Editor’s note: This viewpoint is written by New Richmond resident Scott Grady. This is the original version. The News’ word limit on viewpoints in print is 650 words, so the letter in its entirety did not run in the paper. This is the entire viewpoint.
Again, people across America are saddened by the senseless shooting of innocent people in our community.
Again, I ask myself why we choose as a population to allow this activity to continue without taking measures to end it.
I have heard the reasons for keeping things the way they are.
I have heard the arguments for upholding the Constitution.
I understand the desire for individuals to choose to be armed to protect home and family.
I understand the desire to hunt and provide food to eat.
In earlier years, I also hunted. My son hunts and is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment. A few years ago, after Sandy Hook, my son and I were engaged in a discussion regarding gun control. He and I were on opposite sides I asked if it would be okay with him if someone walked into his daughters' school and put a bullet into her head. He obviously was not. I asked him how many more daughters and sons and sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers needed to be murdered before something was done to curtail the availability of firearms which cause so much destruction to so many innocent people.
One does not need an AK-47 to deer hunt. It makes no sense to duck hunt with an Uzi. And no one wants to pick through the bounty of their hunt looking for fragments of hollow point bullets so that they don't break a tooth. And none of these are needed to protect one’s family. They are very handy, however, in creating havoc to your family.
For decades, people have stood behind blood soaked veil of the Second Amendment to claim their right to bear arms. One needs to look at the entire Second Amendment, and not just part of it. The Second Amendment states, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." At the time that this Amendment was written, there was no standing army. It was the responsibility of every adult male to assist in the defense of the country. The government did not provide arms when citizens, or the militia, were called to defend it. To hinder the ability of an individual to arm himself, hindered the ability of the nation to defend itself. The Second Amendment was a matter of national defense. The militia no longer exists. There is a standing military and the government provides all of the equipment and arms that are necessary to fulfill its duty. The lack of need for a militia makes the need to bear arms a moot issue. If the Second Amendment were repealed tomorrow, it would not create any negative impact upon our national defense.
I have heard the rationale that if everyone was armed, everyone would be safer. If that were true, everyone west of the Mississippi would still have a Colt 45 strapped to their leg. It didn't work then and it doesn't work now. Every day people are dying in the streets of America who are being shot by someone else who is carrying a firearm for "protection."
There have been many changes over the years throughout our country to protect the life and limb of its citizens. It is now mandatory to wear seat belts. Wearing seatbelts saves lives. There are now laws regarding legal limits and consequences for driving under the influence. Drunk drivers kill people It is now illegal to smoke in most public places. Second hand smoke kills people. It amazes me that we will readily legislate laws for seat belts, drunk drivers, and smokers, yet we refuse to do anything regarding the bloodshed created by firearms.
I do not currently have the statistics to state how many people die annually from not wearing seat belts, or die from drunk drivers, or die from secondhand smoke, or die from being shot. I am certain that these statistics are readily available and I would venture to believe that those dying from firearms is just as significant as any other cause. People all across America, in our homes and in our streets, are dying every day from firearms. Are not these lives worth something? Do not these victims also have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Where is the Constitution for them? The Second Amendment is archaic. The Second Amendment no longer serves the purpose for which it was written. It is time the Second Amendment leaves the 18th century and joins the 21st.
There is a big part of me that believes that the worst violators to the destruction of human life in our country are the legislative representatives that we elect to serve our country. They will speak to us of the tragedy and horror of these evil acts of violence inflicted upon our citizens and wish that we all pray for the victims and their families. And all the while they talk to us out of the corner of their mouth, they are stuffing money into the pockets of their campaign funds from the individuals and organizations that manufacture and promote these weapons of mass destruction. If they indeed did care about the people of this country, if indeed they did care about the well-being of their constituents, they would have emptied their pockets of their ill-gotten gain the day after Columbine. Don't speak to me of pain and sorrow. Don't speak to me of how these events are acts of evil. Keep your hypocrisy. The time of talk is over. It is time to act.
And to act in manner that shows you are worth the words you spew. You can tell a significant amount of someone's character when they prefer to accept money rather than act to prevent the murder of innocent people. Likewise, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they sleep. Are you able to sleep through the night, or are you awakened by the nightmares of children screaming for their mother just before they die?
There is also a big part of me that believes that nothing will ever be done regarding this matter until the citizens of this country have finally had enough and join together to demand that our legislative representatives make changes to our current laws. Some of this blood also stains our shoes. Until the demands for change are made, and met, everyone will continue to blame someone else or expect someone else do something. And in the meantime, the body count will continue to grow and soil of the grave sites will continue to be softened by the tears of their families.
I truly believe that our country is at a crossroads. As a society, we must either decide that changes need to be made in the laws that govern firearms within our borders, or we need to decide that everything is fine just the way it is and that those dying from firearms are merely collateral damage to a not so civilized society. It matters not whether they die from the single incidents that occur on a daily basis across our country or from a mass event like Las Vegas. The victims are just as dead.
If we choose the latter and are fine with violent death being a normal, natural and routine way of life, then I would suggest that we do more than pray for the victims. While praying for the dead, I believe that we should also be saying some prayers for the living. For those that are praying for the victims today may very well be the victims that we are praying for tomorrow.