Sweeping Grief under the Nearest Rug

I’m growing more than a little weary of guns being the prime dividing factor in American culture. The Second Amendment, which I will quote here: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of  free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” has broad ramifications and possible interpretations, depending upon personal views of what it means to protect oneself and one’s family. Two centuries later, we are no longer an agrarian society loading our muskets to shoot turkeys, each shot requiring rather a long loading time. Now weapons of war are available with not enough restrictions to halt the continuing mass murders that have the rest of the world looking at us in disbelief. If any mental virus by an enemy nation could have been created to invade reason, compassion, and a true sense of “safety,” it would be the one created by, endorsed by, and sold by the NRA, which only relatively recently made the second amendment the holy grail of its platform. We’ve made seriously dangerous weapons easier to get into schools than peanut butter sandwiches.

One of the problems for me is that the 18th Century had no AR-15’s, nor other weapons that could obliterate a staggering number of enemies (or innocent victims) in just minutes. Such gun owners today are not the martyrs of any mass conspiracy to snatch their weapons away and leave them unprotected. The martyrs are the dead, who have been slaughtered, those young and old, who might have been spared in at least some of the cases by universal background checks and more care being taken in the hierarchy of law enforcement to take purchases and thefts of such artillery more seriously.

No one is asking that all guns be outlawed and seized by the government on any level, though this is the childish drama played out all too often. Law abiding citizens have the right to have guns, whether for hunting or for personal protection. That too is a very broad statement with enough details omitted that it sounds cozy and comfy. There is a middle ground, which we have not yet approached in creating safety for EVERYONE. All those deceased victims of gun violence had rights too, but we forget that fact in the mad rush to blame not having enough more guns to stop the murders. Those victims are not just abstract statistics. They were human beings, whose families will never really heal from the diabolical losses they suffered.

There has been pontificating on both sides of this issue, but if we give up and simply say nothing is going to change…without even trying…then we are certainly doomed to experience again and again the horrors of mass shootings, followed by the sickeningly sweet and prayerful regrets of gutless politicians still under the thumb (in the pocket) of the NRA.  If we as a nation are not all on the same team in our attempts to curb or eliminate such crimes, we are indeed at war with each other every bit as much as we were in the 1860’s. Splitting hairs along with pointing fingers has not worked. I dread opening the newspaper and watching the evening news these days, waiting for the next massacre, replete with all the phony rhetoric and silly posturing that more guns are the only answer to the gun issue. I’m still waiting for a balance between compassion and common sense to prevail. I applaud all those who marched everywhere in our nation. I am seventy-two years old, but the young have inspired me and given hope that our tolerance level for murder has shrunk as much as it did after the gangster era in big American cities replete with machine guns (later outlawed) and Al Capone.  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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4 Responses to Sweeping Grief under the Nearest Rug

  1. Pamela Rogalski says:

    Proud that you were one of our teachers and to now have you as a FB friend. I wish I could be as articulate as you when I encounter acquaintances who have been poisoned by the NRA and/or the GOP. Today someone posted a meme saying that the US Constitution needs to be re-read vs. changed. I wish those people (who find that meme amusing) would re-read it themselves…especially, women who were not considered citizens, with rights to vote or serve on a jury until almost 75 years after the 2nd Amendment.
    Thank you Mr. Bolinger! You continue to educate us!

    • John says:

      Thank you, Pamela. Your words give me hope to face the anger and criticism that are certain to follow my expressing such opposition to the NRA and its ilk. JB

  2. Karen Clark says:

    Amen!!! Thank you for writing so eloquently and passionately!

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