Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Introduction: The next five days

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in the shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3

For the next five days I will hijack my own soap box. I am going to go off topic and discuss something that has been on my mind lately - the role of firearms in our society.

I desire a safer, more civil, society. We are not on a path to create such. In fact, if we continue on the path we're on society will continue to be less and less civil and less and less safe.

To be clear, I believe we need more control of firearms. I don't want anyone to take away my guns. I am a sportsman who enjoys the legal use of firearms. But the events of the past year and the past month have lead me to the conclusion that things must change.

Within a short walk of my home, three houses have empty beds where small children slept before they were murdered by a person using legal weapons that had no justifiable place in our community. In less than ten minutes I can drive to seventeen other homes with the same vacant beds. These children all died in the same first grade classroom in which my youngest son sat seven years ago.

There are wounds here that will never heal. Lives that will never be lived. And all because we as a society are incapable of understanding and remedying a threat that can be understood and remedied.

We have chosen not to address gun violence -- our collective response of one violent episode after another is to shrug our shoulders and marvel at how unsolvable the issue is.

We have chosen to be the dutiful subjects of special interests on this matter.

I believe it is time for us to chose differently.

I have.

I hope that you will too.

I will try and limit each day's essay to six hundred words so that they will be tolerable to read. The five topics will be:
  1. My story as a gun owner - Just so you know where I'm starting from
  2. Facts about gun violence - You'll be startled at how little we know
  3. The Second Amendment - You'll be startled at how little we know
  4. The Emotional Problem -  The thing that prevents us from acting
  5. Common Sense Proposals - That some will hate
During this week, comment moderation will be turned on. I welcome all supporting and dissenting comments. I encourage civil discourse. I discourage you from being neutral on the matter. I will be the final arbiter of what gets published and what doesn't.

I appreciate all of you accommodating this brief change of topic and will return in a week's time with more about fishing and photography and the random stuff to which you've all become accustomed. I am deeply grateful for your friendship and your humor.

Read the next post in the series

20 comments:

  1. I'm listening, brave sir. Talk on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be interesting. At least for me. :)

      Delete
  2. Steve, I have composed three notes to you over the last week. As rebuttal to my views on gun control, links have been put up about the Sandy Hook Hoax. I'm hoping, with you so close, you can touch on this somehow. I have no clue how to even begin to respond to the people putting this up. I can't reach through the computer screen and throttle them, which is what want to do.

    Looking forward to what you write Steve. I may wind up passing it around the Chicago area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ken - these folks, and I don't mean the ones who are trolls or do this for entertainment, cause there are plenty of those bastards, but the ones who actually believe that Aurora and Sandy Hook and 9/11 are hoaxes perpetrated by big government, need to have their tin foil hats seized and be directed to a mental health professional. We used to have institutions for such folk.

      Delete
    2. I'm going to let you get up on your soap box and let you have my ChicagoNow blog too. Just put up something there letting people know your posts will be coming. It will be a simple link to you for each post. I don't know or care if passing along links to other blogs is proper blog etiquette, sometimes circumstances call for it.

      Luckily my dealings with the so called Truthers have all been online. I have no clue how I'll react to one face-to-face.

      Delete
  3. Steve, you have my attention! I will be reading closing and looking forward to your posts and also the the comments left. Carry on, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Appreciate the support. I'll be interested to know what you think as my thoughts unfold.

      Delete
  4. Good on ya Steve for taking this on. Something needs to change, but I believe we are irresponsible as a society if we don't also address our total lack of public mental health infrastructure.

    I look forward to your subsequent posts on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brent - mental health is the trickiest part of the equation. While it's obvious that the insane shouldn't have weapons establishing and informing a system about someone's mental state is tricky. I agree that more mental health is needed, I agree certain folks who are mentally ill should not have access to weapons including firearms. Privacy issues around mental health is tricky. That said, we need to try.

      Delete
  5. Steve, I applaud your fortitude. I couldn't agree with you more about this country heading in a significantly more dangerous direction than it should. It's time for a change, including the responsible and sensible owners of guns to speak up. This is not about confiscating guns from these individuals. It is about making this country safe to live in for everyone, including those that don't like guns. It is no different than making the highways safe to drive on. This is a national tragedy and embarrassment. Thank you for speaking up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support. I agree completely with what you say.

      Delete
  6. The second amendment allows us the right to bear arms, but I don't think our founding fathers had a semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round clip in mind. Deer rifle, hand gun, I'm OK with that. Semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round clip? what deer hunter needs one of those? Give the poor deer a chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll address this topic tomorrow but I agree that certain semi-automatic firearms do not belong in the hands of citizens. Thanks for stopping by, Mark.

      Delete
  7. Look forward to reading each post and hope that the resulting dialogue leads to civil exchanges and a chance to exercise our common sense.

    Although I am not a gun owner, I have no problems with gun ownership. For some reason, I can think of no cogent argument for a private individual to own a semi-automatic weapon. This has to stop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The definitions are tricky -- there are many semi-automatic firearms, firearms that fire a single bullet with each pull of the trigger and automatically chamber a round from the magazine, that I'm fine with. But when you combine a semi-automatic rifle with a high capacity magazine you begin to create a weapon system that goes beyond what I think is reasonable. More on this tomorrow.

      Delete
  8. Thanks Steve ... I look forward to a great week of reading. I'm sharing this far and wide.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have hunted with firearms, protected myself with firearms, and at one time even earned a living with a firearm, I am tired of the presence of these tools turned weapons, an american society that is in an arms race with the very family it lives next door to.. watching the old worn out tradition of the american asignment of blame.... never a solution, only a victim.. and a culprit.. news that reads like pulp fiction.. peaple hurting one another... our nation is at war with itself over the right to own something thats only job is to mame or kill.. some say no citizen needs the right to have a semi automatic rifle.. I say No one, anywhere should have an automatic weapon.. but thats just silly talk, because the human desires to hurt other humans, no matter how much we evolve.. I have given this problem to God in my heart.. and that is why I will take the next week off from reading your blog, I know it will be well written and inteligent, and probably worthy of my attention.. but I live in a state with very few electorial colledge votes... and we all know that in our country only a handful of states matter.. and we have have a small population and very few senators and congressmen.. so winning me over doesn't even win a vote... because in our system.. my opinions, feelings and vote.. simply do not matter- My heart goes out to your community, and I have prayed for all of you- Brad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Brad. I certainly understand your sentiments and will see you in a week. Be well.

      Delete
  10. I apologize for the mistake above when I said "congressmen and senators" I meant to say represenatives, Im tired tonight after driving 8 hours round trip to a class to update myself on the 144 new regulations the coast gaurd, national marine fisheries and the E.P.A have passed this year making my job of feeding the world more costly and difficult and expensive, funny, you would think one simple gun law to protect our children a other loved ones would be a simple task... go figure-

    ReplyDelete