As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania one of the anticipations of the autumn aside from harvest, football, and hay rides was hunting. It was a time of brotherly camaraderie, enjoying the fall colors in the woods, sipping hot cider on frosty mornings. We hunted squirrel, rabbit, pheasants, turkey, and deer. Every kill was taken home, dressed and put into a stew or into the freezer for future use. Never was the bounty of the land wasted or taken for granted. Wild game was another crop which the farmer harvested, gave thanks for, and used wisely.
As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania we all had at least one shotgun and rifle. I had a 20 gauge and a 35 caliber, learned to use them safely, and appreciated the trust bestowed in me to hunt with other sportsmen. I knew of no one who possessed or carried a pistol, revolver or any other small arms except for the local constable. Absolutely no one in my community had a need for a military style weapon, especially law enforcement.
As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania we held a respect for one another that would preclude any actions of violence against our brothers and sisters. It was not taught, it was not learned. It was a part of who we were on the day we were born. We called ourselves pacifists, but even more, we practiced nonviolence. Pacifism is an attitude or mindset. Nonviolence is an active pursuit.
Sadly, life in America today isn’t rural Pennsylvania 60 years ago. Our viewing screens are plastered with the violence we level upon one another; Columbine, NYC, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Dallas, Charleston, and now Las Vegas. Its an epidemic of violence fueled by fringe ideology with one common denominator: access to high powered, military style weaponry.
Many of those who claim a right to guns are no longer sport hunters who harvest the bounty of the land. They have become instead proponents of the 2 nd Amendment accumulating enough arms to start a world war in their own backyards and they are supported by the power of the NRA, an association which began as a voice for the rights of hunters.
The perpetrators of the acts of violence which we see on our screens and in the newspapers are usually declared as mentally deranged. Matters not. The supporters of NRA claim that their right to possess military style weapons supersedes the rights of fellow Americans and their families to live safely in peaceful neighborhoods, communities, and cities.
In Florida, the state laws favor the gun owner who claims a right to carry at all times. The illusion is that they want the ability to protect themselves in case of a deranged shooter engaging in a confrontation. Hey, folks, it’s the OK Corral in your local WalMart, aisle 6.
“Who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy….I dunno, just get the hell out of the crossfire.”
They say it’s for protection. Guess what? I feel safer hiking through the nearby woods with the alligators, the water moccasins, the bears, and the occasional homeless guy than I do shopping at my local grocery store. That’s the depth of moral deprivation into which our society has slid.
Next time you see or hear “God, guns, and guts” think about it. Give the association of those three words in the same sentence some serious thought. As the proud proponents of gun rights often proclaim:
“They’ll have to pry my gun out of my dead hands.” Well, then so be it. It’s your choice. But, don’t kill me or my loved ones in the process.