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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My State of the Nation Address…

Yesterday, I read about the shooting at an Arkansas college, and this morning, I just saw where a little 8-year old boy was at a gun show with his dad, along with an instructor. Christopher Bizilj was allowed to fire an Uzi, and when he lost control, he shot himself in the head and died. It’s a miracle no one else died as well. My issue isn’t with the father or the instructor, and not even with Christopher. We’re fascinated with guns, all of us, or shows like CSI and The Unit wouldn’t so consistently be among Nielsen’s top rated. I’m not a Charlton Heston hater, and I’m not opposed to Americans being entitled to owning guns. Clearly, there’s no merit to the ownership of guns equating to violence. In Canada, until about two years ago, they owned more handguns per person than the U.S., yet their crime rate was profoundly lower than ours. And they’ve had one school shooting to date. One. We’ve had literally thousands now, and it escalates to the point that we barely notice them. There have been over twenty already this year. Isolated incidents, maybe only one person shot, maybe no one hurt, just shots fired. The point is, people can own guns. But what purpose do these automatic weapons serve?

I’ve fired an AK-47 while doing research for a novel. Captain Tom Dresner took me shooting, let me shoot it as a semi- then as a fully automatic. It’s legal, and it’s a rush. But the only place I ever see a use for these weapons is in the military. Christopher Bizilj was not in the military. People who go to gun shows aren’t arming themselves to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Those who end up with these guns, statistically, are gangs and militia groups. So as manufacturers crank them out, they have to know that these weapons are designed for illegal activity, unless they have a contract with the government.

At some point in this country, we’re going to stop dead in our tracks and think, my god, what has happened to us. If you haven’t already. With the economy in its worst state since World War II, us fighting a war most of us don’t even think about during our day-to-day, they only add to crime, drugs, gangs, and unemployment completely out of control. The media uses fear mongering to keep us worried, afraid, but for all the wrong reasons. We should be afraid of losing ourselves, because it’s happening before our very eyes.

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