This was a weekend of remarkable sadness and although I was gone to another state visiting family, I followed the laying to rest of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan through Facebook.
I hope his family can take some solace in the fact the outpouring of respect and grief was deep and sincere.
What followed those murders in Chattanooga, TN, was another incidence of gun violence with the goal of mass murder in Louisiana. The two events are not related and still under investigation. The only thing that links them is the fact that a person who was not under investigation as a potential terrorist decided to commit mass murder.
Of course these two events provided fodder for political discussion. One of the Republican presidential hopefuls, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke about the Louisiana shootings and said, “I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea. I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them.
“I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.”
Let’s drop the political rhetoric for a moment. Presidential candidates now seize every opportunity to distinguish themselves from the pack with an ever-increasing amount of bombast.
Is Perry suggesting that this country should be an armed camp? No one is safe unless they are carrying a gun and prepared to use it?
What are we going to do? How can we prevent such atrocities from happening? Is arming the country the only way?
I was visiting my family in Virginia, a state in which seeing people carrying handguns on their waist is fairly common. While in my nephew’s business, one of his customers said that he was surprised no one was “carrying” in that movie theater in Louisiana, as that would have been the solution in that case.
Really? I didn’t want to engage him, but does he really think an armed civilian would be able to react quickly enough and competently enough in a darkened theater to have actually changed the hideous outcome?
If I had asked him that question – I didn’t, as I didn't want to upset my nephew – I know he would have said, “Yes.”
Here are some questions: Do Americans really need to arm to maintain personal safety? Do you routinely believe yourself not to be safe and would you like to carry a gun?
There are apparently plenty of people who do believe this is the next step in the American experiment with democracy. We should all be armed and be ready to use guns as a means to assure personal safety.
What does that say about the nature of our society?
Is this how we should be living? Is this how you want to live? Do we have to admit that our system of government has failed us in its protection? From local cops to the FBI do you believe the only person who can guarantee your safety is yourself?
I invite your comments.
In a sea of horrible news, the best news Baystaters could get is the running up of the white flag from the Boston Olympics camp. Thank all that is holy this expensive con game didn’t move any further.
Of course, its surrender will undoubtedly remove any political will about considering a commuter train service between Springfield and Worcester to link up with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains. Just watch.
Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.