I would like to weigh in with my opinion – and it’s just my opinion – on the strengthening of our gun laws that is front and center in the national dialogue. I am NOT a registered Republican or Democrat. I own five firearms. I have been a hunter earlier in my youth. I am a retired US Navy Captain and Naval Aviator. I fully support the 2nd Amendment.
However, for me, it no longer feels right or responsible to remain on the sidelines. When I heard of the Sandy Hook tragedy, my daughter was also 6 years hold, and I remember having to go into the forward lavatory of the 737 I was Captain of and let the tears of grief flow when I thought of my daughter and the terror those children must have gone through in their final moments. A few years later, a relative of ours was shot in the San Bernardino mass murders. A few years after that, the horrors of the Las Vegas shootings touched the lives of many of my co-workers at my Las Vegas crew base who were at that concert on that horrible night. At my own church, we now have armed security personnel that "blend in" with the congregation . . . just in case.
The time has come for something beyond "thoughts and prayers." I also know that there are many societal factors that contribute to these horrible acts of insanity. Still, we've got to start somewhere . . .
I agree on an assault-rifle ban and large-capacity magazines. These weapons/components are not designed for “home defense” – they are designed to kill or wound as many people as possible in the shortest possible time. This is a weapon of war that should only be in the hands of war-fighters. If the zombie apocalypse breaks out, then fine, allow these weapons.
I agree with universal background checks for gun purchases. The logic behind this should not require explanation. If you are a responsible and law-abiding citizen, you get to own a weapon. If not, sorry, you lose that right. Will it stop every bad actor? Of course not. But it will stop some, and that’s better than none.
I have grown sick and tired of the NRA/far-right fear-mongering that Democrats (or anybody not lock-step aligned with them - including moderate Republicans) are “here to take your guns!!!”. My wife is a Democrat, and an activist. I have friends that some would consider flaming liberals. I have yet to hear any of these people, or the organizations they belong to, call for the abolishment of the 2nd amendment, or some draconian interpretation of it. They feel, as do most of us in the middle, that a more responsible application is required. That’s it.
I am proud that the youth of our country have taken a very vocal and visible stand on the issue. “When our children act like leaders, and our leaders act like children, change is coming.” Gives me hope for our country’s future. My wife attended one of the three San Diego marches, and said it was one of the most moving experiences she had ever attended. However, I have actually seen postings from people that I know and respect, saying that these demonstrations are really part of some deep-state government indoctrination program, or that they all should've stayed in school and studied why there is a 2nd Amendment. One extremely tone-deaf former governor went on CNN to say that kids should've spent their time learning CPR so they would be better prepared for the next active shooter occurrence. To me, their demonstration was an invaluable civics lesson that no textbook could ever teach.
Which leads me to my final point. I was a member of the military. I have worked in or with governmental organizations for most of my adult life. I have never EVER gotten one whiff of some sinister government plan to turn our country into a police state (as the far-right believes), or an oligarchy (as the far-left believes). Yes, we should always be suspect of our government, foreign agents, and news sources - and hold them accountable. But the idiotic mouthpieces of both the far-left and the far-right are preying on our fears and destroying our faith and belief in not only our system of government, but of our fellow citizens as well - who just happen to be our friends and neighbors that we live and work with.
Like I said – this is just my opinion, one of many out there. All are valid, and the hopes and fears of each are usually based on some kernel of truth. All I am searching for is what might be the best way to approach this problem. A problem that will soon show itself again if history is any lesson. So rant away, if you want. De-friend me, if you must. But please, be willing to listen as well as be heard.
I have always liked the phrase “Strive to understand, not to be understood.” Good words for all of us to live by.