Why would anyone want to carry a concealed weapon to church? A school board meeting? A drink at a bar? A date? It's a legal thing to do in many states. What is it about guns in this country? Are people so insecure about their safety that they need to go around with a deadly weapon at close hand? And what would they do if circumstances ordained they had to kill somebody in order to save themselves or other lives? Or if they just wanted to kill somebody?
The availability of weapons and the basic ease with which they can be obtained is partly responsible for the tragedies that happen much too often in this country. Granted that most gun owners are responsible, caring people who would never cause harm of any kind with the killing potential of modern weaponry. But what do we do about those individuals who are capable of taking lives for whatever bizarre reasons that pass through their consciousness?
Are we supposed to shrug it off when a bizarre young man invades an elementary school and cuts down a swath of innocent children and responsible guardians? Or a man in his 30s who hears voices in his head and knows that the world is cheating him out of something? Or a couple of high school students whose inner rage is such that they want to take others with them when they go out with a bang?
By the time police arrive in droves, the damage has been done. The television news shows display officers wearing bulletproof vests and lugging super-spectacular rifles with their forefingers splayed safely alongside the stock or barrel. It takes them awhile to get organized and by the time they do there are dead bodies sprawled this way and that and the perpetrator usually dead along with them, most times by his own hand. We see this over and over and we grieve, but nothing can be done about it because we are bound over by our own laissez-faire laws. They don't work for us in economics and they don't work for us in common civilian life.
I have found it interesting locally that whenever there is a county drug bust, included among the seized items is usually a handgun of some variety. Did the drug dealer have this for protection or his own bravado? However, most of the wounds in local fights are caused by knife blades of one sort or another rather than guns. There are gun wounds sometimes, mostly from drive-bys, but personal murders are somewhat rare because most people can't bring themselves to pop a bullet into another person's body when they are within breathing distance. Why it is easier to slide a knife into somebody requires a great deal more research.
President Barack Obama is as disturbed as the rest of us, but despite his great powers he is as helpless as the rest of us. He summed it all up in a recent interview with Telemundo: "I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months, where we have these horrific mass shootings, and yet, we're not willing to take some basic actions that we know could make a difference. But it has become a ritual, and we -- or at least too many of our congressmen and congresswomen -- are too afraid to act. We are stuck in a cycle of savagery as one shooter after another catches us in his sights."
We now can assume that the National Rifle Association and the gun lobbies supported by the gun industries are in control of our public representatives and that ownership of guns has become a hallmark of single issue voters. Not only are congressmen and senators in their thrall but the average citizen aids and abets. Abortion? Guns? Health care? Immigration? All victims of single-issue voters who do not take the time or trouble to investigate these complicated matters.
If one believes in a just God, these massacres are all part of His great plan. Or as the 1963 song, "Walk on By," by the late Bert Bacharach and Hal David, instructs us: "If you see me walkin' down the street, And I start to cry each time we meet, walk on by, walk on by."
It's time to start holding our ground.
Milton Bass is a regular Eagle