Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Open Letter To America

Hello my Southern Brother. I bring greetings and a message.

That was the greeting.

This is the message:

It’s time to grow up. Growing up means looking around and seeing what is really true. What is really true is your society is fecked and all the John Waynes in the world cain’t hardly fix it.

How many of your children do you need to see killed by your own people’s hands - with the guns you make so readily available - before you begin to suspect that maybe, just maybe, your almighty worship of the 2nd Amendment is a bit - well, so 19th century? (I sincerely and deeply apologize for the previous sentence. Parse it at your risk.).

It’s 2012. Most of the developed world’s citizens handle gun ownership sensibly. Only one of them still considers it a Divine Right of The Only God That Matters.

That would be YOU, USA. You, who continue to kill your children in your schools. Or movie-goers in their theatres. Or wherever a crowd - and future, fleeting internet/tv glory - abides.

Your gun-worshipping culture is killing your children at a rate that appals the rest of the world. Yet here and there, I see and hear pockets of Americans whispering the heresy of...gasp...gun control. They are quickly and vociferously drowned out by the outraged Gun Worshippers and their well-funded PR machine.

They even somehow manage to spin their voodoo to suggest that only gun-totin’ “real” Americans are favoured by Jesus Christ All-Mighty His Own Self. And that pencil-necked Liberal pansies are first in line for eternal fiery torment - so help ya’ god.

And so it goes.

On and on.

The heartbreak of torn-apart families. The burials of small children who had no understandable, earthly reason to be dead so soon. Communities, teachers, parents everywhere living with a new nightmare.

It’s very wrong. And I think making guns, especially handguns and assault weapons, more difficult to buy, would go a long way towards stopping horrors like that of Dec. 14th, 2012 in Newtown Connecticut.

At least talk about it. Nobody is taking guns away. Just talk about making them a little tougher to get and their owner vetted more closely.

 In Canada, if you want to buy a gun you need to get a Firearms Acquisition Certificate. In order to get said certificate, you need to pass a police check and a firearms safety course. Then, and only then, can you purchase a gun and ammunition.

If you feel the need to carry a handgun because of your business or the fact you belong to a gun club, you apply for a permit to buy and carry one. As far as I know, this may require a deeper background check and/or more training with a weapon before the handgun permit is issued.

If taking one more course, or having to purchase one more permit, or having to wait two more weeks, means one more whacko flips out BEFORE getting his hands on a piece - all of society will benefit.

So please, my Brother By A Southern Mother, just talk about it.

Don’t bury more of your children. It doesn’t need to be like this.


Red said...

Thanks for saying this so well. It's one of the things that has to happen to bring about more safety.. People with serious mental disorders have to be picked up and looked after long before they become harmful.

messymimi said...

We need to handle this, and so much of our society, more responsibly.

Leah J. Utas said...

Right from the gut, Frank, and the heart. Well done.

Unknown said...

Anen, well said.

Tallayne said...

too true Frank :(

Hilary said...

Well said. Sickening that it needed to be said, but well said.

Today was such a horrible thing. May those poor innocents rest in peace.

Dawn Wilson said...

It's a terrible tragedy what happened in Connecticut today. I am still trying to understand why. And how? How did this happen? How did someone manage to get so many assault weapons in the home and take them onto school property? We DO need to make it harder to get guns into everybody's hands. Thank you for posting this. It is very well put.

Anvilcloud said...

But don't you find it so comforting to hear, "Guns don't kill, people do?"

Bruce Robinson said...

Perhaps it is nationalism that makes me respond in this way, and perhaps it is my life experience and legal education that slant my views, but I must take exception, my friend.

All of the restraints on gun ownership that you suggest exist in all of the US locations where these evil events take place. All of them also have restrictions against theft, possession of drugs (even marijuana) and prohibitions against assaulting others. Yet these events still happen. It saddens most of us that people would do such things to each other, but that takes us back to evil.

The problem is one of human fallacy, of the inability of some to process information and behave in a civil manner. It is abhorrent behavior; sometimes extending into evil.

The US can take credit for many things, but having citizens willing to kill their brethren is a trait shared by many countries, not the least of which is Canada. We might be thankful at the lack of reporting from our southern neighbor, Mexico, where indiscriminate mass killing is a daily occurrence.

Yesterday, a man in China cut or stabbed 20 schoolchildren and an adult. They didn't die. It isn't world news.

April 1982 - SOUTH KOREA - A police officer went on a drunken rampage in Sang-Namdo with rifles and hand grenades, killing 57 people and wounding 38 before blowing himself up.

August 19, 1987 - BRITAIN - A 27-year-old gunman rampaged through the English town of Hungerford, killing 16 people and wounding 11 before shooting himself.

July 1989 - FRANCE - A French farmer shot and killed 14 people including members of his family in the village of Luxiol, near the Swiss border. He was wounded and captured by police.

