I’m somewhat dismayed today. It’s Saturday morning, July 1, 2017. My newspaper is usually on my front deck by now, but for some reason the deliverer is late with it. This disruption in my morning routine, leads me to my computer earlier than usual. I turn it on and the first thing that pops up is a news alert about a night club shooting in my home town of Little Rock, Arkansas. The report says that seventeen people were shot. I’m not a gun owner, and I’m not one who thinks we should take guns out of the hands of everyone. However, I do wholeheartedly believe that gun violence has gone entirely too far in America, and something needs to be done. Little Rock has gained a reputation for gun violence, and this mass shooting just takes it over the very top.
I was reared in a rural setting, where my grandfather and all my uncles owned guns. They used them for practical reasons, hunting food. Because we were poor, anything that could be done to supplement food stuffs was done. My grandfather made hunting a regular part of his activities, during hunting season to provide for his family. There was no thought of using a gun to settle an argument. Today, it seems many don’t see the value in verbally going at it to settle disputes. If you have a gun, you’re prepared to take a life over any conflict that might leave you on what you perceive to be the losing side. The shame of being dissed is just too much for some folks to take.
America has a love for guns, or at least that’s my opinion. This connection is one that I will never understand. It seems to be a daily lead story in some city newspaper, or local television broadcast that someone has been rendered lifeless in senseless gun violence. Citizens are buying guns to protect themselves from perceived threats that, oftentimes, aren’t imminent at all. People hear news reports of violence in their city, and they are motivated to purchase a gun, having never owned one in their lives before. Teachers are anxiously waiting to teach them all they need to know to protect themselves with a gun. My town, Little Rock Arkansas is one of America’s communities that has experienced a marked increase in murders resulting from gun violence. The numbers thus far this year have garnered us the reputation of being one of the most dangerous places in the country to live. Those of us who live here know that there are specific places in the city where violence is more likely to occur. If you don’t live in one of those areas, or venture into one of them, the chance of being victimized are reduced.
In all of the reports of deaths from gun violence in our country, I find it odd that our governmental leaders, who are in control in Washington, aren’t making many comments. I suppose whenever social ills are politicized and there are opportunities for corporate gains, our politicians are hesitant to speak up. Out all that’s been happening, I have no answers…just an observation: There’s too much gun violence.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
P.S. I wrote this piece four months ago. Since then we’ve seen the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada and Southerland, Texas.