Gunning down the road to perdition

Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:00 am


The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights became a part of our Constitution on Dec. 15, 1781 when the Constitution was finally ratified. It reads as follows: “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.” Twenty-six words about which millions of words have been written.

North America in 1791 was a pretty wild place and the Kentucky long rifle had not yet been developed. Repeating arms, Colt revolves, were more than 40 years in the future. Shooting someone with a gun was a difficult and slow process. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons were nearly a century in the future. Custer’s troops were equipped with single shot carbines in 1876.

After the First World War, violence associated with Prohibition became so bad that in 1934, Congress passed laws making it practically impossible to own machine guns or sawed off shotguns. They quickly disappeared from the scene.

The AK-47 and its progeny, the Bush Master, etc. were designed for the military to kill people, not deer. They have no legitimate use for hunting.

Unfortunately, we Americans have inherited an ethos that includes gun violence. If you do not believe it so go see “Django Unchained”, which is showing in movie theaters right now. As a result, thousands of Americans die every year from gunshot wounds, with 32 a day being murdered. Gun violence is a scourge upon all of us and it sooner or later touches all of us. For example, my cousin, Lloyd, who came back from the Pacific at the end of WWII with PTSD. They did not call it that back then and mental health professionals were not able to help him. In 1960, when his wife left him, he took his deer rifle, went to her house and shot her to death with it. He was mentally ill, but not insane, according to the jury that convicted him and sent him to prison for life. He spent essentially all of the rest of his life in the Montana state prison system. My cousin, Lloyd, mentally ill and his family knew it but he was not legally insane.

No one knows what motivates people to resort to guns in misguided efforts to deal with their problems, which they don’t. What can be said is that we have way too many guns in drawers, closets, trunks and other unsecured places in way too many homes. There is nothing that the President or anyone else can stop the slaughter, but it might be possible to reduce the carnage. Unfortunately, there are powerful forces who out of unreasonable fear of the government or out of a desire to make a buck, it is not likely that any significant reforms will be passed by Congress that further restrict or reduce access to the weapons that are killing people across our great nation every day.

Mass murders usually use assault rifles or handguns with large capacity clips to gun down innocents. There are many illogical roads that they follow to kill people in schools, movie theaters, college campuses and parking lots. The shooters who unleash hail storms of bullets on people that they do not know, for no apparent reason, are not mentally well. No single change will prevent thousands of people being killed with guns in America every year. Many things need to be done to reduce the carnage.

I, for one, support the President’s efforts to reduce gun violence in American. We need to make it harder to possess guns and we need to work harder to successfully treat the mentally ill. If nothing is done, we will simply keep on gunning our way down the road to perdition.

Kent Morlan

Tulsa, OK