December 1989 - CANADA - A 25-year-old war movie fan with a grudge against women shot dead 14 young women at the University of Montreal, and then killed himself.

November 1990 - NEW ZEALAND - A gun-mad loner killed 11 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police.

September 1995 - FRANCE - A 16-year-old youth ran amok with a rifle in the town of Cuers, killing 16 people and then himself after an argument with his parents.

March 13, 1996 - BRITAIN - A gunman burst into a primary school in the Scottish town of Dunblane and shot dead 16 children and their teacher before killing himself.

April 28, 1996 - AUSTRALIA - A gunman unleashed modern Australia's worst mass murder when he shot dead 35 people at the Port Arthur tourist site in the southern state of Tasmania.

April 1999 - USA - Two heavily armed teenagers went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.

July 1999 - USA - A gunman killed nine people at two brokerages in Atlanta, after apparently killing his wife and two children. He committed suicide five hours later.

June 2001 - NEPAL - Eight members of the Nepalese Royal family were killed in a palace massacre by Crown Prince Dipendra who later turned a gun on himself and died few days later. His youngest brother also died later raising the death toll to 10.

April 26, 2002 - GERMANY - In Erfurt, eastern Germany, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a school, killing 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a policeman before killing himself.

October 2002 - USA - Two men killed 10 people in sniper-style shooting deaths that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area.

(to be continued)

Bruce Robinson said...

(continued from prior comment)

April 16, 2007 - USA - A gunman killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia.

September 23, 2008 - FINLAND - A student opened fire in a vocational school in Kauhajoki in northwest Finland, killing nine other students and one staff member, and then killed himself.

March 11, 2009 - GERMANY - A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black combat gear killed nine students and three teachers at a school near Stuttgart. He also killed one other person at a nearby clinic. He was later killed in a shoot-out with police.

November 5, 2009 - USA - A gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, a U.S. Army base in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 31. An Army major was charged in connection with the rampage.

June 2, 2010 - BRITAIN - A gunman opened fire on people in towns across the rural county of Cumbria. Twelve people were killed and 11 injured. The gunman then killed himself.

July 22, 2011 - NORWAY - A gunman blew up a government building in Oslo and then opened fire at a youth summer camp of Norway's ruling political party, on the holiday island of Utoeya, killing 77 people.

July 20, 2012 - USA - A masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 when he opened fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

August 5, 2012 - USA - A gunman opened fire during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He killed six people before he was shot dead by police.

December 14, 2012 - USA - A heavily armed gunman killed at least 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and a body was found elsewhere in the town. The gunman was also dead.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/timeline-worst-mass-shootings-globe-article-1.1220608#ixzz2F8ZX9J58

Thannk you, Frank, for accepting my comment on this post.

Unknown said...

I live about 25 minutes from Newtown and have discovered all kinds of connections to the town and in some cases, the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Sure, the killings detailed above are about human fallacy, and sometimes evil as we commonly understand it. That other cultures and nations have documented instances of their own massacres and disgusting acts does not mean we as a nation cannot strive to do better. There are many ways in which individuals break established laws but not all of them present the possibility of massive, unbearable loss of life . So we acknowledge evil is out there. Evil, no matter how you wish to define it, has always existed and there is no reason to believe it is headed towards extinction. It is universal and doesn't recognize national borders.

I don't know enough about gun control laws to offer specifics on what needs to change, nor do I know much about enforcement of current laws. I do know I love my country and it is clear to me it is time for a change. Looking at gun control laws and enforcement of laws seems like a logical place to start.

Lisa said...

You said it brother!

Charlie said...

Frank, I feel your pain. I think what upsets us the most is the vociferous and venomous reaction to calls for discussion on gun control in the aftermath of these terrible tragedies.

Bruce, you make good points. Insanity exists everywhere. All societies need to acknowledge this and at least be willing to talk and do their utmost to make sure that those who would do evil have as hard a time as possible getting their hands on instruments of death.

I do not own a gun. I do not want to own a gun. I do not want to touch a gun. They are instruments of violence and as such, I want nothing to do with them. I feel the Earth would be a much better place if every gun on the planet suddenly disappeared. But we all know that's not going to happen, so we have to find a way to deal with it. Not an easy job, but we HAVE to try.

Grayquill said...

I started to write a response. Someone said if you can't write it you don't know it. I am conflicted. I also believe what is beyond our control is within our influence. Good job being an influence.
The horror of this event does cause that something inside us to scream, this is so wrong. Hang in there and keep influencing.

c.morace said...

