Sunday, November 29, 2015         


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Gun debate grows tiresome amid continued shootings

By Cynthia Oi


This morning, I measured water into the tank of a coffee maker, shook some grounds into the filter and slid the carafe on to the heating plate.

Nothing happened.

Although the device is called automatic, it would be more accurately described as semiautomatic.

It still requires a human touch, someone to flick the “on” switch, just as a .223 Bushmaster rifle needs human contact to fulfill its one and only objective, which is to discharge projectiles that can pierce through flesh, bone and organs to destroy life.

I am aware that there are many gun enthusiasts who use their weapons simply to make holes in paper targets, who enjoy testing their skill at punching puka in a bulls-eye.

I am aware that there are others who use their rifles to hunt animals for food or trophy, though their numbers have dropped in recent years.

I am also well aware of the overworked saying that guns unassisted don’t kill, that people with guns do, as do people with knives, machetes, ball-peen hammers, cudgels and automobiles.

However, the discussion in the light of the awful slaughter of children and the adults who took care of them is about guns, their accessibility and the ease with which they kill.

To end a life takes just a squeeze. To remove from this world a future, to introduce anguish, to forever link the memory of a complex human being to a flat despair of victimhood requires a slight pull on a tiny lever.

As the massacre in Newtown, Conn., is dissected, other issues begin to cloud the picture. Among them, a mental disorder that may have afflicted the barely adult man who killed; the fringe, gun-touting group that has cowed weak-kneed politicians wholly for its nonsensical ideological gain and the profits of the allied gun industry; a ridiculous idea to fill no-gun zones such as schools with pistol-packing teachers and guidance counselors; and the phallic psychology of those who feel a need for long-barrel .22s, multi-cartridge banana clips and large-framed speed-loaders.

Then there are the tiresome militia-minded bullet-hoarders with their delusions of fighting off “the gummint” with their modified semiautomatics, a flock composed of the very people who should not be armed.

I’ve heard it all before. What I don’t want to hear again, what I don’t want to watch on breaking news any more is a horrible recounting of death because someone with a grievance, real or imaginary, effortlessly picked up a gun and killed.

Creating laws, regulations and restrictions necessary to end this madness have eluded this country for too long. The task will be difficult with many viewpoints to consider, but it is not insurmountable.

Protecting fellow human beings from harm is instinctive. We need to encourage the sense as an automatic response.

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