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Letter: A nation of guns

I suppose perhaps like too many others, my own extended family has included avid hunters, persons with mental health problems and personal experience of gun violence. That will define my perspective on living in a country of 311 million people who possess an estimated 300 million guns. Considering that less than 1 percent of all the people I have ever known own any sort of gun, others must possess virtual arsenals. In this respect our country is unique in the world — both in gun possession and tragic outcomes from their use.

Fear — nameless fear of the other, of those who are different, of the phantoms generated by absorption of our violent popular culture — would appear to be a root cause of this manic “preparedness.” It’s hardly surprising that these folks would embrace their icon Ann Coulter’s suggestion that the recent Newtown killing of 20 6- and 7-year-olds could have been prevented if these same children had been armed. Indeed, a principle response to these events is a call for more security, for more arms.

The truth is that many men and women in America today store more destructive power in their homes, cars and persons than I possessed as a Korean-era infantryman.

The first focus of the president, the Congress and other legislative bodies should be upon dramatic engagement at identifying and creating avenues of help for families and persons who might commit such violence as we have experienced.

A concurrent effort should be to correct the muddy language of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, confront the individuals, lobbyists and the gun industry with the dangers they have visited on the country, identify a very limited range of weapons allowed for hunting, and begin a ban on manufacture, importation and sale of all other firearms, as well as massive confiscation and destruction of all remaining guns.



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