As a card carrying member of the NRA let me say that I would be the first to agree to sign papers, to be investigated, to attend courses....to have a waiting period....whatever to prevent such a tragedy. But do I think it would - no, the persons wielding the gun in these massacres are desperate, sick individuals and no amount of legislation will prevent every one of them from releasing their demons. The above average intelligence of most will enable them to concoct bombs, use poison or even manufacture their own firearm (instructions are on the internet) That said, if there is the slightest chance that more restriction will save innocent lives, I will agree to training and registering, but never to banning or confiscation because someone is going to have to be armed to defend those who give up that right sooner or later.
Step 1 - eliminate God from public knowledge
Step 2 - disarm the citizens
Step 3 - control the information networks
Step 4 - Indoctrinate the children
Step 5 - divide the cultures and classes with bigotry and envy
Finally Step 6 - enslave an unarmed, uninformed, no longer God fearing, populace by preying upon their hatred of one another.
That formula should sound historically familiar and tragically eerily current in the USA. I am sad & shattered so I hope this makes sense.

Frank Baron said...

Thank you all for your comments. I very much appreciate you taking the time.

ellen abbott said...

There is no good reason for semi-automatic assault weapons to be available to the public at large regardless of what all you conspiracy theorists spout. We are not a population under siege and even if we were? Don't think for a minute that you or any of your brethren would be able to stand up against a police force or army intent on either getting your guns or killing you. So that whole argument of an armed populace keeping government in check doesn't hold water. The other big argument that it's because we took prayer out of school and 'god' out of the public sphere? Hogwash. First of all, though we don't now force our children to start the day with a prayer in school (and don't kid yourself, they mean christian prayer in school), you can't hardly turn around in this country without bumping into the christian god. Anyway, I grew up with prayer in school and it didn't stop a single person from murdering, wife beating, and child molesting so why on earth you think it would prevent mentally ill people from shooting up some place is beyond me.

The fact is we have an obscene proliferation of weapons in this country and far from being used for any sort of self defense, they are used to kill people, assault weapons especially. Period. That's what they are designed for. That is their only function. No one needs semi-automatic assault weapons with cartridges that shoot of a bullet a minute. And instead of recognizing the fallacy of 'more guns make the world a safer place', these people think having everyone carry concealed will cure the problem. Teachers need to have guns in school! If someone there had had a gun, the shooter would have been stopped!

The second major factor is that we do not have any kind of system to treat the mentally ill. The mental hospitals were closed down (and for good reasons as they were abusive and abused) but they didn't replace it with anything and now nothing can be done about the mentally ill until they commit a crime and get thrown in jail. That's our current solution. Put them on meds with no supervision until they day they go over the edge.

And finally, we friggin' worship violence in this country. Just look at our movies, video games, and the wars we start. This country has been at war for nearly every year of it's existence.

Our politicians have been bought by big business, big argriculture and the NRA. So until they find the balls they seem so proud of, there will be no gun control of any kind in this country. And until we as a people start caring about the lack of mental health care available to the population, the crazies will remain amongst us just waiting to go off. Not to mention the thousands of ticking time bombs in the form of mentally damaged soldiers returning from two prolonged wars who won't get any mental health help because those same politicians that love to engage in war, don't love to take care of the returning soldiers and are always cutting their benefits.

ellen abbott said...

btw, that list of countries with mass murders...12 countries. 8 had one instance, 2 had two instances, one had three instances...and the US? 8 of the listed occurrences. kinda speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%!

Reb said...

Well said Frank. Sadly, our southern cousins won't follow the logic in your argument. Bruce pointed out all the other mass killings, but failed to notice the count, as Ellen pointed out, leans heavily against the USA.
The USA as well as our country (I can't speak for any other country) need to have more support for the mentally ill. Gun control in the USA will be a long time coming and even then it will be like trying putting the genie back in the bottle.

Steve Gravano said...

Excellent Frank, now if only more of my fellow citizens would wake up!

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent post, Frank.

Hilary said...

It's disgusting, plain and simple. Watching the news tonight, about how gun purchases in the USA are UP in the last few days.
I'm sorry, but WTF????
ARe you kidding??
I know damn well that our forefathers did not have assault weapons in mind when they thought up the esteemed amendment. They were talking about a one shot MUSKET. Big, big difference.

Dan said...

Tradegies are serious wake-up calls for all of us.

A healthy discussion and problem solving is an obvious beginning.

Goal: what outcomes are wanted/desired?

Topics for Discussion
1. Second Amendment does it need to re-examined/ratified? Why? Why not?
2. Mental health care
3. Gun control measures - are automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens necessary?
4. School security
5. Community discussions
6. Contact your elected representatives and let them know where you stand.
7. ** add you topics **

Rules - set aside your political, organization, religious affiliations and egos and remember to focus on outcomes.

Participate and be part of the solution(s).

Frank Baron said...

Thanks all, for your passionate and articulate responses.

von said...

Well said, Frank. Yes, we need to change our gun laws. Yes, we need to change healthcare. Actually, many other changes are needed too. Coming from the reddest state, I'm sad to say it won't happen here any time soon.Instead, they want our teachers to carry guns. You know I love my state, but it's laws are making me question if I want to live here any more.

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