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MARGARET'S MUSINGS: Guns, guns and more guns

My experience with guns is limited to say the least. As a child I know my dad had an old rifle tucked in the back of his closet. I never saw him shoot it and I had no idea then or now where the ammunition was or even if there was any in the house. Yet, even at a young age, that firearm provided me with a sense of safety. Even though we lived in the country, a mere mile from town, back then the houses were sparse and the traffic low. An evening horse ride around the block (four miles) was common and nearly everyone in the section knew each other by name if not personally. I can remember thinking as a child that even though the gun was not loaded, it might at least scare off an intruder if I should find myself at home alone.

Remember this was an era of "The Rifleman," "The Big Valley" and "Bonanza," when guns were regularly used to kill the known bad guys. It was a time at least in television land when morals were pretty straight forward, rights and wrongs were clearly delineated. Killing was only done as a matter of personal survival and only when directly threatened.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I found myself living in a small Hampton Roads neighborhood with the James River on one side and what most, called at the time, questionable areas on the other three. My neighbor carried an assortment of guns in his truck all visible and my spouse kept a few firearms in the house. One, in particular, stored unceremoniously in the "underwear drawer" spurred me to realize that if we were keeping a loaded gun in such a bizarre place, I had better learn how to use it.

So off, my girlfriend and I went to a gun safety class as both of our spouses were deployed on the same ship. In the first class the instructor shocked me by announcing to the group that if we intended to use a firearm for self-defense, we needed to make sure we killed the intruder and if, while dying, he or she managed to get off your property, you were to drag him or her back on. The consequences, we were told at the time, were if we didn't do that, we would be the ones spending time in prison. I pretty much decided that wasn't for me. I wanted to be able to safely operate the handgun and, yes, use it for self-defense but killing wasn't my goal. We made it through the class and it was during the last class I discovered during target practice that fire came out of the end of barrel. Basically, I had been closing my eyes every time I fired the gun. No wonder I was such a bad shot. I realize that this information may not have been correct at the time or today, but it was what the instructor told us.

While this saga may sound humorous, there is nothing in the least bit funny about the gun violence in America nor is there anything humorous about weakening the second amendment. The old adage -- guns do not kill people, people kill people -- is still true today. The dialogue that our nation is having in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, if it can be called that, since that requires a two-way conversation, is important.

Some perspective is also needed. Several people sent me thoughtful observations beginning with "Consider what would happen if you substituted the word 'abortions' for 'guns' in the mainstream media diatribe to ban guns so as to (as VP Biden put it, "save just one life") -- the left would be screaming bloody murder and standing behind the Constitution rather than calling for its demise as they now do....

You may want read the brief editorial from Pravda (the primary newspaper of the Soviet Union during the communist era and presently Russia.) It is from their English language version. This link will take you to it:

www.pravdaeditorial.

What is also interesting is the side line list of stories."

Another shared thought was:

"Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We cannot legislate "evil" into extinction. Good people will abide by the law, defective people will always find a way around it."

Lastly this comment was shared.

"The Second Amendment was written to protect citizens from tyrannical government and to preserve our liberties. It's not primarily for the protection of hunters and target shooters, though they are included. Those politicians who wish to ignore the Constitution are the ones who need to be controlled, not law-abiding gun owners." ... Cal Thomas

The second amendment as passed by Congress states:

"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

As we move forward as citizens we need to become engaged in our government. With all of the new technology available it is not hard to let your feelings be known regardless of your stance. Life for our nation may never be the same post-Sandy Hook, but an open and honest dialogue may help.

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