In the early ‘70’s, producer Norman Lear presented an episode on his hit series “All in the Family” that was a parody on gun ownership “Archie and the editorial.” In this particular piece, Archie writes an editorial recommending as the only way to stop the hijacking of commercial airlines was to issue handguns as each passenger boarded the plane. The public reaction and Archie’s self-righteous responses provided great comedy.
I thought Archie Bunker had long ago slipped into the TV graveyard. Recently, however, I read that he still lives and is now advocating laws to make it mandatory that everyone “pack iron” at all times. In fact in Nelson, Ga., an ordinance recently passed that makes it mandatory for every home to own a handgun. Called the “Family Protection Plan” the law requires the head of every household to be armed with a hand gun. This forced proliferation of weaponry is supposed to insure less gun killings. The absurdity of this ordinance and its justification boggle the mind.
Where guns are available, guns will be used. Every purchaser of a hand gun fully intends to use it. The disclaimer always will be “of course, only when absolutely necessary” but the gun owner will make the decision as to when such necessity arises. To some mentally or emotionally stressed persons the least offense, affront or insult can call for a violent reaction.
Vengeance, retribution or retaliation can trigger that “only-when-necessary” decision. Domestic quarrels, even passionate arguments, have developed into overheated reactions that resulted in gun death. A handgun only has one purpose: to kill people. It is an anti-personnel weapon of mass destruction. Assault weapons only have an expanded purpose of killing many people in less time with less effort. One pull of the trigger will annihilate a multitude; just ask the parents of the Sandy Hook victims. Background checks will do no good; getting around paper restrictions is easy, from falsifying documents to using a substitute buyer. Limiting magazine capacity will accomplish only minimal benefit for as long as the weapon is readily available the way to rapid fire it will be found. These means to murder must be removed from America’s streets; their production halted and their sales stopped. Why is it we can legally confiscate and destroy a drug of minimal consequence like marijuana, but can’t impound and destroy weapons of mass destruction? The root of the gun problem is the one common denominator to all gun deaths: guns!
Why should any civilized person need one? If it is for a testosterone boost, let those with dwarfed masculinity use something else to get their self-esteem lift.
Page 2 of 3 - We have a highly trained, dedicated and professional law enforcement establishment that is our defense against crime and criminals! Why do so many Americans not trust their police force to do the protecting? Of course, they can’t protect everyone, every hour, of every day; murders will occur. With vastly fewer means to murder available, however, vastly fewer deaths will occur. Get the guns off the streets, and more people will live. On Election Day, while at the polling place, I visited with a long-time neighbor and friend who is a member of the McPherson police force. I thought to myself how blessed I was to have persons of his caliber willing to regularly risk their lives to protect me and mine. My grandson was recently discharged from the Army. What a fine warrior he made. Again, how fortunate we are to have such strong young people to protect us from foreign enemies. Why does anyone need a gun? Don’t they trust that those brave persons can do their job? We only need to ensure that they are not “out gunned” by some crazed criminal wielding an assault weapon protected by the NRA.
Of course, no matter how much cruel carnage happens, the NRA and its minions deem the protection of their “gun rights” as all that matters. A return to those days of yore when disagreements were settled with a shoot out at some corral seems their hope. How barbaric, how brutal, how uncivilized! Such a gun culture would greatly increase gun sales and make the purveyors of murder ever richer. I’ve always thought the NRA could have a “condolences card” prepared that expressed their concern for the dead, but confidently assured the grieving survivors that “at least your 2nd Amendment rights were protected.” Surely that would help heal the heart break of those whose children were murdered. The NRA suggests we arm school guards. Perhaps we should build tall solid fences around the playgrounds, have metal detectors at entrances, and an internal locking system for classroom doors like prisons. The school uniform could be “body armor,” and our school busses need to be armored vehicles. With everyone armed, we’ll all have to stay safe indoors for fear of being hit by a stray bullet while visiting a local park. With all the guns, the NRA has taken away the joy of being outdoors; it would be just too dangerous! Let us together get the guns off the streets so that we all can safely walk along those streets.
I obviously don’t agree with Archie’s contemporary clones in Georgia, and Maine, and any other areas considering mandatory gun ownership laws. I’m for the elimination of all guns in America, except for those charged and trained to use them defending the rest of us. It wouldn’t end all violence, but it would end much of it. I don’t have a gun, I don’t want a gun, and I’d rejoice if America would disarm and let violence, vengeance, and victims be but bad and sad memories. It would mean the end of the NRA and “gun runners” and their exorbitant profits from death. I certainly wouldn’t grieve that dying.
Page 3 of 3 - The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the McPherson Sentinel or GateHouse Media.
Fr. Bob Layne is a Episcopal priest living in McPherson.