Have you noticed the frequent news reports on how sales of automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips went straight through the roof in the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook?

Afraid that the murder of innocent children and their teachers — on top of several other mass shootings this year — might spark the OBVIOUS need for greater restrictions on privately owned semi-automatic weapons, both rural and urban cowboys have been forming long lines at gun shops to obtain the testosterone rush of owning a military-style assault weapon with enough ammunition to “defend” oneself against hundreds of other people who are similarly armed.

It makes me want to scream “ARE YOU ALL NUTS!?”

But I won’t.

I will very calmly say, “Are we all nuts?”

Do we really think that more guns and more bullets will make us safer?

The NRA, of course, is calling for more guns, wanting an armed guard at every school. As if a bad guy can’t shoot his way into one of the back doors? We can’t guard all of them. And, how can we expect to fund  armed guards when education budgets are constantly being cut, staffs are shrinking, and teachers have to raise money for classroom supplies?

Legislative bills in South Carolina and Virginia, among other states, call for pistol packing teachers. The Southern Baptist Convention’s chief ethics spokesman has endorsed the idea, telling NPR that he thinks schools would be safer if properly trained teachers could carry concealed weapons. He said carrying and using weapons in order to defend one’s neighbor is a justified fulfillment of biblical commands to love one another.

Please. Are we all nuts? People who kill with guns are not the responsible ones with the concealed weapons permits. The more guns there are on campus, the more likely that some anger-filled, hormone-fueled student who can’t control his emotions will steal one from a teacher who’s carrying and use it in a less than responsible manner.

I have a vague understanding of the visceral desire to possess a lethal weapon and feel the rush that comes with firing a gun — I felt it, fleetingly, about 30 years ago, and quickly turned away from it. I understand why some people feel afraid and convince themselves that they need to be armed for self-defense. I don’t understand the compulsion that some folks have of compiling an arsenal that could take out half of a town.

I hope the brutal murder of the innocents may spark more regulation of assault weapons, which should never have been legal in the first place — but it’s a measured hope. I don’t think legislators have the wherewithal to fight the gun lobby and stand up to the millions of Americans who love their cold steel killing machines.

But I will hope nevertheless.

There are so many ways to love our neighbors that don’t involve exchanging fire … better to be baking cookies or repairing a screen door than standing in line at the gun store on the ruse that we’re “defending” them.



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