15 December 2012

A Shooting in Connecticut

I grew up in a small rural town on 1700 acres of heavily wooded hill and meadow. I learned to drive a pickup truck before a car. Many of my friends' families' diets consisted largely of government assistance food supplies augmented with venison and other game (often out of season). I'm a carnivore and an avid supporter of subsistance hunting. Later on, when I moved to the even more rural Eastern Sierra I bartered my culinary services to the local butcher in exchange for a percentage of the venison sausage I'd make for him. I know how to gut and hang a deer and how to set snares for rabbits.

I'm a country boy.

Given all of this - you would think that I should be an advocate for gun owners' rights.

The problem is that I grew up clearly understanding that owning a gun is actually not a right - but rather a privilege and a responsibility. I grew up understanding that guns have only one purpose - killing.

I've been wrestling with my anger and my sadness for 24 hours now. I've decided the only way I can deal with this is by writing my thoughts down.

There is a lot of discussion about the challenges of gun control. About how we need a discussion between the "two sides of the argument."

I'm going to put this very clearly - or at least as clearly as I can.

There are, in fact, two sides to this argument.
On the one side you have the NRA, the politicians they own, and destructive, selfish, amoral hate filled idiots. On the other side you have everyone else.
On the one side you have psychopaths who feel that the privilege of owning a gun comes with no responsibility and no accountability and without a doubt outweighs the tens of thousands of deaths a year that result. On the other side you have sane and rational and moral human beings.

Speaking as someone who does not hate guns - and who will strongly defend the need for some people to own some guns - there is absolutely no rational or moral argument for the civilian ownership of:

  • Assault rifles
  • Semi-automatic high power rifles
  • Automatic rifles
  • Sub-machine guns
  • Handguns
  • Extended capacity clips
  • Bullet proof vests
  • Armor piercing rounds.

Basically - there is absolutely no justifiable or morally supportable reason for the civilian ownership of any military weapons. Why? Because guns have one purpose - killing. And military weapons' purpose is simple - killing humans.

We need real, true gun control.
And it's not that complicated regardless of what anyone says.
Shotguns and hunting rifles should be available to those who pass the background check, get licensed and must be registered.
And that is it.
Full stop.

It's time for this country to take a long hard look at itself and to realize that there is no gray area. There is no middle ground. There is no debate.

Owning guns is a privilege not a right.
It's time to pick your side. Are you a selfish, deluded, amoral fantasist? Or are you a decent human.

I know that in the next election I will not vote for any candidate who has taken a single penny from the NRA. And I will not vote for a single candidate who has remained silent at this time. Hiding does not protect you from accountability.

Pick your side elected officials. Because this time.... this time we are going to have no choice but to assume that inaction means you have picked the wrong side.

The day of reckoning is coming. Count on it.


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