Again! Again! Again!

Again! Again! Again!
A demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington D.C. area, in the wake of the February 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo by Lorie Shaull via Flickr Creative Commons

How many more shootings must we have before this nation comes to its senses? Actually, the question should be addressed to legislators, particularly those of Congress. Many polls indicate that the general population is in favor of various common-sense gun control measures, but the National Rifle Association seems to prevail with our elected legislators.

Yes, I know that guns do not act alone. A human is required just as with any other killing weapon. That seems to me to justify regulation on the handling and use, as well as on the availability, of weapons. All the more so when one considers the purpose of any weapon.

Yes, I’ve heard of the need to defend oneself but did it ever occur to the advocates for unlimited gun control that a bit of control in the availability and use of weapons would make defense less necessary? Furthermore, there are many other methods of defense.

Let me disavow that I am an uncontrolled “anti-gun nut.” There is a place for them. Largely in military defense or even sport hunting. There is no place for military weapons under any conditions except military defense.

I digress. Let me return to my weapons experience that determined my gun attitude. I grew up on a farm in middle Georgia where guns were always in view and remain so today as the income of that land is now from hunting.

The farm guns were for defense from humans with less than honorable purposes, but much more often they were used on wild animals disturbing the domestic ones.

My widowed grandmother kept a pistol hanging high well out of reach of children on the headboard of her bed. She knew how to use it, and did occasionally. More than likely it would be the proverbial “fox in the henhouse.” Yes, that saying does have a real basis of origin.

The men also hunted doves and quails in season—women seldom participated in the sport in that day and age. It was both recreation and food. Much as it might be difficult for city folks to appreciate that birds are delicious, and eating them is no different than other food fowl that we humans enjoy.

The beginning skill for use of guns was normally a .22-caliber rifle. My brothers learned from such, but as a female I only shot one once. A much more serious lesson in guns came to me as a naval officer, when in training I had to shoot a .45-caliber revolver. That is when I learned that the kick of a gun as I had only heard of was real. What a shock! The U.S. Navy used them because little aim was required to do real damage.

As a naval officer, I had an experience that is both a human interest story and a lesson that we humans could learn about giving others, as unlike us as they might be, the benefit of the doubt.

Top secret messages had to be delivered by a commissioned officer from the San Francisco Naval Communications Station to smaller military operations in the area. Knowing that when my duty ended at 11 o’clock that night the oncoming group could hardly spare an officer gone for the time required to deliver a message to Port Chicago, I volunteered to take the message.

Accordingly, transportation was called and I took off with “a .45” on my hip. Upon arriving at the car, I started to get in the back seat when the driver, a hulking Black man, pointed to the front seat. Remember, I was 21 years old straight out of the segregated South, so this was somewhat strange as we usually sat in the back seat.

We chatted as we rode along instead of the sleep I had expected to get in the back seat. It did not take long to realize that we were both out of our comfort zones when he admitted that he was not going to have any woman with a gun—any kind, much less a .45—sitting at his back, and I likewise explained that I had intended to use the time to sleep.

How simple, how human that both of us had misjudged from our life experiences. I am so glad I had that lesson at an early age. I bet he too learned from the experience.

Back to the point of today’s completely unreconciled gun love in this nation, I ask what it takes for common sense to find a place.

As this is written, another gun massacre occurred in our nation. In Louisville, Ky., this time. A bank, not a school, but is that really any less horrible?

Such events are so regular and so unreasonable that few of us could begin to remember just how terrible the numbers are in our country. No one has been able to wipe out mass shootings, but no other place on the planet has experienced the horror as we have.

There are ways to mitigate the problem if the members of Congress can consider how the world has changed since our Constitution was approved. I think we can safely say that not one man signing that document had any vision of the country, much less the world, of today. I cannot believe that they would object to some reasonable measures.

After all, the guns themselves are much stronger to say nothing of how we can predict some likelihood of misuse that could, at the very least when put into practice, prevent the near daily occurrences in the United States.

Most emphatically, there is no reason whatsoever for the automatic military weapon so often used in these multiple deaths to be in the hands of any civilian. We have strong statistics indicating that during the few years when such weapons were banned far fewer people met their death at the hands of those using the AR-15. What more do we need to convince us?

It is time, way past time, for sensible gun laws. What more does it take?

Note, not one word has been said about defunding police. Such utterings are ridiculous. Granted, there have been cases where police have been too quick to shoot to kill but recognize the conditions that they face every day. In the Louisville shooting, a young, just sworn in police officer was shot in the head. Does anyone really think that even if he survives, he, his family, friends, colleagues and medical caretakers will ever be the same?

The world will never be rid of weapons be they used for defense or ill intent, but we can make the world safer with common-sense regulations. It is impossible to remove all weapons from the nation, or those who cause trouble with them. but we certainly can manage them better. It is time to do so.


  • Ruth Gadebusch

    Ruth Gadebusch, a former naval officer, was recently recognized by the League of Women Voters with its Lipton Award for volunteer work in various community endeavors. She was elected four times to the Fresno Unified School District Board, appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is an emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education.

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