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2008-02-21 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

The Topic (Again) Is Guns. How Can We Avoid It?
By Charles Rogers

By Charles Rogers

Four times within the past three weeks, a killer has entered a school in this country and at least one victim has been shot to death.

The last shooting took place on Valentine's Day - supposedly a day reserved for love - when a lone man entered Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois and killed five students and wounded 16 before killing himself in a campus lecture hall. Published reports indicated he entered the hall behind a lecturer at about 3 p.m. wielding a 12-gauge, short shotgun and two automatic handguns, kicked a rear door open and, matter of factly, started shooting. After a short period of time, he brought one of the handguns to his head and shot himself to death.

Just like all the rest.

Matched with those other, similar shootings in Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee and California, of course, there was the tragedy ten months ago when a deranged killer shot 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech University. It was the worst massacre ever at a college or university. The worst ever. I don't remember whether I wrote one of these anti-gun things at the time, although I probably did. Every once in a while, when I think it might make some kind of an impact somewhere, I'll go off half-cocked and, at worst, get it out of my system.

When is it going to stop? I'm not talking about my rantings (I'll never stop that!), I'm talking aboutthe near-profusion of guns. They're everywhere. And now they're thinking of allowing guns on college campuses - no doubt as a result of the latest tragedy. Now that's intelligent thinking. If the students had had weapons, the shooter at NIU might not have been able to kill quite as many, but he still would have gotten off almost as many shots, if for no other reason than the element of surprise alone. He didn't really have to aim, since he was shooting at the class in general; just spraying his shots wherever he wanted. Had his victims had guns, do you think they would have hit him right away? Fat chance! Even a sharpshooter police officer would have trouble, given the circumstances.

There are so many reasons to have responsible gun control. Admit it. You with the soft temper... How do you feel about it? You with the hard temper - the one who goes a little bit out of control now and then, especially when you've had a couple of drinks? And how about you - the guy who already doesn't know when to stop drinking and has gotten a couple of DWI tickets along the way? Do you think you can handle a gun? Hell, you can't even handle a car!

And don't forget about road rage. I'm not the best driver in the world, but I'd hate to be doing 55 on a highway and have some impatient idiot with a handgun tailgating me because he wants to do 65. If he doesn't knock me off the road, he could just as well shoot me. Yeah, SHOOT ME!

And don't give me that Second Amendment stuff either. We already have a militia. It's called the National Guard. According to that Amendment, they're allowed to have guns. You're not.

Although I've been a staunch advocate of gun control for years, I have almost given up my active advocacy - except in what you're reading now - because of two things: 1) Trying to get rid of the National Rifle Association (NRA) lobby in Wash-ington is like trying to shut up a congressman's filibuster or talking to a blank wall; and 2) I have high blood pressure and trying to get rid of the National Rif....,etc., etc. will lead to my untimely demise (not that the NRA would mind, but I do have relatives who, I think, care!). Essentially, therefore, I've given up.

Thanks to the NRA and their paid supporters in Congress, those bans on gun control will just keep popping up and be passed because that's the way things work in Washington, D.C. That's the way things work when too many spineless politicians are afraid of just one lobby; when the fear of losing their job is a larger emotion than losing a human being; when they have, perhaps, some guts; when not joining the club might indicate they'll go against that wayward grain and, for once, think for themselves and protect their constituents.

Never mind, though, gang. Continue your wimping ways and stand in line; don't be a leader in the fight; do the bidding of the lobbyist. Then you can go back to the Old West, head for the saloon and shoot up the town with the rest of the "good ol' boys." That's what being a politician is all about, isn't it?

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