while those in the middle use social media to project the tragically redundant “thoughts and prayers” to help them sleep better. Within a few days, extreme weather and/or a major sporting event occurs and we all move forward with rose-colored memories.
It’s Groundhog Day all over again.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
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Let that sink in for a few moments.
I recently spent time in three European countries and returned home with three major thoughts on how Europeans currently view Americans:
- None wanted to discuss the former president. In fact, no one even asked.
- All wanted to discuss Ukraine and America’s involvement.
- All wanted to know why Americans are so obsessed with guns.
While pleasantly surprised at the first and eager to discuss the second, I was at a loss for the third; I did not know, nor could I explain. I grew up with guns and still have a few handy. Stopped hunting in my 20s, yet can currently protect my home and family.
But the obsessions and fears perpetuated from far-right fanatics over gross misinterpretations of a constitutional amendment written over 230 years ago is not a subject I could claim to understand, much less defend, with any intellectual logic other than it is used as a political dividing line during election years.
I did tell them that in today’s America there are three things that are inevitable: death, taxes, and fear of losing our guns.
When asked who is taking the guns, I responded, “No one, actually, it’s just the fear of it that seems to scare the bejeebers out of a vocal minority.”
Tilted heads followed, and the subject would quickly change to food and drink orders.
When I did attempt an explanation with any merit, I found myself simply making excuses for what I believe is not responsible for our national obsession.
It is not too many liberal teachers, too many doors (good grief that was stupid), transgender students, not enough gods, too many gods, not enough guns, broken homes, social media, depression medication, wokeness, currents levels of gun controls, and it sure as hell is not going to be stopped by putting a silly sign on the front door of a school as a deterrent.
But we have all, in one form or another, contributed to this national mindset for such horrific acts, leaving me to wonder how many more dead children laying on a math classroom floor or empty shells among the fruit and veggie aisle will it take to motivate our elected leaders to have the courage to legislate common sense regulations designed to keep firearms away from the mentally deranged minority without infringing on the rights of the law-abiding majority.
Oh, and the quote in my opening line?
It was President Lyndon Baines Johnson after a school shooter in Austin, Texas, killed 17 and wounded over 30 others in August of 1966.
Sadly, some things just never change.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.