Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blasts From My Past

During my teens and early twenties, I fired bullets at people who were shooting at me.

It was not pleasant but, after V-E Day in Germany, when our food was being sold in British and French black markets, I was persuaded to go deer-hunting not for sport but out of hunger. In early morning, sighting a brown hide and preparing to fire, I realized I was about to bag a cow.

That ended my hunting career, but I brought home a souvenir pistol I had taken from a German officer. Years later, when my teen-age son found it in a closet, I disassembled the gun and walked a mile in Manhattan dropping parts in trash bins to make sure it would never be put together again.

In a half-century since, I have owned no guns and the Second Amendment has been of only academic interest, reawakened by a sense of wonder at how bearing arms against targets that don't shoot back has become a sacred right in America.

Now after Newtown,  the President vows to make gun control “a central issue” next year but only after paying homage to Americans’ right to own those deadly weapons while gun sales surge and, in a St. Louis suburb, a discussion on the subject ends with one man firing shots at another.

A New York Times editorial notes that in yesterday’s announcement the President talked about a “culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence,” saying that any actions should begin “inside the home and inside our hearts.”

Perhaps. But the editorial concludes: “It is tempting to blame abstractions, and to give in to fatalism, knowing that America is a land of hundreds of millions of guns and of a rabid, well-financed lobby that shrouds its unreason in appeals to individual liberty and freedom from government.

“But the path to sanity needs to start somewhere.”

To quote a line uttered by a judge in one of Paul Newman's last movies, "If you arm one moron, you've got to arm them all."

Is the antithesis unthinkable? Or have I been living in danger all this time after disposing of my deadly comforter? 

1 comment:

John said...

Gun control in America probably won't happen. The way we usually deal with risk is through insurance. Make gun owners carry insurance policies on their weapons, as they do their vehicles. The more lethality, the more risk, the higher the rates. Let the actuarials figure it out.