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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

...from my cold, dead hands

Remember when airplane hijackings were 'the thing' and almost every other day, someone with a gun was ordering an airline pilot to fly to Cuba? We really didn't have a good plan to stop all that nonsense. This was the lead-up to all of today's security. Welcome TSA.

On one flight I was took during that era, the pilot actually addressed the passengers with this message: "If you ever see someone stand up with a gun on this plane, everyone--ALL OF YOU--throw whatever you have in your hands... books, purses, briefcases-- anything and everything-- at that person's head... as hard as you can. Then the five closest jump on him!"

And that's a true story.

A comedian of the time offered an alternative plan: "As you board the plane, everyone will be issued a loaded handgun. A hijacker would have to be crazy to try anything."

Flash to today and the era of Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, etc. There have been 29--yes, 29 mass shootings since Columbine on April 20, 1999. At this rate, we'll be in triple digits before our kids grow up. We have certainly come a long way from hijackings.

And yes... sadly, that's true.

In America, we have freedom of Speech, but it has limitations--you can't yell FIRE! in a crowded theater or cause harm or impinge on the rights of others.. a common sense thing.

Now I'm a Second Amendment proponent and in America there is a place for guns (its the culture, stupid)... but apparently without the common sense thing. Thanks NRA.

This isn't a message of how to fix it. This is about how to understand it.

The NRA proposes we arm teachers and/or security and eliminate gun-free school zones to make our children safer. The surest way to combat bad guys with guns is with good guys with guns, they say.

On the weekend of January 19th this year, in three separate gun shows around the country, there were five firearms casualties... minor casualties thank God, but three accidental gun discharges wounding five people.

You know, I've been to gun shows. Everyone there is some kind of a gun buff or gun knowledgeable at the least. According to the NRA then, gun shows should be the safest place around. But hey, accidents happen. That's why every gun show I ever knew bans loaded weapons on the premises. Why? For safety reasons. ('They' said it, not me.)

Many of our teachers (some with little and/or reluctant experience in firearms--but they took the course) may wind up packing loaded guns. Common sense would ask, how could that be safer? Accidents kill too! And cross fire. So what is the greater danger? Hopefully/naively, maybe none of our schools will ever have an incident, but many will 'be packin' around children, pre-teens and older students (some of which already have, carry and bring guns to school) all the time. Bad mix.

Yes, I agree. A gun in the right place could save a life. The NRA journal, The American Rifleman, used to (and may still) run a column called "The armed citizen," which told stories of people with guns defeating burglars, bad guys, etc. A good read. But it never told stories that had bad endings. Real life has bad endings. Think that would never happen? How old are you... 3?

Attention to mental health issues, background checks for all, better and surer enforcement of crimes with guns, common sense... yeah, I'm for all that. Large capacity magazines and guns that could easily be made fully automatic, I'm against that. But there are millions of those products already out there so we'll have to live with those, no matter what. Somehow, I don't feel safer.

In closing... Hey, look at us. We remain the rootinist, tootinist, gun totin' people on earth. Eat your heart out, rest of the world. Nobody takin' our rights away! We're Number One... by an incredible large margin. Doesn't anyone else 'get it' but us?

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