When Reason Evaporates

I live in Broward County, where the school shootings occurred yesterday afternoon. We’re all in shock down here, but I think that the rest of the nation is grieving too over such a senseless and violent act. Our country is ailing from a core of rage and mental (spiritual?) instability that has been going on for some time. There are people who believe that weapons can solve every problem and grudge….and we provide the weapons to almost any crackpot, who wants them. I’ve been looking at statistics of other nations and their issues with gun violence. We’re not alone, but we are the slowest to come up with effective, sensible solutions. Excuses abound, while members of our own government are in the pockets of the NRA. We also perpetuate the popular myth that guns represent our most important and irrevocable freedom, even above that of life itself. All our weeping and grief have yet to become legislation that will curb a level of public and private aggression that has the rest of the world seeing us as savagely backward in our values.

Please pray for the victims and their families and for our country. This heartbreaking incident is another in a series of horrific tragedies that should be shaking the stone foundations of those elegant buildings in Washington from the cost of human lives we continue to pay with every tragic reoccurrence. My only other request is that people not provide stupid arguments that we need more guns. The platitude of “People, not guns, kill people” is sickeningly inept and moronic. No more. This isn’t a high school debate anymore. This state of crisis doesn’t need more arguments. It needs action…and right now. 

Also, it isn’t as though we’re asking for all weapons to be confiscated. The guns of the 18th Century, when the Second Amendment was composed, were still rather slow-loading weapons akin to old muskets. Also, the motive of maintaining a “well-regulated militia” in case of foreign or domestic aggression was quite different from a mentally deranged teenager toting a semi-automatic AR-15 to mow down seventeen innocents in one session. I know and respect many friends who own guns for protection, but those weapons aren’t meant to obliterate human lives with speed and efficiency as in a huge abattoir. See the difference?

It occurs to me that we already have laws on the books that are being sloppily enforced. Too many mass shootings have loopholes or openings through which criminal or unbalanced minds have managed to navigate. There should be accountability for those who allow the checks and balances to be compromised. The last two mass shootings show that, had others been doing their jobs with more care, the shooting might not have occurred. Consequences for such sloppy work on the part of those who were supposed to be more vigilant may need to be sharpened too. Even if we enforced with more vigor the laws we already have, things might improve, but we have a long way to go.   JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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