Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas Wish List

I continue to take time out from entries about Art in general and/or my art specifically.
I reference a song The Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida sang just this past weekend at our Christmas concert, "Light One Candle," in memory of those children lost on Friday, December 14th, 2012.  I had forgotten this wonderful performance by Peter, Paul and Mary until another choir member sent this today.

At the risk of being sanctimonious I make a few Observations Concerning the Latest Gun Massacre:  One Among Many.

First, There are not enough words in the English language, or any language for that matter to express my anguish and deepest feelings of sympathy for the families of the Twenty-six victims in this horrendous tragedy, part of an epidemic of massacres.

1.     The repetitive reporting of minutia concerning every second that transpired during the shooting, and each and every reaction by any person that reporters can find to comment on these horrendous events trivializes the actual slaughter, and it contributes to our ability to be dysfunctional in our reaction to the mass murder. 

2.     I’ve listened to this comment over and over again, “It’s insanity.  The young man had to be insane. “  The young man may have been insane.  However, we do not know that, besides which most people who are mentally ill do not act out in a violent way. Do not blame all this slaughter on insanity.  That takes us one step away from the actual problem. 

3.     The actual problem is the following.  On a regular basis depressed and/or angry young men commit horrible mass murder with HAND GUNS and SEMI AUTOMATIC WEAPONS (machine guns and military weapons) against innocent fellow Americans; men, women and children.

4.     A secondary issue involves the psychology of modern American men (the entire country in general I might add) that conflates masculinity with guns, and/or violence, anger, and aggression.  Our society is obsessed with guns and violence.  We must address this issue as a major part of the problem!

6.     “I need guns for self defense” is a poor excuse to buy weaponry.  You need one gun for self defense - not two, or four, or twenty of various types with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.   

5.     THE SECOND AMENDMENT DOES NOT GUARANTEE that every American can own as many weapons of any type and as much ammunition as he/she wishes.  (The 2nd Amendment was written in a time when your trusty musket took 20 seconds to load!)  This notion of owning a personal arsenal that enables one to fight a small war is a late Twentieth Century idea that has grown into a bizarre Twenty-first Century craze for weaponry and violence that is a sad (need I say sick) piece of our modern American psyche.  And, I might also add the following.  You do not need an arsenal of weapons to defend yourself against your own democratically elected President, Congress, and Senate, in other words, the Federal Government!  Instead, such a notion is a symptom of the degree of illness to which our nation has succumbed.  I've watched gun advocates defend ownership of weapons of mass destruction on TV this week after these children were splattered all over their classroom (YES SPLATTERED by these military grade weapons) and they are sickeningly without feelings and quite frightening in their advocacy.

8.        It is time to act.  We must stop these monthly mass murders.  We are not impotent.  We can pass a law that requires gun owners to be sane, a law that requires gun owners to pass stringent psychological testing.  The law must require licensing!  The law must require that licensing be renewed on a regular basis.  The law can prescribe the prosecution of gun sellers who violate gun law by locking them up so they can’t continue to commit crimes against society.  The law can limit the purchase of guns to sporting weaponry, and the amount of ammunition to be purchased must be limited.  How many bullets does a person need to kill a deer for food?  And, why would a deer hunter need an AK-47?).  The law can provide that the illegal possession of a gun be an offense that puts the criminal in jail whether sane or insane!
             "But I'm a gun collector,” you say.  In that case, the law must require a special collector’s gun license.  The new law must require that a person who owns 5 or more guns keep his/her guns in a locked safe cabinet, closet, or room, and that they not be loaded when not in use.  The important thing is that the law be specific.  The gun collector must provide actual proof that he/she is the only person who will handle the weapons, and of his/her safe location through written documentation with diagrams and photographs.

Most sensible Democrats and Republicans including some NRA members would agree to most of what I am proposing here, so why can we not do it?  That is a question for each of our congressmen and senators to answer.  Everyone who feels strongly about this issue needs to contact his/her senator and congressman and ask why he/she can’t propose these changes and then vote yes for the changes.

And Finally, I wish everyone a 
Merry Christmas including the NRA, its members, the entire gun lobby, and those persons who advocate keeping and carrying hand guns and weapons of warfare even though YOU are responsible (at least in part) for the deaths of these innocent children!  If you are a Christian, I ask you "What would Jesus say and do?"

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