Guns in America

I suspect that very few of the people I know own guns.  Probably none.  And I have no clue as to who the millions of gun owners in this country are.  I don’t really need to know who they are.  I just need to understand the why.  It’s really unfathomable.

When our kids were small, our neighbors behind us had two teenage sons. One day I was horrified to see that they were doing target practice in their back yard with b-b guns.  B-b guns are not, theoretically, real weapons but try getting a b-b out of your child’s brain, eye or ear or some other vulnerable place.  Mighty scary!  I tried to be calm with my neighbors, who happened to be Jewish.  We didn’t get too far with a rational chat.  The mom told me it was important for her boys to learn how to handle weapons. Huh?  For what I ingenuously answered.  I know full well that the military trains people who need to use weapons. So do the police.  But why do civilians need to use weapons?  Crazy world we live in. I threatened to report her to the police, which I certainly would have.  That was the last of the b-b guns in my backyard.

I love animals and the thought of someone stalking an animal and shooting it, for pleasure, is truly sick.  I’m not crazy.  If an animal is terrorizing a human or pet, clearly it has to be dealt with, humanely. Humanely I say?  Are we humans humane?  Pretty good question! We are probably the least humane species out there.

But, how about the humans stalking fellow humans?  Is that humane? Hardly.  Yesterday, as the world knows by now, a baseball game in Alexandria Virginia was attacked by a mentally ill man who had a gun. Was it legally owned?  I haven’t heard yet.  But why did this guy have or need a gun?  So he could shoot up politicians whose ideas he rejected? Politicians who wanted to assure him of his second amendment rights to own weapons.  Politicians who would probably still argue that this is his legal right.

Luckily the police protecting the injured members of congress did have weapons.  Fortuitously they were there and they behaved bravely and honorably.  The disaster would have been amplified dramatically had they not been there.  So good for them, and their needed weapons.

But why did the unbalanced man have a gun?

For the same reason an old friend’s husband kept one in his home where he lived with his wife and kids.  His wife told me he was itching to use it.  Luckily no pizza delivery guy aroused his suspicions!  My friend’s husband would have told you he had the gun to protect his family.  Nonsense.  The greatest danger he ever brought home with him was that weapon.  More kids are killed by guns in their homes than by any number of home invasions.

There was a horrible event recently.  A 2-year-old little girl was riding in her mother’s boyfriend’s car.  Unrestrained by a car seat she crept around on the floor of the car and found the boyfriend’s gun.  She played with it and then shot her mother in the head, killing her instantly. The now driverless car smashed into a wall .  It was destroyed and the 2-year-old was severely injured.  Second amendment in action!

In America, it’s easy to buy a gun. There are gun shows and online sales from whom you can equip yourself with an assault rifle capable of rapidly killing many many people. Quick and easy.

I come from Newark NJ.  When I was growing up there were things that frightened my mother.  Polio for one.  But never guns. Today a mother in Newark has lots of guns to worry about.  There are shootings daily. There are armed gangs.  The city is a war zone. I feel brave when I go to see my old home.  No one knows how to deal with this epidemic.

In nearby New York City, especially in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx, things are no better.  Last week a 5-year-old boy celebrating his birthday with his father was shot in the head by a stray bullet. We all know so well what the term stray bullet means.  A bullet meant for someone else that hits an unintended victim.

There are stray bullets galore and there are intended targets.  A couple of years ago America and the world were horrified to learn about a Connecticut first-grade class attacked by a lone gunman who murdered over 20 kids and teachers.  Did the shock of that brutal, truly inhumane act finally convince America’s politicians to declare a war on guns? Simply, no.  You see there’s a lobby out there in America called the NRA, the National Rifle Association, and they have convinced, with the power of lots of money, our governing bodies that bearing arms is a God given right.  A privilege.  An honor.   Is it a privilege or honor to kill first-graders?  Americans, are we crazy?

How can we rid ourselves of this scourge?  It’s getting worse day by day.  Reason, intellect, common sense, humanity, all ignored.

Can this really be America where the NRA has so much power that we are impotent to protect the nation’s children?  That loving peace is not protected by amendments to our Constitution?  God help us!

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.